Memorial Day weekend activities included building an Ugly Drum Smoker. This project started with my friend, Ann, telling me she wanted to buy a Big Green Egg for the farm. They are very nice but run upwards of $1000 and I don't have the occasion to smoke large pieces of meat by my lonesome. (And I can think of a lot more kitchen things I could buy with $1000.)
So, I said...
"If you could find a 55 gallon drum, I could make a smoker for under $100."
About a 1/2 hour latter, Ann called to say she was picking up the 55 gallon drum that afternoon, so I had to make good on my promise.
There are about a million sets of instructions for building UDS's on the web and they are pretty much all the same yet different. And some of these guys (the vast majority are guys but some are ingenious girls like Cowgirl's County Life) have more tools than I have books, so they invest big $$$ into them.
My ambition was to make a smoker for cheap... if I wanted to spend $1000, I would have bought one.
Over the next few weeks, I assembled parts from my garage, the hardware store, the feed store and Ann sent a fancy thermometer and a step bit from Amazon.
I cannibalised an old Weber grill for a cover and the grates. I built a fire basket with the small grate.
The step drill worked out fine.
I tested the smoker with a pork butt.
After 8 hours at 225 it was quite nice.
Of course, I failed to calibrate the expensive thermometer, so I had to remove it and calibrate it. The next day, I smoked ribs. After the initial test firing, I had better control over how to keep the temperature constant. It held right at 250 for a full 10 hours without any help from me. (But the ribs only cooked for 5 hours!)
I will not add another set of instructions, but if you have questions, feel free to ask.
UPDATE: Ann asked if I wrote this in the dark? It seems she felt there were misspellings and misplaced "commas" and general poor syntax. Spell check doesn't like the way I spelled "cannibalised" but it appears to be fine.