How to make a 55 gallon drum smoker:

If you are interested in outdoor cooking this summer, but have a tight budget, there may be a way for you to get all of the delicious smokey flavor of using a traditional charcoal smoker method without the expensive price tag for a commercial smoker. The process uses many parts and pieces you may already have laying around the garage, and when you're done, you'll have a piece of equipment you can be proud of because you built it from scratch.

How to find a used 55 gallon drum:

Enjoying the flavorful benefits of a homemade smoker begins with finding a used 55 gallon drum. A used 55 gallon drum price will vary from region to region, but if you check on craigslist, you can sometimes find them for as little as $10-25 dollars. Even better, check your local shops, stores, and welders to ask around if anyone has a used 55 gallon drum. When searching for a used drum, make sure you purchase one that was not used to store toxic chemicals. If possible, the best drums are stainless 55 gallon drums preferably used for oils, or foods, not cleaners and chemicals.

DIY 55 gallon drum smoker steps:

After you find an adequate used steel drum with lid, the following steps will transform it into a 55 gallon drum smoker that you can use for years to come.

Step 1: Use a blow torch, weed burner, or large fire to burn the inside and outside of the 55 gallon drum so there is no residue of whatever it previously stored.

Step 2: Use 180 grit sand paper to sand the inside and outside of the drum removing any burnt ash, rust, or any other debris.

Step 3: On the bottom of the drum, drill four 3/4" holes evenly spaced 3 inches from the bottom. These will be used as the breathers for the which will allow you to control the temperature inside your 55 gallon drum smoker.

Step 4: Drill four 1/2" holes evenly spaced 8 inches from the top. We will use these later to support the grate which you place your meats and cheeses.

Step 5: Add 1/2" x 6" nuts and bolts into the holes created in step 4. Insert the bolt from the outside in so that the head is on the outside of the 55 gallon drum smoker, and the bolt is protruding 5-6" inside the drum.

Step 6: Add a handle to your used 55 gallon drum lid. Any metal or replacement grill handle will do. Just be sure to use an oven mitt when opeing if using a metal handle.

Step 7: Paint the outside of the smoker with "high heat" spray paint. You can usually find this at home depot in the spray paint department. It will usually have a picture of a grill on the can.

Step 8: Add airflow controllers to the four 3/4" holes on the bottom by screwing a small (4" x 4") piece of sheet metal over each of the holes. Make sure the screw is tight enough to hold the sheet metal in place, but loose enough you can slide the piece "open" or "close" by moving it with your hand.

Step 9: Add a circle grill grate that fits the inside dimension of your 55 gallon drum smoker. You can get this part from an old unused grill, or purchase it new from your hardware store.

Step 10: Insert charcoal into the bottom of your smoker in a medium sized wire basket.

Step 11: Enjoy your new DIY 55 gallon drum smoker. Simply light your charcoal and control the temperature by opening and closing your 4 control "valves" on the bottom of the smoker.