I'm brand new to cooking BBQ and figured I could build a smoker for less than the cost of the cheaper Brinkmann unit I see in the stores.
This is what I came up with.
Its about a 15 gal grease drum I picked up at work. It went through the parts washer a couple of times before I brought it home. Friday, I burned it out and got started on putting things together. Picked up a 14" Master built portable grill at HD just for the grates. Its similar to the Weber Smokey Joe, but half the price. I may regret it later, but for now, its a good start.
I started with the burn basket. It's a stainless steel screen from a strainer, also from work. All this stuff comes from the dumpster, so no thievery is taking place.
Turned out that a little trimming on the drum rim made the lid fit fairly well. The grill came with a plastic handle that I cracked while tightening a nut. Oh well. I pulled the handle off the lid of an aluminum stock pot. Just have to remember to wear gloves before removing the lid.
Installed the screws to hold the cooking grate and the intake vents. Burned the barrel.
Sanded, washed, and painted. Installed the ball valve.
My temp gauge is just a turkey fryer gauge I calibrated against two other thermometers. I installed it right after the pic was taken. After playing with a fire for about 4 hours Friday night, I realized my ball valve was too small. So, I drilled another 1" hole to the right of the valve and installed a vent cover, cut from flashing, I could rotate to control air flow. This vent gave me much more temp control.
After another test run on Saturday morning, it was time to smoke. Minimal description is needed.
2.5lb chuck roast
4 hours later
The best part about this build, my total out of pocket is just over $25. I had nearly everything in my garage to put this thing together and what I didn't have, I got for free.