View Full Version : any plans/pics of your 250 gallon smoker?

04-29-2009, 06:28 PM
im getting a 250 gallon drum and would like to get some ideas on making it into a cooking machine !



05-09-2009, 12:00 PM
See the threads with in the forum. There are several threads that show a number of ideas. I don't think any one has plans. The following thread has some food for thought and really great ideas.


The following web site has a bunch of ideas.


This forum also has some good ideas.


I would build the fire box out of 2" tubing, make it double wall, and insulate with rock wool.

There are some prefabricted parts available as well. Hinges ect.



That is about all the general info that I can offer. If you have specific questions fire away we will be glad to reply.

I think that you should use the pit calculator that is listed on the Smoke Ring.

The BBQ Brethen web site also has some very talented members as well!

Good Luck and happy building!!

05-09-2009, 12:38 PM
What works best is that you tell us what you are planning and we suggest and offer ideas. You do have some idea of what you want or you would not have bought an LP tank. I know that is a commitment. I spent 2 years looking for an LP tank and just gave up and did something else.

Sketchs do not need to be cad drafted.

05-09-2009, 02:43 PM
this is the drum i want to make into a cooker


i have this one that is half the size of the new drum



on the larger drum i dont want to cut it in half lengthways because the lid would be way to heavy to lift
i also want to know about doors on the side far adding wood/coal

i didnt build the smaller drum

05-09-2009, 05:30 PM
I have two questions:

1. Do you have any idea how thick the drum material is?

2. What was the drum used for before you got it?

The answer to your question is yes, you can make a door in the top. I know doors can be very intimidating, but are really not that bad. Most times you can cut a hole that is approximately a 1/4 of the drum. I have confidence that you can do this.

Safety First! Cutting in the door will involve sparks and fire. If there was a petroleum or gas product inside previously, then you must be beware of the explosive limits. Tanks can and do blow up when cutting. There are several things that you can do to limit the risk. Filling with water or washing are ways to avoid death. If you have any doubt in your skills take it to a PRO.

Aligning of doors can be very difficult especially if you cut the door completely out then try to remount it. I generally do not have anyone to help me, therefore I use the following procedure.

I level the entire tank along the top with a carpenter’s level slipping wood wedges underneath. Once the tank is level end to end then I use the carpenter’s level and a tape measure to find the center of the tank on both ends.

Then using the carpenter’s level I draw a horizontal axis line across each end of the tank thus projecting the center line on to the front of the tank on both ends. Simply draw a line along front by connecting both ends.

Generally, these do not match exactly as finding the center is an estimate. I adjust the horizontal axis line as needed so that it is level. This is important! It must be level.

Once you have a level horizontal axis line then you can design your door as suites you desire. At this point, you need to decide how you want the bottom shelf to sit inside. For an example: If I want to build the grates out of 1" angle iron and that I also want the shelf to slide out a 3/4 extension. This will differ based on the materials used and the strength needed. Anyway, you get the idea. If using 1 " angle and 1/4 steel underneath for the runner guide, I would normally offset the level horizontal axis line down 1-1/2" and mark that line as the bottom line of door. This offset is not needed if you are not going to have the bottom grate slide in and out.

The top line of the door is created by measuring up the same amount on both ends and drawing a connecting line between. Check the measurements a couple of times to make sure you are correct.

A simple way to figure the 1/4 circle is to use a piece of string. Wrap it around the tank and cut to length so that it is same length of circumference. (Use strings that will not stretch.) Then fold the string in 1/2 twice and you have a string 1/4 the length of the cir. Then use to this 1/4 string to measure along the arc to find the to centerline axis (Top of the door). Note: This can and should be checked by using a carpenter square to extend the center of the tank on both ends, up to the top.

The top of the door should not extend past the top horizontal axis line. Depending on the diameter size of the tank the top of the door does not need to extend all the way to top horizontal axis line. This is where you use some artistic license. Finish laying out the door as you want it. Check all measurements twice! Check for square by measuring the diagonal for opposite corners of the door outline. Use the non-stretch string to measure the diagonal. Just measure along the arc of the tank and snap the string a couple of time to make certain that it is straight.

Yes, it does take a while to lay out the door and get it square.

Now you are ready to cut the door out. I cut along the top of the door and down each side 2" and stop!!!!!!

Now I weld a piece of 1" by 1/8 or 3/16" thick strap over the cut that I just made. Weld it on the door side only. Be certain to center over the cut line. Now mount your hinges. Check that they are in alignment. Check this several ways and get the same answer each time. This is really this critical for the door to open smoothly.

Now you have the cap strip in place and the hinges mounted. Be careful to weld two inches at a time and alternate from end to end. Let it cool so as not to warp.

At this point, I bend the cap strips for each end of the door before cutting the door the rest of the way out. I do this tack welding the strip to the tank. Then bend cold and heat as necessary to get the arc correct. Cut it a 2" long on each end for an overall of 4" long. Break the strap free from the tank and bend the other the same way.

The next step is to cut along the bottom of the door and up each side 2” and stop cutting. Weld on the cap strip along the bottom. (Door Side only) Add door handles now or later. Tip the Door handles down. The reason being: that you do not burn your wrist on the edge of the door. Now cut the door the rest of the way out. Weld on the remaining cap strips. This is how I do it. Others do it other ways successfully.

I hope this helps! Good Luck and happy building!!

Short One
05-09-2009, 06:09 PM
Johnny, I posted some pics of Buela for the folks here to see. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.http://www.theqjoint.com/forum/showthread.php?threadid=3184

05-10-2009, 07:58 AM
Short thats how i wanted to do my doors, can you do a whole hog with the doors split? I want to cut my door like yours but leave it as one whole piece... would that work?

what are you using for hinges...i was gonna go the regular house door route but i like yours better. is that storm door hinges?

Short One
05-10-2009, 08:17 AM
Short thats how i wanted to do my doors, can you do a whole hog with the doors split? I want to cut my door like yours but leave it as one whole piece... would that work?

what are you using for hinges...i was gonna go the regular house door route but i like yours better. is that storm door hinges?
Johnny, I have never done a whole hog. We have always blocked it up and put the pieces in. We usually have 6 pieces, 2 each of shoulders, loin-rib-bacon and ham. Guess it would all depend on how big the pig was. Just remember, with the centered firebox you get a LOT of heat over the firebox.

As for the doors, when you cut the door opening the barrel will open itself so to speak and distort itself somewhat causing the door to not fit properly. Heavier drums, ex. a propane tank, is heavier and will hold it's shape when the door panel is removed. If you can figure a way to make the lighter barrel hold its shape after removing the door it should work.

As for the hinge, I got it at Lowes and don't remember if it was one long piece that I cut or 2 shorter ones. I call them piano hinges, but could be the wrong name.

Good luck with your build, and holler if I can help.

I have been thinking of trying another one with the firebox on one end, stack above the firebox, and tubes running the full length of the barrel. Just something I am kicking around in my head.

06-05-2009, 09:34 AM
heres mine... http://www.theqjoint.com/forum/album.php?albumid=26.. i hope that posts.. if not just look in my album..

reverse flow and all...