How to Find a Barrel For Your UDS Drum Smoker!

How to Find a Barrel For Your UDS Drum Smoker!


Of course you do! But where do you even FIND ONE?

Let me answer that question with a question: Do you want to save time or money?

If you want to save Time...

The answer is simple: at SmokerBuilder we have the cleanest, sexiest 55 Gallon Drums you've ever seen! These 55 Gallon Barrels never-painted, never-used, 16-Gauge, Smooth Sided drums are the perfect find for your UDS Build. Ready to Paint and No burn out necessary!

And they retail for just $95

(Of course there are other options for getting a New barrel, but none of them are as ready as ours for a UDS build!)

If you want save Money...

Then the answer is still simple: find a USED one! This option might require some driving. Lucky for you, we've already been done the road and are happy to give you directions!  Check out this video to see how we found one:


Make sure you have adequate equipment to transport the barrel that you find:

1.) Vehicle:(Ideally a truck, but if you don't have one, any vehicle with a bit of room in the back will do. Maybe bring a moving blanket to keep unwanted grime off your seats).

2.) Straps(Ratchet Straps, Bungee Cords, Ropes, etc. You'll need make sure your barrel will stay put)

3.) Cash(Most places you can buy a used barrel from take cash so bring about $50 in small bills)(Also, I know this isn't EQUIPMENT but it's still important to have before you drive off)

What to look for?

Now, it's no secret that anyone can go to Google, Craigslist or Facebook Market place and search for a USED 55 Gallon drum. BUT the trick is to know what you are looking for when you do!

Here are the top things to look out for when finding your Drum: 

1. Does it have a liner?

Most used barrels were made for a different purpose other than becoming a UDS smoker. If the barrel in question was used to store and transport food, it will have a liner. Having a liner just means you will need to burn out your barrel to get the liner off the inner walls of your barrel. If you don't, those toxic fumes will find their way into your food

TIP: If you get a barrel with a liner, you'll have to burn it out. 



2. What's inside of it?

Some used barrels were used to transport crude oil or other hazardous substances. It may sound simplistic, but it's important that you investigate the interior of the drum before deciding to buy. Some remnants may still be in there! Also, be on the look out for the different signs on the barrel telling what was once stored inside. Any kind of Food Products like Coconut Oil or other stuff is fine. Materials like glue, tar, foam or other like products can be a pain to remove.


 TIP: If the barrel in question has any questionable prior contents OR has oily/gunky remnants, find a different barrel.



 3. Is the lid attached?

Some barrels have the lid attached to the main body.  If the barrel in question has a lid, it will need to be cut off (both to see the contents inside and for it to function as a cooker). If your willing and able to go through the process of cutting off the lid and making it reusable, then go for it. But as a general rule, Don't get a drum with a sealed lid.

TIP: If the barrel in question has a lid that is permanently attached, then find a different barrel.



4. Is there any damage?

This may be an obvious one, but I'm going to include it just in case (We all have brain farts every now and again). It's important to check the barrel in question for any damages such as HOLES, or cracks that could compromise the seal of your final build. If you don't have a good seal on your drum then you won't be able to control your temperatures very well.


TIP: If you find a barrel with any serious holes, find a different barrel.



While we recommend getting a NEW barrel to yield the best results...

You can find a USED barrel in most places online that have peer to peer listings for fairly cheap. When you go to find your barrel make sure it doesn't have holes, an attached lid,  or any gunk you can't burn out. (A liner you CAN burn out). Finally, Make sure you bring a vehicle with room to transport, straps to secure the barrel, and cash to pay with!