Author Topic: Weber kettle conversion to smoker  (Read 10522 times)

Offline bluesman

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Re: Weber kettle conversion to smoker
« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2012, 08:23:26 AM »
I found some food grade drums on craigslist for $14.  $20 if you want the locking lid.

It's a bit of a drive to get them, but beats paying $50 for sheet metal.

I think I'll get two, just because the drive is so long.

I may still try to play with the stainless I have in the garage, but it seems like the UDS may be the way to go.

I've been looking for a stainless food grade drum. They are hard to find used.

Ron Price

Offline bo

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Re: Weber kettle conversion to smoker
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2012, 08:29:00 AM »
I just gutted a 50 gallon electric water heater and that tank is screaming "Make me into a smoker".  I'm thinking vertical with electric elements at the bottom and I don't mean the 5200 watt mega heaters that were in it.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Weber kettle conversion to smoker
« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2012, 09:13:53 AM »
Hmm... Hadn't thought of a water heater.  I just replaced mine a couple months ago.

I kept the burner with the thought of someday using it to fire a kettle, but I know that's a project I will never get around to.  NEVER.

I don't know that the food grade drums are stainless.  They were used to hold ice-cream and/or juice according to the posting.  We shall see.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline bo

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Re: Weber kettle conversion to smoker
« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2012, 09:17:55 AM »
Hmm... Hadn't thought of a water heater.  I just replaced mine a couple months ago.

I kept the burner with the thought of someday using it to fire a kettle, but I know that's a project I will never get around to.  NEVER.

I don't know that the food grade drums are stainless.  They were used to hold ice-cream and/or juice according to the posting.  We shall see.

I've bought food grade drums and they were just coated steel, definitely not stainless.

Water heaters are supposed to be glass lined, so a smoker made from one should last a while. It's also fairly heavy gauge steel. I'm not sure I'll get to it either. It'll probably just end up being something a lays around and pisses off the wife.  :D

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Weber kettle conversion to smoker
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2012, 09:27:15 AM »
Hmm... Hadn't thought of a water heater.  I just replaced mine a couple months ago.

I kept the burner with the thought of someday using it to fire a kettle, but I know that's a project I will never get around to.  NEVER.

I don't know that the food grade drums are stainless.  They were used to hold ice-cream and/or juice according to the posting.  We shall see.

I've bought food grade drums and they were just coated steel, definitely not stainless.
For $14 each I seriously doubt they are stainless.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Weber kettle conversion to smoker
« Reply #20 on: March 13, 2012, 09:31:28 AM »
Good point.  But for $14 they're also well worth a shot.

For my boy's 1st birthday maybe I'll be set up to smoke some brisket!
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline bluesman

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Re: Weber kettle conversion to smoker
« Reply #21 on: March 13, 2012, 09:39:11 AM »
Good point.  But for $14 they're also well worth a shot.

For my boy's 1st birthday maybe I'll be set up to smoke some brisket!

Small risk for hopefully a bigger reward....and you never know, they may not realize the value. But I wouldn't bank on them being SST.
Ron Price

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Weber kettle conversion to smoker
« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2012, 09:44:54 AM »
Good point.  But for $14 they're also well worth a shot.

For my boy's 1st birthday maybe I'll be set up to smoke some brisket!
Oh sure, worth a shot.  You'll probably have to build a good fire in them to burn out the coating, but that's fine.  For my money it was worth the $45 to get one cleaned up from a used barrel place, with a lid.  It's not stainless, but you don't need stainless anyway.

I would give these guys a call - tell them you want an open head drum, cleaned up but unpainted/finished.  You want the lid in the same condition with the old gasket removed and not replaced, and if they have a lid that already has a bung you're all set.  Tell them it's for a smoker, but be really clear you want an open head drum - for smokers they'll think you want a closed head drum to cut in half lengthwise.

Midwest Barrels Inc
4925 N Oak Park Avenue
Chicago, IL 60656-402
Tom Schmidlin

Offline bluesman

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Re: Weber kettle conversion to smoker
« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2012, 09:56:18 AM »
Good point.  But for $14 they're also well worth a shot.

For my boy's 1st birthday maybe I'll be set up to smoke some brisket!
Oh sure, worth a shot.  You'll probably have to build a good fire in them to burn out the coating, but that's fine.  For my money it was worth the $45 to get one cleaned up from a used barrel place, with a lid.  It's not stainless, but you don't need stainless anyway.

I would give these guys a call - tell them you want an open head drum, cleaned up but unpainted/finished.  You want the lid in the same condition with the old gasket removed and not replaced, and if they have a lid that already has a bung you're all set.  Tell them it's for a smoker, but be really clear you want an open head drum - for smokers they'll think you want a closed head drum to cut in half lengthwise.

Midwest Barrels Inc
4925 N Oak Park Avenue
Chicago, IL 60656-402

I agree with Tom in the sense that "if you don't won't to invest the time" into prepping (burning out) a coated or painted barrel for a UDS, then going with a prepped barrel is obviously the better route.

However, if "saving the money and spending the time" necessary to make the build is your goal then by all means..."go for it".

I urge you to check out Tom's resource and go from there.

Just my 2 cents worth.  :)
Ron Price

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Weber kettle conversion to smoker
« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2012, 10:09:46 AM »
Yup, run the numbers and figure out what works for you.  With high gas prices, a long drive for a $20 barrel that needs work vs. a ? drive for a ? barrel that is ready to go.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Weber kettle conversion to smoker
« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2012, 10:19:59 AM »
Cool. Thanks.  I'll give them a call today.

I was going to post to ask about burning out the liner.  I assume it's nasty fumes.

I don't think I can get away with that as my neighborhood is pretty urban and everyone has kids.  Clouds of nasty smoke would NOT go over well.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline bo

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Re: Weber kettle conversion to smoker
« Reply #26 on: March 13, 2012, 10:29:20 AM »
Cool. Thanks.  I'll give them a call today.

I was going to post to ask about burning out the liner.  I assume it's nasty fumes.

I don't think I can get away with that as my neighborhood is pretty urban and everyone has kids.  Clouds of nasty smoke would NOT go over well.

You can put something in it, like a chain, and tumble it clean. I know that sounds easier than it really is, but it works.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Weber kettle conversion to smoker
« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2012, 11:07:46 AM »
Tom - no luck with Midwest.  The number doesn't go through.

There are others in the City I can call, but Midwest was actually sort of conveniently located...
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Weber kettle conversion to smoker
« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2012, 11:17:41 AM »
Tom - no luck with Midwest.  The number doesn't go through.

There are others in the City I can call, but Midwest was actually sort of conveniently located...
Bummer, sorry.  That's what google gets you.

How about this place?  Look for the address of the reconditioning plant:
http://meyersteeldrum.com/contactus.html
Tom Schmidlin

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Weber kettle conversion to smoker
« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2012, 11:20:25 AM »
They transferred me to "Al."  I left a voice mail.

The lady who answered the main number said they don't typically sell to people like me.

I've tried Jackacki Barrel previously, too, with no response.

I should have gotten one years ago when I worked near Acme Barrel.  But who knew I'd want one so many years later...
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton