Pursuant to the last post, we used our oil drum BBQ for the first time this past weekend with great success! The recipes we used are hyperlinked throughout the page.
First, we lit a big hot fire to burn off the enamel. This worked well though the environment did not thank us. An alternative option, and what we will absolutely do next time should we build more of these, is to take the drum to a sandblasting facility once the door is cut off. This will also allow all the interior hardware to be welded, rather an riveted, on. It might also allow the drum to be painted in heat refractory paint (though I'm not sure there is a paint in existence that can tolerate the heat that ours generated!)
|The oil drum after a raging fire.|
We used the drum as a smoker for this cook. To do this, we removed the grill on the vented side and built a small hardwood fire there. We cooked side ribs prepped first with a dry brine and then rubbed with a homemade Memphis Dust. We placed them on the other side of the Q from the flame, keeping the temperature on that side a cool smoky 250-275F.
We drilled a hole in the door on the cooking side just above the meat and used a dial thermometer to keep track of the temperature. A digital one is better according to the professional meat grillers out there.
There was a learning curve involved in getting the drum to keep an even temperature but we eventually got the hang of it. There is a fair amount of tending required though when cooking for such extended periods.
We slow smoked the meat for 3.5 hours at this temperature until the racks had a gentle flex to them when picked up with tongs. Then we glazed them in a homemade Kansas style BBQ sauce and moved the grill directly over the flames. This allowed the glaze to caramelize over the course of a couple minutes, flipping the meat mid way through.
We also slow roasted potatoes coated in olive oil, salt, and pepper on the upper grill. The temperature here on the far side of the grill was in the 350-400F range. The temp above the flames was over 600F!
For desert we grilled fresh peaches from our tree glazed in an amaretto butter and served over vanilla ice cream.
Over all we are incredibly pleased with how our BBQ performed and we can't wait to try other styles of grilling on it over the following months.
The square tube handle stayed pleasantly cool allowing us to touch it throughout all phases of the cook without oven mitts.
The vents worked well in allowing us to keep an even temperature throughout the cook.
The smoke was spectacular and every time we opened the door we had to wait a moment for it to clear to be able to see where the meat was!