Stainless steel tanks or drums are sold as large containers for holding liquids, such as oil and wine. Human ingenuity has learnt how to repurpose them. Winston "Spree" Simon invented the first steel pan drum in the late 1930s when fixing his garbage can in Trinidad, and in 1947 the instrument was made out of a 55-gallon steel drum from leftover American oil drums. Barbecue enthusiasts constructed homemade grills out of many different materials long before George Stephen invented the Weber grill in 1951, and with a few tools, you can make your own grill using a 55-gallon tank or drum.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 55-gallon stainless steel drum
- Angle grinder
- Safety goggles
- 2 steel brackets
- Oxy-acetylene torch kit
- 16-inch by 30-inch grate
- 22 1/2-inch by 33 1/2-inch grate
- 10-inch flat piece of steel
- 26 feet of 2-inch angle iron
Clean out a 55-gallon steel drum. Ideally, use a drum that held cooking oil or wine rather than anything toxic.
Cut the steel drum completely in half, lengthwise, with an angle grinder. Wear safety goggles and gloves for this project.
Attach 2 steel brackets to both sides of the drum, approximately 5 inches from each end, to create a closable lid for your grill. Weld them onto the drum using an oxyacetylene torch kit.
Drill 20 1/2-inch holes along the bottom of the drum. Evenly space the holes for ventilation. It will allow for the even flow of oxygen to the charcoal. Place a 16-inch by 30-inch grate in the bottom to hold the charcoal.
Bend a scrap piece of flat steel, approximately 10 inches long, into a handle for your grill. Weld it on the side opposite the steel brackets, on the top-centre portion of the grill, using your oxyacetylene torch.
Weld a framework for your grill by first welding the top, which will be 20 inches by 35 inches, using 2-inch angle iron. Weld legs 40 inches tall to the completed top. Weld two 20-inch stabiliser braces to the shorter width of the table frame about 18 inches from the bottom. This will strengthen the framework.
Place the drum grill on top of the completed frame. It should fit tightly into the framework. Weld a few spots to keep the grill firmly attached to the frame. Once you add hot charcoals, place a 22 1/2-inch by 33 1/2-inch cooking grate to start grilling.
Tips and warnings
- A steel spit rod can easily be added to this simple grill for cooking rotisserie style.
- You can also add wheels to one side of the frame so you can move the grill around.
- Before using your new grill, let some charcoal heat up inside the grill to burn off any unwanted residue in your grill.
- Use caution when grilling with young children around.
- Never pour gasoline or lighter fluid on hot charcoal.
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