Oil Drum BBQ Ideas

Written by alana armstrong
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Barbecues are the quintessential summer experience, and if you have a yard big enough for them, you can enjoy grilled meats, fish, veggies and even fruit at home anytime. But if you've never tried out an oil drum barbecue, you're still missing out on some big cuts of meat with big taste. The oil drum barbecue is big enough to handle just about anything you throw at it and still leave you with options for the type of fuel to use.

Spit Roast a Whole Animal

Well, why not? Oil drums certainly come big enough to do the job. Roasting a whole animal (pig, chicken, lamb, goat, steer) becomes much easier when done in an oil drum. A drum that is cut in half horizontally is the perfect shape for holding a spit in place so that the meat is cradled just above the heat. The spit rod should nestle into a groove on each end of the drum, allowing it to turn smoothly. Suitable drums start at 55 gallons, which are great for smaller animals. Larger game would have you hunting for drums of 250 to 500 gallons.

Automated Rotisserie

Use a small electric motor to automatically turn the rotisserie for you, instead of doing it by hand. Remember, most grilled meats that require an oil drum-sized barbecue will take hours to grill, and you've got better things to do than crank a spit pole for five or more hours. The motor can sit on a low shelf attached to the bottom half of the oil drum. Use a pulley and belt to attach the motor to one end of the spit rod. Set the motor to one or two RPMs for a nice slow turn, and just kick up your feet and relax as your rotisserie does the rest.

Pretty Up the Pit!

Oil drums aren't exactly the loveliest things to look at, so you'll want to spruce up the exterior of your new oil drum rotisserie. Slap on a couple of coats of heat resistant paint (it must be heat resistant). You'll look less like Jed Clampett and more like a master of your grill.


Remove the spit rod from the oil drum barbecue and start a wood-burning fire in the base of the oil drum. Allow the fire to build before cooking food over the open flame. Have large metal skewers that are long enough to hold your food over the fire while allowing you to hold the skewer from outside the oil drum. Give guests a choice of hot dogs, corn on the cob, veggie and meat kebabs, pineapple and peach slices, and, of course, marshmallows to roast over the open flames. The fire can provide heat for you and your cookout guests, as well.

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