55 gallon drum for grill

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gzecc

Minister of Fire
Sep 24, 2008
4,940
NNJ
I am building a grill out of a 55 gal drum. Everyone tells me as long as I burn the barrel before using it for cooking it should be fine. I find this hard to believe. Does anyone know the real answer?
I think I should only use a food grade barrel.
 

gpcollen1

Minister of Fire
Oct 4, 2007
2,026
Western CT
It helps if you know what was in it.
 

Deere10

New Member
Nov 5, 2009
206
Upstate N.Y
Keg wont work being alum.. Yes start a fire in it to burn off any thing left in it and youll be fine. I had my doubts too when I used a 275 fuel oil tank as part of a big smoker I made. Had a good fire in it to get rid of smell and all has been fine since also winning a few trophey s w it too...
 

EKLawton

Member
Oct 18, 2009
130
central pa
Deere10 said:
Keg wont work being alum.. Yes start a fire in it to burn off any thing left in it and youll be fine. I had my doubts too when I used a 275 fuel oil tank as part of a big smoker I made. Had a good fire in it to get rid of smell and all has been fine since also winning a few trophey s w it too...

I have never seen a keg made of anything but stainless!
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,773
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I would just burn in an oil barrel if you know it was full of oil. My source for these is tractor shops since they go through drums of hydraulic oil and always try to give away the empties. Now consider the case where the barrel was filled with some sort of nasty pesticide or other toxic poison. I just wouldn't use it, whether it is burnt or not.
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,593
Unity/Bangor, Maine
I've seen a lot of smokers made out of old oil tanks . . . I would suspect that if you stuck with a known substance (i.e. hydraulic oil for example) you would be OK . . . I would pass on any barrels which could have contained who knows what . . . chances are a good, hot fire would burn off everything including any lingering smells . . . but I wouldn't want to eat anything cooked in or on it myself, not knowing what was in there . . . or may still be in there if the fire wasn't quite hot enough.
 

gzecc

Minister of Fire
Sep 24, 2008
4,940
NNJ
Update, I found a company locally that has new ones with dents and bad paint jobs for $20. Can't beat that with a stick! I guess we won't glow after eating some burgers!
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,773
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Just the lead paint! 20$ for a barrel, sheesh. I could make some serious money picking them up for free and reselling.

The beauty of a barrel grille is setting the whole bag of briquettes in the bottom of it and lighting the wrapper. Or are you going to be burning wood fires?
 

gzecc

Minister of Fire
Sep 24, 2008
4,940
NNJ
Hibeam, this is a new barrel. Hasn't had toxic contents except paint which I will burn off prior to cooking. Going to us it with wood and charcoal. Curious, would you use an unknown barrel for cooking?
 

woodsman23

Minister of Fire
Aug 26, 2008
1,360
western southern tier of NYS
As long as you burn it to season it it will be fine. Make a nice hot fire and cover and allow to "season" whatever was in there will be burnt away and then you can cook away..
 

kenny chaos

Minister of Fire
Apr 10, 2008
1,995
Rochester,ny
Some 55 gallon drums are galvanized and would NOT be GOOD.

Drum cookers are cheap entertainment.
Just lost the bottom on mine after 12 years of heavy use and abuse.

Yes, millions of aluminum kegs around.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,773
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
gzecc said:
Hibeam, this is a new barrel. Hasn't had toxic contents except paint which I will burn off prior to cooking. Going to us it with wood and charcoal. Curious, would you use an unknown barrel for cooking?

No, as I said above,

"I would just burn in an oil barrel if you know it was full of oil. My source for these is tractor shops since they go through drums of hydraulic oil and always try to give away the empties. Now consider the case where the barrel was filled with some sort of nasty pesticide or other toxic poison. I just wouldn’t use it, whether it is burnt or not."

So if you don't know what was in it then don't use it. I would prefer an oil filled barrel to a new painted one (painted in and out) since I know what oil tastes like but who knows what the paint is made of. The inside of oil barrels are not painted.

Is this new barrel painted on the inside? If not I would expect at least some machine oil from the barrel factory. It will make a great burn barrel or BBQ either way.
 

Boom

Member
Feb 16, 2010
75
Lake Arrowhead, CA
Deere10 said:
Keg wont work being alum..

An aluminum keg could ruin beer that is why they are stainless steel.

Keg BBQ'a are great and healthy though much smaller than a 55 gallon drum. Do avoid those plastic 55 gal barrels! ;-P

Jay
 

Rustaholic

New Member
Mar 28, 2010
47
Michigan
Anyone got a picture of a barrel grill?
I have barrels.
YES, There ARE food grade ones.
The ones I have seen have removeable tops.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,773
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
My first burn barrel was a removable top steel barrel that had been filled with cherry pie filling. Tells me that there must be food grade barrels. The inside of that barrel was painted with a brown primer looking paint.
 

Rustaholic

New Member
Mar 28, 2010
47
Michigan
That sounds just like the barrels I have here.
They make great burn barrels because if you cover them between fires they do not rust out as quickly.
Mine come from a fruit packing company and so far most of them had apple juice or pear juice in them.
Right now I have small firewood stored in three of them.
The small firewood is for an 1885 Majestic Wood Cookstove that I am thinking about taking to an antique engine show as part of my exhibit next year.
 

Dune

Minister of Fire
There were some aluminum kegs. The vast majority are stainless. Many, many people have a hard time telling the two apart.
 
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