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Dec 30, 2007 02:05 PM

Oil can BBQ

What is the name for those bbq's that look like big black oil cans cut in half? And for bbq purists is this considered bbq or grilling or smoking or .... ?

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  1. Oil Cans cut down the middle is as good a name as any. I have seen them set up as smokers with a seperate container for the heat source connected by duct work to the drum, and they work very well. Without a seperate area for the heat, they are just a BBQ grill, and they work very well too

    1. Agreed with the other poster: They work great. If I could have found someone to fabricate one here in NC, I would have gone that route instead of a regular grill.

      1. This variation is the Big Baby:
        In reality, you can make any grill into at least an offset cooker by locating the heat source
        away from the stuff being smoked. Some exhaust port so that the smoke is drawn thru the
        food is also required. There are some great Rube Goldberg contraptions out there;)

        2 Replies
        1. re: bbqboy

          Very true. I have had great success using a Portable Kitchen. It has 4 vents - so you can create a good "draw" across the meat while cooking. The hinge on the grill makes dropping coal very simple. I hear Weber's regular grill makes a fine smoker, but I like the thicker walls of the PK - better for heat retention.

          1. re: bbqboy

            Yes, thanks for the link. While that was more elaborate than what I see, at the end there was a link on where to buy parts. That led to the name "barrel stove" which led to the official name ...ta da ... "Barrel BBQ". This picture is exactly what I meant.

            Good heavens, people make stoves out of barrels.

            This old article talks about one and the side benefits ...

            "Besides providing economical winter comfort, the stove is also tops for slow cooking. In the evening I put grains on to simmer for breakfast fare, then gently braise roasts and stews in a Dutch oven for our evening meal. Delicious! "

            Thanks to everyone for their reply. More of the BBQ joints I've been eating at have these contraptions ... usually in the less elegant parts of town. I just got tired of not knowing what they were called.

          2. You are talking about the oil barrels, right? Smoker's, Smokey Joe's were a couple of names, depending on the maker. Oklahoma Joe is one purveyor of both pre-fab and custom units. A legend was that they became popular during the oil bust because of the availability of the barrels going unused but I think they'd been around a long time before that. Weber also uses the name Smokey Joe for some of their units.

            Mr. Smokey or Mr. Smoke was the name of the upright, oversized pasta pot looking thingies that included a tray for liquid between the heat and the meat, supposedly to help tenderize the meat? Brinkman and Weber both make those now.

            Meat cooked over direct heat is grilled, indirect heat is smoked, but then there is 'cowboy style' bbq in Texas, such as the famous Cooper's in Llano, using direct heat.


            The meats cook directly over the embers.

            2 Replies
            1. re: brucesw

              We posted about the same time. In the previous link I have this picture which is exactly what I meant

              Interesting story about the oil bust.

              I never connected it before, but that was probably the inspiration for those Weber grills ... alll cleaned up and ready for suburbia.

              However, according to wiki Stephen Weber came up with the idea on his own

            2. In the bbq circle, they are referred to as an Ugly Drum Smoker or UDS if they are cut across the middle and you use them standing upright. There are tutorials on the bbq forums and websites to build your own and use them.

              We have a Brinkman Smokin' Pit Pro which is like the drums cut through the middle laying on it's side with legs. You can do the same concept with a drum and add a firebox or use one end for a firebox by sectioning it off. I"ve seen them mount one on top of the other (longway) and use the bottom for a firebox and the top as the smoker for the meat.