Oil drum smokers have been around for a long time, and it mostly was out of necessity that they were born.
Now, with the ugly drum smoker hype, it’s become popular once again to get one or make your own smoker DIY barrel from recycled oil drums.
But, making one from scratch…
A GOOD one…
Can be pretty hard and all of the parts you’ll need will end up costing you quite a bit.
So in this post, I’ll be looking at the 3 best oil drum barrel smoker models and also be talking about what you need to look out for.
What Oil Drum BBQ smoker should I buy?
You can get anything from a simple drum to a full-fledged oil drum cooking station. And these are of course in very different price categories. But the best value for money comes with the Barrel House smoker, a brand that goes all-in on these types of drum smokers.
But there are some budget smokers as well, and I recommend getting one of these 4, depending on your budget:
|Oil drum smoker brand
|Best wood & charcoal barrel smoker: Barrel House Cooker
|Most complete drum smoker package: Classic Pit Barrel Cooker
|Best budget oil drum smoker: CMI 14 inch
|Best professional large drum smoker: Solo Cup Gateway
In this post we'll cover:
Best oil drum smokers reviewed
Best wood & charcoal barrel smoker: Barrel House Cooker
- Size: 18 inch barrel smoker
The Barrel House is a bit more expensive, but it’s great for that authentic BBQ flavor. The Barrel House is super easy to use and consistently produces quality smoked food 40% faster than traditional smokers.
The unique design infuses flavor by catching meat drippings from meat hanging directly over coals while the virtually sealed barrel creates a convection oven to cook the food evenly from top to bottom.
Look at this video review of the Barrel House cooker:
It really is the best heavy duty oil drum smoker you can get in our opinion. So if you can spare the extra money, it’s more than worth it!
Most complete drum smoker package: Classic Pit Barrel Cooker
- Size: 30 gallon drum smoker
This is the classic under the oil drum barrel smokers and it has been developed and perfected over quite some time.
It is the most complete package which will contain everything you’ll need to effectively start smoking your meat.
It has 8 hooks to hang your meat on within the barrel and they are actually very very durable and made from quality materials, just as the stainless steel grill.
And of course, you’ll get a grate to put your meat or vegetables on so you can smoke them on the top. It also has a handy coal basket, which is the perfect size to get the right amount of charcoal in the barrel.
Now, this is a very durable steel barrel which makes it more than just your average charcoal grill.
Here’s Postal Barbecue with a great review on it:
I always recommend using a charcoal basket, but if you buy a separate one you still don’t know how much to put into your particular model oil drum.
It is a perfect and complete package for the smoking enthusiast.
Best budget oil drum smoker: CMI 14 inch
- Size: 14 inch barrel smoker
Ok, so I don’t recommend getting one of the really cheap ones because you’ll end up having to buy a replacement after a year or two, or worse, it might burn through with all of the nasty consequences that come with a thing like that.
But I know not all of you have large budgets to spend on a barrel smoker, so I’ll share my best budget tip with you as well.
The CMI smoker is not the cheapest model that’s available out there by far, but it is a lot cheaper than the previous top choices and still very durable and sturdy.
You can haul this baby on the back of your truck for miles, take it off without having to look out that you’ll dent it.
It’s a heavy-duty oil drum, that’s for sure.
The other nice thing about this smoker is the amount of room you get with lots of hanging space, something not a lot of barrels can offer.
Plus it has the built-in temperature check with the thermometer.
Best professional large drum smoker: Solo Cup Gateway
- Size: 55-gallon drum smoker
Now I know these babies won’t be for everyone and they’re quite expensive. But the Gateway really IS the gateway into professional barrel smoking and some restaurant owners swear by these things.
The large 55-gallon steel drums are perfect for cooking up enough food for your dinner guests, or a small event even and it allows you to smoke several types of meat or poultry at a time.
They are pricey so maybe you’re not thinking of getting one like this, but it is fun to check them out anyway, what a beasts :)