Thank you for making this Instructable one of the Best of 2009! #7 in the Food Category...
Lucky for me on my last day of work at The Bakery, the 55-gallon honey barrel I'd been waiting for was finally empty. Getting laid off wasn't going to stand in the way of my dream to make my own barbecue.
Step 1: The Prep
First, I had to empty out all the excess honey and clean the inside (not exciting enough for a photo). Then I borrowed a grinder from a friend and cut the opening.
It's way less of a hassle to have a food grade barrel. Imagine bbq'n in a barrel that use to have oil or fuel. Yuck!
Step 2: Constructing the stand
I had to make a base and the only things around were some old chain-link fence posts that I'd never taken to the dump and some scrap plywood I'd demoed out of a creepy room in my basement.
I cut 6 posts at different lengths - 2 the length of the barrel & 4 for the legs. I wanted to bbq to be portable so the best way for that was for the barrel to sit on top of the stand. Two posts held the barrel while the 4 legs were attached by drilling holes for the carriage bolts on either end. To attach keep the legs sturdy I secured them with pieces of plywood. Put the barrel on top and it stood tall and proud.
Step 3: Attaching the lid & grill grates
I added brackets to hold the grills and to keep the lid from falling inside, as well as a lower rack to hold the coals and allow for air circulation.
Be sure to purchase stainless steel brackets and hinges. If you buy galvanized you should take a torch to it to burn off the fumes that will be there the first couple times you grill.
Step 4: Burn off the inside
I lit a fire in it to burn off any paints or coatings or who knows what. There may or may not have been a burn ban going on this day so I made burgers on my gas grill to disguise the smoke.
Step 5: Finishing Touches
Last steps in the construction were to add a handle (plain wooden dowel from the hardware store), air vents, and a temperature gauge. I also decided to spray the barrel with a high heat resistant pant. Besides customizing the color a little, the paint helps prevent rust on the barrel. The only thing left was to test it in a real-life BBQ situation.