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Building a pig cooker for the first time... help please!
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idratherbplaying



Joined: 16 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16 05 11:05 pm    Post subject: Building a pig cooker for the first time... help please! Reply with quote

Hello all, I have a 275 gallon oil drum that i cut in half, welded legs onto, welded a hinge onto the lid and cut air vents into. I now have several concerns/questions.

First of all, i plan to build a real big fire in the tank after i am done to burn off any oil that may be left in the tank.

Second, the grill is 66 inches long, does anyone have suggestions for a cooking surface (i would like to make this interchangeable with a spit and cooking surface)? I plan to use and old car axel for a spit.

Also, i have a scrap piece of galvanized angle iron that i was going to weld into the grill for supports, would that cause a problem as far as toxins go?

Finally, I would like to put a water pan in the cooker, any comments for how big to make it? I was thinking of putting it about one foot from the fire....

That is all the questions/concerns i have for now. thanks so much for your expertise and comments.


Last edited by idratherbplaying on Tue Aug 16 05 11:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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sparks



Joined: 25 May 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16 05 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No to the galvanized angle iron. For what I have read on forums is galvanized anything is bad for cooking.
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allsmokenofire
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Joined: 26 Apr 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16 05 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are pit builders on this site that I'm sure will chime in, but here's my 2 cents...

I would not use the galvanized angle iron because of the toxicity problem. Not really sure though that its any more toxic than the oil residue that will be left in the tank after you burn it. I think the only way you might be able to remove the oil residue is to sandblast it.

I'm no expert in this area, but those would be my concerns. There are guys here(AlienBBQ, BBQman, JeffT, or mds to name a few) with more experience in this area than me.

Good Luck!!
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Travis_Creek
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16 05 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can frame your grills out of angle iron and use expanded metal.
Good luck on burning the oil out!
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idratherbplaying



Joined: 16 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16 05 11:16 pm    Post subject: thanks Reply with quote

ok, no galvanized....

i can def get my hands on a sand blaster...
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Travis_Creek
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16 05 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Galvanize is bad. It is hard to even cut or weld galvanize. The zinc breaks down and makes you vomit. The only way you might get the oil out is to have it dipped in acid, like an engine vat or a pre-galvanizing vat. Then have it soaked in a water vat and then sand blasted.
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mds2
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16 05 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Galvanized is bad, but they fact that you are using an oil tank is worse. Sandblasting it is a good idea but I really have not I dea how much that will help.

If you still plan on burning the oil out, your fire will have to be extremely hot and will warp the s--t out of your tank so keep that in mind. If I were you i'd find a different tank, like a propane tank, but that is just me.

Edit: as far as the waterpan, the bigger the better. it aint gonna hurt anything to make it huge plus it will help distribute the heat in the cooker.
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allsmokenofire
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16 05 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
There are guys here(AlienBBQ, BBQman, JeffT, or mds to name a few) with more experience in this area than me.


Sorry, Travis, didn't mean to leave you out! Sad
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Travis_Creek
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16 05 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry your're getting bad news. It sure is better to get it now than after you cook on it! Trust me, I got my pile of 'damn... I shouldn't have done that' sitting around. Saving them for a rainy day to head for the scrap metal yard.
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Travis_Creek
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16 05 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

<<Rookie Very Happy

You guys that cook a lot are the real pros!
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idratherbplaying



Joined: 16 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16 05 11:25 pm    Post subject: oh man... Reply with quote

well, this definitely isnt looking good. i felt like there have been tons of people throughout bbq history who have used old oil drums... are they all dead or somthing?

I lit one fire in the bottom half of the grill already and it got glowing red hot and actually didnt warp. the tank looks great now...

Is it possible to tell if the tank is "clean" with the naked eye? i am guessing not...

p.s. thanks for all the responses
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doogie494
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16 05 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i know a lot of cookers that were made out of old oil derums and have never heard of anyone getting extremely sick off of one. i sure havent. i not saying its the best thing to do but, im sure there is worse (like using galvanized). i would get the fire going and after scrub the hell out of it then season it. just my opinion
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mds2
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16 05 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah maybe use some Simple Green to clean the insdie too.
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Alien BBQ
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17 05 12:00 am    Post subject: Re: Building a pig cooker for the first time... help please! Reply with quote

idratherbplaying wrote:
Hello all, I have a 275 gallon oil drum that i cut in half, welded legs onto, welded a hinge onto the lid and cut air vents into. I now have several concerns/questions.

First of all, i plan to build a real big fire in the tank after i am done to burn off any oil that may be left in the tank.

Second, the grill is 66 inches long, does anyone have suggestions for a cooking surface (i would like to make this interchangeable with a spit and cooking surface)? I plan to use and old car axel for a spit.

Also, i have a scrap piece of galvanized angle iron that i was going to weld into the grill for supports, would that cause a problem as far as toxins go?

Finally, I would like to put a water pan in the cooker, any comments for how big to make it? I was thinking of putting it about one foot from the fire....

That is all the questions/concerns i have for now. thanks so much for your expertise and comments.



Normally I would not respond to a post like this but it appears that you are going full speed ahead with your plans, and there is probably nothing I can say to dissuade you from doing this. After you have done all this, then spray the entire drum with cooking oil and set a seasoning fire in it at least three or four times before you attempt to cook in it.

Obviously don’t use galvanized anything. On getting the permeated oil out; I am going to offer one solution with the warning that if you don’t pay attention to what you are doing SEVERE consequences could happen to you. I am assuming that you don’t want to get hurt and if you don’t wear the safety gear involved you will regret ever doing this.

With this being said, you will need rubber gloves, eye goggles, face shield and a steam cleaner. First clean the drum with the steam cleaner to get out any residue. Next comes the hazardous part: if you have a steam cleaner (or rent one) that has a siphon tube use it. If you can’t find one then you will have to use a scrub brush. Dip your brush in MEK (Methyl Ethel Ketone) (One of the most hazardous chemicals available to the public) and wash out the inside of the drum. The MEK will cause the steel to sweat out a large portion of the oil. Then steam clean the drum three times with soap to get the MEK out.

If you get MEK in your eyes YOU WILL GO BLIND.
If you get it in you mouth you can become PARALYZED.
If you get in on you skin you will receive contact dermatitis (chemical burns)

One last note: MEK is more flammable than gas and is not diluted with water. If you don’t get all of the MEK out of the tank with the 3x steam cleaning. You will find out what a detonation feels like at close range when you light the first fire.


Gary (moderator)…… if you feel this is too much information for the general public; please delete this post, Michael O’
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idratherbplaying



Joined: 16 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17 05 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks alien, that sounds pretty intense. is cleaning an oil drum grill with MEK the only way you would ever agree to eating out of it? i am being serious here... i am definitely dissuadeable, i am coming onto this site for advice from people who actually know what they are talking about. i am def. not one of them.

p.s. i saw in another post that you said you can get rotisserie motors at walmart. are they sold as rotisserie motors or just motors, i could not find them on walmarts website.
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Alien BBQ
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17 05 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They are in the BBQ section of Wal-Mart, or at least the one here. On the drum…. Metal is porous on the molecular level. Certain chemicals and oils permeate the metal by filling in the pores and attaching or bonding itself with the metal. Without getting the metal to release the bonded chemicals, every time you cook in the drum the metal will expand and release a portion of the chemical. Many (storage) oil drums are coated (galvanized) to lessen the impact of this. I assume that you do not have a coated steel drum. So you need to eliminate as much of this store chemical as possible before you set your first fire. After you have begun to use the grill on a regular basis the release will be less and less over time. However we are talking about 40 or 50 fires and cool downs. Finally, the seasoning fires should be higher in temp than what you expect on a normal basis. The higher the temp the more the metal will expand and release the chemicals bonded.
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mding38926
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17 05 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow......frankly that sounds a bit scary for me..........
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OkieJay
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17 05 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might try checking out your local scrap metal dealer. If they have a smaller propane tank, you may can work a swap. They are interested in weight and don't care about what the tank was used for.

An old propane tank makes a great smoker, PROVIDED YOU PROPERLY PREPARE IT BEFORE CUTTING. The experts around here can help with that.

For what it's worth,
Jay
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Travis_Creek
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17 05 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alien, I didn't think about MEK, good idea. Personally I wouldn't use any used steel. My families, friends, and my own health and safety are not worth it, just to save a few hundred dollars. Not that I have money falling out my pockets. I will be happy to quote any size shell roled out of new material if anyone has a need. Certainly not what I want to sale, but don't mind helping someone out.

MEK is a bad stuff if your not careful, like mineral spirits, but a lot stronger. Be sure to use it in a well ventillated area and don't inhale it. It burns like crazy if you do and could knock you out if you inhale too much. I would let the tank sit a week or so before I lighted it. Just my thoughts
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doogie494
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17 05 2:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

do you guys think that taking a torch and lighting the metal up to red hot will get that residue out??
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