I am gearing up to build smokers and the first four are already being built. I am currently building drums to order as I work on design ideas. A fully equipped drum will run about $150-300. I can also do partial builds so the hard parts are done and you can finish the build in your back yard.
There are no local providers of food grade 55 gallon drums for sale in the Effingham, IL / Mattoon, IL / Shelbyville, IL area. I wound up having to haul loads of drums home (7 at a time) from Saint Louis to make my smokers. I have food grade 55 gallon, steel, open head drums with hand locking rings for $25. That is the best deal this side of Saint Louis unfortunately. The sides may have some dings to bang out, but the top and bottom rings are undamaged.
I have two designs for my charcoal basket that are rock solid and my first 6 baskets are over 3 years old and still looking good.
There are ways to build cheaper charcoal baskets in your basement that will work, but I am sticking with the heavy duty design that I trust. That is why the smokers have a price with and without baskets. The baskets are built to my specs by a local welding shop and are listed at cost with no markup. I am still tweaking the final design so the price is not set yet.
All of my UDS smokers will produce the same results in the end. You have air coming in the bottom and venting out the top. It's just a matter of how fancy and how many bells and whistles you want after that.
My "smokers" are also configured to be grills. It will smoke "low and slow for 12 hours while cooking pork butts, brisket and ribs and it will cook steaks and chicken as a grill. Grilling on a smoker allows you to get that smoke flavor into the food more than an average grill ( even if your cooking with cast iron skillets). The advantage to using a UDS as a grill is you have total control of how far from the coals you choose to cook. (the top end temp is around 450-500F, so cooking pizza at 700F requires a special build)
"Serious-BBQ" is not only our name. It's a goal. An attitude.
A destination worthy of working to achieve. It's not about mass producing food for 200. It's about holding to the standards that you have when you take your time and cook for 4 people and creating the same quality when serving as many as 20 to 40 people. Large cookers are mostly wood burners. There is something about cooking over charcoal that you lose when you fire up a stick burner. (There are a few expensive exceptions to that, but that is mostly the case).
Bringing southern BBQ to the Effingham, IL area.
Serious, Mouth watering, Lip smackin BBQ!!
(We build Ugly Drum Smokers and give lessons on competition quality BBQ.
We are not caterers. We are not a licensed vendor and are not insured to sell or serve food.
We Sell smokers and provide BBQ lessons and may help YOU cook YOUR food for a group during your lesson, but we can't legally sell food for profit)