I Think Darth Vader Uses a 55 Gallon Drum Smoker

The Cult of the 55 Gallon Drum Smoker is a curious thing.  In the past year, I’ve fielded more questions and received more hits on this blog about this one single subject over all others.  However, I think I’ve seen maybe two of these at the KCBS and FBA competitions I’ve been to, so it has me thinking.

Are 55 gallon drum smokers, made “Do it Yourself” style being built and used only by a cult of backyard barbecue smokers who gather in Sith-like fashion around a central Imperial backyard BBQ force?

One of BigMista’s Ugly Drum Smokers

See More of BigMista’s UDS Posts here. 

Oh, you can find information on 55 gallon drum smokers, otherwise referred to as Ugly Drum Smokers (UDS), if you look hard enough. In fact, there are whole message boards and forums devoted to these babies.  But why don’t I see more of them being used by BBQ Pros? Is it because they’re just not as reliable or can’t be regulated as much as say, a Stumps Smoker or Green Mountain pellet grill?   Or, does it just take a special breed of Pro BBQ cook to throw down and get their ‘cue on with a DIY 55 Gallon Drum Smoker?

By the way – I think BigMista cooks on a SpiceWine Smoker now as well, so he may not do too much with the UDS these days.

Comments on I Think Darth Vader Uses a 55 Gallon Drum Smoker

PatioDaddio @ 5:43 pm #

I built two UDSs that I’ve used as my only pro competition cookers since the beginning of the 2008 season. I’ve done very well with them, including two RGCs. -John

Bigmista @ 4:42 pm #

I just did a contest with an XL UDS and a ranch kettle this past weekend and I saw 3 other teams with them. I saw several at the American Royal last year also. I use my Spicewines for catering and vending. But if I am traveling light, the UDS works!

Bigmista @ 11:46 am #

I might be using the XL UDS this weekend at a contest in Vista, CA. If I do I will post some pics. It is ugly and rusty but it cooks great!