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Big Pappa Pit Barrel Cooker (PBC) Build

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    Big Pappa Pit Barrel Cooker (PBC) Build

    Of course I've always wanted a PBC, but my wife has put her foot down after the EOC I purchased this year. I know I'm preaching to the choir on this website when I say you can never have enough smokers and you always want to try something new. I have read several post with people that have the same affliction. I currently own a Kamado, Weber Kettle, Gas, and a large stick burner, so the way I see it I need a PBC, that is where my son comes in.

    My son is based at Altus Air Force Base in OK and he has recently been talking more and more about smokers until finally he put one on his Christmas list this year. So I decided to get him, or better said, build him a Big Pappa Drum Smoker. I placed my order online today and they said it will arrive on 12/23/2014, and I purchased a good drum on my way home from work.

    So I was going to post pictures and illustrate the build over the next few weeks, so stay tuned. I look forward to the comments, and the first cook.




      Keep us posted Sir!


        As a new owner of a PBC I will say it fits a niche between the slow smoker and the gasser.

        It is also pretty low maintenance - certainly not as low maintenance as the gasser, but WAY less maintenance than a slow smoker.

        Good luck on your project!


          It's the bottle opener that takes the cool factor up a notch. Looking forward to the pics!


          • HC in SC
            HC in SC commented
            Editing a comment
            I just saw the bottle opener - it is a nice touch! Might have to add an aftermarket one to the PBC.

          • Jerod Broussard
            Jerod Broussard commented
            Editing a comment
            I got one on my cheap offset from wal-mart. Mom came to visit. Bought a bunch of freaking bottled Cokes. I made like 20 trips to the garage to open all those bottles that were WELL SHAKEN. Started "wearing" a plastic bag on my hand after the first few spewed all over.

          Just to avoid confusion, Pit Barrel Cooker is a trademarked name for a particular smoker, and it's not the one that Big Poppa sells and that you have pictured here. You're getting the Big Poppa Drum Smoker Kit, not a PBC. You should bear this in mind when people give you comments or advice based on their experience with their PBC, because they are probably talking about something different than you are.


          • tomtel84
            tomtel84 commented
            Editing a comment
            Yep you are correct. Thanks for the correction. I guess I should have titled it Drum Smoker.

          • _John_
            _John_ commented
            Editing a comment
            UDS is usually what people call them, ugly drum smoker. Some of them like the big poppa kit isn't ugly though.

          Stopped by a container supply warehouse on my way home tonight and picked up a 55 Gal drum that was used for paraffin wax.

          2014-12-10 16.02.23.jpg

          Now I need to remove all the stickers, sand, paint, and probably should run a hot fire through it be all that.


            The kit arrived yesterday. A lot faster than I thought it would.

            2014-12-13 07.58.05.jpg

            Here are all the parts.

            2014-12-13 08.07.36.jpg

            I found a place in Denver that I can buy a NEW barrel pretty cheap so I decided to go that route rather than spending the time on the used barrel. I'm picking it up this week, so I should be able to start the build by next weekend.


              Good luck.....I almost built my own out of a 30 gallon deer feeder. Glad I sold the feeder. I sure was dreading burning and sanding that thing.


                I'm lovin it!


                  Okay I have the NEW barrel. I took the pic in the garage tonight so its a little dark, but boy is it nice and clean.

                  2014-12-17 19.41.54.jpg

                  2014-12-17 19.42.45.jpg

                  The place didn't seem to have a lot of choices, but they brought my barrel from the back so they must of had a warehouse someplace else.

                  2014-12-17 13.11.56.jpg


                    Nice looking barrel. Keep the updates coming


                      You'll be smoking in no time.


                        Build time!!

                        During the build I found out a couple of things that are not in the instructions.

                        First, the step drill bit is hard to start without a pilot hole. I used a hammer and a punch to mark each hole then used an 1/8th inch drill bit to make the step bit work better.

                        Second, I had to use a grinder to clean up the inside of each of the holes so the washer and nut would seat all the way.

                        Third, my 24v cordless drill went through two batteries so moved to cord drill. (A lot of drilling)

                        Finally, when using the step drill bit all the way to the 3/4" size the torq will tear your arm off in addition to bend and tweak the steal of the drum. I learned this the hard way. I had to really let off the pressure and just let the bit do the work on the final step.

                        I decided to start with the lid. Also kept the white paint to make it a little unique. I had to get a silver sharpie, the black was hard to see on the barrel.

                        2014-12-18 16.24.15.jpg

                        It's nice they provide the step drill and tools needed. Here is the handle and the hanger bracket. Centered the handle and marked the holes then placed the hanger inline with the handle.

                        2014-12-18 16.32.09.jpg

                        After drilling holes centered the vent template and marked the holes for drilling.

                        2014-12-18 16.41.24.jpg

                        Everything drilled, here is where I found out about the tweaking of the steel on the final step of the step drill bit. I had to pound it out and straighten the lid.

                        2014-12-18 16.56.47.jpg

                        This shows the bottom after I ground the burs down and cleaned up the holes.

                        2014-12-18 16.56.57.jpg

                        Attached the handle, hanger and the vent that was supplied.

                        2014-12-18 17.10.42.jpg

                        This shows the hanger.

                        2014-12-18 17.10.51.jpg

                        Here is the lid hanging on the barrel.

                        2014-12-18 17.11.27.jpg

                        Next is the barrel. Stay tuned.
                        Attached Files



                          Now started laying out all of the holes. The silver sharpie really worked great.

                          2014-12-19 12.29.31.jpg

                          These are the "U-Bolt" holes that hold the fire basket. This one is the lower setting.

                          2014-12-19 12.29.43.jpg

                          This shows the template taped in place for the bottom vents. You can also see the lower and upper "U-Bolt" holes.

                          2014-12-19 13.12.33.jpg

                          Here are the bottom vents all drilled out.

                          2014-12-19 13.36.11.jpg

                          I cleaned up the burs on the inside with a grinder and I also cleaned up the bottom vent holes outside as well. Now I needed to clean the paint so I could paint it with heat paint. I started sanding, but after a couple of hours I thought there had to be a better way. I found that others used fire, so I broke out my log starter and went to town.

                          2014-12-19 13.46.26.jpg

                          Here it is all done. The paint came off pretty easy in come and others not so much, but I know it will not peel because I really put the heat to it.

                          2014-12-19 14.19.47.jpg

                          After some light sanding and wiped down with a tack rag I'm ready to paint.

                          2014-12-19 14.33.57.jpg

                          Here is the paint I used.

                          2014-12-19 14.34.43.jpg

                          So I forgot to take a picture of the drum after the paint. I assembled all the pieces and when I got to the bottom vents, I ran into a problem. First, the vents needed to be bent around the barrel to put the bolt in and then some how get the nut on the inside of the barrel. I also should have started with the bottom vent so when I go inside to put the nuts on I wouldn't have got impaled by all the other parts. I ended up getting the next door neighbor kid to help. I put him inside the barrel with the nuts and I bent the vents and installed the bolts. This work great.

                          2014-12-19 16.16.17.jpg

                          Here is the barrel all finished. Again it was dark so the image isn't that great.

                          2014-12-19 16.56.16.jpg

                          Next I need to season it and get it up to temp. Stay tuned.
                          Attached Files



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