clean bbq oil drum

How To Clean an Oil Drum: 2 Easy Methods

Oil drum BBQs are getting popular again because they are more versatile and heatproof by construction. They are also known as Ugly Drum Smokers which run on charcoal fuel and can be a great tool to smoke delicious meat in your backyard. However, these oil drums must be cleaned properly before using it for BBQ. Learn how to clean an oil drum in this article.

There are different methods that you can use to clean an oil drum smoker.

The most simple and easy way to clean the drum is by adding boiling hot water inside the drum.

Or you can add water and put the drum on fire until the water inside the drum starts boiling.

After that, you can prepare a mixture of caustic soda with water to remove heavy chemicals stored inside the drum.

After cleaning the drum with this mixture, add vinegar and clean it with soap.

I highly recommend washing this drum at least 2-3 times before using it for BBQ purpose.

To get rid of all the contaminants, you will have to burn the inside of the drum.

You can also use sandpaper for deep cleaning.

In this article, I will share how you can use an oil drum for BBQ more efficiently.

I will also share 2 methods for cleaning a 55-gallon oil drum.

I suggest you read this article till the end if you want to learn how to burn the inside of the drum and many other exciting things about oil drums.

Can You Use an Oil Drum for A BBQ?

Yes, you can definitely use an oil drum for a BBQ which is also known as Barrel Barbecue.

It is affordable, easy to use, and a large drum smoker for BBQ.

Oil drums have a capacity of 42-96 gallons and you can use charcoal to heat up the drums.

They can be used for smoking because of their strong body and heat resistance capacity.

Most often, steel drums are found which act as heat insulators and are just perfect for cooking meat.

But some oil drums are coated with a layer of lead or other harmful materials.

While cooking at high temperatures, these chemicals may leach into the food causing health issues later on.

So, instead of using old oil drums that were being used to store oil, gasoline, or other petrochemicals, you can purchase a drum that is made specially for smoking BBQ or meat.

Following are some of the benefits of using specially designed oil drums for BBQ.

1. Oil drums are strong and sturdy.

2. Oil drums can be prepared at home with simple DIYs.

3. Steel drums come in a variety of sizes.

4. Instead of dumping your old oil drum, you can use it to make a BBQ drum.

5. You can add many gratings to your oil drum as compared to a griller.

It will keep the meat tender, crispy and warm for a long time.

6. Oil drums are multi-purpose. You can use them to smoke or grill the meat.

A horizontal oil drum is best for grilling while a vertical oil drum is best for smoking.

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2 Simple Methods to Clean an Oil Drum

You will have to clean these oil drums more often to remove any pests, algae or other chemical compounds that may have accumulated over time.

Cleaning a 55-gallon drum is not as difficult as it sounds.

I am sharing 2 different methods of cleaning here.

Simply follow these steps to clean your BBQ oil drum.

Cleaning Method 1:

1. Take off the lid of the drum and insert the pipe inside

2. Fill water in the drum to 1/4th

3. Add 1 pouch of baking soda

4. Add a half bottle of vinegar

5. Put the lid back on the drum

6. Turn the barrel on all sides after a few hours

7. Let the liquid soak the drum for around 12 hours

8. Finally clean the drum with water several times before using the drum for smoking meat.

Cleaning Method 2:

1. Fill the drum with water to cover 25% of the drum

2. Add 1 bottle of bleach inside the drum

3. Rotate the oil drum on all sides for making the mixture homogeneous

4. Bleach the drum for 24 hours and then wash it thoroughly before its use.

Charcoal oil drums are most commonly used for BBQ.

You need 3 kg charcoal to fill a drum of 43 inches in diameter.

I highly recommend following the above two cleaning methods if you want to enhance the durability and overall life span of your BBQ oil drum.

How To Burn Out an Oil Drum For BBQ?

If you are using an old oil drum for BBQ, then you will have to burn it before using it for meat smoking.

This is necessary to remove the internally stored oils, toxins, and other harmful chemicals that may leach into your food.

It will also remove the accumulated oils and residue to clean the surface of the drum.

For burning an oil drum, you can follow 2 main methods.

Method 1: Place the drum on a burning fire

Method 2: Set up a fire inside the oil drum

You can add charcoal or chips to the drum and let the fire burn on its own.

After around 3 hours, you can put out this fire.

I also recommend to use sandpaper in order to scrape off the extra chemicals and toxins from the sides of the drum.

However, if you find rust on the interior of the drum, then it is highly recommended not to use that drum for meat smoking purpose.

Final Thoughts

Using oil drums for BBQ is a very cool and innovative idea.

You can also turn an old oil drum stored in your garage for years into BBQ griller and smoker.

However, it is important to clean this oil drum properly and only then you can enjoy BBQ with your family.