How to Make a Grill Out of a 55-Gallon Drum - Backyard Boss
We are reader supported. External links may earn us a commission.

How to Make a Grill Out of a 55-Gallon Drum

One of Americans’ favorite hobbies is grilling. So it only makes sense that as with everything else, bigger is better. You can make your own grill using a 55-gallon barrel drum which is big enough to handle any rack of ribs that you have to throw on it. However, in order to complete this project, you should have some experience using power tools such as a reciprocating saw, welder, and drill. You should also have about six hours of spare time in order to complete this project.

What You Will Need to Build Your Grill

You should gather all of your materials, supplies, and tools prior to starting the construction of your new 55-gallon barrel grill. This will save you time searching for materials while working. You will also have a clear idea of the items you will need to purchase at one time without having to travel to your local hardware store multiple times.

For this project, you will need the following items:

  • A 55-gallon steel drum barrel that is in good condition and free of any rust or other cuts and holes. Since this BBQ grill will be used for preparing food it is best to either purchase a new barrel that has never been used or use a barrel that was previously used to store consumable items such as cooking oil. Never use a barrel that was used to store toxic materials as they may get into the actual structure of the barrel and be released when the barrel heats up.
  • A reciprocating saw or Sawzall with a blade designed for cutting through metal.
  • A grinder that can be used for smoothing out any rough edges on the metal from cutting.
  • A metal mesh and bars that can be used as a grilling grate or grilling rack for cooking.
  • A set of hinges and a handle to form the grill lid.
  • Welder and necessary supplies.
  • Metal bars for constructing the legs and stand of the grill.
  • Safety equipment such as safety glasses, a welding mask, gloves, and other safety supplies as needed.

Constructing Your 55-Gallon Drum Grill

Step 1: Measuring

three measures
Image Credits: William Warby on Unsplash

Measure out and mark off one-quarter of your metal barrel that will be used for the lid of the grill. Start in the center of what will be the top of the grill and measure out to the center of the side. Use masking tape or a marker to make the lines where you will cut the opening.

Step 2: Cutting

Image Credits: HomeSpot HQ on CreativeCommons

Cut along the area you marked using your reciprocating saw or Sawzall. Make sure that you make clean, even cuts as this will help when lining everything up.

Step 3: Grinding

A man grinding using a grinder
Image Credits: powertools from Pixabay

Use your grinder to sand down any rough edges that are left behind after cutting.

Step 4: Welding

A man welding
Image Credits: Free-Photos from Pixabay

You will now need to start constructing the inside of your grilling surface. To do this you will need to weld bars at each end of the 55-gallon barrel drum. You will also need to weld two support bars in the middle which will be used for easier grate removal when needed. Any rough edges should be welded as well to prevent anyone who uses the grill from getting injured on them.

Step 5: Attaching the Lid and Handle

metal handle
Image Credits: Leo Reynolds on CreativeCommons

Attach your hinges to the top of the lid on the grill and door. Attach the handle to the lid in the center of the bottom in a pattern that will make it easy to open and close the lid for whoever will be using the grill.

Step 6: Building the Base

metal parts attached together
Image Credits: Gunnar Ridderström on Unsplash

Constructing your base is fairly simple as long as you make sure that the four legs are even and sturdy. Depending on what type of materials you will be using for your base you will want to make sure that you weld them in a fashion in which they will be able to support the weight of the grill. Anchor the bottom of the legs with a piece of metal mesh material or another horizontal style bar running from one leg to the other along the bottom of the grill. This will help to create a more stable construction for the grill.

Step 7: Finishing Up

wooden board
Image Credits: engin akyurt on Unsplash

You can attach a few wooden boards along the front bottom ledge of the grill to act as a small table for grilling convenience.

The Last Word

Constructing a grill using a 55-gallon barrel drum might be more challenging than you think. However, if you prepare all the mentioned materials and follow our guidelines, you will see that it’s not that hard. Even though you will have to spend some time on this DIY project, trust me it is worth it! Enjoy the construction process and keep in mind all the safety rules!