The Bottom Line
There always seems to be someone trying to make the better smoker. From computer controls to advanced materials, the "better BBQ" is just around the corner, right? Well Rocky Richmond has proven that simplicity is always the best bet. The Big Drum Smoker (or BDS) is a big steel drum with a fire in the bottom and food on top. This unit has a single 23.5 inch grate and will hold up to 4 large pork butts (there are other sized units).
Grease and drippings from the food fall on the fire and give foods a more authentic flavor. Plugs in the bottom control the fire so there is no flare-ups, water pan, barrier, or drip pan.
- Easy to use temperature control
- Straightforward design without water pan or barrier
- Combusted grease and drippings add flavor to foods
- Top down access puts you right over the fire to get in
- One 23.5 inch diameter cooking grate, large enough to hold 4 large pork butts
- Top and bottom air vents (plugs actually) for superior temperature control
- No water pan or barrier needed
- Burns charcoal and woodchucks
- Works on convection and radiant heat for reduced cooking times
- A large smoker with good cooking capacity at 75 pounds
- Dripping grease from foods burns to produce a more authentic flavor
- Made from 16 gauge cold rolled steel
Guide Review - Big Drum Smoker Standard 2339-1
Unfortunately, Big Drum Smokers has gone out of business.
Simplicity is the secret to the Big Drum Smoker (BDS) by Rocky Richmond. A large steel drum with a fire pan on the bottom and a cooking grate at the top. There is not drip pan, water pan or barrier in this unit. Flare-ups are controlled by limiting the airflow and the dripping grease imparts an authentic outdoor flavor to foods you just don't get in other smokers.
The controlled fire burns at about a pound of charcoal per hour so you and fire this unit up without spending a lot on fuel. This particular model has a single 23.5 inch cooking grate large enough for four big pork butts so you can get a good amount of barbecue off this smoker without a lot of work. This really is what makes this unit stand out. Easy to operate but with a great authentic flavor and a consistent product.
This unit is not made from used drums. All BDS' are made with new 16 gauge steel. The construction is great. After all with something this straightforward it would be hard to mess it up.
The BDS has swept the competition barbecue world with these units showing up and winning all over the country. At 75 pounds this unit is easy to transport and since it is mostly empty space inside you can store most your equipment in the smoker. Serious competition barbecue cooks are trading in their big rigs and turning to the BDS as the smoker of choice. And at under $400 you can pick up one of these units for your backyard cooking and have great barbecue without all the work and fuel of the big rigs.
All in all, this is a great smoker that I believe will continue to revolutionize the way serious barbecue is cooked for several more years to come.
Whether you want to compete of just turn out great backyard barbecue this is a great unit to look at.