How to Build a Grill Out of a 55 Gallon Drum


Learning how to build a grill out of a 55 gallon drum may seem pretty intimidating at first, but many people have done it before and have been very pleased with the results. Not only will you have the pride of knowing that you built the grill all on your own, but you will also be able to save a lot of money, since it is relatively much less expensive to build your own grill than purchase one in similar size and functionality.

It should be noted that this guide on how to build a grill out of a 55 Gallon Drum should only be for those exeperienced and comfortable with using power tools and welding equipment. We take no responsibility if you attempt to build your own grill and without proper equipment or experience end up getting hurt!

The single barrel model is probably the easiest to make, though there are more advanced plans for a double barrel grill made with 55 gallon drums. This picture below of the Apex Single Drum Charcoal Grill shows an example of a pre-built single drum barrel grill available from


To build a grill like this, you will need the following items:

  • A Clean 55 Gallon Drum Barrel (Note: Because the grill is used for cooking, you will want to make sure that the barrel is either new or recycled from holding a food substance such as cooking oil. DO NOT USE A BARREL THAT PREVIOUSLY HELD TOXIC SUBSTANCES. )
  • A Reciprocating Saw (AKA Sawzall, with appropriate blade for cutting through metal per manufacturer’s specifications)
  • Grinder for smoothing rough edges
  • Metal Mesh & Bars to use as a grilling grate/surface
  • Hinges & Handle for the Grill Lid
  • Welding Equipment and Supplies
  • Metal to use for legs/stand
  • Safety Glasses & Equipment (Hey, we don’t want anybody getting hurt!)

1. Using masking tape or a marker, measure and mark one quarter of the barrel drum. This will be the “top” or lid of the grill.

2. Using your reciprocating saw, cut along the edge of quarter section to cut out the lid part. If the edges are rough you may wish to sand them down with your grinder.

3. Install Rods for Grilling Surface: You can do this by welding bars on each end and two supportive ones in the middle. This will allow you to remove your grate easily. Be sure to weld any rough edges to not only protect users of your grill from getting hurt.

4. Attach Hinges & Handle to the Lid: Inexpensive simple hinges and a handle from your hardware store will help make it easy to open and close your grill.

5. Attach Base: Depending on what you use for the base of your 55 gallon drum grill, you’ll want to weld the legs on and make sure they are sturdy enough to support the grill. Anchoring the bottom with another piece of mesh or horizontal bars from one side to the other can help stabilize it. (You’d hate for your homemade grill to fall over with a nice rack of baby back ribs on it, wouldn’t you?)

And that’s pretty much it! You’ve now learned the basics on how to build a grill out of a 55 gallon drum! You can now add any special finishing touches to it. If you’d like a more advanced design that features TWO 55 gallon drums (definitely for the serious rib cookers out there!) there’s a great tutorial with pictures available here, including how to incorporate a smoke stack into your grill.

Happy grilling! Please be careful when welding and using power tools and follow all manufacturer’s instructions when building your own grill out of a 55 gallon barrel drum. If you make your own grill or have made one in the past, we’d love to see your creations! You can contact us here to send us your pictures!


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