How to build a drum smoker




Recommended tools & supplies: Impact driver w/ socket adapter, power drill, pop-rivet gun and 1/8” rivets, SAE sockets and wrenches, 8-10” socket extension bar, 1/8" drill bit, tape measure, framing square (or similar), 1 tube high-temp silicon and applicator gun.


Optional: Spot welder for attaching Grill Grate Supports.


Questions? Call us at (573) 443-6117     


Step 1: Weld Mount Pins to a Weber Cooking Grate


Note: You can skip this step if you have purchased a Hunsaker heavy-duty expanded metal cooking grate, which comes with the 3 Mount Pins already welded in place.



Weber 22” Wire Cooking Grate

(3) Mount Pins (included with your Grill Grate Supports)


Place the first pin directly under the wire at the mid-point on the grate (A) and weld to underside of grate as shown, with the pin protruding 3/8" beyond the edge of the cooking grate.


Measure 22 1/2" around the circumference of the grill grate from the first pin and mark the spots where the second and third pins will be placed (B).


Weld the last two pins to the bottom of the grate as shown, with the pins protruding 3/8" beyond the edge of the cooking grate.


Allow pins to cool before proceeding to Step 2.


Weber Grate With Pins





Step 2: Mark Positions for the Grill Grate Supports


Cooking Grate with Mount Pins installed as shown in Step 1

(3) Grill Grate Supports


First find and mark the positions for mounting the Grill Grate Supports.


Stand in front of the drum, holding the Cooking Grate by the handles with the center Mount Pin pointing forward. Position the Grate just inside the drum, aligning the center Mount Pin to the seam of the drum.


While you hold the grate in position, have a buddy mark the inside lip of the drum, adjacent to each of the pins.


Next, using a square, draw an 8” vertical line down from the lip of the drum, intersecting each of your three marks. This will give you the vertical guides for positioning your Grate Supports.


Finally, mark the spots for the height of the Grill Grates Supports. To do this, measure down 4 1/2" from the top of the drum lip, and make a horizontal mark across each of your 3 vertical lines.


This positioning will give you 6" of clearance from the top of the drum to Cooking Grate when locked in the top position.



Step 3: Install Grill Grate Supports


(3) Grill Grate Supports


You can hang the Grill Grate Supports with pop rivets or bolts (not included), using the pre-punched holes. Or you can weld them.


To position the Grill Grate Supports, align the top of each Support with your horizontal marks, and align the notches along the length of Support with your vertical marks as shown in the photo.


Then weld, rivet or bolt each Support into place.


If using pop rivets or bolts to hang the Supports, mark the spots for your drum holes using the pre-punched holes in the Supports, then drill the appropriate sized holes for your hardware.


Important details: Grill Grate Supports must be mounted perfectly vertical and at the same height, so the Cooking Grate will be square to the drum. Use your square to check each Support before drilling or welding!





Step 4: Install Axle



(2) 5/16” x 1-1/2” bolts

(4) flat washers

(2) lock washers

(2) 5/16” nuts


Use all listed hardware to mount axle to bottom of drum. Finger tighten only.


Important details: Bolt heads should be on bottom/exterior of drum.





Step 5: Install Rear Wheels


(2) 8" lawnmower wheels

(4) large flat washers

(2) 1/2" locking nuts


Position a flat washer and wheel on each side. Position the axle so the spacing between both wheels and the drum is even. Tighten axle nuts with impact driver until drum begins to slightly deform.


Next, install remaining washer and locking nut on each side of axle. Once locking nut is tight, loosen nut until wheel can spin with minimal resistance (about 1/2 turn).


Important details: Axle is centered with even space between wheels. Wheels turn relatively freely. “Hollow” side of wheels face inside toward the drum.





Step 6: Install Caster Wheel


3" heavy-duty locking caster wheel

1/4" x 1” bolts

1/4” x 1-1/2” bolts

(2) 3/8 nuts (to be used as spacers)

(8) flat washers

lock washers

1/4” nuts


Find the 4-hole pattern opposite the axle. Install caster starting with the 2 holes closest to the center of drum. Use 1” bolts, 2 flat washers, 1 lock washer. Finger tighten.


Next, install the 1-1/2” bolts in the two holes along the rim of the drum, using the 3/8” nuts as spacers between the drum and the caster mounting plate. Caster will be mounted at a slight angle so the mounting plate lines up with the lip of the drum.


Tighten all four nuts with impact driver.


Important details: Spacer nuts in place between drum and mounting plate. Use two flat washers and one lock washer for each bolt.




Step 7: Install Air Intake Control


Air intake Control Lever

1/4” x 3/4” bolts (stop bolts)

5/16” x 1” bolt (pivot bolt)

(6) flat washers

lock washers

5/16” locking nut


Install the 1/4” x 3/4” bolts, four flat washers and two lock washers in the two 1/4” holes near the intake vent in bottom center of drum. Install so bolt heads are on inside of drum. These bolts will serve as stops for the Air Intake Control.


Install the Air Intake Control lever using the 5/16” x 1” bolt and two flat washers. Position it so the control lever extends toward the rim of drum and use the bolt (with bolt head on inside of drum) as a pivot. Hand tighten the locking nut with a wrench so the lever can be moved smoothly by hand, with a moderate amount of resistance.


Important details: All bolt heads are on inside of drum. Intake Vent Control lever moves smoothly from fully open to fully closed with a moderate amount of resistance.




Step 8: Install Air Intake Indicator


Air Intake Indicator Vinyl Decal


Position Air Intake Control so it is exactly 50% open. Tip: observe opening from inside of drum for best results.


Important details: Intake vent is 50% open when handle is aligned to the center of the air intake indicator. 





Step 9: Install Floating Hinge / Handle


Floating Hinge / Handle

5/16” x 1” bolts

flat washers

(2) lock washers

(2) 5/16” nuts


Using all listed hardware, install Floating Hinge / Handle using mounting holes along top rim of drum with floating hinge facing upward. Bolt heads should be on inside of drum.


Place the flat washer and lock washer into place, then just barely start the nuts on the bolts. Leave them really loose for now; you’ll tighten them up in Step 13.


Important details: Bolt heads are on inside of drum. 2 flat washers and 1 lock washer per bolt. Leave loose until Step 13.






Step 10: Install Exhaust Stack


Exhaust Stack

lid locking brace (angle iron)

(4) 1/4” x 3/4” bolts

(8) 1/4” flat washers

(4) 1/4” lock washers

(4) 1/4” nuts


Using high-temp silicon, create a small gasket just outside the circumference of the exhaust vent hole on top of lid. For best results, allow to cure before proceeding.


Position lid so you are facing the top side and the intake stack holes are aligned to 12 o’clock. Position the exhaust stack over the exhaust vent and mounting holes so the hinge bar is positioned at 12 o’clock, extending over the edge of drum.


Install 3 bolts and washers in the mounting holes located at the 2, 5 and 7 o’clock positions as viewed from top of lid with the hinge tang positioned at 12 o’clock. Turn lid over, add washers and lock washers, then tighten the 3 nuts using impact driver.


Install the lid locking brace in the remaining hole aligned as seen in the photo. Tighten so lid locking brace can be rotated with moderate effort.


Important details: All bolt heads are on lid exterior. Lid locking brace positioned in correct hole. Bolts use 2 flat washers and 1 lock washer.




Step 11: Install Lid Handle


Lid Handle

Lid Handle spring

1/4” x 3/4” bolts

1/4” flat washers

1/4” lock washers

1/4” nuts


Install Lid Handle with bolt heads on exterior side of lid. Install lid handle spring -- be careful not to bend the handle uprights. Tip: Slide spring onto one of the pegs, then use your forearm to brace that side of the handle while you compress the spring to slide it over the other peg.


Important details: Both bolt heads are on lid exterior, using all listed hardware. Brace lid handle while installing lid spring to avoid bending lid handle bracket.





Step 12: Install Exhaust Cap


exhaust cap

1/4” x 3/4” bolt

1/4” flat washer

1/4” lock washer

1/4” nut


Use all listed hardware to install exhaust cap with handle weld facing up. Bolt head should be positioned down (i.e., inside the exhaust stack). Hand tighten so vent cap can be adjusted from side-to-side with light effort.


Important details: Bolt head facing down. Exhaust cap swivels with light effort.



Step 13: Install Lid

Ensure Hinge / Handle is loose with maximum space between the mounting plate and drum. Carefully position Lid into place, guiding the Exhaust Stack tang into the center of floating hinge.


Once in correct position, gently close Lid. Tighten Hinge / Handle nuts using impact driver.

Important details: Lid opens and closes smoothly with minimal resistance. Floating Hinge should not bind.





Step 14: Install Thermometer


Dial Thermometer 


Carefully hand-thread thermometer until it begins to get tight. Use 7/8” wrench to tighten it.


Tip: If you have trouble threading the thermometer, try brushing out the threads in the Exhaust Stack to remove any built-up paint or powder coating.


Important details: Be careful not to cross-thread. Do not over tighten by the face of the thermometer dial or it may break.




Optional: Logo Plate Installation


Logo Plate

(4) 1/4” x 5/8” bolts

(12) 1/4” flat washers

(4) 1/4” lock washers

(4) 1/4” nuts


Position Logo Plate so top edge is aligned with the bottom of Hinge / Handle mounting bracket.


Center the Logo Plate so the spaces between the Hinge / Handle mounting bracket and the edges of the Logo Plate are even on both sides.


Mark spots for holes and drill four 1/4” holes in the positions you marked.


Install Logo Plate with bolt heads on the exterior and tighten using impact driver.


Important details: Check Logo Plate for reasonable flushness to edge of drum. Bend slightly by hand if necessary.



Optional: Temperature Gauge Holder


Temperature Gauge Holder

1/4” x 3/4” bolt

1/4” flat washers

1/4” lock washer

1/4” nut


Use hardware to mount Temperature Gauge Holder on either side of the Hinge / Handle, using one of the pre-drilled holes.



All parts can be purchased through this website. Parts are available in unpainted steel or brushed stainless steel. We strive to make the best drum smoker parts available at an affordable price. All parts are proudly made in the the USA.