How To Clean an Oil Drum for A BBQ

How To Clean an Oil Drum for A BBQ

You want to host a BBQ and you are getting your oil drum cleaned.

You’ve probably seen these things lying around at your local hardware store and wondered what they were for.

The oil drum was the original BBQ and many people still use one today.

Check out these easy steps on how to clean an oil drum for your backyard BBQ.

Let’s start now.


Can You Use The Oil Drum for Backyard BBQ?

The answer is yes, and you can use this oil drum for a backyard barbeque.

As long as you don’t burn it or put too much charcoal in it, it’s fine.

First, you need to make sure the barrel is clean. Rub it down with a scrubber and make sure any cobwebs or dirt is cleaned off.

Then, put enough charcoal in the barrel to cover the bottom. You can put lighter fluid in the charcoal if you want.

Next, put wood chips on top. You can use cedar wood chips, but hickory or oak are preferable.

Finally, light the charcoal and wood chips with a match or lighter stick. Make sure you keep a close eye on the fire and don’t burn the barrel.

As long as you don’t burn it, it’s fine to use an oil barrel for a backyard barbeque.

How To Clean a 55-Gallon Oil Drum for A BBQ

One of the simplest methods for homeowners and do-it-yourselfers to build their own barbecue pit is to use an old 55-gallon steel oil drums as their grill base.

Old metal drums are sturdy, rust-resistant and usually free to obtain from industrial sources like local gas stations or scrap yards where old equipment is being discarded after being replaced at newer locations.

These drums can be converted into barbecue pits in a matter of minutes with a few simple tools and materials found at home, or at a local hardware store.

Even if it is less expensive than professional barbecues, it is still vital to clean the steel oil drums thoroughly before using them for cooking purposes to ensure their durability and safety for food storage.

To clean the metal drums and prepare them for use, they should be first disassembled by removing the top ring and the cover plate.

Any hardware should also be removed from the lid of the barrel.

The handle of the lid should be carefully pried off with a screwdriver or other sharp object to prevent it from falling off while cooking is in progress.

Fortunately, there are many techniques that any handyman who can use basic tools can perform to properly clean the oil drum and prepare them for safe use.

  • Put a garden hose into the drum and fill with water up to the level of the top ring.
  • Bleach the drum to disinfect it thoroughly by pouring in 1/2 cup of bleach for every gallon of water in the barrel.
  • Burn any extra debris found on the inside of the barrel by lighting a fire inside using a match or lighter and keeping it burning until the cleaning process is complete.

How To Burn Out The Oil Drum For BBQ?

You must burn an old oil drum before using it in your BBQ grill or fire pit because it contains traces of flammable oil that could ignite very easily and cause a lot of damage.

By doing this, you may prevent internal damage to the barrels and ensure safety.

Additionally, it will clean the surface and remove the paint from the exterior surfaces so that it can be painted again, if required.

You may light a fire inside the drum and allow it to burn out naturally or by pouring water into the fire and then let it cool down completely before you start cleaning the barrel.

To the drum, you may add charcoal and sawdust to create a smoldering fire which will heat up the metal slowly and help burn off the paint more easily.

You can extinguish this flame after approximately an hour when it becomes hot enough and start the cleaning process.

Additionally, I advise using sandpaper to roughen up the surface of the barrel before you apply the cleaning solutions.

However, it is strongly advised against using steel wool as it will make the surface very slippery which may lead to you falling from the barrel as you clean it.


The concept of using oil drums as outdoor grills is not a new one and many cooks prefer them over traditional grills because of the ease of preparation, durability, low cost and ease of storing.

However, you must take good care to ensure that these barrels are thoroughly cleaned before using them.

You may also use an old oil barrel that does not contain traces of flammable oil and simply use it for decoration in your patio or other outdoor areas without having to worry about cleaning it.

However, you must thoroughly clean this oil drum to use it as a grill to avoid contaminating your food with residue of oil and prevent the risk of spontaneous combustion from building up inside the metal.

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