Our interest in US-style barbecue hinges on questions of authenticity and – buddy – nothing’s more inauthentic than relying on someone else to smoke your meats. They may have learnt their trade from the most hallowed, hickory-scented pitmasters around, but if those ribs haven’t tasted the sweat from your own brow you may as well be eating broccoli florets dusted with a spice blend made of your own ineptitude and inadequacy.
Enter stage left: this DIY smoker made of a 55-gallon (200 litre) drum, some plumbing fittings, grates purloined from a Weber, cooking thermometer and absolutely no welding. The design relies on four air intakes which can be closed with valves to regulate the temperature of the smoker. A pretty flexible device, considering its relative ease of construction. Now, with naught but a day’s work and some metal you can stand astride the earth like a meaten deity.