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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions on how to use your DrumBo to its fullest capacity.


How to use your handcrafted Canadian charcoal drum smoker

Ordering and Shipping

All the details you need to get your new drum smoker in the backyard


Fire up your inner pitmaster with live fire cooking


Safety never takes a holiday, always ensure safe and responsible operation


Look at the science behind charcoal drum smokers

Charcoal Management

Charcoal management is a key ingredient to a perfect cook over live fire


How to use your charcoal drum smoker from DrumBo

Q: What temperatures should I cook at?

A: We recommend that you cook between 275F and 325F. Temperatures above 350F are not recommended or necessary.

Q: Is there a video I can watch to see how my DrumBo should be operated?

A: Please watch the DrumBo™ 101 video on YouTube.

Q: Can I use a fan to control the temps of my DrumBo?

A: There are several fan systems on the market that are available to use to control the temperatures of charcoal drum smokers and egg style smokers. They all work great. Fireboard is a very accurate system. I have used one for years on pellet grills. Personally, I would still get the hang of playing with live fire naturally before spending the money on electronics which kind of defeats the idea behind the DrumBo™. The DrumBo™ will work very well and very steadily once you get past this initial learning period.

Q: How do I tell what the temperatures are inside my DrumBo?

A: Use your built-in thermometer to adjust temperature using the intake valves on the intake stacks. Use a digital thermometer to probe your food.

Q: Do you have cheat sheet for operating my DrumBo?

A: Quick points.
Ensure your chimney is well lit, this is a crucial part to having a successful cook
Valves Open
Dump the chimney in and leave the lid open for 5 minutes
 Close the valves to the operating zone
 Add wood before food
 Practice will give you confidence
 Don’t panic if you cool off a bit. You can still cook at 250-275 because you are cooking over a ball of fire.
Use small adjustments to your intake valves to stabilize temps.
Never leave the DrumBo™ open or unattended.
Have fun!

Q: Why would I buy a Sear Stack™?

A: The Sear Stack works by raising the coals in a mini basket up to the halfway mark inside your DrumBo. The cooking grate is set just above the coals. (Hence the adjustable bolts). Your steak and burgers will then get the quick char-broiled flavour that we all love.

Q: To sear steaks on the Sear Stack wouldn’t I be cooking at 450-500F? Wouldn’t this damage the paint?

A: The way we can get away with the higher temps is by installing a heat shield that is mounted to the inside of the lid. The heat shield is mounted using the rivet nut system that attaches to the base of the exhaust stack. Ensure all your valves are open to use the Sear Stack™.

Q: Can I extinguish the coals in the Sear Stack?

A: Yes, just close the lid and all the valves.

Q: Will the Sear Stack fit other charcoal drum smokers?

A: Yes, it will fit most drum smokers with a center exhaust stack in the lid. Some drilling maybe required. You can also use our install service if you wish. Just send us your cleaned lid and we will install the heat shield for you and return your lid promptly. Charges will apply.

Ordering and Shipping​

How to use your charcoal drum smoker from DrumBo

Q: Do you ship across Canada?

A: Yes, we do. Our flat rate starts at $99.99 CAD. We also invite you to contact us before purchasing on our website to arrange personal pick up if you prefer. We love visitors.

Q: Do you ship to the USA?

A: At this time, we are not shipping Stateside. But we are working on getting DrumBos into the hands of our American Barbecue cousins.

Q: Do you ship door to door?

A: We ship by truck freight due to the size and weight of your future DrumBo™. They weight 99lbs with all attachments and options. Because of this, we ship depot to depot or depot to a business address. If you would like door to door shipping it can be arranged at a higher cost. Please contact us by email for details.

Q: Do I have to pay for packing separately?

A: No, it is all included.

Q: If my DrumBo is being shipped by freight how do I know where the freight depot is before I order?

A: Let us know you location and we will provide you the details where to pick up.

Q: Can I pick-up my DrumBo at the World Head Quarters in Wainwright.

A: Yes, we are happy for you to stop by and pick up your DrumBo and options and shipping charges.

Q: How long does it take to get my DrumBo from the time I place my order?

A: Standard Colour options are available on order. All custom orders are subject to a 4-6 week waiting period.


How to use your charcoal drum smoker from DrumBo

Q: Can I use a water pan in my DrumBo?

A: You can use a water pan if you’d like. Some competitive DrumBo owners incorporate it into their program, we don’t. But! We promote all the different uses in our product! In these units the juices from your meat drip down on the coal and it creates a smoky mist that surrounds your meat as it exhausts. You can place a water pan on the lower rack or and empty pan to catch the juices if its a particularly fatty piece of meat.

Q: What should I cook first on my DrumBo™?

A: One starting point would be to start with something like chicken wings, we have a recipe on our YouTube channel for wings and they are really tasty, use your favourite rub and let the flavour tell you what’s right! I say chicken wings because when they are cooked on a DrumBo™ you won’t go back. They are also no fail…unless you burn them. Go for 185F-195F internal for a nice texture. Check out our YouTube channel for the recipe.

Q: How long does it take to cook a whole brisket? Will I have to wrap it?

A: In our experience the DrumBo will cook a whole brisket in under 7 hours maintaining a temperature of 300F. We recommend wrapping at 160F internal temperature and continue cooking until probe tenderness an where between 205F and 212F. If you want to master a brisket, visit the link

Q: How much charcoal do I need to cook a brisket for 7 hours?

A: We suggest using a full charcoal basket including what you use in your chimney. Cook at 275-325F

Q: If I’m cooking a fatty Pork belly how can I prevent flareups?

A: Place a drip pan or foil pan on the lower rack to collect the drippings.


How to use your charcoal drum smoker from DrumBo

Q: What should I do if my DrumBo™ catches fire or the temperature goes crazy high?

A: SHUT THE LID. CLOSE ALL THE VALVES. It will go out in less than 15 minutes and the temperature will drop rapidly.

Q: If I have a problem with my DrumBo™ who can I contact?

Contact us via our contact page any time. Matt and Alex are here to help.

Q: Can I place my DrumBo on a wood or vinyl deck.

A: We recommend placing a stepping stone or approved barbecue grilling mat when placing on any deck to avoid any fire hazard or damage. Please Read the DrumBo user guide before operation


How the unit is built

Q: If I have a problem with my DrumBo™ who can I contact?

A: Call or text Matt (780) 812-8977 Alex (780) 842-0960

Q: What are the dimensions and weight of the DrumBo™

A: The dimensions of the full size DrumBo box is 40″X 27” X 27”. The weight is 120 lbs. The dimensions of the DrumBuddy’s box are 22″X 22″ X 36″. The weight is 45 lbs.

Q: Can I choose any colour I want?

A: Yes, If you are looking for custom colour options, please contact us directly by email.

Q: Will the paint burn off if I run my DrumBo higher than the recommended maximum temperature?

A: The paint is tough but temperatures in excess of 400F may cause damage. Temps in excess of 400F may discolor the paint and may damage it permanently. Paint Heat damage is not warrantied.

Q: Why doesn’t the DrumBo have a door?

A: Simply put, there is already a massive hole in the top of the drum to give you more than enough access to anywhere in the drum you need. You should never need to add charcoal or wood in the middle of your cook, this will cause dirty smoke and bitter tasting food. In addition, opening a door will cause a fluctuation in your cooking temperatures and will effect your desired results.

Q: What do I do if the valves on my DrumBo’s stacks get loose or stiff and hard to turn?

A: If your valves have tightened up you can take (2) 7/16” wrenches and loosen them to your desired tension. Don’t make them too loose as they may close or open by accident which would cause under or overheating. Adjusting the valves is not at all unusual. All models do this.

Q: Can I fit a Sear Stack in my older DrumBo™?

A: Yes, It will retro fit into any DrumBo™.

Charcoal Management

How to use your charcoal drum smoker from DrumBo


Q: What points do I have to know about burning and using charcoal?

A: Lighting your DrumBo:
Fill your basket with unlit charcoal to the desired level. This could be 1/3 for a quick cook up to 3/4 for a long cook.
Fill your chimney with unlit charcoal.
Light your chimney a small propane or MAP gas torch
Once the chimney is well lit with small flames and some ash showing on the second layer of charcoal from the top you are good to pour the contents of the chimney into the basket. Matt likes to say it should look like my hair. Salt and pepper that’s on fire.
Vents need to be open fully open.
Dump your chimney into the basket and leave the lid open for no more than 5 minutes.
Close the lid and move the two intake valves to the halfway open position. Leave the exhaust fully open. Watch your temp and as the temp climbs towards 250F you can adjust the intake valves down to the general running position as shown in the user guide.

If desired, add a few chunks of hardwood in the opposite corners just before you add your food. This is done once your temp has stabilized.

Q: How much wood do I add to the charcoal basket and when do I add it? Does wood increase the temperature?

A: Firstly, adding wood chunks does not affect the temp of the pit. This pit is designed to use charcoal as the only fuel. Once the basket is lit and when you’re ready to cook, add one or two small chunks of seasoned hardwood to the corners of the basket. They should be the size of mandarin orange.

Q: How much wood should I add when the first chunks burn up?

A: None. The meat will not take any more smoke flavour after the first few hours. Adding more wood is unnecessary and wood is like salt and pepper. It is a flavour enhancer. Too much smoke will give you a bitter taste. Less is more.

Q: What sort of wood should I use?

A: Only use quality hard woods. If you live in the western provinces for example, we suggest local woods such as apple and maple. Or go to your local BBQ store and buy the available wood chunks.

Q: Should I soak the wood chunks to make them last longer?

A: Don’t soak your wood. It will make the smoke dirty and sooty. Put dry seasoned wood in just before you put your meat on.

Q: What type of charcoal should I use?

A: As a rule, both Matt and I cook with lump charcoal. It is far cleaner and really easy to re-light. That having been said, we both use briquettes on occasion. Lump tends to burn hotter and different lump charcoals add differing flavours. Some of our favourites are Maple Leaf Premium, Spring Bok Braai, Blues Hog and Jealous Devil. Whichever becomes your favorite works for you. If you like briquettes, find a brand you like the taste of and stick with it. Buy it when it goes on sale and save money. You’re going to use it anyway.

Q: How much Charcoal do I use for the seasoning burn in?

A: First, spray down the interior of your DrumBo with a light coating of cooking oil spray.
Fill your charcoal basket 3/4 full put the last 1/4 in your charcoal chimney.
Light the chimney and get it going till when 1/2 the contents are alight and then dump the contents into the charcoal basket.
We suggest this so you get to know how your DrumBo works. Play with the valves. Leave the top one open and adjust the temperature by adjusting the intake valves.

Get some chicken wings ready because after you’ve seasoned/ burned in your DrumBo™ for an hour or so you are going to be hungry. Get those seasoned wings on the grate on the second level. Turn them once or twice and cook them till they have a little crisp on them. Check the temp is above 165F, we prefer 185-195F. Enjoy.

Q: How much charcoal should I use for a cook?

A: Quantities is a hard one to describe. When you start using your DrumBo we suggest using a minimum of half a basket of charcoal and a full chimney because it’s easier to bring it to the 300F operating temp. Once you get the hang of using the DrumBo this way then you can play around using more or less depending on what you’re cooking. Smaller thinner items use less. Bigger thicker items use more is the rule.

Q: Will my DrumBo run out of charcoal?

A: The DrumBo is specifically designed to ensure it will not run you out of charcoal mid cook. You will not need to add more charcoal or require a door. The DrumBo excels with efficiency with its hot and fast performance providing ample time for you to successfully cook any type food you desire. A full basket in the DrumBo will provide 10 hours of cooking time at 300F.

Q: How do I put out the charcoal fire?

A: Close all the valves. Ensure the lid is closed too. This is snuffing out the fire.

Q: What do I do about all the charcoal left in the basket after snuffing out the fire?

A: First, shake out all the ash from your basket keeping the old unburnt charcoal in the bottom.
 Light a full chimney and when fully lit as previously described dump it on top.
Open all valves. Leave the lid open for no more than 5 mins. Close the lid and watch the temp climb leaving all valves wide open. Once you achieve 300F start closing the intake valves in stages again watching the temperature.
Maintain 300F-325F.
Get your food on the grill and get cooking.
If the temp should drop, open the lid and watch below the food where you can see the charcoal reigniting. This can take 5-15mins. Close the lid and open the intake valves about an extra 1/4.
I know this all sounds fiddly. Unburnt charcoal is fiddly but you’ll get the hang of it. Remember you can easily get rid of excess charcoal by leaving it to burn out and you can cook tomorrow’s lunch on it while you do it. If you are using less charcoal in your basket to cook wings, use a full chimney to get them going. This gives you a hotter briefer burn and let the charcoal burn out afterward. just keep temps below 325F.

Still Need Help?

DrumBo User Guide

A full walkthrough of getting the most out of your Charcoal Drum BBQ

Tutorial Videos

Helpful tutorials and walkthroughs directly from Matt and Alex

Contact Us

We are always happy to help! Feel free to reach out via FB, Instagram, Call, Text, or E-Mail

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