Open BBQ

Pig Roaster Steel Barrel Rotissierie

A long time ago I took a canoeing trip through eastern Poland and on one of the campgrounds a few folks there were barbequeing a pig on a spit. Ever since I’ve been thinking about doing something like that. Recently a lot of instructables on the topic had sparked my interest and when my birthday came around I decided it’s time for a pig roast this year!

I’ve researched the topic and found lots of good information on the topic: Instructables, You Tube Videos, Blogs, Manufacturer’s web sites.

Buying a new pig roaster will cost you between $800 to $20,000, even renting one from a party rental place cost still $200 and it seemed like a fun project, just looking at all the videos.

So I went with the smaller simple design of a 55gal drum Rotisserie. I got the drum, a rusty old pillow bearing and the angle irons from a Scrapyard. Make sure to get a drum that previously contained food stuff, i.e. olive oil.

The rotisserie motor, spit and forks are from One Grill. I thought about using a scrap motor but they cost more than the new motor. The kid’s bicycle wheel is from the scrap pile at a bicycle store and assorted small parts and rust covering and heat resistant paint are from several hardware stores.

I had to drill many holes into the barrel and L beam. When drilling into steel, use a carbide bit with cutting oil and go very slow with the variable speed drill but use lots of pressure. If you go too fast, the drill bit will burn out quickly and you only get a few holes through.


Instructions on how to build a Rotisserie BBQ out of a 55 Gal. Drum

Rotisserie Grill


  • 53” Stainless Steel Spit Rod with two attachable forks, counterweight, handle from One Grill
  • Rotisserie Motor 40LB rated
  • Small pulley wheel
  • Kid’s bicycle front wheel, axle removed
  • 1-1/2” Pipe clamp to attach pig to post
  • 55gal steel drum and
  • 2x 36” heavy L-Beams for Stand
  • 2x 50” and 1 x 40” thick L beams with holes for stands
  • 1x 2×4 x 33” stud for stand as cross brace
  • Char Coal cylinder
  • Alu pan for drippings

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Step-By-Step Instructions:

  1. Mark up steel barrel in two halves and cut with reciprocating saw
  2. Grind cut edges with angle grinder to smooth out edges
  3. Cut a 3″ diameter hole intersecting with rim into each upper barrel side to accommodate spit rod and pillow bearing
  4. Cut L beam into 2 30″ pieces, the stands
  5. Drill 3 holes into each stand
  6. Attach perforated L Studs (50″) to stands, stands and studs having L pointing outside
  7. Attach perforated L Joist to both studs, ca. 20″ off ground, L pointing outside
  8. Cut 4 3/4″ pipe pieces, to be used as fillers between Studs and lower barrel half
  9. Drill 4 1/4″ holes in lower barrel half, two on each flat side, 2″ to right of center, 4″ and 8″ above lower rim
  10. Cut flap in bottom (6″ square cut out on three sides) for venting and to remove ash
  11. Mount lower barrel
  12. Lay upper barrel on lower barrel, mark holes for hinges, drill
  13. Mark holes for handle, drill and install
  14. Wash and
  15. paint barrel outside with a coat of rust firming primer
  16. after 12h paint barrel outside with a coat of heat resistant paint
  17. Install lower barrel half
  18. Install hinges, upper barrel
  19. Install Pillow Bearing on right side stud, just above lower barrel half
  20. Install two caster wheels on left side of stud, same height as bearing, touching each other
  21. Cut pipe to size, 38″, drill 1/4″ hole for rod, seat rod in bearing, rest pipe on castersRotisserie Mechanics Sideview - Copy
  22. Remove Axle and Tire from wheel
  23. Hold rod over hub and mark edges, then Cut six small notches into Wheel hub inner edge to fit 1/2″ hex spit rod
  24. Attach Motor with pulley wheel below barrel on left stud, connect with bicycle wheel using beltSteel Drum Rotisserie Mechanics Top view - Copy
  25. Bake heat resistant paint according to manufacturer’s instructions (also burn off any residue inside barrel)

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