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We try not to post too much snark here on Toolmonger, as that’s not really our style. But sometimes you just can’t help it. I caught this unremarkable BBQ grill over on Uncrate recently, and I almost dropped a brick in my shop chair: It’s probably the single best representation I’ve seen of the “manly men” craze and just how much some people will pay to pretend to be the kind of people most Toolmongers naturally are.

Let me explain.

The barrel BBQ is a classic tradition among people who aren’t loaded with cash but do have access to a source of junk barrels, various scrap metal, and a welder. It’s not a gourmet solution; it’s a solution of simplicity. You want to grill. You have stuff lying around and a way to put it together, so you fire up the tools, cut the barrel in half, weld in a few tabs to hold a grill, tack together a stand for it, and then promptly dump in some charcoal, start eating steaks, and stop thinking about the assembly.

Barrels, you see, don’t really make excellent grills. The volume is often too big to cook for small-to-medium parties, so you have to use an imperial assload of charcoal to get the thing hot enough to sear steak. They do make reasonable smokers, though a good smoker will incorporate other features, like a way to stoke the fire without removing the grill and all the food along with it. If you were going to actually design a grill, you’d start with something shaped a lot differently than a barrel.

So what do you get for $950? Special coatings? A stand made of lacewood and unobtainium? Nope. You get a painted barrel on a stand with a mahogany handle (ooh!) and a thermometer. Oh yeah, and you get to believe that your neighbors will think you’re the hard-core DIY type.

Here’s a thought: Go get a nice new (or re-conditioned) steel barrel for $50-$75. Pick up a grill from the local big box. Weld in a few tabs. Pick up $30 worth of 1″ square tube and tack together a stand. Make a handle out of scrap wood — or whatever you’ve got lying around. Grill. Enjoy. Spend the other $700 on, I don’t know, food. For $950, I could build a grill out of stuff literally lying around the shop right now and buy steaks and beers for everyone I know locally.

Ok, I’m done ranting. But seriously — really? It’s fascinating to me that these things sell.

BBQ for Men [lkooq design]


21 Responses to Not Kidding: $950 for a Barrel BBQ?

  1. Dave says:

    People really have no clue on how to spend their cash wisely. I listed a table saw on CL for months at a very good price. Didn’t have one person contact me yet I see saws double the price of mine and some even more than retail keep selling. I doubled the price of my saw and within an hour someone emailed me to buy it. They knocked me down about 5% yet I sold the saw for more than I paid for it 3 years before! Some people truly do have more money than sense. I have a few friends who would buy this grill for that price even though I could make it for free for them as I can get the barrels for free! These people who buy these more than likely also get people like rebath to remodel their bathrooms for twice the cost it would be to do a full tear and everything new!

  2. Tony says:


    Goods sales people know people are nuts, and many people see $$$$ = good, therefore $ = cheap crap.

    Don’t look at me, I didn’t design the human brain.

    The bottom line is if your stuff doesn’t sell, the first thing you do is double the price (as you’ve discovered). Then you think about taking 10% off and calling it a sale.

  3. Ambush27 says:

    I too can get barrels for free, and i have a welder.

  4. Old Tool Guy says:

    Better yet: Go to the big box and buy a grill for $49. Get a free barrel, cut it in half, and fill the barrel halves with ice and your favorite beverages while you grill.

  5. Mike says:

    That might not be a bad price for a kit, if it included the welder.

  6. Matt says:

    This gives me an idea, I’m going to try and sell some cinder block and board bookcases for $500.

  7. Brau says:

    Most guys I know made their BBQs out of old Hot Water tanks as they are much smaller and thicker iron. I can’t see a single good reason to use an 45g barrel, especially without a raised bottom to elevate the coals. I also notice an absence of any venting, meaning the lid can’t be closed.

    Re;Dumb people won’t take the time to do research and just make ass-umptions:
    I listed a Madza truck for $1500
    I accepted a trade for a Civic easily worth $2500
    I advertised the Civic for $1500, hoping for a quick sale, but all callers simply assumed something MUST be wrong with it and never even looked.
    I upped the price to $2600 and sold it the next day.

  8. Rick says:

    Man, you can get a REALLY nice Weber Genesis for less money.

  9. you could also buy a welder and still have money left over

  10. Mike says:

    I bought one of these. I filled it with cash and let it burn. When that was empty, I filled it with my 401k and grilled that too.

    So far, my chest hair has not gotten thicker.

  11. Bob says:

    This is what happens when you buy a grill from an art studio. Kind of like having a sculptor make your car tires.

    Here’s a smoker idea I just saw.

  12. DIY smoker…. This guy is ripe with toolmonger-esque mannovations!


    I think I stumbled into pics of his work through links from the toolmonger on flickr page. Check it out if you haven’t already!

  13. Jerry says:

    I’m holding back on the first words that I thought of but is it my imagination or do the legs on that thing look like the support legs for a 1960’s TV tray? Big barrels are heavy and those legs look mighty spindly to this old guy.

  14. cheerIO says:

    I like how it’s $250.00 for powder coating and then another $150.00 for shipping. $1350.00 total!!!

    That shopping cart page was the funniest thing I’ve seen on the internet all day.

  15. Mickey says:

    Okay. People. Yes 950.00 sounds high maybe 650.00 375.00 reasonable. For all of your comments the barrel bbq work very well and it’s a bbq for those who really enjoy the idea. It’s a great conversation starter and most of the population spend more money on fast food junk than a good home cooked style bbq. Propane stinks!!! The world is all about fast fast. Stop and enjoy a nice rustic idea while grilling and putting. Back a cold one!!!!

  16. Antonia Smith says:

    What is the price on barrel barbecues that you make. I don’t know what to expect. Can they also be rolled or placed on a trailer to tranport?? Hope I’ve explain myself.

  17. Grillman says:

    This is ridiculous. With $950, you can a better grill from a well-known brand like Weber. While this one, it doesn’t even have anything special.

  18. George Federer says:

    Really too costly weber Q2200 costs very low than it and provides lot of features

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