The first thing one may notice about Gateway Drum Smokers is the colorful, high-heat resistant paint. The second thing is the unusual air control system which consists of two intake pipes welded to the bottom of the drum to feed air into the firebox. Each pipe curves upward, terminating just below the upper rim of the drum, and each has an adjustable damper at the top. There is a small chimney on the lid that also has an adjustable damper. These long intake pipes are meant to accelerate air as it enters the lower firebox and create a vortex inside the drum to enhance distribution of heat and smoke.
Many Gateway owners cook hot and fast at around 300° which is said to cook chicken in 30 minutes, ribs in 2 hours and pork and brisket in 4 hours. Lower smoking temps of 225° can also be dialed up. We haven’t tested these, but several competitive teams are winning awards with them.
The fire basket holds 8-10 lbs. of charcoal and is said to smoke up to 14 hours. No water pan is included or offered as an option, however Gateway recommends using a disposable foil half pan on the bottom rack for low and slow at 225°. They don't believe it is neccessary for higher temp cooking. Lids have a convenient hook inside to hang off the upper rim when tending food or fire. One handle on each side and a removable caster wheel kit come standard. Gateways may be purchased with or without a built-in thermometer and a logo plate: a large steel plate mounted to the top of the drum for display purposes.
Each drum comes with one plated steel 22” cooking grate and additional grates are available. The 30 gallon models have two grate levels and the 55 gallon drums have three grate levels. A Heat Diffuser Plate and Rib Hanging Kit are optional. The pewter model shown at the top of this page is an exclusive for our pals at Big Poppa Smokers that sports BPS decals on the front.
Standard colors are blue, red and black. Gateway is happy to make your graphic BBQ dreams come true as shown with their own Shake ‘n Bake custom model pictured above.
Looked Closely At It
We have seen this product up close and we have also gathered info from the manufacturer, owners, and other reliable sources.
Gateway Drum Smokers was created in 2012 by husband and wife team, Terri and Tim Scheer to manufacture a unique line of drum smokers. The Scheers have a competition BBQ team called Shake ‘n Bake that began winning awards with the Gateway design. Soon other teams adopted Gateways and enjoyed similar success. Many Gateway Teams have now banded together to form a club called The Insane Can Posse.
Gateway offers 30 and 50 gallon drum smokers and some accessories. They are known for hot and fast cooking and colorful, attractive enamel paint finishes.