3 Briskets, 2 Butts, and 1… Big Black

The falling leaves and the changing colors in my yard tell me that autumn is already here. How can this be? Summer is up in smoke and has left me wishing for at least a little more, so I thought I'd share a little summer throwback with you—this late spring cook on Big Black with 3 beef briskets and 2 pork butts.

If you are new to the blog, Big Black is my handsome Meadow Creek TS250 Smoker with an insulated firebox, charcoal basket, and several other really cool upgrades. Here are my blog posts featuring Big Black:

Breaking in Big Black, My Meadow Creek TS250 Smoker
My all-time favorite Meadow Creek cooker is the TS250 Tank Smoker with a BBQ42 Chicken Flipper on the front. And[...]
A Day Out With Big Black
Recently I published Breaking in Big Black, a story of my first cook on a Meadow Creek TS250 tank smoker[...]
3 Briskets, 2 Butts, and 1… Big Black
The falling leaves and the changing colors in my yard tell me that autumn is already here. How can this[...]
Four Racks o’ Ribs and Six Tasty Chick’ns…
Pulled pork and brisket cooked for 12 or 14 hours make a great story and taste outstanding, but some days[...]
Autumn Barbecue on Big Black
It's time for another barbecue story on Big Black, my Meadow Creek TS250 Tank Smoker! On the menu we have[...]

This cook is interesting because I cooked these briskets and pork butts with only 100% hardwood charcoal—with the exception of a log split or two at the beginning of the cook. You might notice a thinner smoke ring on my brisket because of that, but I'm really impressed with the performance and flavor of Royal Oak's 100% hardwood charcoal briquettes. They come in 40 pound bags and the briquettes are larger than Royal Oak or Kingsford briquettes you buy at Walmart or Lowe's, which helps them burn longer.

I didn't take notes on this cook, but if my memory serves me right, I used 2 forty pound bags of charcoal for the entire cook and the fire was still ripping hot when I was done. This is too much charcoal to use for 2 pork butts and 3 briskets, so I would suggest filling the TS250 at least halfway for cooks longer than 6 hours because you'll get much more out of your fuel.

Note: If you're only cooking for the family and a few friends, check out the BX25 Box Smoker or TS70P Tank Smoker.

I fired Big Black at 8:00 in the morning with 40 pounds of charcoal. By 2:00 PM (6 hours later) it was nearly burned out (above). I added another 40 pound bag of charcoal, and by 8:30 PM (6 hours later) we still had a very hot fire (below).

If you're used to a small patio smoker, 80 pounds of charcoal sounds like a lot, but 5 pounds per hour is pretty impressive for a 250-gallon tank smoker with enough room to hold 30+ pork butts.

Warning: Do not try to add 40 pounds of charcoal at once if you don't have an insulated firebox and charcoal basket. And when you do, it's important to keep the fire throttled with the vents closed or nearly closed and the firebox door latched shut. If you let the fire get too hot, it will overheat your smoker and stay that way for hours.

I don't consider myself a brisket expert, but it's not that hard to crank out delicious smoked brisket on a Meadow Creek tank smoker.

Check out these shots:

And here is the pulled pork...

It had a beautiful bark and was tender and juicy. Pass the rolls... it's time to make a sandwich!

This pork butt was done after 8 hours, without wrapping.... looks amazing!

Big Black has a stainless steel shelf and smoker door on both sides. The storage box is perfect for wood, charcoal, or a cooler.

Here I'm prepping the briskets. All I did was trim and season them with Meadow Creek Brisket seasoning.

The smoker is fired and ready to load up.

Now we're cooking!

Getting some color.

This is what the fire looked like at 6:00 PM, 4 hours after adding the second bag of charcoal.

Warning: Do not try to add 40 pounds of charcoal at a time if you don't have an insulated firebox and charcoal basket. And when you do, it's important to keep the vents closed or nearly closed and the firebox door latched shut. If you let the fire get too hot, it will overheat your smoker and stay that way for hours.

Beautiful color coming up right there.

Things get messy, but these T-304 stainless steel shelves clean up quite slick.

Since I wasn't cooking for a party, I just sliced/pulled and vacuum sealed the meat and put most of it in the freezer.

Are you dreaming of your own "Big Black" and what all you could do with it? We'd love to build you one!

Browse to the TS250 Smoker page in our online product catalog for photos, standard features, measurements, and a list of options with retail prices. Choose the upgrades you're interested in, click on "Request a Quote", and enter your contact information on the following page to request a quote from your closest dealer.

If you have any questions or feedback, leave a comment below or send us an email and we'll be happy to help. And if you liked this story, I'd appreciate a share on social media.

Sizzling regards,

Lavern Gingerich
Meadow Creek brand ambassador

About the Author

Lavern is the online brand ambassador for Meadow Creek Welding and founder of StoryQue magazine.

Leave a Reply 2 comments

Dave Swanson - September 30, 2017 Reply

Hi Lavern; I have long been an admirer of your recipes and have used the step by step rib recipe to win a rib contest in Mn[family style]. Do you have a step by step recipe for your brisket also?? I have your PR-36 and use it for all of my wild game dinners! Thanks, Dave Swanson

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Lavern Reply:

That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing that. I don’t compete, but if you Google Malcom Reed competition brisket, you will find some good instructions for brisket. As for my brisket, so far I’ve kept it really simple. Trim, season, smoke, then wrap in foil until it reaches around 200 degrees F, then pull it off the smoker and hold it in a cooler for an hour or so before slicing to serve.

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