A Backyard Feast on the Meadow Creek SQ36 Offset Smoker
I've enjoyed cooking on the SQ36 offset smoker for more than 10 years now. While I certainly enjoy the convenience of my pellet grill, I love the challenge of taming a live fire in a steel box to smoke some of the best meats you could ever dream of eating. This style of cooking is about as basic as it gets—steel, fire, meat, and seasoning.
In this story I'm sharing some photos from a recent all-day cook we did in this smoker. On the menu is brisket, pulled pork, chicken, sausage, and a pan of beans. Keep scrolling!
Cooking a barbecue feast in the SQ36
The SQ36 offset smoker is perfect for a barbecue enthusiast who appreciates handmade quality and wishes to become a real pitmaster.
Firing the SQ36 Offset Smoker
For this cook, I got up before daylight to fire the offset smoker at 5:30. I used my favorite Chef's Select charcoal briquettes and chunks of seasoned hardwood from my stash of firewood. My target temperature was 225–250 degrees F.
I use a propane torch to light the coals and to heat up the smoker quickly.
Getting things going
To get it started I used roughly 8-9 pounds of charcoal and one log split.
Need tips on firing and maintaining temperature in the SQ36?
Prepping the Meat
I put the brisket on at 6:00 and the pork butt at 6:15, then added the rest of the foods between 8:45 and 9:15.
The sausage, chicken, and beans will cook within 3 hours, so it's the perfect way to cook two meals in one day. Chicken and sausage for lunch, and brisket and pulled pork for dinner sounds like a good day to me! The sausage was done in less than 2 hours, the chicken in less than 3 hours, and the beans are flexible, but they are happy with about 3 hours in the smoke.
The brisket was prime grade from Sam's Club and the pork butt and sausage links were from my local Weis. We picked up the chicken leg quarters from Martin's and my wife mixed the beans.
Because green beans were in season, we decided to add some variety instead of using only baked beans. If you are using fresh green beans, you'll need to pre-cook them. Mix all of the ingredients and smoke them for several hours, stirring them occasionally to mix the smokey flavors.
- 1 can Bush’s Original baked beans
- 1 can pinto beans
- 1 can of green beans
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 clove garlic, finely diced
- 1 cup Meadow Creek Hickory Smoked Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon Butcher BBQ Grilling Addiction rub
- 1 teaspoon real salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
This recipe makes a bigger batch than what fits into a loaf pan like I used in the photos. Adjust as needed.
First on is the brisket and pork butt.
Nice looking brisket
I trimmed the brisket and seasoned it with Lane's Brisket Rub.
I seasoned the pork butt with Meadow Creek Brisket Rub.
Pork butt ready for the smoker
Chicken leg quarters seasoned with Meadow Creek Barbecue Seasoning
SQ36 loaded with brisket, pork butt, chicken, sausage, and beans.
The SQ36 offset smoker is an ideal choice for backyarders who appreciate handmade quality and the chance to become a real "pitmaster."
Managing the Pit
Now that the meat is all on, we keep feeding the smoker and patiently wait until each meat is done. We maintain heat in this smoker by feeding it every 45 minutes or as needed to keep the fire burning and the temperature between 225–250 degrees.
I use mostly 100% hardwood charcoal, but throw in a piece of wood occasionally for a robust barbecue flavor.
A hot bed of coals and a flame
Everything is fine.
The sausages are done, actually a bit overdone.
A live fire for the pitmaster in you.
Another delicious glance
The optional second tier grate nearly doubles the cooking surface.
“My experience barbecuing on the Meadow Creek SQ36 has been one of my greatest joys! I have FINALLY FOUND performance and quality in a smoker! I have tried many and none compare to my Meadow Creek SQ36! I know when I am barbecuing on it, that it is going to be something spectacular!”
—Ron in Ohio
We've got many more happy customers. Read some of their stories here:
Chicken and Sausage for Lunch
As I explained above, I planned this cook so that we could eat chicken, sausage, and beans for lunch while we waited on the brisket and pulled pork.
We turned the chicken skin side down an hour after putting it on the smoker. Cooking over low heat the skin won't be very good, so I like to turn it toward the heat. We ended up pulling the chicken anyway, so it didn't matter to me if the skin wasn't perfect.
The next generation at work
The chicken sizzling, skin side down.
Time to eat!
Fire is looking great
Brisket and Pulled Pork
The pork butt and brisket were on the smoker until 8:10 pm, a total of 14 hours. I rested them both in an empty ice chest for a couple of hours before slicing and pulling the meat. Because it was so late, we didn't eat much of it that evening, but we had to sample it at least!
The pulled pork was some of the best I've eaten in a long time. It was juicy and pulled easily. The flavor was on point with a nice balance of smoke flavor.
The brisket was also one of the best I've cooked. The flat was tender and juicy, and even the thinnest part of the flat was not too dry to eat.
At 2:30 pm, 8 hours into the cook, I wrapped both the brisket and butt in Burnt End butcher paper to speed up the cook and to help retain moisture. At the time of wrapping, the bark was looking great and it tasted delicious and sweet. A bitter bark means you over-smoked the meat, which can easily happen in an offset smoker.
It can be a bit tricky knowing when these meats are done sometimes. The pork butt was probe tender everywhere before some parts of it reached 200 degrees internal temperature.
The brisket climbed over 200 degrees in the flat and reached 200 degrees in the middle of the brisket, on the side toward the heat. Some stress cooking a brisket until it's probe tender, but in my opinion, a typical choice or prime grade brisket is lean enough that the flat may never get 100% probe tender, at least not before you overcook it. Some of the point was definitely probe tender and some was still a bit probe resistant, but I wanted to make sure I don't dry out the flat, so I decided it was done.
Brisket and pork butt on the SQ36
Pork butt ready to wrap
Nice color on the brisket
Wrapping the pork butt
Ready for the smoker again
Brisket ready to wrap
Wrapping the brisket
Wrapping the brisket
Back on the smoker
Slicing the brisket
Tender, juicy slices of brisket flat
End view of the cut piece
A slice of the flat
What an amazing experience, biting into a juicy and tender piece of meat that's bursting with flavor from hanging out in a wood-fired smoker all day. The flavor was incredible!
You could whip up a memorable feast the day of the cook and serve these meats with the beans and your favorites sides, such as mac 'n cheese, a slaw or potato salad, etc. Or you can vacuum seal the meats in meal-sized portions to reheat later for a bunch of quick sandwich or taco meals.
Where to Buy an SQ36
On the product page, click on "Customize" to see a list of available options or "Request a Quote" to send a quote request to your nearest dealer. You can also do a dealer search to find the nearest retail store that carries our equipment.
Cooks Done on the SQ36
Here is a collection of stories and recipes from the fun times I've had cooking on my SQ36 offset smoker.