July 21

Why Every Backyard Caterer Eventually Needs a BBQ Smoker on a Trailer


BBQ Smoker on a Trailer Set up for Cooking

Why Every Backyard Caterer Eventually Needs a BBQ Smoker on a Trailer

In this article, we'll cover three reasons to invest in a BBQ smoker on a trailer and why I think you'll eventually find yourself needing one if you dabble in cooking meat for small events.

You have a couple of smokers and grills on your patio—or maybe a handful—and you enjoy smoking up the backyard for your friends and family.

If you're good at it, before long you get invited to cook meat for someone else's party, a family gathering, a wedding, or a local fundraiser. The guests rave about your barbecue and your reputation continues to spread.

Cooking for 100 people is much the same as cooking for your family, except for the amount of meat you're cooking and the location of the event.

It's surprising how much meat you can cram into two or three backyard smokers, but there's just nothing like having the best tools for the job.

For example, if you were pulling a load with your truck, you wouldn't be happy with a truck that couldn't top the hills unless everyone in the back seat got out and strained their backs to push. You arrived at your destination, but not without unnecessary stress! In the same way, nothing adds stress to cooking like being maxed out and on the verge of failure.

At Meadow Creek we help backyarders and caterers feed any size of crowd that comes their way the fun and stress-free way with equipment that's spacious, capable, mobile, and easy to use.

Three reasons to invest in a BBQ smoker on a trailer...

...and why I think you'll eventually find yourself needing one—or at least seriously wanting one.


You could cook the meat at your house, pan it up and stash it into warming boxes, then transport and serve it, and this is not a bad solution. But nothing feels more authentic than actually seeing the smoke and watching a crew work the smoker with smoke rolling and the smell of chicken grilling in a pit.

In fact, I know one caterer who would set already-smoked ribs into a TS250 tank smoker for the wow factor at catering parties, then grill chicken in the front-mounted BBQ42 charcoal grill.


Most patio grills and smokers can be moved with a reasonable amount of effort if you have a cargo trailer or even a flat bed trailer and some ratchet straps. If it’s not too heavy you might even lift it onto your pickup bed. However, considering everything, it’s not exactly easy, especially if you’re talking about the bigger models that can cook for 50–100 people. 

It’s much more relaxing to haul smokers and grills when you can just hook onto it and roll, knowing everything is secure.


A BBQ smoker on a trailer opens the possibility for storage and additional cookers, such as the BBQ42 charcoal grill.

  • A storage box holds log splits, a torch, and bags of charcoal. 
  • A grill mounted to your smoker trailer makes it easy to grill foods such as steaks and bone-in chicken over a hot bed of coals while cooking ribs and other items in the smoker—all without the hassle of loading and unloading grills to get the job done.
BBQ Smoker Trailer

The TS250 barbecue trailer is used for vending and all kinds of events. The BBQ42 on the front of the trailer lets you expand your menu with perfectly-grilled chicken, steak, burgers, sausages, and much more!

“We have a yearly Fourth of July family cookout, feeding roughly 125 family and friends. This unit has cut our cooking time down, and made it fun to cook so much meat. I love this unit, only change I might make is upgrade to the TS500!"

- Lee Jones, TS250 owner -

Pulling Rib Membrane

Cooking Ribs and Other Goodies on Big Black, My BBQ Smoker on a Trailer

This summer I pulled Big Black (my decked out TS250 BBQ smoker on a trailer) to my friend’s house to cook meat for a party of 100 people.

I always enjoy variety when cooking for an event like this, so I'll often cook 6-8 different foods, including some non-meat items, such as the baked beans and bacon-wrapped Oreos we made at this event last year.

This time we cooked two cases of baby back ribs (16 racks), 60+ cheese-stuffed sausage balls, a couple of turkeys, and strip steaks.

Here are some photos from the event that show this BBQ smoker trailer in action.

BBQ Smoker Trailer Firebox

We used a mix of Chef's Select 100% hardwood briquettes and seasoned hardwood log splits from my wood pile to fire the smoker. We fired the smoker with about 20 pounds of charcoal and a couple of splits of wood, then fired it with mostly wood the rest of the time.

Firing BBQ Smoker

My propane torch gets the tank hot in about 15–20 minutes so it drafts properly.

A Pitmaster's Dream:

"Big Black"

Our best-selling TS250 tank smoker with these upgrades:

BBQ42 Chicken Cooker

Insulated Firebox

Charcoal Slide-Out Basket

Stainless Steel Exterior Shelves

Trim Package

Live Smoke in Warming Box

Customize your tank smoker here:


Baby Back Ribs

The ribs were meant to be the "star of the show" here, so we ordered in two cases of 8 racks each. 

To prep them, we removed the membrane, slathered the meat side in yellow mustard, then covered them in Meadow Creek TX Brisket Rub. After giving them a few minutes to sweat, we loaded the smoker.

Once the meat reached 165 degrees F in the thickest end of the rack, we wrapped each rack (meat side down) in two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil with a bead of barbecue sauce and put them back into the smoker (meat side down) until they reached about 205 degrees. At that point we removed the foil, sauced them again, and put them back in the smoker (meat side up) for a few minutes to set the sauce before slicing them.

Ribs Ready to Wrap

A rack ready to wrap

Prepping Ribs

Pulling the membrane

Prepping Ribs

Adding mustard

Prepping Ribs

Mustard is a great binder to help create a nicer bark.

Prepping Ribs

Seasoning the ribs

Prepping Ribs

Bone side of the ribs

Prepping Ribs

Sweating out the rub

Ribs Ready for the Smoker

Ready for the smoker. Notice how the rub turned into a paste.

Smoking Ribs in BBQ Smoker on a Trailer

I love the sliding grates on the Meadow Creek TS Smokers.

Ribs Smoking

Simply beautiful!

Ribs in Smoker

Looking sweet!

Wrapping Ribs

Saucing and wrapping

Wrapping Ribs

Bone side up... perfectly done

Wrapping Ribs

Wrapping ribs

Wrapping Ribs

Making a pouch to seal in the juices and heat

Wrapped Ribs in Smoker

Ribs wrapped and back in the smoker

Smoked Ribs

The lighting was bad here but these ribs were beautiful.

Slicing Ribs

Slicing for service

Click here for more stories, videos, and photos of "Big Black," a customized TS250 tank smoker.



My friend had some turkeys in the freezer he wanted me to cook. Not being in the Thanksgiving spirit, I decided to break the turkey down and cook the breast TX-style.

First, I separated the legs and skinned and deboned the breasts, then I brined the meat in a basic salt water brine in my Briner Bucket for a couple of hours before smoking them in the tank smoker.

We seasoned the breasts with Lane's Brisket Rub, a coarse, peppery rub that's perfect for beef—and TX-style turkey breasts. I took them up to 165 degrees internal temperature, but before they were done we wrapped them in foil with butter. Just before serving we sliced them against the grain.

We seasoned the legs and wings with Butcher BBQ Grilling Addiction and smoked them for a couple of hours, then finished them over direct heat on the BBQ42 because we were running out of time. We pulled the meat for serving.

Slicing Turkey Breast

Slicing the turkey breast

Prepping Turkey

Breaking down the turkeys

Prepping Turkey

Breaking down the turkeys

Brining Turkey

Brining the turkey

Brining Turkey

The Briner Bucket

Brine Turkey Breast

The breasts

Lane's Brisket Rub

Lane's Brisket Rub, one of my favorites

Seasoning Turkey Legs

Seasoning the legs with Butcher BBQ Grilling Addiction, another one of my favorite rubs

Seasoned Turkey

Turkey ready to smoke

Turkey on Smoker

Turkey on the smoker

Wrapping Turkey

Wrapping the turkey breast

Grilling Turkey

Turkey legs on the BBQ42

Do you dream of cooking a feast of authentic barbecue like this on a wood-fired smoker? Let us help you make that dream a reality.


Cheese-Stuffed Sausage Balls

These things are amazing! If you've never tried this, you owe it to yourself.

The balls are serving size so you get a ton of delicious flavor on the outside and the gooey cheese on the inside perfectly complements the pork.

They are easier to make than it might seem. Simply form loose sausage into walnut-sized balls, press a 1/2" cube of cheddar cheese into the center of the ball, then massage the meat until the opening is sealed and roll it into the shape of a ball. (Ten pounds of sausage made around 65 balls.)

From there, simply cook them until the sausage reaches 160 degrees F. Glaze them with your favorite barbecue sauce 15 minutes before they are done.

Sausage Balls on Smoker

Glazed sausage balls stuffed with cheese


Cheese cubes

Sausage Balls

Forming the sausage balls

Sausage Balls

Moving the sausage balls onto Bradley racks for the smoker

Sausage Balls on Smoker

Sausages on the smoker

Glazing Sausage Balls

Glazing the sausages

Smoked Sausage

Sausages done

Click here for more stories, videos, and photos of "Big Black," a customized TS250 tank smoker.


Strip Steaks

My friend had a strip roast that needed to be eaten so they sliced and marinated the steaks in advance. I fired up the BBQ42 on the front of my trailer with lump charcoal and grilled the steaks using the single-panel "flat" grate and the charcoal pan in the raised position.

Grilling NY Strip Steaks
Charcoal in BBQ42

Charcoal heating up

Steaks on BBQ42

Strip steaks on the BBQ42 fired with lump charcoal

Grilling Steaks on BBQ42

Grilling on the BBQ42 with the charcoal pan raised

“Great experience! Maintains the heat for better cooking and smoking. Ample room for a variety of meats and side dishes. Best purchase ever.”

- Richard Conley, TS250/BBQ42 owner -

Want to Learn More About Buying a BBQ Smoker on a Trailer?

Our BBQ smoker trailers are handmade right here in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania by our team of talented craftsmen.

These trailers come with flush-mount LED lights, a wheel jack, safety chains, and even a VIN number. But most of all, they are built in a culture of integrity—a rich tradition that values skill, honesty, kindness, diligence, and efficiency.

BBQ Smoker on a Trailer

If your heart is set on cooking "authentic" barbecue with a BBQ smoker on a trailer, a Meadow Creek tank smoker is a great option. The offset firebox with reverse flow makes it possible to get amazing results, even when using the entire grate and as you've seen in the photos above, these grates are large enough to hold enough meat to feed a hungry crowd.


bbq smokers, Big Black, tank smokers, ts250 smoker

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