Feeding Hundreds With a Meadow Creek Offset Smoker

Are you interested in cooking for hundreds of people at a time on an offset smoker or stick burner? In this story, I want to show you how I cooked enough pulled pork and pulled chicken to feed several hundred people on "Big Black", my Meadow Creek TS250 Tank Smoker trailer.

Big Black is now in video!
Watch me cook pulled pork and chicken in the video above.

Chicken and Pork Butts on Meadow Creek TS250 BBQ Smoker

For this cook, we only used the tank smoker, not the BBQ42 chicken cooker. We cooked 16 pork butts (2 cases or 146 pounds raw weight) and 24 whole fryer chickens (2 cases or 92 pounds raw weight).

Pulled Chicken on Meadow Creek BBQ Smoker

Pulled chicken

Pulled Pork on Meadow Creek TS250 BBQ Smoker

Pulled pork

Meadow Creek TS250 BBQ Smoker

Big Black, my Meadow Creek TS250 tank smoker trailer has the optional insulated firebox, charcoal basket, trim package, and stainless steel exterior shelves. It makes cooking for crowds with charcoal and wood fun and easy, and even a bit classy.

Firing Meadow Creek BBQ Smoker

To fire the tank smoker, I used around 20 pounds of Chef's Select 100% hardwood charcoal and a couple of splits of smoking wood. I used the propane torch to light the charcoal and get the tank up to 225 degrees F. If you have a charcoal basket, there are different ways to do it, but it works pretty well to aim the torch into the exit of the firebox as shown above to get the smoker heated up to at least 200 degrees. Then put the torch onto the charcoal to get a portion of it lit. The wood on top will also light. It also works in the reverse order but I like to get the tank heated before I light the charcoal.

I have an insulated firebox, so I keep my firebox vents at about 1/4" open for smooth sailing at 225 degrees F. With this method, I add more wood or charcoal every 45-60 minutes, or enough to keep a nice fire going.

The Pork Butts

Meadow Creek TS250 BBQ Smoker

Starting meat prep

Prepping Pork Butts

The pork butts come in 2-packs. I unwrapped them, cut off any bloody areas on the surface, and then spread mustard over them and seasoned them with Meadow Creek Black Pepper Brisket Rub.

Prepping Pork Butts
Prepping Pork Butts
Prepping Pork Butts
Prepping Pork Butts

Ready for the smoker

Meadow Creek TS250 BBQ Smoker

Smoker up to temp

The Chicken

Prepping Chickens

The whole fryers came with 12 in a case. I cut off the wing tips, tails, and extra skin around the tails.

Prepping Chickens

We seasoned them with Meadow Creek Gourmet Seasoning all over, including some under the skin on the breasts and thighs.

Prepping Chickens

Ready for the smoker

Cooking

Chicken and Pork Butts on Meadow Creek TS250 BBQ Smoker
Chicken and Pork Butts on Meadow Creek TS250 BBQ Smoker

The TS250 has a door on both sides of the tank.

Firing Meadow Creek BBQ Smoker

The fire

Chicken and Pork Butts on Meadow Creek BBQ Smoker

The sturdy, food-grade stainless steel grates slide out on both sides of the smoker.

Chicken and Pork Butts on Meadow Creek BBQ Smoker

All in a line...

Pork Butts on Meadow Creek BBQ Smoker
Chicken and Pork Butts on Meadow Creek BBQ Smoker

The sliding grates easily slide in and out of the smoker as you're working with the meat and more than strong enough to handle the weight of the meat.

Chicken and Pork Butts on Meadow Creek BBQ Smoker

Both grates are full of meat.

Chicken and Pork Butts on Meadow Creek BBQ Smoker

Getting some color in the smoke

Meadow Creek TS250 BBQ Smoker

Would you like to cook on your very own Big Black?


Wrapping the Pork Butts

Wrapping Pork Butts

After 7 hours in the smoker, the butts had the color I was looking for, so we wrapped them in aluminum foil to get them up to 200 degrees F faster.

Wrapping Pork Butts
Wrapping Pork Butts
Chicken and Pork Butts on Meadow Creek BBQ Smoker

Here they are back on the smoker and the chickens are coming along beautifully.

Finished Product

Smoked Pork Butts

I sliced one pork butt once it reached 170 degrees F in the foil. It took 9 hours for it to get up this temperature. It took the others around 12 hours total to get done (200+ degrees internal temperature). They were so tender, I didn't have to hold them in an empty ice chest.

Smoked and Sliced Pork Butts

Sliced pork butt

Smoked Chicken

The chickens were done when they reached about 180 degrees F in the thighs. It took them 5-6 hours. Opening the smoker to take photos and videos affected the cook time quite a bit.

Pulled Chicken

We pulled most of the chickens and mixed the white and dark meat together for sandwiches and casseroles.

Pulled Pork Butts

Bagging pulled pork for the freezer

Pulled Pork Butts

This cook made two meat lugs of pulled pork.

Pulled Pork Butts

I unwrapped the butts in the lugs and saved all the juices from inside the foil. These drippings contain a fair amount of grease, so I was a little nervous about using all the juices without separating the fat, but it mixed in very well and hasn't been a problem.

Pulled Pork Butts

The pulled pork was very tender and easy to pull. By keeping all the drippings, it has more of a "brothy" flavor, similar to what it would taste like if I had added gravy like some people do. Also the bark was very soft from being held in the wrap, so it was different from a lot of pulled pork I've made, but at the same time very delicious. It's been amazing in chip dip, quesadillas, etc.

Pulled Pork Butts

We vacuum sealed it all and put most of it in the freezer. We finished late at night, and we were too tired to weigh the yields, so I don't know how many pounds of meat we ended up with.

Pulled Chicken

Pulled chicken ready to serve or vacuum seal

Pulled Chicken

Close-up of chicken

Pulled Chicken

Vacuum sealed chicken

Smoked Chicken and Pork Butts

Would you like to cook on your very own Big Black?

About the Author

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

Leave a Reply 9 comments

CALVIN KEYES - October 8, 2018 Reply

Lavern, I already cook for hundreds of people. I bought my TS250 W/chicken cooker in April 2016 thru St Louis BBQ Store from Louis.

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Lavern Gingerich Reply:

That’s wonderful!

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Richard Erb - October 11, 2018 Reply

smokinerb56@yahoo.com Lavern, hope to have a big Black someday. I love the polished stack and the trim kit. My only issue is that I wish I could just deal directly with you and your shop. It would be good to just see the bigger models in person. My closest dealer is almost two hours away and most of the time
They don’t have what you want to look at. It’s hard to drop around $7000.00 without seeing if thats what you want. Looks like a great product. Thank you!! Rich

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Eric T Spivey PE - October 26, 2018 Reply

Nice cooker, and nice cook. I have the chicken cooker and it’s great. Looking at getting this or a pr72 someday.

By the way what vacuum sealer do you use?

With the amount of chicken my Bbq 42 can put out with two grates, I would like to freeze it.

Thanks,

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Lavern Gingerich Reply:

Thanks for your kind words. I use a Foodsaver. It works pretty decently with juicy meat.

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rob blum - December 15, 2018 Reply

Hey, Lavern, great video. I have the TS120-P (the “Mistress”), so same size tank. At times I say to myself that I wish your cabinet smokers had been available when I bought the Mistress years and years ago, probably that size is better for us, more practical for every day, but your video is really encouraging with the vacuum sealing idea, and lets face it — nothing compares to the fun of smoking on the Mistress for a big barbecue. I am already looking forward to my next charity fundraiser using the Mistress in the spring!
Advice to new buyers — buy the cover for the smoker or tarp it — really will keep your smoker new!
How long does vacuum sealed chicken last? Does it matter if you pull it before or after you freeze?

[Reply]

Lavern Gingerich Reply:

Hi, Rob! Thanks for your feedback. Yes, we do LOTS of freezing for leftovers. How long it will last depends on whether you have a good tight vacuum and seal so it doesn’t lose it’s vacuum. If the seal holds, it’s amazing how long it will stay fresh in the freezer. I would say a year or more, but your opinion might be different from mine. You can pull the chicken before you freeze it or freeze it whole. It takes a lot less room in the freezer if you pull the meat first. Sometimes I’ll freeze chickens whole so I can reheat them and serve them on the bone and that works too.

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Rick Gibson - December 15, 2018 Reply

rick.gibson@axis.bc.ca
I live I. BC Canada. I usually bbq for about 20 to 30 people. About 2 or 3 times a year for 100 people or more. What smoker bbq would you recommend for me? Where can I purchase one? Thanks Rick

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Lavern Gingerich Reply:

If you are looking to cook with charcoal and wood, the Meadow Creek SQ36, TS70P, or BX25 smokers would be about the right size. Unfortunately we don’t have any dealers near you, but we also drop-ship through our dealers. You can find a dealer here: https://www.meadowcreekbbq.com/dealers

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