Updated: July 8, 2017
This chart illustrates some of the differences between two cabinet smokers—the Backwoods Competitor and Meadow Creek’s BX50. The following article explains the differences in more detail.
Meadow Creek BX50 Box Smoker
Wet and Dry Smoking
Wet Smoking Only
66"h x 44"w x 34"d
55.5"h x 20"w x 27.5"d
29"h x 24"w x 20"d (8.1 cu. ft.)
33"h x 20"w x 20"d (7.6 cu. ft.)
4 stainless steel
8 nickel plated
18" x 22"
19.5" x 19.5"
Total Grate Area
1,584 sq. in.
3,042 sq. in.
Auto Water Feed
2 solid tires and 2 casters
3" feet ($213 extra for casters)
Note: Please check current prices online in case they've changed.
By comparing the BX50 with the Backwoods Competitor, we don’t mean to bash the Backwoods smokers; they make fine smokers. Our intention is to show you how much value the BX50 offers for the money.
Wet and Dry Smoking
What really sets this box smoker apart is the ability to use it with or without water! The Backwoods Competitor requires water or liquid in the pan to stabilize the smoker temperature. The BX50 is built for wet or dry smoking, which means you can use it for jerky and other foods that need a dry smoke environment.
Size and Weight
On the outside, the BX50 is much bigger and weighs 275 pounds more than the Competitor. The BX50 is a beast and you will probably want help rolling it up and down a trailer ramp. The weight proves you’re getting a lot of steel for your money.
The BX50 oven is 0.5 cubic foot larger and each grate is 15.75 square inches bigger, which is really not much difference in the whole scope of things. However, the Competitor does have more cooking area out of the box since it ships with 8 grates.
The Competitor ships with 8 removable grates 3” apart with the option to add more grates. The BX50 Box Smoker comes with 4 removable grates 6” apart. You can add 3 extra grates for a total of 7, which reduces the grate spacing to 3”. The Competitor’s 8 grates offers almost 300 square inches of cooking area more than the BX50’s 7 grates. This extra cooking surface would be useful for thin items such as ribs; however, for thicker items, such as full briskets and pork butts, you will need more than 3” spacing.
Comparing our meat capacities with the Competitor, it looks like there is not much difference. For example, they list 8–12 briskets. We list 2 briskets per grate, times 4 grates, which equals 8. We list 16 pork butts; they have 16–18. We list 4 racks of baby back ribs per grate, which equals 28 racks when using 7 grates. They list 22–26 slabs of baby back ribs. Since the BX50 grates are bigger, the only way they are getting more capacity is by using more grates or crowding the grates more.
Auto Water Feed
The BX50 comes with a 5-gallon water jug that keeps water in the pan. This is really helpful if you don’t want to hassle with opening the smoker door and checking the water level on those long cooks.
The Competitor is reverse flow, and some people have wondered how the BX50 air flow is designed. The BX50 is not reverse flow; however, it is insulated and produces very consistent temperatures in the oven. In our experience, the top and bottom thermometers show only several degrees difference once it’s up and running, at least when using it as a water smoker.
The BX50 is an upright smoker with the fire box in the bottom and a water pan, steel plates, and a grease pan separating the fire from the food.
Here is a break-down of the air flow:
- The air enters the firebox through vents on the sides of the firebox. The vents make it easy to fine-tune your fire and hold a consistent temperature for a long 8–12 hour burn.
- The water pan sits directly above the fire. It slides into the smoker on the left side of the firebox. Two latches hold it in place on the outside.
- Above the water pan is a solid plate of steel with 1” holes around its perimeter.
- Above the first plate of steel is another plate of steel, with a round pattern of holes in the center.
- The grease pan slides in above the second plate of steel, diffusing the heat even more. The air flows past the grease pan in the front and back.
- Now we are in the cooking chamber where the food is. The smoke stack is at the top of the cooking chamber, in the middle of the ceiling. The air enters the stack left and right, traveling through a short horizontal channel, then up and out.
The Competitor’s water pan is permanently welded into the smoker to keep it from warping. It must have water in it for the smoker to maintain a stable temperature. The BX50 water pan is removable and held securely by positive lock latches on the outside of the smoker. It is heavy enough that it will not warp or burn through if you run it dry.