Cooking for 100+ People on a Meadow Creek Wood Smoker
Would you like to cook a mouth-watering feast of "authentic" barbecue on a wood smoker with ease, efficiency, and even a touch of class?
In this story, I will show you how well the Meadow Creek TS250 tank smoker with a front-mounted BBQ42 handles this. Keep scrolling for a visual feast of irresistible ribs, tri-tips, armadillo eggs, bacon-wrapped Oreos, and more cooked on my wood-fired smoker trailer!
The TS250 barbecue trailer is perfect for a take-out or roadside operation, and the BBQ42 on the front of the trailer is excellent for expanding your menu with perfectly grilled chicken and sausages.
“We just received our new Meadow Creek TS250 Smoker, complete with the BBQ-42 Chicken Cooker... The quality, attention to detail and color/appearance scheme is off the charts."
- Paul Morgan (Smokee Bro’s of Halifax, PA) -
Baby back ribs, beef tri-tip, armadillo eggs, and more on my stick-burning wood smoker.
A Pitmaster's Dream:
Our best-selling TS250 tank smoker with these upgrades:
BBQ42 Chicken Cooker
Charcoal Slide-Out Basket
Stainless Steel Exterior Shelves
Live Smoke in Warming Box
Customize your tank smoker here:
This summer we had the fun of cooking the meat for a friend's employee picnic. It was a potluck-style meal and I was just cooking and serving the meat.
The photos in this story are from that event. I regret not getting photos of the sliced meats, but I've included several my friend took on his phone.
Below is a list of all the foods we cooked. The ribs and tri tip took the longest to cook, so I put them on around 11:30 am for a 6:00 pm serving time. Everything else didn't go on the smoker until 3:00 or later. As things got done, I held them in foil pans in an empty cooler until ready to slice and serve.
We used a mix of Chef's Select 100% hardwood briquettes and seasoned hardwood log splits from my wood pile to fire the smoker. I alternated between a log and charcoal, and was very pleased with how the food turned out.
Chef's Select 100% hardwood charcoal briquettes are the best! Learn more here.
My propane torch gets the tank hot in about 15–20 minutes so it drafts properly.
Are you new to wood smokers, often referred to as stick burners? For best results, we recommend cooking with 100% hardwood charcoal and supplementing the fire with seasoned log splits. Cooking with only wood is an advanced method of smoking that takes some time to master. Read more about cooking with wood in "What Is a Stick Burner?"
If you enjoy jalapeno poppers, you've got to try these. Instead of halving the pepper and wrapping it in bacon, we keep the pepper whole and wrap it in a blanket of loose sausage, then wrap it in bacon. For the stuffing, I like to use a mix of shredded cheddar and softened cream cheese with a dusting of Butcher BBQ Grilling Addiction.
Cap the peppers and hollow them out with a paring knife. It's highly advisable to wear gloves when handling the peppers.
Roll a small piece of the cheese into a thin strip as you would when forming play dough. Slide the filling into the pepper and press on the end until it's full. Remove the excess.
Ready to wrap
Separate the sausage into 5–8 ounces portions, depending on the size of the pepper. Massage it around the pepper until the pepper is covered.
Ready to wrap in bacon
Spiral the bacon around the sausage, slightly overlapping each round. It will take 2–3 slices of bacon per "egg". The stickiness of the sausage helps keep it in place.
Ready for the smoker
The bottom grate toward the firebox usually runs hotter than the rest of the smoker so it's perfect for cooking foods like this.
These are done when the bacon is cooked and the sausage reaches 160 degrees. Slice, serve, and strengthen some friendships!
Beef Tri Tip
Beef tri tip roasts are not available everywhere, but I've been lucky enough to find them at one of my nearest Wal-Marts, of all places. The marbling on these is usually beautiful too, considering they are choice grade. I opted to cook these as a brisket instead of as a steak.
I am a fan of Lane's Brisket Rub for beef, so that's what I used. After they had the color I was looking for and had reached roughly 160 degrees F, I wrapped them in butcher paper until they were probe tender, then rested them in an empty ice chest until it was time to eat.
Lovely tri tips
Trimming them a bit
Bottom side (fat cap)
Seasoning the tri tip
Lane's BBQ Brisket Rub. Learn more at MeadowCreekBBQSupply.com
Ready for the smoker
I wrapped it in Burnt End Paper. Purchase it here.
Ready to wrap
Wrapping the tri tip
Back on the smoker
Are you dreaming of cooking a feast of authentic barbecue like this on a wood-fired smoker? Let us help you make that dream a reality.
Smoked meatloaf is a winner at nearly any gathering. In my opinion, meatloaf is a wonderful comfort food that reminds one of home, and cooking it on a wood-fired smoker takes it to a brand new level of comfort.
To prepare this, mix a batch of your family's favorite meatloaf, form a loaf in a disposable pan with a margin around the edge, dust the top with your favorite barbecue rub, and set it in the smoker until it's fully cooked. When it's nearly done, glaze the top with barbecue sauce.
Tip: You can make some slits in the bottom of the pan to drain the grease as it cooks.
A delicious feast coming up!
Click here for more stories, videos, and photos of "Big Black," a customized TS250 tank smoker.
Baked beans are a favorite side to serve at a barbecue. We usually start with Bush's Baked Beans and dump in some chopped onion and pepper, Worcestershire sauce, a little brown sugar, barbecue rub, and some sauce such as Meadow Creek Hickory Sauce.
I like to simmer and smoke these in the smoker under or next to some meat for several hours.
Beans ready to pour into a pan on-site
If your heart is set on cooking "authentic" barbecue with a wood smoker, these tank smokers are 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.
Pork tenderloins are easy to cook and make a fantastic addition to a barbecue feast. We kept this very simple, by simply dusting them with Meat Church Honey Bacon BBQ Rub and cooking them until they reached a minimum of 145 degrees F internal temperature.
Ready to slice and serve
Baby Back Ribs
Baby back ribs are easy to source and don't require much or any trimming. We usually remove the membranes on the back and season them with Meadow Creek Black Pepper Brisket Rub.
For this event, we smoked them for 3–4 hours, then glazed them with barbecue sauce, wrapped them in foil, and put them back into the smoker until they were tender.
At that point, you can either serve them or unwrap and set them back in the smoker for 20 minutes with another glaze.
When they were done, we wrapped them in Cling Classic food wrap and transferred them to an empty ice chest until serving time. The wrap holds in the steam and helps tenderize the meat.
Prepping baby back ribs
Pulling the membrane
A beautiful rack of ribs
Giving them a solid coat of Meadow Creek Black Pepper Brisket Rub
The top grate holds 12 racks
After 3 hours in the smoke
Bottom side at time of wrap
Top side with sauce
Wrapping the ribs
Seasoning the rack full of chicken thighs
Ready to eat
The BBQ42 is perfect for sending smoke signals too!
If you're looking for an easy way to make an impression at your next cookout, try smoking bacon-wrapped Oreos. Some people will reach for seconds; others will think it's taking things too far, but you're guaranteed to make some memories!
To make these, we cut bacon slices in half, then wrapped the bacon around the cookie, and dusted the whole thing with Meat Church Honey Bacon BBQ Rub.
I cooked these in the warming box of my TS250 with the live smoke vent open. I can't remember, but I think the warmer was running at between 200 and 300 degrees and it took about 45 minutes to crisp the bacon. We cooled them a bit before serving.
Cooking in the warming box with live smoke
Ready to eat
“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 -
Chicken, ribs, and meatloaf
Armadillo eggs, tri tip, and pork tenderloin
Arriving on-site for a day's work
Hard at work
The storage box is handy for hauling wood, charcoal, and other supplies.
Highway ready trailer with LED lights and safety chains
The TS250 has a smoker door on each side.
Both cooking grates are rust-free stainless steel and slide out on either side.
Your success in cooking barbecue for a crowd hinges on the equipment you use, specifically the smoker you choose.
Don’t try to cram too much meat into your smoker or it will take longer to cook and cook more unevenly. It’s so much fun cooking on a smoker with plenty of room for everything.
Ease of Use
Cooking cases of meat in one day is rewarding but it can be exhausting, especially if you are trying to do it with a couple of people. Choose a smoker that does a great job without causing stress.
When you’re cooking on-site, you want to make a great impression. A tank smoker on a trailer with a front-mounted charcoal grill is sure to get the attention of guests as they show up and admire your rig.