PR60T Pig Roaster Demo: All God's Creatures Got a Place on the Grill
In this story, I broke in my new Meadow Creek PR60T Pig Roaster trailer here in my new outdoor cooking studio. To kick things off, I want to show you what a great job this cooker does for anything you want to cook with indirect heat.
What better way to demonstrate this than to round up every critter available at Sam's club and cook them for you? In this cook, we have a Boston butt, St. Louis ribs, pork loin, chickens, duck, leg of lamb, salmon, sausage, lobster tail, strip loin, and meatloaf!
“I have to give this an over-whelming 5 stars! It will give you fantastic results whether you are a professional pig cooker or this is your first. It holds a variety of temps very well so whether you are cooking low and slow hogs, brisket, pork shoulders, whole lamb, or 400° baked potatoes for an army, this cooker will do it. I would buy another and not look elsewhere.
"If you join the Meadow Creek Equipment Owners group on Facebook, you also have the luxury of getting real help from real people who are hobbyists and professional caterers alike. Best cooker with best results and versatility (along with the BBQ42) I’ve ever owned (and I’ve owned 23 cookers).”
- Gerry Pierick, PR60 owner -
Every cooker is wrapped in a heavy-duty shrink wrap before it leaves the shop.
Mine has an optional second tier grate and rib rack. These were attached with cable ties to keep them in place on the way home.
To get it ready for the first cook, I oiled the inside with spray cooking oil and fired it up to 250–300 degrees F. I used more charcoal than I would have had to, but I also wanted to give it a little test run before I put any meat on it. If you are seasoning the cooker the same day you want to cook on it, you could oil it, fill it up with charcoal, and just wait an hour to put the meat on.
Firing the PR60T Pig Roaster
There are different ways to do this, but here is my method.
Add the Charcoal and Wood
I use Royal Oak Chef's Select briquettes and log splits around 16" long. The PR60 Pig Roaster holds 40 pounds of charcoal. If you are doing an all-day cook, go ahead and fill it up. If you are only cooking for 5 or 6 hours, it should only take about half as much fuel.
I use a propane torch to light the charcoal at both ends of the cooker. With the torch, it takes 10–15 minutes to get one area well-lit. The coals should be gray as shown in the second photo below. If you have trouble getting the roaster up to temperature, it means you didn't keep the lid open long enough or light the charcoal well enough.
Refer to the owner's manual for instructions on using lighter fluid.
Replace the Drip Pan and Grate
Set the drip pan and cooking grate back on the smoker.
Dial it In
As you probably know, fire management is all about controlling the amount of air you give the fire. The lid on this cooker is the entire top of the unit, so every time you open the lid it gives the fire a lot of air. The cooker also looses heat when the lid is open, but that's not a big concern because it can recover fairly quickly.
However, if you have the lid open a long time, the fire will get hotter a lot faster than it will just by opening the vents all the way. This is not a problem if you learn to harness it and use it to your advantage.
If you are not able to get the smoker hot enough, just open the lid longer to let the fire get more established. If you are running too hot, try to keep the lid closed as much as possible.
There are vents at both ends of the smoker and at both the top and bottom of the unit. It will take some time to learn how to adjust these, but as a rule start off with all the round vents open about 1/3 of the way. If you have a sliding vent, open it about an inch or two.
From there it will really just depend on how hot you fired it, the weather, and how much meat you have on the cooker (more cold meat lowers the temperature). Remember, it's easier to raise the temperature than it is to control it if you get it wildly out of control. If you happen to fire it too hot, shut the vents all the way for a while to slow it down.
As a rule, running this cooker is a piece of cake, and one load of fuel should be enough for a 12+ hour cook and usually you won't need to mess with the fire. Having said that, I highly recommend the optional charcoal pull-out in case you need to stoke the fire or add/remove charcoal or wood.
Boston Butt (Pork Butt)
We just trimmed the butt and seasoned it with John Henry Texas Pig Rub and Meadow Creek Black Pepper Brisket Rub before setting it on the smoker. We cooked it to 170 degrees F internal temperature and sliced it. It was excellent and the bark was amazing!
St. Louis Pork Ribs
These were spare ribs and I trimmed them down to St. Louis style and removed the membrane. We seasoned them with Oak Ridge Competition Pork Rub just before putting them on the smoker. We didn't wrap or glaze them at all—just cooked them until they were tender and sliced them into single-bone servings. The bark was delightful!
We seasoned the pork loin with Killer Hogs The BBQ Rub and AP Rub and aimed for a target internal temperature of 145 degrees. We overcooked this one accidentally, so it was a bit dry, but the slices are still delicious on sandwiches.
I cut the backbones out of these whole chickens and spatch-cocked them. Then we seasoned them with Oak Ridge Secret Weapon Chicken Rub and cooked them until the dark meat reached 175 degrees F.
I trimmed the neck skin and tail, seasoned it with Meadow Creek Gourmet Seasoning, and then cooked it until it topped 175 degrees F. Duck is such a lovely, elegant dish that's easy to make.
Leg of Lamb
I am by no means a lamb expert, but I kept this really simple. Just salted and rubbed it with a homemade paste of herbs and then cooked it to medium rare and sliced it.
I trimmed the fat cap a bit, seasoned it with Oak Ridge Black Ops Brisket Rub and maybe some salt/black pepper, and then cooked it to medium rare. It turned out delicious.
I still prefer rib roast, but this cut is cheaper and still worth the money. If you can get it locally, give it a try sometime. Wow, just look at this thing...
We seasoned the salmon fillet with Oak Ridge Smoky Chile Lime and cooked it with a target internal temperature of 140 degrees F. Served with homemade tartar sauce, it was delicious.
This was my first time cooking lobster, and they turned out a bit tough. I am not sure if the lower portion of the tail is supposed to be chewy or if I messed them up, but it was a fun experiment, and I look forward to trying again.
If you want to learn how to cook lobster tails, look up Jeff Phillips's recipe on smoking-meat.com.
My wife mixed the meatloaves with her recipe, so any homestyle recipe should do the trick. We just set them on a Bradley smoker rack, seasoned them with Meadow Creek Black Pepper Brisket Rub, glazed them with Meadow Creek Traditional Barbecue Sauce, and cooked them to an internal temperature of 170 degrees F.
No cook like this is complete without sausage.
“Awesome cooker. Very versatile. Not only do I cook whole hogs on it, but I also treat it like a offset smoker and it turns out amazing brisket. It is easy to maintain temp which surprises me for not being insulated.”
- Scott Uhrig -
We had a fun time cooking this meat on the PR60T Pig Roaster. This was the first time I personally was in charge of running one of these pig roasters, and I was surprised how easy it was to get the temperature dialed in and on track throughout the cook.
I used 40 pounds of charcoal and 3 log splits, but we didn't end up needing nearly that much. We fired the pig roaster at 7:00 am and got the pork butt on by 7:30. We didn't take the pork butt up to pulling temperature, and everything was off the cooker by 2:30 pm.
At 8:00 that evening the smoker was still running at 175 degrees. I'm sure it stayed warm for quite a while after that.
If you are in the market for an affordable smoker/pig roaster/grill that produces authentic barbecue and makes cooking over charcoal and wood easy and fun, you've got to check out these sweet smokers.
You can browse more photos, features, and specs on the Meadow Creek pig roasters on our website. Click on one of the models listed and then you can click on customize to see the available upgrades and suggested retail prices: