Ribs, Sausage, and Chicken on Big Black

In this story, we fired Big Black to flip some chicken and to smoke a bunch of ribs and sausage. If you dream of owning a large stick burner, you'll love browsing the dozens of tantalizing photos in this post.

Big Black is now in video!
Watch the chicken flip and the smoke roll in the video above.

A taste of the final product:

In case you're new here, Big Black is my Meadow Creek TS250 tank smoker decked out with a few nice upgrades, including an insulated firebox, stainless steel exterior shelves, trim package, and a mounted BBQ42 Chicken Cooker.

Stories of my cooks on the Meadow Creek TS250 offset smoker:

Chicken leg quarters on the BBQ42 chicken flipper

Clean smoke

Getting cleaned up for the photo shoot

Ready for the meat

Firing the tank smoker with about 20 pounds of Chef's Select 100% hardwood briquettes

Unwrapping the loin back pork ribs

Removing the membrane

Seasoning the ribs with Meadow Creek Black Pepper Rub

There are different ways to fire this smoker, but I've been experimenting with about 20 pounds of Chef's Select 100% hardwood briquettes and the firebox vents open about half an inch. (Remember I have an insulated firebox.)

I add a split or two of wood at the beginning on top of the charcoal around the time I add the meat and then add another log every hour or so. I've found that it runs pretty steady like that unless you overload it with meat. Sometimes I'll shovel in more charcoal if I'm low on smoking wood or happen to let it burn down too much.

Ribs and sausage cooking

I shaped 2 cases (20 pounds) of John F Martin loose sausage into 8 loaves and seasoned the outsides with John Henry’s Honey Rib Rub. Then we cooked them until they reached at least 165 degrees internal temperature.

Rear view of Big Black with the BBQ42 fired and grilling chicken.

Click the button below to learn more about the Meadow Creek TS250 Smoker and then click on Customize to see the available upgrades, including insulated firebox, stainless steel exterior shelves, trim package, live smoke, and mounted BBQ42 chicken cooker.

I like to wrap my ribs in aluminum foil to shorten the cook time. Once they have the color I'm looking for, I will wrap them until they are ready and then unwrap and sauce them and let them sit in the smoker for another 20-30 minutes to set the sauce.

Looking delicious!

The sausage is starting to tempt me.

The TS250 tank smoker comes with two stainless steel cooking grates that slide out on either side of the smoker.

Some of the ribs got overdone because I was busy shooting photos, or drinking iced coffee, or trying to keep everything else on track... but oh well, we still have lots of amazing ribs!

I sliced most of the ribs into individual pieces and vacuum sealed them for later.

A sausage loaf like this with a dusting of your favorite barbecue rub is top-notch. It's not only simple to make, but also one of my favorite things to eat off the smoker. Here is one of the 2—3 pound loaves.

"Big Black" — my favorite smoker ever.

"


With very little experience in smoking, I have been able to turn out good volumes of really delicious food.


Blake Anderson, Tank Smoker owner 

Olds, AB, Canada

Click the button below to learn more about the Meadow Creek TS250 Smoker and then click on Customize to see the available upgrades, including insulated firebox, stainless steel exterior shelves, trim package, live smoke, and mounted BBQ42 chicken cooker.

Here we're getting ready to grill the chicken on the BBQ42 grill. After the charcoal is lit and spread evenly in the charcoal pan, oil the grate and arrange the chicken onto the grate as shown, close and latch the "sandwich" grate, and set it onto the grill.

I like to season both sides after the chicken is on the grill. For this cook, I used Kosmos Dirty Bird Rub. Some of the seasoning will hit the fire and put off a wonderful aroma.

Here we're cooking skin side down.

Turning the chicken to skin side up.

Easy to turn one 40-pound case of bone-in chicken.

The sliding cylinder latch holds the grate shut.

Chicken, ribs, and sausage coming up!

The lid has two vents in it for fine-tuning the air flow. There are also sliding dampers near the bottom of the firebox.

I like to cook the bone-in chicken until it measures about 180 degrees F and has a nice color on the skin. It's pretty easy to control it if you take the time to spread your coals evenly and then use the lid and vents to keep it from burning before it's fully done. This chicken got a little bit too dark to suit me, but I was distracted and not paying attention like I should have been.

To remove the chicken, you can either hook the grate onto the lid with heat-resistant gloves or set the grate on a stainless steel table (you'll need a helper), and then use gloves or tongs to transfer the meat to pans.

It's best served hot while the skin is crispy, but a lot of people keep it hot in an empty ice chest or warming box or even cool and reheat it for service later.

"


Through wind, heavy snow, and ice, the old girl just kept on going.


 Johnny Van, owner of TS250 Tank Smoker 

Chicago, IL 

Are you dreaming of your own "Big Black" and what all you could do with it? We'd love to build you one!

Nothing makes an impression quite like an offset smoker... and a decked out Meadow Creek Tank Smoker, such as Big Black, is the ideal rig if you're looking to serve small crowds with this type of cooking style.

These smokers feature reverse flow draft, which helps maintain a more even temperature, and we offer a wide variety of customization options, including stainless steel shelves and trim package for making a great impression on the road!

Click the button below to get started...

About the Author

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

Leave a Reply 6 comments

Bill Moore - September 29, 2018 Reply

I have been looking at your emails for almost a year and dreaming. I just don’t have the finances to purchase your smoker. I was wondering if you have a smoker that has the automatic feed system? I do not like using charcoal briquettes. When I have used them in the past I can taste the oil in my food and I have let them burn till everything was white and still had that oil taste. I went to hardwood charcoal and I get much better results in the taste of the food and unbelievable food taste.

Cheers,
Bill Moore

[Reply]

Lavern Gingerich Reply:

Bill, we don’t have any with an automatic feeder for the fuel, but you can get a few hours out of one basket full of charcoal briquettes, depending on the kind of charcoal and the temperature you are cooking at. We recommend 100% hardwood charcoal briquettes, such as Chef’s Select from Royal Oak.

[Reply]

Paul - October 10, 2018 Reply

Hello, Since it takes around 12 hours to smoke product and the fuel source will last a few hours, does this mean there’s no other way of getting around waking up in the middle of the night to feed the smoker? Since I will be open and serving by noon the product would have to be cooking by 12 am and I’ll then have to add fuel by 4 am and then more at 8 am?

Thank you,

Paul

[Reply]

Lavern Gingerich Reply:

Yes, any offset cooker like this will require adding more fuel throughout the cook. There are different ways to fire a TS250 with an insulated firebox, but a lot of people like to keep adding smaller amounts at a time and feeding it once every hour or two. If you add a full basket of charcoal/wood each time, it is harder to avoid 1) getting creosote on your meat because of all the fresh fuel you added at once or 2) getting the fire too hot because too much fuel lit at once. If you have further questions, you can email us using the email form on our website.

[Reply]

Dwayne Hounsell - October 11, 2018 Reply

Great stuff I am wondering how do you clean all the grills after the smoking is done.
Thanks

[Reply]

Lavern Gingerich Reply:

I can’t explain it all here but I have found that a 3,000+ psi pressure washer is a very helpful tool for cleaning both the smoker and the grates. I use spray on heavy duty oven cleaner for the grates, let it sit, and then spray them with the pressure washer. On the outside of the smoker, I use dish soap and then rinse with high pressure. If you have any more questions, feel free to email us using the contact page on this website.

[Reply]

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