Tomahawk Steaks, Beef Short Ribs, and Pork Belly Burnt Ends on a Meadow Creek Tank Smoker

Are you bored with the regular pulled pork, brisket, and St. Louis ribs? Or looking for something to cook on your smoker with a bit more pizzazz?

In this story I will show you how I smoked beef ribs, tomahawk steaks, pork belly burnt ends, and bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin on "Big Black", my Meadow Creek TS250 Tank Smoker with a front-mounted BBQ42 Chicken Cooker.

If you have never eaten beef short ribs, it's high time to do so. They are easy to cook, and eating thick slices of smoky probe-tender beef with a hefty, yet luscious bark is my idea of barbecue. The steaks were tender—two inches of medium-rare tender—with a sear on the outside. Yes, a real steak lover's dream!

Keep scrolling for a ton of mouth-watering photos of this cook...

“Absolutely the best and easiest to use cooker I have ever used! 140# pigs, chickens, brisket… I have used it for all. Highly recommended.”

- Steve Kwasnik -

A Meadow Creek reverse flow tank smoker makes it easier to produce great barbecue than on a traditional offset smoker because the meat is more protected from the heat in the firebox. This makes them an excellent choice for someone who needs enough space to cook for a crowd and wants the presentation of an offset smoker.

We also offer a nice line-up of upgrades on a Meadow Creek tank smoker trailer, such as a BBQ42 chicken cooker mounted on the front of the trailer. This grill is perfect for grilling chicken on the pivoting "sandwich" grate or searing steaks as shown here using the optional "flat" grate, a single-panel grate designed for grilling steaks and burgers with the charcoal pan in the raised position.


What's Cookin'

1

Beef Short Ribs

My friend at the Costco meat counter had a package of four beef short rib racks on hand, which was just perfect for this cook. I sliced them into single-bone pieces, seasoned them, and cooked them until they were probe tender on the top rack of the TS250. I sprayed them with apple juice several times during the cook.


I seasoned them with Meadow Creek Black Pepper Brisket Rub, one of my all-time favorite seasonings for beef and pork.


It took about 6 hours to cook these with a target temperature of 225-250 degrees F.

I forgot to get any photos of these after I cut into them, so you can't tell in the photo, but these ribs had a beautiful smoke ring, the marbling was heavenly, and they were incredibly tender.

This is the package they came in.

A nice looking piece of meat!

These are simple and easy to separate if you have a large cutting board.

Take a look at that marbling.

We're ready to start cooking!

Pretty combination of the meat and seasoning.

2

Pork Belly Burnt Ends

I found these pork bellies from a small butcher shop in the area. I had to order them in advance, but it was super fresh because the pig was butchered just a day or so before I picked them up.


If you've been hanging out in the BBQ groups on Facebook recently or reading BBQ recipes online, you've probably seen these already. You can get pretty fancy, but I tend to be a minimalist with my cooking so I kept these fairly simple.


  • Slice them into 1-1/2" strips and then cut them into cubes by slicing the strips into 1-1/2" pieces. 
  • Toss the cubes in Heath Riles Beef Rub and Heath Riles Honey Rub in a full size aluminum pan. 
  • Arrange them on the smoker grate and leave them on for 2 hours.
  • Transfer them to a foil pan, toss them in Kosmos Q Sweet Smoke Sauce, cover the pan with foil, and set them back on the smoker to tenderize them. Keep an eye on them, but an hour or two in the pan is all it should take.

Seasoned and ready for the smoker...

Saucing the cubes with Kosmos Q Sweet Smoke before covering the pan and putting them back in the smoker.

The candy of pork...

3

Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

These are ordinary pork tenderloins from the grocery store. We seasoned them with Meat Church Honey Hog, wrapped them in bacon, smoked them in the TS250, and then seared them over direct heat on the BBQ42.


I would take them up to 135 degrees F on the smoker and then finish them over direct heat. The target internal temperature on these is 145 degrees. The total cook time on these was 2-1/2 hours.

It takes a bit of a knack for wrapping bacon, but I wrapped the slices in a bit of a spiral and secured them with toothpicks.

Cooking away!

Searing the bacon on the BBQ42 with the optional flat grate, a single-panel grate for cooking with the charcoal pan in the raised position.

4

Tomahawk / Cowboy Steaks

I was lucky enough to get my hands on this wonderful hunk of beef, a bone-in ribeye trimmed for cowboy steaks. Before seasoning them, I cut it into roughly 2" thick steaks and removed some of the meat along the "handle" to round the steak a little. 


We seasoned them on both sides, cooked them in the TS250 smoker until they were 10 degrees from my target temperature of 130 degrees F. Then I seared them over the BBQ42 Chicken Cooker and brushed them with melted butter. I had a peppy fire going and the butter running off the steaks flared it up too, so it took some fast, but fun action to keep them from burning.


They took about 2-1/2 hours to finish in the smoker with a pit temperature of 225-250 degrees. A few minutes per side on the BBQ42 finished them off.

Cutting the roast into steaks...

This is going to be good!

Ready to season

We seasoned these steaks with Killer Hogs The AP Rub and Kosmos Q Cow Cover.

Here they are on the smoker with all my other goodies...

I fired the BBQ42 Grill with lump charcoal.

The BBQ42 is ready for meat...

Steaks on the grill...

What a line-up!

From another angle...

Some good eating right there...

Brush some butter on for a glossy finish...

“I have had a Meadow Creek TS250P for a year. It is my third smoker and by far the best! It has an insulated stainless steel fire box and a stainless steel warming drawer. With three stainless steel racks and a stainless steel rib rack that holds 27 sides of ribs, I can smoke all the meat, ribs & salmon I want for my sons & their families, as well as for my bride of 55 years at one time. It is very efficient with the wood that is burned & hold temperatures extremely well.


Everyone that sees it is very impressed with the quality of the workmanship of the smoker. The stainless steel shelves on both sides of the barrel make it very easy to place tools and my sprayers in close proximity to where they are needed and to remove the smoked food when it is ready. It is my third smoker, but also the last one I will ever need. The ash tray makes cleaning the ashes easy, and the removable racks much easier to clean. This smoker is a real WINNER!”

- Leonard S Tibbetts -

Stainless steel shelves are easy to clean, and they catch grease drippings that would otherwise fall through the shelf and land on the fender or ground.

Firing the TS250 Tank Smoker

For this cook, I used 30 pounds of Royal Oak Chef's Select 100% hardwood briquettes and two hardwood log splits to fire the TS250. From there on, I fed it with charcoal and wood as needed.

I use a propane torch to heat up the tank to 250 and to light the wood/charcoal.


Are you dreaming of starting a catering or vending business? Or simply ramping up your capacity for cooking for friends, family gatherings, and charities? Our tank smokers offer an excellent presentation for on-site cooking and they are fun to pull on the road.

A mounted BBQ42 Chicken Cooker on the front of the trailer adds a nice touch and multiplies the usefulness of your trailer by making it easy to cook with direct and semi-direct heat while you’re finishing the meats in the offset smoker.

We also offer some really sweet upgrades, such as the stainless steel work shelves, insulated firebox, and trim package (aluminum wheels and stainless stack), which make it easy to deck out a rig that’s right for you.

Click here to browse more photos, features, and specs on the TS250, then click on customize to see the available upgrades and suggested retail prices:

About the Author

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

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