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It’s not exactly breaking news anymore but Meadow Creek, the maker of classic BBQ smokers, roasters, and grills, has a new smoker on the market. It’s called the BX50 and is Meadow Creek’s first gravity fed water smoker to hit the market.

Usually, the arrival of a new smoker doesn’t generate much interest in the barbeque world because they are not much different than existing models. To most people, the science of BBQ smokers is pretty much tried and tested, meaning that all smokers are relatively similar. They strive to create a constant temperature in the smoking chamber for long periods of time to ensure the meat’s flavor and tenderness. Generally a “new” smoker typically looks and performs much like an existing model.

That’s what makes the Meadow Creek BX50 different. It is about more than the usual scaling or tinkering with existing models. Like many of Meadow Creek’s creations, the BX50 is a charcoal BBQ smoker with all the features you would expect from a high end cooker, such as durable 13 gauge steel construction, 304 stainless steel grates and oversized wheels which make it easy to move. The real difference is that it has a unique gravity fed water system that adds a new twist to classic smoking. The automatic water system is flexible and can be used for the whole smoke, part of it or not at all. This gives the BX50 an advantage over other smokers that do not have the ability to add moisture to the smoking chamber.

This unique water replenishing feature keeps the water pan full without having to open the smoker to add more water. I believe the BX50 will be a great competition smoker since it allows you to control the moisture in the smoker better than other units I have seen.

Word from Meadow Creek designers who created the BX50 is that the final design is the result of custom build request of the company’s other models over the past couple of years. The BX50 prototype became such a popular special request, that the company decided to make it part of their regular lineup.

Features Breakdown

  • Well Insulated: The Meadow Creek BX50 combines a 13 gauge double wall steel body structure with an inch of added insulation, plus insulating strips on the doors and an improved built-in BBQ Guru adapter. The smoker can sustain 250 degrees for 8 hours with only 20 lbs of charcoal. This makes it one of the more efficient smokers I have seen.
  • Easy to Clean: If you are the type that considers cleaning after the party the worst part of barbecuing, you will love the BX50. It comes with slide out stainless steel racks, a removable grease pan, slide out ash pan, and removable water pan. Together, these features make the after-cook cleaning of the smoker a quick and easy.
  • Gravity Fed Water Supply: The gravity fed water supply can handle 5 gallon water jugs which will provide enough water for even the longest smokes.
  • Big Smoking Space: Measuring 66″ high, 34″ deep and 44″ wide, the BX50 is medium sized smoker, but thanks to the four 20″ x 24″ cooking racks it has over 1,900 square inches of smoking space. There is six inches of space between each rack, so it can easily accommodate briskets, pork shoulders and other large cuts of meat.

Is there something about the BX50 BBQ Smoker from Meadow Creek that you would like us to clarify? You can ask us here. If you have already used a BX50, please let us know what you think of it in the comments.

 

We just received a newly redesigned Marshall smoker from The Good One, and boy did they do a great job with this 3rd generation model. They must have been listening to their customers, because they seem to have addressed any of the minor shortcomings the 2nd generation model had and also knocked $400 off the price!

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This new Marshall uses the same internal damper as the last model; however they have added a removable heat channel that distributes heat to the front of the smoker box and ensures that there are no hot spots like those commonly found in many other offset smokers. The four slide out 29” wide smoking racks provide 2,733 square inches of cooking space. This makes it a perfect choice for hunting, BBQ competitions, catering and large parties. The spinner vents make regulating temperatures up to 400 degrees effortless. Once you have them set properly you simply shut the main damper when tending to your food and reopen it when the smoker box door is closed. This prevents heat spikes that occur when a large amount of air is introduced to the firebox.

 

The efficient design means you will burn less fuel and spend less time tending the fire. Not only does this save you time, it saves you money. The removable ash pan, removable heat channel, and ball valve drain make clean up as easy as it can possibly get. The firebox is located behind the smoking chamber and has an expanded metal grate which you can use to grill foods like steaks, burgers and kabobs. The Marshall is considered by many as a dream machine because it allows them to smoke low and slow or cook hot and fast.

Features & Specifications:

  • 11 gauge steel construction
  • Overall Dimensions: 38” W x 46” D x 55” H
  • Total Cooking Area: 2,733 square inches
  • Cooking Grate Material: Expanded steel
  • 3 29” W x 23” D slide-out grill grates
  • 1 29” W x 31” D slide-out grill grate
  • 2 Heavy-duty pneumatic wheels
  • 2 Oversized locking casters
  • Removable ash pan
  • Charcoal grate
  • 3” easy read Tel-Tru front mounted thermometer
  • Foldable stainless steel work shelf
  • Owner’s Manual

Pros:

  • Minimum supervision required while cooking
  • Low fuel consumption
  • Internal damper for easy heat control
  • Consistent heat for hours without refueling
  • Even heat distribution
  • Oversized locking casters that make crossing imperfections on the ground easy
  • Quality workmanship, built to last
  • All steel construction
  • Easy to move despite being so solid
  • 10 year limited warranty
  • Ball valve clean out drain
  • Cool touch handles

Cons:

  • Because it is built to last, it is heavy
  • It will make your friends and family jealous
  • People will always be asking you questions about how you make such tasty BBQ
  • Eating other peoples BBQ will almost always be disappointing
  • Over time it will get increasingly expensive to cook for your new friends
  • You may have to go to the bank more often to cash your Grand Champion checks

Conclusion:

I liked the older Marshall smoker but I love this one. Adding the extra wheels really made a huge difference to me. It is well balanced and very easy to move around. I highly recommend this smoker. The Good One has once again proven that they are one of the top smoker manufacturers out there. I am looking forward to see what they come up with next.

 
So Garnet has been cooking with this cool Sous Vide cooker by Anova. If you are unfamiliar with this method of cooking, it is really very simple. You vacuum seal the food and seasonings in a plastic bag. The bags go into the water bath and the device heats the water to the temperature you set. He had his set at 125F. After being seared on the grill and resting, the meats were a perfect medium rare.

Anova Sous Vide

Anova Sous Vide loaded with many different meats.

 

8 (4-ounce) bone-in lamb loin chops, trimmed

4-ounce bone-in lamb loin chops, trimmed

 

 

New York Strips

New York Strips

trimmed tri-tips

A couple of trimmed tri-tips.

mini big green egg

Madman Mike lighting up the mini Big Green Egg.

Namath Rapid Cooker

Roasting some Green Chilies

Big Green Egg warming up the tortillas

Warming up the tortillas

Tri-tip and Chicken Tacos

Tri-tip and Chicken Tacos – These had a little green onion on them with some kind of awesome sauce and squeeze of lime juice. I had four of them.

lamb chops

The lamb chops didn’t even make it on to a plate.

 

Prime Beef Filets

A few beef filets. MOTHER OF GOD these were good. People were just eating them with their hands. We looked and sounded like caveman, stuffing our faces and grunting at each other.

Medium rare prime filet

Here is one of the filets cut in half. The entire thing was just perfectly cooked. The Anova Sous Vide is one of the coolest cooking devices I have ever seen.

 

 

This years Eggs in the Desert event turned out Egglicious. The teams cranked out some really great food. Here is a list of the winners. The three time champion Garnett Marshal retired this year and taught a really interesting Cooking on the Egg class instead.

  1. Red Brick 421 votes, XL Big Green Egg and Stand
  2. Team “Just Us” BBQ 393 votes, Sure Flame Grill with Cart
  3. Zach’s All Stars 338 votes, Pronto Pizza Oven
  4. Smokin Hot 244 votes, Yeti Roadie
  5. AZ  BBQ 206 votes
  6. Dom’s BBQ 197 votes
  7. Texas BBQ 146 votes
  8. Rough Stock BBQ 132 votes
  9. Glazed and Confused 128 votes
  10. Ballesteros 76 votes
  11. Rex 55 votes

The Pit Barrel Cooker has been making its rounds on the Internet and I decided to try one out. I thought that some of the company’s claims were a bit dubious and figured the only way to know for sure was to unbox one and cook on it myself.

SETUP

True to the videos, this cooker is ready to use out of the box. The only thing that needs to be adjusted is the air intake (you will need a phillips screwdriver for this). The following items are included;

  • Three legged barrel stand
  • 35 gallon food grade drum with horseshoe handles
  • Charcoal basket
  • Cooking grate
  • 8 stainless steel food hooks
  • Two pieces of rebar to hang the hooks on
  • Wooden hook handle to remove hot hooks

The only thing you need to do to start cooking is place the stand on the ground, adjust the air intake and get the charcoal going. In their videos they claim that you do not need to burn it in first. However after seeing a video where they light charcoal using lighter fluid, I decided to do a 40 minute burn anyways. I lit the charcoal using my chimney starter, which took about 17 minutes and worked really well. Personally, I would never recommend using lighter fluid in any cooking equipment and I think almost all competitive BBQ competitors would agree. The air intake cover is flat and does not seal the barrel even when fully closed. So shutting down the cooker is difficult if not impossible.

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NOTE: There is no thermometer built in so will need a third party device. A digital probe on a wire would probably be best, but I just used my laser thermometer and focused it on one of the pieces of rebar. After about ½ hour the Pit Barrel Cooker leveled out at about 235 F.

COOKING TRI-TIP

The first thing I tried to cook with my Pit Barrel Cooker was a tri-tip. I had a 5 pack I picked up as I was testing several different units this week and boy do I love tri-tip! Personally I prefer a Santa Maria style rub, but opted to use the beef and game rub that came with the cooker. I trimmed the tri-tip, seasoned it with the rub and hung it by the point using one of the provided food hooks. I started temp testing the tri-tip after about an hour. It was at about 103 F internal temperature so I started checking it every 15 minutes. After about 1:45 minutes it was at 125 and I pulled it so I could sear the outside. It already had a bit of a crust but I wanted to brown it up a tad more. I fired up my gas grill and seared it for a couple of minutes on each side. I let it rest for about 15 minutes in the microwave. It was cooked just right. Tender, juicy and great flavor.

COOKING CHICKEN

This part of the testing made me laugh. In one of the company’s cooking demonstration videos they use a couple of chickens and hang the halves from the hooks. The leg bones are the closest to the fire which hit temperatures exceeding 500 F. I thought that there was no way the legs wouldn’t be blackened stumps by the time the breast meat was properly cooked. I used the all purpose rub that came with the cooker.

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The amount provided barely coated the two whole chickens I was preparing. The rub is maybe a 7 out of 10 but I wanted to try and cook the chicken like they do in their demonstration video. I placed the hooks though the chicken halves so they held up the wings.

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The legs seemed to hang really low and the connective tissue seemed weak and flimsy. I was highly skeptical and guessed that the leg portions would drop off into the fire or at least be horribly over done. After about an hour I received an emergency call and had to leave to pick up my cat and transfer him to a surgery center. By the time I got back home the chicken had been in the cooker for almost 3 hours. I expected it to be burnt to a crisp. Amazingly enough the chicken was golden brown with a nice crispy skin. I took out the halves and placed them in the microwave for 15 minutes to rest. The skin was like bacon and the white and dark meat were tender, juicy and delicious. Check out the pictures. I was impressed by the forgiveness of this cooker.

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PROS

  • Cedar plank anything works well.
  • Cooks chicken and tri-tip really well.
  • Easy to setup
  • Great price point

Cons:

  • Air vent is held in place by a screw so it is difficult to adjust or shut down
  • Even if you close the vent, it is flat and the barrel is round so there is a gap on either side of the opening and your charcoal will continue to burn until it is gone.
  • When you open the lid there is a huge heat gain as the air intake can not be easily closed.
  • Lid horseshoe handle gets pretty warm.
  • While the hooks allow you to cook quite a bit of food, you are limited by the size of the grate when finishing the foods.

THOUGHTS FROM THE REST OF THE GUYS

Mike – The beef ribs I cooked on it, turned out amazing. I was laughing and how good they turned out. I don’t understand how it does not burn stuff but somehow it doesn’t.

JT – The ribs Mike made were really great. I was impressed by what this cooker could do.

Adam – My back hurts.

Melissa – I like this grill. It is light and easy to move. The food made on it, is really tasty also.

I was excited to try out the Pizzeria Pronto, as the videos I had seen of it looked pretty amazing. They claim that once the unit is pre-heated you can bake a pizza in about 5 minutes. Putting it together was simple and only took about 10 minutes. It appears to be well constructed and sturdy.

To light the unit simply press in the heat control knob and turn almost to the high mark count to 5 to allow gas to get to the burner and then continue turning the knob until the piezo igniter clicks. Once lit it only takes about 5 minutes for the oven to reach 700 degrees.

Pizzeria Pronto pre heating.

Another 5 minutes and it reached over 1,000 degrees. The instructions say to preheat the oven for at least 10 minutes but not more than 15 minutes. While the oven and pizza stone are preheating you have plenty of time to make your pizza.

To make things easier, I picked up some premade pizza dough from my local supermarket. The dough I bought was in batches that would make one of their 16 inch pizzas. I made the sauce using this pizza sauce recipe.

You build the pizza on a heavily dusted pizza peel. Place the flattened dough on a heavily flour dusted the peel, add the sauce and topping and you are ready to slide it into the oven. You only have about 5 minutes to do this or it seems that the dough starts to stick to the peel and trying to shake it loose can rearrange your toppings and cause a mess.

My first attempt at making a pizza I used half the dough and made a pepperoni and baby Portobello pizza.

Uncooked pepperoni and mushroom pizza

It was tasty but the crust came out thicker than I like it and it took around 10 minutes to fully cook. I rotated the pizza 180 three times at 2 1/2 minute intervals during this cook.

Pepperoni and baby portobella mushroom pizza.

The next few I used about 1/3 of the dough and the crusts turned out delightfully crisp and the cheese and toppings bubbly and crusty. I was starting to get the hang of it and was really pleased with the results. My favorite one of the day had diced tomatoes, diced pepperoni, basil leaves, mushrooms and feta cheese. It was fantastic. The thinner crust only took about 7 minutes to bake. The dual cordierite stones and the heat reflective lid do a good job at cooking both the top and the bottom of the pizza at the same time. The top vent lets moisture escape which can otherwise make your pizzas soggy.

Tomato, basil, pepperoni, mozzarella and feta thin crust pizza.

The crust looks black on the left side but it was perfectly done. The sun was low at this point and casting deep shadows. The oven seems to perform best when cooking thin pizzas. The uncooked dough for these were about 1/4 inch thick.

Overall I was very pleased with the pizzas I made with this unit. Once hot you can cook pizza after pizza without any waiting between pies. I highly recommend this product.

NOTES

  • The directions say to use flour on your peel instead of cornmeal. I am not sure why, but the flour seemed to work well so I stuck with that method. In the past I have always used cornmeal.
  • The back of the oven is hotter than the front so after about 2:30 minutes you have to slide the pizza out with the peel rotate the pizza 180 degrees slide it back onto the pizza stone. I found that even with the thinner crusts I would have to turn the pizzas twice for a total bake time of about 8 minutes. Again, I like my pizzas a bit more on the crispy side, so I may not take as long to bake if you like your pizzas a bit less cooked.
  • The cooking chamber is not very tall, so a thin metal peel will work much better than a thicker wooden one.
  • While the legs allow you to use the Pizzeria Pronto on any surface the outside of the unit gets very hot. Make sure you set it up in a place where people will not accidentally touch it.

Addendum: During further testing I was able to use an infrared heat gun to get a more accurate temperature reading. It turns out that the built in thermometer was not very accurate. I found that if you left the unit on high the pizza stone would reach a maximum temperature of around 675° F. At this temperature the pizzas were completely cooked in 5 minutes.