Texas Style Brisket With Matt Pittman

Posted on Leave a comment

There's nothing more Texas than brisket, and this recipe will take you on a journey South to where authentic Texas style barbecue was born. 

This Texas style brisket recipe requires only two seasonings and some time, resulting in an abundance of juicy, flavorful, and unbelievably tender meat. 

In the video above, Matt Pittman, a Texas barbecue guru and international influencer, shares his tried and proven method for smoking brisket that's easy to make yet impossible to beat.

Credits: The screenshots in this post were taken from the video above and meatchurch.com. We've outlined the process in writing for easy reference and to help make this recipe a success on your first try.

For this cook, Matt seasons his brisket with a 2:1 mixture of Meat Church Holy Cow Rub and Meat Church Holy Gospel Rub. The only supplies needed in addition to the brisket and rubs are a good smoker, instant-read thermometer, and butcher paper.

All of these supplies are available in our specialty barbecue supply store and our online store. For more information on any of these product you can visit our website using the links below.



7 Steps For Texas-Style Brisket

The only ingredients are a good brisket and two of Matt's award-winning Meat Church rubs. Below is a simple outline of the video with the key steps needed to give you an authentic Texas style smoked brisket.

Recipe: Texas Style Smoked Brisket

 Ingredients:

Step 1: Heat the Smoker to 225 Degrees Fahrenheit 

For this cook, Matt uses a wood-fired offset smoker, but you can cook this recipe on any smoker that can hold an even heat for hours, such as a pellet smoker or cabinet style smoker. Matt uses post oak in this cook, but any kind of oak, pecan, or hickory works well. Matt recommends "heavy smoke" wood for this cook.

Purchase Smoking Wood

texas style brisket recipe

MeatChurch.com

Handmade Wood-Fired Smoker

Looking for a good offset smoker for longer cooks like this brisket recipe? The Meadow Creek TS70P is a reverse-flow tank smoker designed to hold a consistent temperature all day. This remarkable mid-sized smoker is handmade and built for years of hassle-free use. 

Step 2: Trim the Brisket

Trim any hard and extra fat off of the meat side of the brisket. It is essential to remove any hard pieces of fat since they won't render during the cooking process. 

For detailed instructions on choosing and trimming a brisket, see Prepping a Brisket With Aaron Franklin.

Step 3: Season the Brisket

For seasoning, use two parts Holy Cow to one part Holy Gospel rub. There is no need to use a binder, but some prefer using a binder of oil, mustard, or pickle juice, which are all fine to use. Add a moderate layer of Holy Cow to the meat side of the brisket and come back over it with half as much Holy Gospel. Pat the seasoning in and let the seasoning adhere to the meat for 15-20 minutes, then repeat the process on the fat side, making sure to also season the edges of the brisket.

MeatChurch.com

texas style brisket recipe

MeatChurch.com

Step 4: Smoke the Brisket

For this recipe, Matt cooks the brisket the traditional Texas way—with the fat side up and the point (fatty end) of the brisket closest to the firebox. Cook the brisket at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for 6-8 hours. If needed, you can spritz it a time or two with vinegar or water. When the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the brisket for wrapping.

MeatChurch.com

Step 5: Wrap the Brisket

At this point, your brisket should have a 165 degree Fahrenheit internal temperature with a good bark. Now it is time to wrap the brisket in unwaxed butcher paper. Matt spritzes the inside of the paper with vinegar to make it a little more pliable. If you don't have butcher paper, you can wrap the brisket in aluminum foil. The most important thing is that the brisket is wrapped up nice and tight. Put the wrapped brisket back on the smoker with fat side up and the point towards the firebox or heat source.

MeatChurch.com

Step 6: Finish the Brisket

For the remainder of the cook, bump the temperature on your smoker up to about 250 degrees Fahrenheit and continue to smoke the wrapped brisket to an internal temperature of around 203 degrees Fahrenheit (or probe tender) in the thick part of the flat. (Probe tender means a temperature probe goes into the meat without resistance). This should take around 3-4 hours.

Remove the brisket and let it rest on the counter for an hour, then slice.

texas style brisket recipe

MeatChurch.com

Step 7: Slice Your Texas Style Brisket

First, separate the flat and the point. Slice the flat side the same direction as your initial cut across the brisket. Finally, slice the point the opposite direction so you are still cutting across the grain. Serve and enjoy!

MeatChurch.com

texas style brisket recipe

MeatChurch.com

MeatChurch.com

MeatChurch.com

Are you looking for a handmade wood-burning smoker?


Don't have the supplies you need?

You can find all the seasonings and supplies for this recipe here in our online store or visit our store in person for a full line of barbecue equipment and supplies.

Can't find what you need online? Visit our specialty barbecue store at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, Pennsylvania to explore some of the best products available for anyone wanting to make delicious food outdoors. Our store hours are listed at the bottom of this page.

Barbecue Seasoning Pairing Guide

Posted on Leave a comment

Barbecue enthusiasts regularly ask us what seasonings to pair with their favorite cuts of meat. With so many great rubs stocking our store shelves and online catalog, picking out the perfect ones to try can be a challenge. We created this guide to make choosing exceptional rubs easy.

These rub recommendations are favorites of our staff and popular with our customers, but just because a seasoning is on the chart doesn't mean everyone will like it. 

We have a bit of a weakness for seasonings, and as we continue to try new rubs we'll keep refreshing this chart based on our testing and customer feedback. If you're ready for something new, just refer to this barbecue seasoning pairing guide and see what we've added.

Click on a rub below for a description or to purchase online. 

Click on any seasoning above to purchase online or pick out your favorite rubs at our specialty barbecue supply store in New Holland PA.

Didn't find what you were looking for above? Click here to browse 140+ seasonings online.

What is Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply?

Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply is a specialty barbecue supply store and barbecue equipment showroom located in New Holland PA. We carry a full line of tools and supplies for barbecue enthusiasts, competitors, and caterers. In addition to our products, we host classes and community events throughout the year and provide professional advice for everyone who visits our store with questions related to barbecue and outdoor cooking.

2021 Open House Photos

Posted on 6 Comments

Our open house on May 1 was a success! Thanks to all who came to enjoy the free samples of smoked and grilled meats, drinks, and soft serve ice cream. We work really hard to make the open house enjoyable for our guests and consider it a privilege to connect with everyone—both those from our local community and those who travel from out of state. 

Here are 100 of our favorite photos from the event. If you didn't attend, take a peek at what you missed and start making plans to come next year!

Click or tap on a photo to view it full screen.

Does this look like an event you'd enjoy? Check out the Eggfest in July on our events page.

Did you know we carry everything you need to cook outdoors? Grilling and smoking meat is our specialty, and you'll find a wide variety of seasonings, sauces, cooking fuels, accessories, gadgets, cookbooks, smokers, grills, and more in our retail store here in New Holland, Pennsylvania.


Barbecue Recipes to “Spoil” the Moms in Your Life

Posted on 1 Comment

Mother's Day only comes around once a year, and the least we can do is give mom a break and spoil her a little bit. Whether it's your mother or your wife that you'll be cooking for, here is a collection of delicious recipes for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and snack that will help you show your appreciation.

Updated: May 2020

storyque.com

Pecan Pie Cheesecake

What finer way to celebrate than with a cheesecake?

storyque.com

My Grandma's Pecan Pie in a Big Green Egg

Learn how easy it is to cook a pecan pie on the Big Green Egg and take it a notch above the ordinary. This makes an excellent dessert for a holiday meal or any time of year.

Do you need a tasty seasoning or any kind of barbecue supplies for your Mother's Day weekend? We carry a wide variety of smokers, grills, supplies, and cookbooks in our retail store. Call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA.

amazingribs.com

Grilled Balsamic and Brown Sugar Glazed Ham Steak

Take breakfast or brunch to new heights with this glazed ham recipe. Serve with fried eggs, French toast, or your favorite sides.

smoking-meat.com

Planked Smoked Meatloaf

If your mom loves meatloaf, this will take it another dimension!

storyque.com

The Great Hamburger Omelet

The hamburger omelet is a fine example of bringing two ordinary foods into one dish—a good homestyle omelet stuffed with a whopper grilled hamburger! Would make an exceptional brunch with hash browns and toast, a cinnamon roll and coffee.

storyque.com

Candied Cashews

Make a jar of these for your mother to enjoy on her special day.

tastesoflizzyt.com

Sparkling Fruit Salad

Give your fruit salad a festive touch with sparkling cider!

howtobbqright.com

Smoked Breakfast Casserole

Malcom Reed's sausage, egg, and cheese casserole looks amazing. This can be prepared the day before and cooked in your pellet smoker for a Mother's Day breakfast or brunch.

smoking-meat.com

Stuffed Sausage Poppers

These tasty appetizers only take 20 minutes to prepare and cook in a couple of hours. These will disappear quickly and make a tired mom smile every time!

Do you need a tasty seasoning or any kind of barbecue supplies for your Mother's Day weekend? We carry a wide variety of smokers, grills, supplies, and cookbooks in our retail store. Call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA.

meatwave.com

Grilled Chipotle Lime Shrimp

This recipe goes the extra mile to create a shrimp dish that will be irresistible to even the shrimp naysayers in your family.

amazingribs.com

Grilled Shrimp and Grits

You'll need an appreciation for shrimp and for grits to enjoy this, but woah, this dish is off the charts!

smoking-meat.com

Jalapeño Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken Thighs

These smoked chicken thighs are seasoned with a dry rub and then stuffed with jalapeno strips and cream cheese, then wrapped in bacon.

meatwave.com

Pulled Pork Nachos

Pulled pork nachos are amazing any way you make them providing you have some tender and juicy pulled pork. These are easy to make for a snack on a lazy afternoon and frying the chips as shown in this recipe takes it to a whole new level.

meadowcreekbbqsupply.com

Sockeye Salmon

In this story, you will learn how to pull together a quick, mouthwatering meal of sockeye salmon with a couple of sides. This recipe is perfect for when you only have a couple of hours to prepare dinner, but you still want to put something special on the table.

meadowcreekbbqsupply.com

Shrimp and Parmesan Steak on the Big Green Egg

This dish is pure excellence and goes well with grilled or steamed vegetables, potatoes, or whatever you like with your steaks. We hope you have the chance to share this dish with someone special in your life.

smoking-meat.com

Twice Baked Potatoes

Try these gourmet cream cheese-infused potatoes prepared on the smoker for a richer flavor than most twice baked potatoes.

smoking-meat.com

Cheese Stuffed Jalapeño Meatballs

These smoked meatballs are stuffed with cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and jalapeno peppers. If you prefer not to have the heat, you can skip the peppers or reduce the amount to suit Mom. Cheesy sausage balls are amazing!

storyque.com

Caesar Salad

This salad would make a wonderful appetizer or side dish at a Mother's Day feast.

meadowcreekbbqsupply.com

Grilled Steak Recipe for Beginners

This is not a steak for beef purists. This recipe requires a few extra steps that make it easy to grill a tender, juicy steak that's bursting with flavor in every bite. Perfect for those who normally pass up a steak.

Do you need a tasty seasoning or any kind of barbecue supplies for your Mother's Day weekend? We carry a wide variety of smokers, grills, supplies, and cookbooks in our retail store. Call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA.

3 Irresistible Burger Recipes to Make You the Hero of the Party

Posted on Leave a comment

There’s hardly any food more “American” than burgers and fries, and in this blog post I'm sharing three impressive grilled burger recipes to make your next party memorable. 

Keep reading to learn how to make these three mouth-watering burgers:

  • American Smashburger. Double-stacked smashburger with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and fry sauce, etc.
  • Swiss Onion Cheeseburger. Caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, and Swiss cheese, etc.
  • Avocado Bacon Burger. Slices of bacon, avocado, and tomato, a drizzle of ranch, and a slice of gouda cheese, etc.

If you don’t like my combination of toppings, you know what to do. ? My goal is to inspire you with some ideas to help you make a burger your guests will thoroughly enjoy!

Do you need any supplies or tools for your summer barbecues? In our retail store we carry a wide variety of smokers, grills, charcoal, pellets, sauces and seasonings, and many other outdoor cooking supplies to help you cook for your guests with 100% confidence. Call us at 717-355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA (store hours at the bottom of this page).

For this cook, I'm using my XL Big Green Egg fired with Nature-Glo Lump Charcoal and a handful of Myron Mixon Orchard Blend Pellets.


American Smashburger

This burger punches a lot of flavor, covered in melty American cheese, then finished with several classic burger toppings.

The big idea with a smashburger is the more intense flavor added by griddle cooking them with jagged edges. Frying the burger browns the entire surface of the meat, which ramps up the flavor, and the jagged edges provide even more surface for browning. Build a double-stacked burger for twice the amount of that awesome, crispy deliciousness in one sandwich!

  • Burger: 1/4-pound ball of ground beef seasoned with Killer Hogs AP Rub
  • Toppings: American cheese, pickles, tomato, onion, lettuce, fry sauce, and ketchup
  • Bun: Conventional burger bun

You might have noticed that my smashburgers got a bit thick for stacking. If you can keep them at 1/4" thick, the double burger will be more practical for stacking and give you that higher browned meat to inner meat ratio we’re looking for.

See "Cooking the Burgers" below for my notes on grilling the burgers.

Homemade Fry Sauce

You can purchase a premade fry sauce or mix up your own using this recipe:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup prepared yellow mustard
  • 2 teaspoons dried onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon white vinegar

Whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl and season it with salt and pepper to taste. Add some heat with a dash or two of hot sauce if you'd like. Set the sauce in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

What sets the Big Green Egg apart from other types of cookers is how efficient and easy to use it is. It uses very little charcoal and enables you to cook using any cooking style you want all on the same grill!

Here at Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply we're a platinum Big Green Egg dealer which means we keep all 7 sizes in stock along with more than 100 Big Green Egg-branded accessories to expand the capacity and functions of the Eggs.


Swiss Onion Cheeseburger

If the American smashburger is the guy at your party who’s the center of attention, always making people laugh, this Swiss onion and mushroom burger is the person who doesn’t say much, but has earned the respect of everyone who knows him.

This burger could honestly be an entree without the bread. The sweetened onions and the mushrooms complement the meat so well, it's like eating a home-style meal between two pieces of bread, and the arugula gives it a perfect freshness.

  • Burger: 1/3-pound burger patties seasoned with Butcher BBQ Grilling Addiction on both sides
  • Toppings: A slice of Swiss cheese, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, and arugula
  • Bun: Brioche bun

Prepping the Toppings

Onions. Slice an onion and cook the rings in a skillet on the stove top with a teaspoon of sugar, a tablespoon of oil, and salt to taste. A medium-sized onion makes enough for at least 3 sandwiches, but don’t worry about them going to waste, as they are delicious on eggs and other foods too in case you have leftovers. Preheat the oil, then drop in the onions and the salt and sugar. Cook them over medium-low heat for 30–45 minutes, until they are as soft as you prefer. Stir them as needed to keep them from sticking.

Mushrooms. Saute sliced shiitake mushrooms with a tablespoon of oil and salt and pepper to taste. It will take 1–2 ounces of raw mushrooms per sandwich.

See "Cooking the Burgers" below for my notes on grilling the burgers.

Do you need any supplies or tools for your summer barbecues? In our retail store we carry a wide variety of smokers, grills, charcoal, pellets, sauces and seasonings, and many other outdoor cooking supplies to help you cook for your guests with 100% confidence. Call us at 717-355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA (store hours at the bottom of this page).


Bacon Avocado Burger

This burger is perhaps the “trendiest” one of all three. It has a lot going for itself—the smoothness of the avocado, crunchiness of the bacon, tangy notes of the ranch, and freshness of the lettuce and tomato really make this one memorable. The Gouda cheese is a touch of class too, but feel free to swap this out for pepper jack, Monterey Jack, or your favorite cheese.

  • Burger: 1/3-pound burger seasoned with Butcher BBQ Grilling Addiction on both sides
  • Toppings: Gouda cheese, bacon, avocado slices, tomato, ranch dressing, lettuce, and mayonnaise
  • Bun: Brioche bun

Prepping the Toppings

You’ll want to start cooking the bacon before you start grilling the burgers. Our favorite method of cooking bacon is on a pizza pan in the oven at 400 degrees F. Just fill the pan with slices, single layer, and cook it until it’s done to your preference. It takes about 1-1/2 slices of bacon per sandwich. Peel and slice the avocado just before serving so they don’t turn brown.

See "Cooking the Burgers" below for my notes on grilling the burgers.


Cooking the Burgers

I picked up some fresh CAB 80/20 ground beef at my local grocery store for these. (Use ground beef with at least 15% fat for burgers). I didn’t mix anything into the meat to make the burgers. The meat came in 1-pound packages, so it was easy to divide each one into 1/3 and 1/4-pound portions.

Grilling the 1/3-Pound Burgers

Divide the meat into 1/3 pound portions, then work the meat into a ball before you form the patties to help the meat hold together, but don’t overwork it. Then form them into patties with a burger press or by hand.

After the burgers are formed and seasoned, set them on the grill grate directly over the fire. After a few minutes, they should start forming a bit of a crust on the bottom side. Flip them over, and cook them until they are done to your liking. Transfer them to a pan for serving.

Cover the burgers with a slice of cheese as they are finishing on the grill or set the pan in an oven on low until the cheese is melted.

Grilling the Smashburgers

For the smashburgers, we divided each pound of ground beef into four balls. Season the top and bottom of each ball liberally with something like Killer Hogs AP Rub or Butcher BBQ Grilling Addiction.

I'm using a set of upside down GrillGrates on my Big Green Egg, but you can also use a cast iron skillet on your grill or a stand-alone griddle.

Set the balls on the cooking surface and press them flat with a spatula, no more than 1/4” thick. If the surface is very hot, it will only take a couple of minutes to brown the first side. When they are ready, flip them over and smash them again. Let them cook until they are done and transfer them to a pan.

Cover the burgers with American cheese as they are finishing on the grill or set the pan in an oven on low until the cheese is melted.

When Are They Done?

We recommend following the USDA guidelines of cooking ground beef until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (well-done) because the meat has been ground and potentially contaminated throughout the burger. However, if you are careless and take them past 160 degrees, they can quickly turn dry and unpleasant to eat. That’s why I always like to use my instant-read thermometer when grilling burgers, so I can easily remove each one as it finishes.

Personally, I like to remove them from the grill 5–10 degrees under the target temperature, as they will likely rise a few degrees from carryover cooking, and I'd rather be a bit on the low side than to overcook them. However, remember that you violate the USDA guidelines at your own risk.

Toasting the Buns

After the meat is off the grill, oil or butter the buns and toast them face-down on the grate for a few seconds.

Assembling the Sandwiches

As you're grilling the burgers, it's nice to have a helper preparing the toppings, then as soon as the burgers are done and the buns are toasted, you can start making the sandwiches. You will find the lists of the toppings we used in the order we layered them above.

Crispy shoestring fries served with ketchup or fry sauce and a big glass of sweet tea complete this meal quite nicely in my opinion!


Firing the Egg for Direct Heat

Here are the tools I use to Fire my XL Egg:

I use the Kick Ash Basket, which contains the charcoal and makes it easy to shake out the ashes and tiny pieces of charcoal after or during a cook, giving the remaining coals in the firebox more oxygen.

Here are the steps I use to fire the Egg for direct heat:

  1. Shake out the ashes and top off the basket with new charcoal. Nestle 2 or 3 fire starter squares into the charcoal. (For this cook, I wanted the fire on the one side, so I only lit the left side and 2 squares was plenty.) Light the squares and make sure the charcoal is arranged so it will light quickly.
  2. Open the bottom vent all the way and leave the lid open for a few minutes to get it started. Use the screen vent in the bottom to keep embers inside the grill.
  3. If you have a BBQ Dragon Fan, clip it onto the rim of the grill and fan the flame. In about 6–8 minutes that area will be ripping hot. Remove the fan and mix the charcoal, if necessary, to spread the heat evenly in the area you'll be using. Add the grill grate, then close the lid and open the top vent. 
  4. Stabilize the temperature in the grill. For this cook, we're shooting for 350–400 degrees F, so once the temperature is close to what you’re looking for, slide both vents to around 1" open and then adjust the top vent as needed to stabilize it.
  5. Clean the grate with the Smokeware Ash Tool (and a brush if needed).
  6. Just before putting on the burgers, throw a handful of smoking pellets onto the fire for some extra smoke flavor.

Note: The Egg is designed to cook with the lid closed. If you keep the lid open, the fire may get hotter than you want it, and the fire can also discolor the handle on the outside of the grill when the lid is open.

Is your patio calling for a Big Green Egg?


Mastering Temperature Control in the Egg

It will take some time to master temperature control, but it works on this ​principle: ​Give the grill more air to raise the temperature and give it less air to lower the temperature. This is done by adjusting both the top and bottom vents.

If you understand this principle, you can figure out how to make it work in any scenario. Depending on how you fired the grill​, you may need to ​​adjust the vents differently. ​​Keep in mind a higher cooking temperature requires more air than a lower one. For most cooks, you'll be running with the vents between 1/4" (a pencil thickness) and 1-1/2".

What if I can’t get the temperature up to where I want it?

If the grill doesn’t climb up to the temperature you need with the vents all the way open, you’ll need to fire it hotter. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Add more charcoal if needed
  • Leave the lid open longer to get it hotter or use a BBQ Dragon Fan to fan the flame.
  • If you require an extremely high temperature, light the charcoal and blow the Dragon through the bottom vent with the lid closed and the top vent open to get the grill over 600 degrees.

Remember it takes more time to heat the walls of the grill than it does to only heat the air inside the grill. If the grill itself is not hot yet, you’ll loose a lot of the heat when you open the lid, so there are some advantages of letting it heat up for 30 minutes before cooking. This is mainly a concern for bigger cuts of meat or when you want to cook at really high temperatures.

Once the grill is up to temperature and you have it dialed in, it should take very little adjustment to finish the cook. If you have any question or are struggling to maintain temperature in your grill, feel free to call or visit our store for free advice on how to master temperature control.

Do you need any supplies or tools for your summer barbecues? In our retail store we carry a wide variety of smokers, grills, charcoal, pellets, sauces and seasonings, and many other outdoor cooking supplies to help you cook for your guests with 100% confidence. Call us at 717-355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA (store hours at the bottom of this page).

​About the author: Lavern Gingerich is a writer and the digital marketing manager for Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply​.

How to Smoke Cheese

Posted on 2 Comments

Have you tried your hand at smoking cheese yet? If not, you're missing a lot!

Transform the typical party tray of cheese, crackers, and summer sausage by adding some smoked cheese! Smoked cheese also ratchets up the WOW power of other recipes, like mac 'n cheese, home-made party dips, grilled cheese sandwiches, and more. 

Follow our smoked cheese recipe below to discover how fun and easy it is to do!

And if you already know how to smoke cheese, don't miss our advanced tips for taking your smoked cheese to a whole new level.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Make sure to clean your grates well, or put the cheese on wire racks.
  2. Set up your grill or smoker for cold smoking with a 5” x 8” Maze cold smoker made by A-Maze-N Products.
    • In a gas grill, you’ll be setting the A-Maze-N cold smoker down in the bottom center of the grill.
    • In a pellet smoker or stick burner, the Maze smoker will go on the grate, on the opposite side of the stack.
    • In a kamado style grill, kettle grill, or drum smoker, clean out all the ash and unburned charcoal; the Maze will go in the firebox or charcoal basket area. Install the heat diffuser or smoking plate between the Maze and the cheese (if applicable).
    • In a cabinet style smoker, the Maze will go in the smoking chamber, just below the bottom grate. Put a pan of ice on the bottom grate directly above the Maze.
  3. Fill the Maze with BBQr's Delight smoking pellets in the 1-pound bags. (With the exception of the specialty savory herb and Jack Daniel's varieties, which have oak added to ensure a quality burn, the 1-pound bags are 100% flavor species.)
  4. Hit the pellets with a blow torch (at each end of the maze) until the pellets continue burning after you remove the torch. You want to see a flame coming off the pellets, not just smoke. Let the pellets burn for 60–90 seconds, then blow out the flames. The pellets will continue to smolder.
  5. Put the Maze into your smoker.
  6. All bottom vents (if applicable) of the smoker should be wide open. The exhaust vents or stack (if applicable) should be closed as far as possible while still drawing the smoke through the chamber.
  7. Put the cheese into the smoker. Do NOT light your grill or smoker in any other way.
  8. After 1-3/4 hours, flip the cheese. This prevents unsightly light-colored bands from the grates or wire racks.
  9. After another 1-3/4 hours, remove the cheese from the smoker.
  10. Chill the cheese in the refrigerator for 2 hours, unwrapped, to firm it up.
  11. Vacuum seal the cheese and put it back in the refrigerator for aging. The cheese should be aged for a minimum of 2 weeks, preferably a month or more. Aging softens the initial harshness of the smoke, and as the cheese ages, the flavors really begin complementing each other.
  12. Serve and enjoy!

BBQr's Delight Flavor Pellets

We recommend the 1-pound bags of smoking pellets from BBQr's Delight for cheese. These "flavor pellets" contain only the species named on the bag (with the exception of the specialty savory herb and Jack Daniel's varieties, which have oak added to ensure a quality burn).

The 20-pound bags are designed for pellet grill fuel and are a mix of oak and the flavor species.

Tips

One-pound blocks are the perfect size to smoke. If purchasing the more economically priced five- or ten-pound blocks of cheese, cut these into about one-pound blocks. 

Cold smoking generates little or no heat, but if you cold smoke on a warm day, the temperature inside your smoker will likely rise high enough to melt the cheese. Move your smoker into the shade and add a tray or two of ice to the smoker to prevent melting or excessive softening.

Airflow Tips

  • If using a charcoal grill or smoker, make sure the ash and any unburned fuel is cleaned out and the bottom vents are all wide open to allow airflow to the Maze and through the smoking chamber. 
  • If the smoker has a screen at the bottom vent (like a Big Green Egg), make sure to close the screen while leaving the vent itself open. The fine mesh screen will prevent the smoke from wafting out the bottom.
  • A larger smoker like a cabinet style or a stick burner, or a smoker with poor natural air circulation, might need to have a fan blowing outward at the stack to draw the smoke through.

Advanced Tips

Experiment with different pellets. For harder cheeses like cheddars, use pecan pellets or those great Jack Daniel’s pellets. For softer cheeses like Muenster or Cooper, try apple, cherry, or savory herb pellets.

Get creative. 

  • Try soaking cheeses for twenty-four hours before smoking. One neat example is to puncture a block of sharp white cheddar on all sides with a toothpick in a one-inch grid pattern. Vacuum seal the cheese with a pint or two of red wine. Merlot is terrific for this. If you don’t own a vacuum sealer, pour the wine into a deep covered container and lay the cheese in it, rotating it every two hours.
  • A second great flavor combo is to vacuum seal or soak a block of Muenster in an ale!
  • How about this one? Add 6 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves to a pint of premium quality olive oil, and let it infuse for 5–6 hours at room temperature. Gently stir the oil every hour. Glaze a sharp white or yellow cheddar with the olive oil (do not remove the rosemary leaves from the oil), then smoke it immediately. Set the glazed cheese on a wire rack in a pan to catch the oil drippings.

Try extreme aging. Cold smoke blocks of cheese for 4 to 4-1/2 hours, instead of the standard 3-1/2 hours. Vacuum seal the cheese (this is a MUST), and age it in the refrigerator for eight months or more. Harder cheeses work best for this. For example, smoke a block of Parmesan, age it for a year, then shave it onto a pizza or into a pasta dish. Bon Appetit!

5 Methods for Building a Charcoal Fire Quickly and Without Frustration

Posted on Leave a comment

Are your memories of cooking with charcoal filled with frustration and embarrassment? Do you enjoy cooking with charcoal, but end up losing interest in cooking before you even get the fire ready?


You can master building a charcoal fire and learn how to light your charcoal quickly and without a hint of stress. In this article, I will show you how.

To light a charcoal fire successfully, you’ll need to budget enough time to get it lit and you’ll need the right tools for your smoker or grill. Below I’ve outlined five methods for lighting charcoal to help you decide when to use each one.

Prefer to talk with us? With the right tools and know-how, lighting a charcoal fire is quick and easy. Visit our store at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA or call us at (717) 355-0779 for help building a charcoal fire in minutes and without frustration. Our store hours are listed at the bottom of this page.

1: Using a Chimney

A charcoal chimney is a handy metal cylinder for lighting charcoal. It holds the charcoal in an upright column, and the vents in the bottom of the chimney let the air draft through the chimney. Simply fill the chimney with charcoal, add some kindling to the bottom, then light it with a match or lighter.

A chimney is not the fastest way to light charcoal, but it’s easy—once you get it started, you can let it do its thing while you focus on prepping the meat. Here are several slick ways to light a charcoal chimney.

  • Crumpled Newspaper or Part of the Charcoal Bag. Wad up several pieces of paper and tuck them into the bottom end of the chimney. Add the charcoal on top and light the paper with a match.
  • Paper Towel and Cooking Oil. Oil or grease a paper towel or two and lay it in the bottom of the chimney. Add the charcoal on top and light the paper. The oil slows the burning like wax on a candle wick. This method makes less ash than the newspaper method and doesn’t require a stash of newspapers.
  • Side Burner on Your Gas Grill. Add charcoal to the chimney and set it on top of the gas burner. Turn the burner on until the charcoal is lit.
  • Wax Fire Starter. Place one or two fire starter squares or tumbleweed starters in the bottom of the chimney, fill it with charcoal, and light the fire starter with a match. It will burn long enough to light the charcoal.

Once the flames are leaping out of the top of the chimney or the edges of the briquettes on top are gray, carefully dump them into your grill or smoker using leather gloves. This should take about 15 minutes.

Visit our barbecue supply store at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, Pennsylvania to purchase a charcoal chimney.

Turbospeed Tip: If you wish to dramatically accelerate the process, use a Chimney of Insanity and the BBQ Dragon Fan. This setup can light your charcoal in a fraction of the time it takes in a regular chimney!

2: Using a Wax Starter + BBQ Dragon Fan

If you’re cooking in a Big Green Egg or any kind of ceramic cooker, we recommend lighting the charcoal directly in the cooker. (In a ceramic cooker, you should always use lump charcoal.) This method also works in any backyard grill or smoker where you prefer not to use a chimney. For example, I like to use this method in the Meadow Creek BX25 Box Smoker. It would also work great in a Weber Kettle grill or a park grill.

  • Partially bury 1–3 wax fire starters in the charcoal, light each one with a handheld lighter or torch, and let it burn. The wax starters will last long enough to light the charcoal. This method will take about 20–30 minutes.
  • To speed up the process, clamp a BBQ Dragon Fan onto the rim of the grill and aim the fan directly onto the flame to get a blazing fire going in under 10 minutes! After a few minutes, adjust the fan onto the other starter(s).

Visit our barbecue store to purchase a box of these dandy little fire starters. They are handy for lighting a fire in a fire pit and indoor fireplaces too.

If you’re only using the fire starters without the BBQ Dragon, remember to budget enough time to let the coals get hot. If time is a luxury for you, invest in a BBQ Dragon. I think you’ll find it really useful not only for starting charcoal, but also for boosting fires in your grill, firepit, and other places.

It’s also perfect for getting the Big Green Egg up to 700 degrees F for grilling steaks. Close the lid and direct the fan through the bottom vent.

3: Using a Propane Torch

Our favorite method for lighting charcoal in a large smoker or grill is using a propane weed burner torch. It’s the perfect way to fire an offset smoker, especially one with a large amount of steel to heat up. The torch both lights the coals and heats up the smoker. Using a propane torch is also our standard method for lighting briquettes in the Meadow Creek chicken flippers and pig roasters.

The downsides to this method are that you need to keep a close eye on the torch while it’s burning, and you have to keep propane on hand, but it’s a quick and easy way to get the job done. A torch can get a large handmade tank smoker, such as the Meadow Creek TS250, up to cooking temperature in 20 minutes. The alternative is using one (or multiple) charcoal chimneys and waiting 2–3 hours until the heat from the coals warms up the tank.

Check out our propane torches here.

“A torch can get a large tank smoker up to cooking temperature in 20 minutes!”

4: Using a Bison Airlighter

This handy gadget is the combination of a torch and a blower, which means it both lights the charcoal and boosts the fire. It can light lump charcoal in 20 seconds or less, accelerate an existing fire in 1 minute or less, and get your charcoal ready to cook in only 5–6 minutes.

One nice feature of the Airlighter is that it stays cool to the touch, unlike a chimney that can hurt someone or damage your deck while it's cooling off. Because it also produces heat, you can even use this tool to sear meat or caramelize sugars. It would be handy to take on a camping trip or for lighting a fire in your fireplace too.

The downside to this tool is that you have to hold it the entire time, similar to a propane torch. The upside is that it’s a bit faster than a BBQ Dragon.

Check out the Bison Airlighter.

5: Using Lighter Fluid

The only time we recommend using lighter fluid is when lighting briquettes in an open grill, such as a Meadow Creek BBQ96 or BBQ60 Flat Top Grill. This is a handy method if you’re renting a grill or cooking at a park and don’t want to invest in the equipment I mentioned above or don’t have room to pack your gear.

It takes around 15–20 minutes for briquettes to light using this method. Follow the instructions on the bottle and stay safe!

We carry lighter fluid in our store.

Quality Charcoal

When you’re cooking with charcoal, you’ll need a good supply of quality charcoal. We carry a variety of lump charcoal brands and a premium quality 100% hardwood charcoal briquette from Royal Oak that burns clean and long.


  • Big Green Egg – Lump Charcoal

  • FOGO Premium Lump Charcoal

    $21.99
  • Nature-Glo Lump Charcoal

    $18.99
  • Rockwood – Lump Charcoal

    $27.95
  • Royal Oak – Chef’s Select Charcoal Briquettes

    $11.49$557.00


Still have questions? Need some gear? With the right tools, lighting a charcoal fire doesn't have to be stressful or time-consuming. Visit our store at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA or call us at (717) 355-0779 for help building a charcoal fire quickly and without frustration. Our store hours are listed at the bottom of this page.

About the author: Lavern Gingerich is a writer and the digital marketing manager for Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply.

Part-Time Barbecue Business Opportunity

Posted on Leave a comment


Interested in starting a roadside barbecue operation? Call us at (717) 355-0779 or come see us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, Pennsylvania during store hours.


Ask a Question By Email

Use this form to ask a question or request help choosing the right grill for your needs. We are standing by to help!









    Chicken Grills for Roadside BBQ Operations

    Meadow Creek "chicken flippers", a series of charcoal grills with rotating sandwich grates, have revolutionized chicken barbecues.

    Double-sided grates make it easy to turn the entire rack of meat with one hand. The stainless steel grates never rust and are easy to maintain for many years of use. And they come in a variety of sizes from backyard models to trailer units for feeding larger crowds. 

    Recommended Models for Launching a Part-time BBQ Operation:

    Meat Processing Cheat Sheet

    Posted on Leave a comment

    Are you interested in making sausage, bologna, ham, jerky, snack sticks, and bacon at home? There is a lot to learn, but a little guidance goes a long way in preparing these delicious meats and snacks with confidence. Here is a handy list of guidelines you will want to refer to often.

    Updated January 25, 2021.


    General Guidelines

    Note: Temperatures given are in F.

    • Always use cure for jerky, snack sticks, summer sausage, ring bologna, bologna, ham, salami, bacon, etc!

    Sodium nitrite (sometimes referred to as Insta Cure #1, Prague Powder, or pink curing salt) is the one you will use most frequently. The correct ratio for sodium nitrite (with the exception of bacon, see below) is 1 ounce per 25 pounds of meat or 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of meat. Buy sodium nitrite here.  

    Sodium nitrate (sometimes referred to as Insta Cure #2) is only to be used in salamis, pepperonis, and other specialty items. 

    • If adding high temp cheese to fresh sausage, snack sticks, summer sausage, ring bologna, or bologna, add 1 pound of cheese per 10 pounds of meat. For example, 8.5 pounds of venison + 1.5 pounds of pork fat + 1 pound of high temp cheese + 2 teaspoons of sodium nitrite + the seasoning of your choice would make a terrific summer sausage!
    • When making snack sticks, summer sausage, ring bologna, or bologna, add 1 pint of cold water (per 10 pounds of meat) to your meat after it is ground to make stuffing easier.
    • After stuffing your snack sticks, summer sausage, ring bologna, or bologna, refrigerate them in a covered container to let the cure work throughout the meat. This also gives the seasonings more time to absorb into the fibers of the meat. (Curing times: snack sticks 1 hour, summer sausage 2-3 hours, bolognas 4–6 hours).
    • Cook to internal temperatures of 150 degrees for pork, beef, veal, lamb, and game and 160 degrees for products containing poultry.
    • After removing snack sticks, summer sausage, ring bologna, or bologna from the smoker, immerse them in an ice water bath for 5–10 minutes. This stops the cooking process.
    • When marinating muscle jerky, let it marinade for 12–14 hours if sliced across the grain, 24–28 hours if sliced with the grain.
    • When making formed jerky, shoot the strips onto a wire rack, and let the strips sit 1–2 hours in the refrigerator to let the cure work throughout the meat. Letting the meat cure before making the strips will change the texture of the meat, making it very difficult to load into your jerky gun.
    • If your smoker doesn’t run as low as 150 degrees, try cold smoking the product first before smoking it at 200–225 degrees. Cold smoke snack sticks and formed jerky for 20–30 minutes, muscle jerky for 30–45 minutes, summer sausage for 1 hour, and bolognas for 2 hours. Cooking times will be slightly shorter than the times listed for cooking in an oven. This cold smoking should not be done on warm days!

    Fresh Sausage

    • Using venison? Add 20-30% fatty pork or pork fat.
    • Using pork? Pork butts are perfect! Add up to 10% pork fat for really juicy sausages!

    Seasoning Blends

    Casings

    If you're not making links, form it into patties for breakfast sausage or fry it loose for casseroles and other dishes.

    Cooking Methods

    Using a grill: Cook the fresh sausages at 350 degrees with medium smoke until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees.

    Using a stove: Brown the sausage in a skillet over medium heat until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees.

    Snack Sticks 

    • Using venison? Add 5-10% fatty pork, pork fat, or lean ground beef (70-80% lean).
    • Using beef? Use 80-90% lean ground beef.

    Seasoning Blends 
    These come with a cure packet.

    Casings

    Cooking Methods

    Using a smoker: Smoke them at 150 degrees with heavy smoke for 1 hour, then increase the temperature to 200 degrees until the internal temperature of the sticks hits 150 degrees (approximately 30–40 minutes longer).

    Using an oven: Add 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke per 10 pounds of meat to the seasoning blend, then cook them at 200 degrees until the internal temperature of the sticks hits 150 degrees (approximately 1 hour).

    Summer Sausage or Ring Bologna

    • Using venison? Add 10-20% fatty pork, pork fat, or lean ground beef (70-80% lean).
    • Using beef? Use 80-90% lean ground beef.

    Seasoning Blends 
    These come with a cure packet.

    Casings

    Cooking Methods

    Using a smoker: Smoke it at 150 degrees with heavy smoke for 4 hours, then increase the temperature to 200 degrees until the internal temperature of the meat hits 150 degrees (approximately 1–2 more hours).

    Using an oven: Add 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke per 10 pounds of meat to the seasoning blend, then cook it at 200 degrees until the internal temperature of the meat hits 150 degrees (approximately 3 hours).

    Bologna

    • Using venison? Add 10-20% fatty pork, pork fat, or lean ground beef (70-80% lean).
    • Using beef? Use 80-90% lean ground beef.

    Seasoning

    Casings

    Cooking Methods

    Using a smoker: Smoke the bologna at 150 degrees with heavy smoke for 6 hours, then increase the temperature to 200 degrees until the internal temperature of the meat hits 150 degrees (approximately 5–6 more hours).

    Using an oven: Add 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke per 10 pounds of meat to the seasoning blend, then cook it at 200 degrees until the internal temp of the meat hits 150 degrees (approximately 6–7 hours).

    Muscle Jerky 

    • Using venison? The hindquarters or the backstraps make great muscle jerky!
    • Using beef? Brisket flat, top round, or eye round are great choices.

    Seasonings (available in our store)

    Preparation Methods

    Using a smoker: Smoke the jerky at 150 degrees with medium smoke until it is rigid, but tender enough that it doesn't snap when bent (approximately 6–8 hours).

    Using an oven: Add 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke per 10 pounds of meat to the marinade. Set the oven as low as possible (usually 175–200 degrees), and prop the door open 1–2” to let some of the heat escape. Cook the jerky until it is rigid, but tender enough that it doesn't snap when bent (approximately 4–6 hours).

    Using a dehydrator: Add 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke per 10 pounds of meat to the marinade. Set the dehydrator at 150 degrees or as low as possible. Dry the meat until it is rigid, but tender enough that it doesn't snap when bent (approximately 6–8 hours).

    Formed Jerky 

    • Using venison? Any ground venison works fine.
    • Using beef? Use the leanest ground beef you can possibly find!

    See "Muscle Jerky" for recommended seasonings.

    Preparation Methods

    Using a smoker: Smoke the jerky at 150 degrees with medium smoke until it is rigid, but tender enough that it doesn't snap when bent (approximately 3–4 hours).

    Using an oven: Add 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke per 10 pounds of meat to the seasoning blend. Set the oven as low as possible (usually 175–200 degrees), and prop the door open 1–2” to let some of the heat escape. Cook the jerky until it is rigid, but tender enough that it doesn't snap when bent (approximately 2–3 hours).

    Using a dehydrator: Add 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke per 10 pounds of meat to the seasoning blend. Set the dehydrator at 150 degrees or as low as possible. Dry the meat until it is rigid, but tender enough that it doesn't snap when bent (approximately 3–4 hours).

    Bacon

    Use a skinned pork belly.

    Basic cure for a 10-pound pork belly (adjust as needed to match the weight):

    • 4 ounces kosher salt
    • 2.25 ounces dark brown sugar
    • 0.75 ounces cure #1 (sodium nitrite)

    For a maple bacon, slather the belly in maple syrup before applying the cure mixture. For a peppered bacon, add 3 tablespoons coarsely-ground black pepper to the basic cure mixture and lightly dust the belly with more before refrigerating for the pellicle formation.

    Mix the cure ingredients well and apply the cure to all sides of the belly. Put the belly in a large zip lock bag or covered container. Refrigerate it for seven days and flip the belly once a day. Very thick bellies might take several extra days to cure; the belly should feel firm to the touch.

    After the curing process is completed, remove the belly from the bag, rinse it well, and soak it in cold water for 30 minutes. Then pat it dry with paper towels, set it on a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet, and put it back in the refrigerator uncovered for 18–24 hours to form a pellicle.

    Preparation Methods

    Using a smoker: Smoke the belly at 150 degrees with medium smoke for 2 hours, then at 200 degrees until the internal temperature of the bacon hits 150 degrees (approximately 2–3 more hours).

    Using an oven: Cook the belly at 200 degrees until the internal temperature of the bacon reaches 150 degrees (approximately 3–4 hours).

    Let it cool on the counter for 30–40 minutes before refrigerating or freezing it.

    We carry a full line of meat processing equipment and supplies, including grinders, stuffers, seasoning blends, and casings. Our staff is also happy to help you with your meat processing questions! Visit us during store hours or browse some of our products in our online catalog here:

    Location:
    Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply
    140 W Main St
    New Holland, PA 17557

    Phone: (717) 355-0779

    Hours:
    Monday – Thursday: 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
    Friday: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm
    Saturday: 8:00 am – 1:00 pm
    Sunday: Closed