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*Based on 4" raw burger with 1/2" space on all sides

Meadow Creek PR36

By Meathead Goldwyn

Manufacturer: Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply

It is a real treat in a disposable world to see products this well built. Especially at these prices.

All Meadow Creek grills, smokers, and grill/smoker combos are made by Amish craftsmen in New Holland, PA, as they have been since the company was founded in 1980. As you might expect, their designs are simple, well thought out, their build is solid and the products are long lasting.

Most metal is seriously heavy 13 gauge steel, In 2012 they switched from stainless steel expanded metal grates to heavy wire mesh grates which we commonly refer to as stainless steel rod grates. This change reduced waste because the expanded metal grates were stamped out of stainless steel sheets resulting in tons of small diamond shaped leftovers. Stamping also created sharp edges which nicked some fingers before they smoothed out from usage. Finally switching to metal rods decreased the volume of metal surface on the grates, reducing conduction cooking and exposing meat to more smoke. Handles are stainless steel coils that never get too hot and are easy on the hands. Meadow Creeks are favorites among the competition crowd for quality as well as price. That metal will stand up to nature's fury, and as long as you have them covered and keep them clean, you should be handing these down to your kids. If they've been good.

Meadow Creek PR36

Top Ten Charcoal Grill 2014Although it can handle a small hog, Meadow Creek's PR36 does much more. This is one versatile cooker. There is a deep trough and a tall lid with a solid strong hinge. A tray for charcoal hangs inside the trough 6" below the grate. Load it up and you can bring coal very close to the food for a quick hot sear. Or, if you wish, coals can be placed right on the bottom of the trough. You can then place the empty coal tray above coals for indirect cooking, or even fill the tray with water for steaming. Push the coals to one side and you have a fine 2-zone setup and put wood on the coals and you can smoke as well as any offset smoker. The coal tray lifts out easily so ash disposal is a snap.

There is an inverted V shape bar that runs the length of the bottom of the coal tray and it has large holes in it. It can be used to divide the charcoal bed and improve airflow to the embers. One can even lay unlit coals in a C or U shape and put hot coals on one end and it will burn slowly around the bend like a fuse, ideal for low and slow cooking.

The cooking grate is 15 x 35" for a whopping 525 square inches of primary cooking surface. It comes with a duplicate second grate that can be placed above the main grate, doubling you cooking capacity.

There are six simple flap covered vent holes, two on each side of the bottom, and one on each side of the lid. They don't seal perfectly nor does the lid, but a perfect seal is overrated. Temp control and airflow are more important. The large inflatable tires make it fairly easy to roll it on uneven surfaces such as grass, dirt, and even sand. It is painted with heat resistant black enamel. Powder coated would have been better. The seriously large dial thermometer in the hood is one of the few we've seen that actually works well.


$755 Manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), actual price may vary.

Where To Buy (Buying from these suppliers supports this website): 

Big Poppa Smokers

Primary Function: 



Combination Grill & Smoker

Pig or Lamb Roaster



Primary Capacity: 

525 square inches ( about 25 burgers )

Secondary Capacity: 

525 square inches

Manufacturer claims that all or practically all of this device is made in the USA


Review Method: 

Cooked On It

We have hands-on experience testing this product. We have also gathered info from the manufacturer, owners and other reliable sources.

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AN URGENT MESSAGE FROM MEATHEAD: If you like AmazingRibs.com, please save this link and use it every time you go to Amazon. Amazon and many other websites pay us a small referral fee when you click our links and purchase from them. It works on everything from grills to diapers, Amazon never tells us what you bought, and it has zero impact on the price you pay, but has a major impact on our ability to improve this site! And remember, we only recommend products we love.

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Gold BBQ AwardA good digital thermometer keeps me from serving dry overcooked food or dangerously undercooked food. They are much faster and more accurate than dial thermometers. The Thermopop (above) is about $29. The Thermapen (below), the Ferrari of instant reads, is about $96. Click here to read more about types of thermometer and see our ratings and reviews or more than 150 models. - Meathead

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Click here to read more about what makes these grates so special and how they compare to other cooking surfaces. - Meathead

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The Slow 'n' Sear turns your grill into a first class smoker and also creates an extremely hot sear zone you can use to create steakhouse steaks.

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The Pit Barrel Cooker

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The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period.

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Click here to read our detailed review and the raves from people who own them. - Meathead

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The PK Grill has become our favorite charcoal grill. It proves some ideas never die.

Designed in 1952, the rectangular shape is easy to set up in 2 or 3 heat zones, it can easily be used as a smoker, the cast aluminum body is indestructible, airflow is easy to manage, and there is plenty of room under the hood.

Click here for more about this cool tool. - Meathead

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Made of rugged 1/8" thick aluminum, 20" long, with four serious rivets, mine show zero signs of weakness after years of abuse. I use it on meats, hot charcoal, burning logs, and with the mechanical advantage that the scissor design creates, I can easily pick up a whole packer brisket. Click here to read more. - Meathead

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Mo's Smoking Pouch is essential for gas grills. It is an envelope of mesh 304 stainless steel that holds wood chips or pellets. The airspaces in the mesh are small enough that they limit the amount of oxygen that gets in so the wood smolders. Put it on top of the cooking grate, on the burners, on the coals. It holds enough wood for about 15 minutes for short cooks, so you need to refill it or buy a second pouch for long cooks like pork shoulder and brisket. Mine has survived more than 50 cooks. I like it better than the smoker tubes. Click for more info. - Meathead

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About this website. AmazingRibs.com is all about the science of barbecue, grilling, and outdoor cooking, with great BBQ recipes, tips on technique, mythbusting, and unbiased equipment reviews. Learn how to set up your grills and smokers properly, the thermodynamics of what happens when heat hits meat, and how to cook great food outdoors. There are also buying guides to barbeque smokers, grills, accessories, and thermometers, as well as hundreds of excellent tested recipes including all the classics: Baby back ribs, pulled pork, Texas brisket, burgers, chicken, smoked turkey, lamb, steaks, chili, barbecue sauces, spice rubs, and side dishes, with the world's best all edited by Meathead Goldwyn.

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