The Meadow Creek BBQ26 looks like a giant Hibachi, with no lid, this boring black box is 32" long by 21" wide by 20.5" tall on heavy wire legs. It weighs a substantial 60 pounds. You'd be pardoned for thinking it is just another portable grill, but you'd be wrong. It is really a killer tailgater in disguise.
Its double sided 16" by 24" cooking grate, (shown below on a larger model), covers 384 square inches means that you can load on a mess of food and flip it in all with one hand. Meadow Creek says it cook up to 15 chickens, needing only 10 to 15 pounds of charcoal. Buy the optional trailer hitch connection, and you're bound to have a winning season even if your team doesn't. There is also an optional charcoal pan that can place the coal just inches below the cooking grate.
Its legs are one drawback. They're short thick-gauge wire, designed to sit low to the ground, better for fitting in the trunk or on the truck bed than backyard.
For a couple hundred bucks more you can get The BBQ26S, which stands waist high on long legs made of pipes with non-locking casters and a vented lid. Designed for grilling, close the lid and you can pull off some small-scale rib, brisket, and pork shoulder smoking, but this is not the ideal configuration for 2-zone indirect cooking or smoking.
Looked Closely At It
We have seen this product up close and we have also gathered info from the manufacturer, owners, and other reliable sources.
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.
These babies are designed for fast and hot grilling. Great for chicken, steaks, chops, burgers, and more, caterers fondly call them "chicken cookers" because there is no better way to cook birds than with their double sided pivoting grates of expanded stainless steel. Meat is sandwiched between two grates that are on a center pivot. Time to turn? Pull the pin, turn the handle and the whole grate flips just like a jukebox turning over a record (remember vinyl records?).