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View Full Version : Recommendations for Smoker for Catering (large unit)


fireman_pete
12-23-2013, 06:01 PM
I have been catering for about 3 years. I am located in Southern California, and have enough work to keep me more than busy, being that this is a part time job for me.

I currently have a BBQ Trailer, with 4 different BBQs on it that I use. I have an FEC100, Two Traeger Com-150s, and a Santa Maria BBQ Grill.

Our normal catering gigs are between 100-250 people, but I cook for 350-450 people several times a year. Our most popular meats are Tri-Tip, Chicken, Pork and ribs.

I would like to buy 1 large smoker and ditch the several smaller ones.

I would love advice/recommendations. I REALLY want something that is set and forget when it comes to temps. That is why I like cooking with pellets. I am not against a gas assist pit either. Looking for a smoker that will hold full size hotel pans, can hold 30-40 butts, etc.

I have about $5-$6K to spend right now. Whatever I get needs to be mounted to my existing trailer.

I would love to get your feedback.

Thanks

Garth57
12-23-2013, 07:28 PM
I saw a CTO on the Brethren site for under $4k, I believe?

BigBellyBBQ
12-24-2013, 02:59 AM
southern pride or Ole hickory , however keep a grill on board..

fireman_pete
12-24-2013, 11:42 AM
Yep, I saw that and posted a reply, but have not heard anything yet....bet it is sold.

I saw a CTO on the Brethren site for under $4k, I believe?

fireman_pete
12-24-2013, 11:43 AM
That is what I would love, but do not think the budget can support that right now. I will alsways have a Santa Maria style BBQ as well....very versatile and provides great flavor for grilled meats.

southern pride or Ole hickory , however keep a grill on board..

CivilWarBBQ
12-24-2013, 04:35 PM
If you have a Santa Maria you are covered for Tri Tip.

You might consider a gravity feed Limo model from Southern Q Smokers. Unattended cooking, takes full pans, thrifty on smoking wood which I know is harder to get on the left coast. Best of all, it's well with your price range, even shipped to California.

Over 40 GCs on Southern Q in 2013, so you know it will perform.

Disclaimer: My team is sponsored by Southern Q, so I am undoubtedly a bit biased. ;)

fireman_pete
12-24-2013, 07:46 PM
Thanks. I looked at the website, but did not see much information. Do they only have the one model on the gravity feed pits, or do they make a larger unit? I am looking for something that will cook 250 pounds (35+ butts)

Thanks

Pete


If you have a Santa Maria you are covered for Tri Tip.

You might consider a gravity feed Limo model from Southern Q Smokers. Unattended cooking, takes full pans, thrifty on smoking wood which I know is harder to get on the left coast. Best of all, it's well with your price range, even shipped to California.

Over 40 GCs on Southern Q in 2013, so you know it will perform.

Disclaimer: My team is sponsored by Southern Q, so I am undoubtedly a bit biased. ;)

CivilWarBBQ
12-25-2013, 02:43 AM
They build a ton of different sizes and styles. The Limo is a double door gravity feed that if memory serves will hold five shelves of three full pans each. I own the original gravity model that is a single door and takes two pans x 5.

I believe you could put 35 butts in mine if they weren't pumped up with injection but it wouldn't be a comfortable fit. Should fit in the Limo easily. Call Scott Smith and ask him any questions you might have - he knows the cookers he builds inside and out. The current placeholder website is being replaced with another that shows all the smoker models, specs etc. after the first of the year.

Scott's team Que'n, Stew'n & Brew'n took 14th in the KCBS ToTY this time around so you can see he cooks constantly and knows what BBQ guys are looking for in their equipment. They also make water pan smokers for the fast and hot crowd if you are into that method. For the money, I think Southern Q delivers excellent value. Some other builders may offer more bling, but for a workhorse smoker Scott's stuff is hard to beat.

Found a photo of the Limo and put it in my Facebook public album here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3777958903128&set=a.2017628135959.57119.1701561545&type=3&theater

BigBellyBBQ
01-05-2014, 02:24 AM
Ebay has a couple Ole Hickory in your price range and a SP 500 just sold on craigs list outside of Raliegh, NC for 5700. Keep huntiing..if you want to be serious dont pick up a toy..Keep search lists and also post that you are looking to buy.

fireman_pete
01-05-2014, 11:17 AM
Thanks....Most of these cookers are on the wrong coast, and shipping is a killer!

C Rocke
01-08-2014, 08:10 PM
Hey Pete - We've used Large Spicewines forever, and cook the type of numbers you're talking about. EZ to dial in with a charcoal maze, and hold temp rock solid. We've even been know to cook on the road with them (wink,wink). Lemme know if I can help. I still need to get back to you on the other one. Thanks.

FatCoyote
01-08-2014, 08:38 PM
Try looking at LoneStar Grillz. They make some nice pits for catering.
http://www.lonestargrillz.com/

fireman_pete
01-25-2014, 03:30 PM
I am still looking for the perfect smoker for our catering operations....Would love an Ole Hickory or SP, just not sure it will work in the budget. Really like the Pitmaker Sniper offset, but think it would require babysitting. Could always install a gas assist burner like the OH or SP.

Any other suggestions, please keep them coming!

Thanks

Pete

HBMTN
01-25-2014, 03:52 PM
How about keeping the FEC100 and adding a FEC120 that way if you have a small cooking you can use just one of them and if you need to load both they will hold 270lbs of raw butts. I just bought a FEC120 for $4750 new and free shipping.

fireman_pete
01-25-2014, 06:10 PM
the problem with the FEC100/120 is that they do not hold enough pans. I use alot of full size pans, and they will only hold 4 each. If they were designed just a little bigger, that would hold double.

I love the FEC100, but the lack of full pans is causing me to sell it.

pete


How about keeping the FEC100 and adding a FEC120 that way if you have a small cooking you can use just one of them and if you need to load both they will hold 270lbs of raw butts. I just bought a FEC120 for $4750 new and free shipping.

TailGateJoecom
01-26-2014, 02:38 AM
the problem with the FEC100/120 is that they do not hold enough pans. I use alot of full size pans, and they will only hold 4 each. If they were designed just a little bigger, that would hold double.

I love the FEC100, but the lack of full pans is causing me to sell it.

pete

The 120 has 5 shelves, not that it is a huge difference from the 100.

Let me ask you a question, are you using the pans for cooking or holding? I have an fec120 and love it.

BigBellyBBQ
01-26-2014, 07:27 AM
You are right on with the pans!! What ever cooker you come up with make sure it holds several...I can put 18 full size pans in and then put 6 racks on them for ribs or what ever..If you are short on space, Then hold in cambros for several hours

Bbq Bubba
01-26-2014, 07:40 AM
I am still looking for the perfect smoker for our catering operations....Would love an Ole Hickory or SP, just not sure it will work in the budget. Really like the Pitmaker Sniper offset, but think it would require babysitting. Could always install a gas assist burner like the OH or SP.

Any other suggestions, please keep them coming!

Thanks

Pete

A Pitmaker is not made for commercial cooking.
If your serious about making money and saving time you need to borrow some more change and get an OH or SP. All these other units will just hold you back in size.
Your right, YOUR on the wrong coast :wink: but i know theres units out there too. Keep looking and it will find you.

HBMTN
01-26-2014, 10:45 AM
the problem with the FEC100/120 is that they do not hold enough pans. I use alot of full size pans, and they will only hold 4 each. If they were designed just a little bigger, that would hold double.

I love the FEC100, but the lack of full pans is causing me to sell it.

pete


You take my Lang 84 it will only hold 6 full size pans due to the top rack hitting the pans and you must turn them side ways which only allows two to fit. When you get larger than these type of units I think it would take a large OH or SP but now your talking $15K and when I have seen them used they are still $7K plus.

fireman_pete
01-26-2014, 11:35 AM
Thanks, that is what I am starting to see.....need to save some more change, and keep my eyes out for a deal.

Thanks!

A Pitmaker is not made for commercial cooking.
If your serious about making money and saving time you need to borrow some more change and get an OH or SP. All these other units will just hold you back in size.
Your right, YOUR on the wrong coast :wink: but i know theres units out there too. Keep looking and it will find you.

BigBellyBBQ
01-27-2014, 01:00 AM
one good weekend will buy that for you, so I have heard...

HBMTN
01-27-2014, 07:33 AM
one good weekend will buy that for you, so I have heard...

Sounds like I am BBQ'ing in the wrong place then LOL

fireman_pete
01-27-2014, 05:47 PM
Yeah, me too!

luke duke
01-29-2014, 11:08 AM
Why cook with pans?

fireman_pete
01-29-2014, 02:52 PM
We use pans for our side dishes (i.e. Beans, Mac & Cheese, etc). Sometimes we also cook in pans to reduce the mess/clean-up.

Why cook with pans?