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View Full Version : What size cooker?


hcarter
09-05-2008, 08:28 AM
So I am thinking about getting started with some catering jobs. The smallest group I have been asked to cook for is 600. I'm assuming for something like that, it would be easier to cook and drop off. I know that I would need a commercial kitchen for the prep, what I really need is some direction on the size of cooker to get. Any help is most apprciated!!

big brother smoke
09-05-2008, 10:10 AM
On site is always best for clients especially for 600 people. It is easier than transporting and it serves as good marketing.


For those size parties you are potentially going to need a big smoker. May want to consider an Ole Hickory or FEC models. I cannot believe I just said that since I am a stick burner, but business is business.

http://www.olehickorypits.com/prod.aspx?CategoryID=76&ProdID=31

http://www.kck.com/cookshack-fec-750-500-300-100.html

However, I would probably go this direction if were doing 600+
http://www.bbqpits.com/walk_on_trailers_2007/walk_on_trailers.htm

stickburners do rule, lol!

hcarter
09-05-2008, 11:08 AM
I like the Klose pits alot. Plus I think that people generally would like the idea of seeing someone with a load of wood getting ready to cook. (if on-site)

smokinit
09-05-2008, 03:46 PM
Large cabinet smokers like Backwoods do well and and save alot of time in tending.I am upgading to a Whole Hog cooker which will hold up 600lbs of butts or two pigs. The have autogas features that will take over after your temp setpoint goes below a certain point which helps on long cooks. I am a Dealer for the northeast and give Brethren discounts.Give me a ring if you want futher info.

Spydermike72
09-05-2008, 05:21 PM
You say that the SMALLEST group you have been asked to cook for is 600 ?? The smallest ?? What is your largest ?? You are going to need something like BBS says. Wow 600 is your smallest ?? What are you cooking on now ?

Jeff Hughes
09-05-2008, 05:52 PM
On site is always best for clients especially for 600 people. It is easier than transporting and it serves as good marketing.


For those size parties you are potentially going to need a big smoker. May want to consider an Ole Hickory or FEC models. I cannot believe I just said that since I am a stick burner, but business is business.

http://www.olehickorypits.com/prod.aspx?CategoryID=76&ProdID=31

http://www.kck.com/cookshack-fec-750-500-300-100.html

However, I would probably go this direction if were doing 600+
http://www.bbqpits.com/walk_on_trailers_2007/walk_on_trailers.htm

stickburners do rule, lol!

Klose make big enough cookers for the job, but the one you linked to will not do it, that's a backyard cooker that will work for 100 folks maximum...

ThomEmery
09-05-2008, 05:53 PM
I think we have a typo here

big brother smoke
09-05-2008, 05:57 PM
You guys did not scroll down the whole page:tongue::biggrin:

Norcoredneck
09-05-2008, 06:16 PM
Check this rig out. You can rent it.
http://inlandempire.craigslist.org/bfs/808231086.html

hcarter
09-06-2008, 07:46 AM
The (small) nursing college my wife attends asked me to cook for them. They try to have a picnic for students and faculty each year. The reason I didn't do it is because I KNOW I don't have a large enough cooker. No typo:biggrin::biggrin: I just heard from them again yesterday, they're thinking more like 300 but just want hamburgers and hot dogs. :roll: I'm not sure that is how I want to get started. Anyway, I looked at the Klose extended 30x10 mobile that feeds ~600. I think I'll start looking into that. Thanks Guys.

bbqpits
09-16-2008, 09:39 PM
Generally 600-1100 people can be cooked for on a 36 inch diameter by 8ft or 10ft
main chamber with 3 row pullout shelves. I have cooked on one like this for years
wih tremendous results.
You can see one like i mean on the webpage:
http://www.bbqpits.com/mobile_cookoff_and_catering_rigs/36x10_w_uprt.htm

hcarter
09-20-2008, 02:11 PM
Thanks Dave, I've been looking at that one for a few weeks now. Started saving up!!

fevoice
10-05-2008, 11:13 AM
Most BBQ Caterers that I know, cook a few days ahead and either freeeze or refrigerate until serving day. They then re-thermalize the meat and deliver. Now some will take out their cookers on trailers and reheat on site, which gives the serving site that smoke aroma we all know and love. And as mentioned above it's a great form of marketing.

But when it arrives it needs to be hot. Unless you told the customer that they need to reheat. Then you need to deliver at a temp that is "safe".

I'm currently agonizing over wether to get an FEC-300 or 500 or an SPX-300 or an Ole Hickory Pit SSG mounted on a trailer. All I need to do after that is convince my lovely wife that spending/investing $13,000 - $16,000 in a BBQ pit is a good thing.

Blessings all!

Frank

hcarter
10-16-2008, 12:55 PM
Well, They FINALLY had their picnic, I had nothing to do with the cooking. I heard they had hamburgers and hot dogs. (which is what they had initially asked me to do) I did not hear any comments pro or con, but I'm glad that I didn't get roped into it. They didn't seem to be able to plan well. In any case, I've been looking at the Klose pits, just gotta convince the wife.

Michael in PA
11-16-2008, 01:59 AM
I have a Klose like the one Dave linked. The "cooks for" numbers are not innaccurate but may lead you to an incorrect conclusion. I can pack my cooker with almost 1000 lbs of pork butts. But there isn't enough room for proper air circulation. Some butts will be done in 8 hours, some in 15.

Briskets, chickens and ribs take up more room on the grates per serving, reducing your "feeds" capacity. You're also probably going to be cooking beans and other sides in there.

If you do a lot of ribs you can have extra shelves put in. My pit came with 3 rows in the main plus an extra set of rails and 4 rows in the upright. I have since had a forth set of selves fabricated for the main, increasing capacity by a third. There's plans to add three more shelves to the upright to increase capacity in ther by 75%. If I knew then what I know now I would have asked Dave to build it with the extra shelving in the first place. But I was a butt man and didn't know I would become a ribber.

So here's a real world example: with our new fourth row in the main we were able to cook 36 racks of back ribs, 40 St. louis Spares, 20 rib tips, 40 chickens and 4 full size pans of beans. That pretty much loaded it up, main and upright. There was good circulation and everything came out great.

CivilWarBBQ
11-16-2008, 03:20 PM
Most BBQ Caterers that I know, cook a few days ahead and either freeeze or refrigerate until serving day. They then re-thermalize the meat and deliver. Now some will take out their cookers on trailers and reheat on site, which gives the serving site that smoke aroma we all know and love. And as mentioned above it's a great form of marketing.

But when it arrives it needs to be hot. Unless you told the customer that they need to reheat. Then you need to deliver at a temp that is "safe".

I'm currently agonizing over wether to get an FEC-300 or 500 or an SPX-300 or an Ole Hickory Pit SSG mounted on a trailer. All I need to do after that is convince my lovely wife that spending/investing $13,000 - $16,000 in a BBQ pit is a good thing.

Blessings all!

Frank

Yes, what Frank says is dead on.

We do most of our production cooking for the restaurant and catering jobs on our Southern Pride, but when we need an on-site dog and pony show we take a trailer mounted stick burner. Pre-cooked, double foiled meat is carried in ice chests and reheated on the stick burner to serving temp. In addition to providing the smoke aroma and look people expect, it is also a very good way to minimize your waste in a vending environment because you only reheat what you need. Any unused product simply goes back with you. Since it never left the cooler there is no loss in quality.

bam
11-16-2008, 07:01 PM
Meadow Creek

tony76248
11-17-2008, 07:29 AM
As proud as we are of our respective cookers, they are not all perfect. They do cook well when they are not jam packed full of meat. I know mine has a crazy personality when the air flow is impeded.

I think possibly some of the best cookers for large catering jobs could be the ones with the rotisseries. I do not know which brands are actually the best, I just know that you have good circulation and equal temps which must give peace of mind when timing is an issue. Plus most of the ones I have seen have pretty good capacity. Anytime you have to get into the smoker and move the meat around to eliminate hotspots or cool spots, you are just doing unnessary work. Plus when the cooker is open you are adding to the cook time. Isn't it better to only open the smoker when the meat is ready?

If you go to a BBQ joint you will notice that the briskets are mostly all the same size. I know that one of my favorite ones here in TX will cook all the briskets for 10 hours at 200 degrees. Of course they have heat and moisture controls to ensure that the end product is very consistent.

Divemaster
12-01-2008, 08:58 AM
Most BBQ Caterers that I know, cook a few days ahead and either freeeze or refrigerate until serving day. They then re-thermalize the meat and deliver. Now some will take out their cookers on trailers and reheat on site, which gives the serving site that smoke aroma we all know and love. And as mentioned above it's a great form of marketing.

I agree with Frank... If I can avoid taking out the Lang I do... If they insist, I charge extra for 'The Show'.

beam boys bbq
12-01-2008, 09:30 AM
i have been told by many cooks figuer out what you need and then get the next size bigger that way you all ways have room that has all ways worked for me

i have the large spice wine i have never filled it up all the way yet
been close but not yet:-D

york