View Full Version : Tell Me something catering gurus

01-25-2011, 08:51 PM
so like i have mentioned before i am planning to start a vending/catering gig (hopeful to turn into a solid located joint at somepoint)

i am thinking of building my own spicewine/stumps/backwoods/....something..of the vert cabinet genre...then popped into my wee lil brain..NSF.... it probably wont be "NSF"... what the heck is NSF...

#1 can my smoker be "inspected" and deemed NSF compliant...

#2 after a few runs when all the BBQ goodness is spread throughout on all the racks and sides and bottom and top...wouldnt that be breeding ground for all kinda bacterial goodies...thus rendering it NSF non compliant???

if it turns out that a homemade pit cant be NSF... how do the brick pit's pass and what not

again if i cant build my own NSF compliant pit what should i shoot for...





am i missing any? VERT CAB type pits... i just figure they will allow the best time management and allow sleep so i can be rested for a busy day the next day.

Thanks for yall's time


01-25-2011, 08:59 PM
Mmmmeat, are you really good enough at fabrication to make a cabinet type smoker that you would take on site? It has to look good if you expect people to continue to eat from it.

NSF is not necessary for cooked on site or served hot foods, you would not need a NSF cooker unless you are planning on cooking off-site and packaging the food for sale. That being said, the NSF process is probably not worth it compared to buying a FEC, Spicewine or other cooker. I would suggest you look into classes for Serv-safe and Health Department codes to make sure you know what standards you are going to need to meet. It will save you a lot of headaches if you at least know the shape of what is coming.

01-25-2011, 09:12 PM
not necessarily a cabinet type, but another option to look at would be the CTO from Ole Hickory.

01-25-2011, 09:17 PM
well here's the rub... say im doin vending a location X...but i actually cook at my house (on the same trailer that will be at location X) does that have to be NSF then since i actually cooked off site?

i'd love one of the PROVEN smokers out on the market now, but if i could build one for 1/3 the price...heck why not?? and if i was goin all out to build one it would be my best work, i wouldnt be goin for the "ugly" look as GRUNTER has gone, but rather i'd go the whole 9 yards with painting it, making it look professional, to grab that first impression from potential, customers.

01-25-2011, 09:25 PM
not necessarily a cabinet type, but another option to look at would be the CTO from Ole Hickory.

tell me more, this is an option i had not considered (mainly cus i didnt know bout it) is it gas heated like it's bigger brothers?? if a cat was to wanna jump in a competition would i not be allowed to use it because of this??

i guess i should have thrown that out there too, which ever way i go, i want to be able to head out to a comp and throw my name around there for a lil advertising, and what not

01-25-2011, 10:04 PM
Have you considered a hot dog cart? I would contact Desert Dweller and ask him what he thinks. He started up with a hot dog cart and cooking at home. You might PM him and ask. Something that I have discussed with Phat Matt's out here is the impact the smoker has on site, if it looks like a refrigerator, it has less appeal than a full blown Klose, then again, Big Mista is using Spicewines last time I checked and he is rocking the Farmer's Markets with them.

Also, I would recommend you consider whether you intend to sell just smoked meats or having a grill to attract attention, this really matters if you are selling at events. A chicken grill can be a great attraction.

01-25-2011, 10:15 PM
i've thought about it... but there are already a few roamin around my lil town ..small town say less than 50000... the city is like...3 miles long.... that being said, there is NO BBQ. period, so i was thinkin/ to get into a big/ decent size trailer "enclosed" so that i may be able to handle anything the desert may throw at me as far as weather is concerned... another "rub" is if lookin at say a 22-24ft enclosed used, i'll be spending roughly the same on the new smoker as i would trailer, say around 7000... so i do want the best investment available

01-26-2011, 09:08 AM
Old Hickory CTO sounds about right for you. Yes you can compete, it can operate with a charcoal basket, just like the bigger ones. Call Old Hickory directly and they will deal.

01-26-2011, 06:48 PM
whats it about the CTO that would make it perfect for me?? have any insights that could potentially sway me towards them?? like for instance.. a price better than the competition? or features as such

01-26-2011, 06:54 PM
Here are some pics from my cto, today i had a brisket, beef ribs, a couple chuck roasts, chicken,ribs, and 2 butts on there. still had 2 1/2 racks left to fill up. I am told i can get 24 butts on there at once but i havent done it yet. You can cook comps with it as well but you have to have the comp switch which i believe they have standard now.

two lonely butts

gas burner and blower motor

firebox door

charcoal basket - i can fit one bag of RO lump in it i dont have a clue as to how long of burn you will get due to it being very cold here and it takes almost a whole bag to get up to temps (temp was 20* today) but im sure that in spring, summer, fall it wont take near as long to warm up. once it gets to temp it does great until it starts to run low then the fans kick on and you can get a temp spike if you dont catch it in time.

01-26-2011, 07:10 PM
well that's def. in the running now, tell me about the comp switch... is it just something to put on so that the organizing body, and other competitors have no doubt you are not runnin on gas. and when you are runnin on gas (if you do) is it propane, natural gas, how much do you go thru in a typical cook.. im sure a couple of them 5ft tall propane tanks would last a while?? maybe???

01-26-2011, 08:01 PM
Mine does not have a comp switch, i just have to unhook a wire from the blower motor but its basically the same thing all the switch does is keep the unit from turning on the gas if its hooked up. as far as the gas issue i have never used it i just bought my cto at the end of december, but i know it is an amazing piece of equipment. When i hook it up to gas i will let you know what kind of mileage i get with it. Right now mine is set up for natural gas, but i am changing out the orifice so i can run propane to start my pit at competitions and for mobile catering opportunities.

01-26-2011, 08:11 PM

01-26-2011, 10:05 PM
[QUOTE=mmmmeat;1524874]well here's the rub... say im doin vending a location X...but i actually cook at my house (on the same trailer that will be at location X) does that have to be NSF then since i actually cooked off site?


Sounds like a good question for your Health Dept. I would check into their guidelines and they can help you figure out what you need and what is and/or isn't possible.