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-   -   Just how do you guys do it? (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=170283)

jeffh 09-03-2013 11:36 PM

Just how do you guys do it?
 
Greetings fellow brethren! I've been lurking these forums for years now, and I have learned a lot, and BBQ is slowly becoming my passion in life, and like many of you I'm wondering "Can I somehow turn this hobby into something more?"

I am a Branch Manager for a Fortune 500 truck rental business, and the longer I work making big bux in corporate America, the more I think to myself that I would likely be a lot happier making less money doing something that I love.

So lately I've been giving some thought at putting pen to paper and working on a business plan to vend some BBQ. I'd start small, weekends at the local farmers market at first, then if that worked out try some festivals, and then eventually work my way up to a trailer, etc.

I have no doubt that I have the skill set to start slow and build a profitable business, the only thing I can not wrap my head around is how do you guys manage the your cook times?

By that I mean, my local farmers market follows my provinces HD regulations, and all food would have to prepped at a commissary (I can handle that, local church has a commercial kitchen we can rent), so I would trim my meats, and prep my sides at the commissary (heck, might not even bother with any sides right away, may just stick to sandwiches). I would then cook my meats at the farmers market.

This leads me to my problem. Set up begins at 8:00am, and we are not allowed to set up before then. Does anyone else have to operate under similar circumstances? And if so, how do you manage to have food ready to be served by 11:00 - 12:00?

Bbq Bubba 09-04-2013 08:51 AM

Cook ahead, reheat to serve.

jeffh 09-04-2013 11:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bbq Bubba (Post 2612491)
Cook ahead, reheat to serve.

I already thought of that, but I wouldn't be able to cook at the commisary (the chruch is in the heart of downtown).

Should I just experiment with cooking "hot & fast"?

luke duke 09-04-2013 03:14 PM

What do you plan to cook?

landarc 09-04-2013 04:50 PM

I you are cooking BBQ, I suggest you find a place to cook ahead. Even hot and fast, you are looking at too much time to open and do cooking on site. Commercial cooking is not about setting parameters of how you want to do things and working sideways. It is about figuring out what you need to do to get food ready for service.

If it was me, I would figure on cooking the day before, crash cooling and reheating at 8am, then serving when the market opens. What smoker are you going to use?

HBMTN 09-04-2013 07:12 PM

It's going to be hard to do unless you get set up with a mobile set up. A trailer with smoker on it would allow you to cook at home and then pull it to the location in the morning. Even with hot and fast you are looking at being up most of the night. I light a fire 3am then meat on at 4am and butts and briskets start coming off around 10am. So if you had to go to a commissary and start prepping it means you are getting up around 2am.

I've been doing this 4 years now and on a stick burner at that. I would suggest starting out with a trailer and something like an FEC-120 so you can get some rest. But talk to the health dept 1st

Bbq Bubba 09-04-2013 08:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by landarc (Post 2613093)
. Commercial cooking is not about setting parameters of how you want to do things and working sideways. It is about figuring out what you need to do to get food ready for service.

Possibly the best quote here ever!

Quote:

Originally Posted by jeffh (Post 2612713)
I already thought of that, but I wouldn't be able to cook at the commisary (the chruch is in the heart of downtown).

Who said anything about cooking at the commissary?

See above quote. :rolleyes:

jeffh 09-08-2013 02:49 PM

Sorry guys, maybe I should have given more info as to what my situation is, and what I want to do.

I want to vend at a local farmers market. My plan is to vend Pulled Pork, Chicken, Brisket & Ribs. With some basic sides (Mac & Cheese, Potato Salad, Beans, Etc.).

I want to start real small and work my way up. My plan is to invest in a second Pit Barrel Cooker, and cook the mains at the farmers market. Since I'm starting small, I obviously won't be able to serve all those mains every week. My thought is to make and serve one or two mains per week.

Then, if I did well and made a name for myself, I could look at stepping up my game with a trailer and larger capacity smoker that I could haul to the farmers market every week, and to festivals around the province. Maybe eventually find a more permanent home and make it a full time operation.

The obvious solution would be to prepare the mains at home the day/night before and re-heat at the farmers market, but in my province you are not allowed to cook at home. I would have to use a commissary to prep and make the sides, and cook the mains at the farmers market.

So what I want to know is: Does anyone else operate this way (cooking hot and fast at their farmers market) and if yes, what do you do?

Am I just too pie in the ski?

Any advice is appreciated.

Bbq Bubba 09-08-2013 04:29 PM

The short answer is that you can't start small and expect to do anything but lose money.
You need permits for the mkt. which will require a large expense for everything they require.
You need liability insurance.
You need smokers large enough to cook AND hold product while its sold.
When i began i had a licensed trailer, a Lang 84 and everything in between that required me to be legal. ANYTHING but starting small.

Cook for friends and family and do some off the books catering to get your feet wet and then decide if your ready to make the next step.

speers90 09-08-2013 05:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bbq Bubba (Post 2617299)
The short answer is that you can't start small and expect to do anything but lose money.
You need permits for the mkt. which will require a large expense for everything they require.
You need liability insurance.
You need smokers large enough to cook AND hold product while its sold.
When i began i had a licensed trailer, a Lang 84 and everything in between that required me to be legal. ANYTHING but starting small.

Cook for friends and family and do some off the books catering to get your feet wet and then decide if your ready to make the next step.

Great advice!

DGFirehouseBBQ 09-08-2013 06:01 PM

Hi Ryan, what is the FEC 120? Thanks.. DG

Lake Dogs 09-08-2013 07:15 PM

Jeff, these guys are straight up. You might get the cook time down to perhaps 6 to 7 hours hot-n-fast, but faster will be at a huge sacrifice, and frankly you wont sell much because word-of-mouth will tell folks that your product isn't good. Your briskets and pork butts are going to take 8-11 hours; they just are. You can hold them and not have to re-heat them. I've held both for 12 hours and still had them burn my fingers when pulling. You can cram ribs in 4 hours without a problem. Chicken can be 30 minutes, or an hour, depending on how you do it, temps, etc.

Dont underestimate the insurance.

speers90 09-08-2013 07:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DGFirehouseBBQ (Post 2617404)
Hi Ryan, what is the FEC 120? Thanks.. DG

A small commercial cooker (nsf approved)

http://www.cookshack.com/store/Smoke...k-Model-FEC120

jeffh 09-08-2013 08:28 PM

Guys, thanks for the frank advice, this is an eye opener.

Very obviously I will need to do much more homework.

roychopper 09-08-2013 11:13 PM

It's the best idea to start a business, but planning is essential for it to succeed. :clap: Here is a sample. Dickey’s BBQ, a nationwide chain based in Texas, is having a big day. Today only, Dickey's BBQ is offering its Pulled Pork Big BBQ Sandwiches for $1. There is a limit of two per customer, but that’s enough to fill up just about anyone.


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