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-   -   Baking/Grilling on BGEs at Farmer's Markets - Alternate Idea (

HeSmellsLikeSmoke 03-01-2009 11:34 AM

Baking/Grilling on BGEs at Farmer's Markets - Alternate Idea
I have been going over and over ideas for vending BBQ at our farmer's market. The problem that keeps coming up is the very short time I would have to actually sell BBQ and all the work it entails to do it right. Vendors have to be at the booth "selling" starting at 9:00 A.M. The market closes at 1 P.M. This gives about 1 1/2 hours where people will be interested in eating BBQ and the same amount of time they won't be.

Counting all the time that prep, smoking, transporting, setting up, non-sales time, selling time, cleaning up, breaking down, and transporting back home will take, only having one good hour to sell seems way out of balance.

So here is another idea. Use Big Green Eggs to bake pastries the first half of the market then shift to grilling burgers or kabobs the last half. (I could even be set up for the pastries and coffee before the other vendors arrive and sell them pastries and coffee too.)

I can see selling small BGE baked pastries (like those great ones RTD does using puff pastry) and coffee until 11:30 then shift to high-heat burgers or kabobs using Vermont meat and veggies (a big deal here) and bags of gourmet chips and tabouli the last half. This system has minimum prep time while maximizing sales time for much less effort than properly done BBQ.

This is akin to McDonald's system of selling breakfast until 11:00 and then shifting over to their lunch menu using basically the same equipment.

Anyone ever do anything like this at a farmer's market?

LMAJ 03-01-2009 12:35 PM

Speaking from the consumers standpoint - if I know I can get good bbq at the farmers market, I would want to be able to get it no matter what time I get there. I would rather get up - get to the market, get what I want, and get out. If I have to wait till 11:00 I may pass by your stand.

smokinit 03-01-2009 01:14 PM

Keep it simple the first time have your pulled pork and brisket done and vaced ahead of time and time and just reheat on site and maybe do fresh chicken breast sammies or burgs and dogs I wouldn't do both. water,soda and chips to go with it. Ya it's some work but if you are looking to do more or even catering gigs it's a good place to get new business. I have done well in short time periods if you stand out from the crowd.

Professor Salt 03-01-2009 01:39 PM

As a consumer, I think the pastries to burgers shift is confusing, especially in a short time window. I think you ought to do one, the other, or both, but don't switch mid stream.

Also - people who want BBQ will want it regardless of time. Don't be afraid of a narrow sell window.

Dr_KY 03-01-2009 01:55 PM

Start off doing one thing then if it all works you can start trying other options.

If you want to start out doing breakfast things then go with something easy and not so sweet like pigs in a blanket but using sausage or smoke some fatties ( scotch egg style) the night ahead then serve them warm on toasted english muffins. The muffing will only take seconds to cook. Keep the exotic and heat out of them because most people don't want that heat/pepper like we fattie fans do in the morning.

I also agree with the Professor. If I went looking for BBQ then that is what I will get regardless of the time. people rise and shine at 6 AM to start the day so by 10AM it's lunch time.

Rick's Tropical Delight 03-01-2009 01:59 PM

i've done it before... kinda

HeSmellsLikeSmoke 03-01-2009 03:04 PM

I see I wasn't clear with my original post. This alternate idea does NOT involve selling BBQ at all, only quick grilled items like burgers or kabobs and baked pastries.

The only reason that I was going to shift so abruptly from pastries to burgers or kabobs was the need to change from indirect cooking to direct. I could add a BGE to have everything available all the time with no sharp cut off. The pastries would become dessert at some point.

I was saying that BBQ may not be worth the effort to do correctly, given the short time I would have to sell it, even though I might sell some earlier than 11:00 A.M., it probably wouldn't be enough to make much of a difference.

Rick, that was a very relevant post with some great ideas of other BGE menu items that really expand my thinking on the potential. The reaction you got was to much more than it was free -- that is encouraging all by itself. That line up of BGEs looks great.

Thanks everyone for the great input that has me thinking and refining this alternative idea.

The basic question is, does this have the potential to make more money than BBQ would with much less effort and risk?

Dr_KY 03-01-2009 04:27 PM

I'm sticking with the idea of fatties for an all around winner. They would sell like burgers or right along side them for an alternative. I think the pastries are something that wouldn't 'hold' well and be a bit of work trying to keep the ready and moving while still at their best.

There is a farmer at our farmers market that hes hid daughters grilling and selling his home raised and made sausages right next to his fresh meat. It started as a way for people to taste/try the product and has taken over in sales. It's all done on a gasser and I notice more burnt offerings that quality cooking. That's a good thing because I'll take over that job with my own booth.

HeSmellsLikeSmoke 03-01-2009 05:02 PM


Originally Posted by Dr_KY (Post 866515)
I'm sticking with the idea of fatties for an all around winner. They would sell like burgers or right along side them for an alternative.

If you can make your own sausage for them, you might be able to make money with fattys.

Here, sausage costs $4/lb for the low end sausage and over $5/lb for Jimmy Dean. Sausage cooks down more than half I suspect, although I have never weighed them to see. How much does a pound of ready made sausage cost there?

Weiser 03-01-2009 11:44 PM

Jim, down here we can regularly by 2lbs. of JD for $5. +tax.
Add to that, the cost of the ingredients that you want to stuff them with,
your time to cut it all up, roll and cook...
I don't know how you could possibly sell portions at a profit.
A whole one would have to retail for around $10.00 to make money.
Everyone likes Fattys but even at $8.50, I don't see the market.
I have abandoned offering Fattys due to the margin.

I'm in the middle of developing a plan and a menu for the Farmers Market thing.
I'm probably a year out at this point but like yourself, I'm trying to think this venture through as far as I can before committing the bucks.
As to your question of early morning sales... coffee! Nothing fancy
but not your run of the mill stuff either. Pick up a couple of dozen rolls from the local Bakery and you are good to go!
They'll cut you a good deal for a standing order. Good margin there and it will be the to go place for the early arrivals.

Just thinking outloud here, lemme know if anyone disagrees.



Originally Posted by HeSmellsLikeSmoke (Post 866556)
If you can make your own sausage for them, you might be able to make money with fattys.

Here, sausage costs $4/lb for the low end sausage and over $5/lb for Jimmy Dean. Sausage cooks down more than half I suspect, although I have never weighed them to see. How much does a pound of ready made sausage cost there?

MrsMista 03-02-2009 12:38 AM

Speaking from experience and tagging on to others bbq sells at 8, 9 or 10 in the morning. It's just a little slow. At Atwater we actually start selling before we open at 10:00. People want to beat the rush. We thought about doing something breakfasty (I know it's not a word) at Torrance which starts ar 8, but low and behold people want bbq at 8 and yes we sell some fatties as well.

If you're gonna hang out your bbq sign that's what people are going to be looking for. So give the people what they want.

And we highly recommend pre-cooking. They load and get the smoker started before they leave the driveway so some stuff is warming while they set up the booth.

I hope you all noticed the they. I roll-in in time to start taking money.

Rick's Tropical Delight 03-02-2009 05:35 PM

when i did the demo cook, i had the same issue as you with a short serving time. i had one egg grilling direct at 450, one egg smoking indirect at 250, and one egg baking indirect with pizza stone at 420

jbrink01 03-02-2009 09:00 PM

We sell roadside maybe 30 times a year. We cook overnight, have it ready by 8:00am, keep it warm until we run out. Usually 1:00pm.

Dr_KY 03-03-2009 07:34 AM

I can see the fun and interest in cooking 'almost to order' but for me it's about making money. If they want to see me work then let's do a deal and I'll cater for you.

I get sausage from the butcher right after he grinds it so he charges me less per kilo as he dosen't need to do the stuffing and all the rest. I get a tube of it for under £2.00 and it fresh.

Bentley 03-03-2009 10:23 AM


Originally Posted by Dr_KY (Post 868184)
I get a tube of it for under 2.00 and it fresh.

Still about $2.80? 1.40 lb Sterling

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