Sounds like you want to have a good pit and cook good Q but need to offest the spouse's resistance with "we can pay back the investment by doing some catering". LOL, any excuse to buy a good pit is my motto. You won't get rich but you can get some investment back if you do catering, forget vending. Vending is a whole other issue with lots of risk. Catering gets you started, low investment and paid up front before you buy product.