Remember---the best way to make a small fortune in the BBQ business is to start out with a large fortune.
and-- Behind every successful BBQ man there is a woman with a job in town
Side dishes are your friend. Meat is your most expensive ingredient to buy---if you are selling meat by itself you are hurting yourself. The greatist profit can be made from your least expensive ingredients---dried pinto beans--rice --potatoes etc.
Base your pricing on a plate with meat-2 side dishes and some sort of bread--corn bread-biscuits-garlic bread. Then the price of a plate will look like more of a VALUE to the customer.
Go into any fast food place----order just a burger---I guarantee that they will try to sell you a meal with fries and a drink. They make greatist profit on drinks and next most on fries----and they love to "supersize" because it makes them more profit. You can increase profit with your side dishes.
I agree that you should get all permits and try to be "Plumb Square and Level"----it will prevent severe problems later