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Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses. this forum is OnTopic. A resource to help with catering, vending and just cooking for large parties. Topics to include Getting Started, Ethics, Marketing, Catering resources, Formulas and recipes for cooking for large groups.

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Old 01-14-2011, 03:03 PM   #1
Got rid of the matchlight.
Join Date: 01-13-11
Location: stirling scotland
Default How does this BBQ business work?

Hi Y'all

You're gonna have to excuse me, I am very new and green, and in fact not from America at all - I stay in Scotland.

I have recently been thinking about taking up in business doing food at markets and weekend events. Looking into the world of BBQs I started to come across pictures of BBQ smoker trailers, and I have to tell you these are things I have never seen before, they are totally awesome!

In Scotland a BBQ is a 2' x 2' metal grill supported by bricks in which grown men burn meat. The BBQ smoker is totally another world......!

So I just wanted to ask a few questions. Feel free to ignore me if you can't help or its all a bit too basic, but its starting at the ground up.

From what I understand a BBQ smoker cooks at about 250F, so presumably you have to tend it for hours and hours. Do you guys do this overnight? I found some bold claims about time shortening rubs over at texasbbqrub do they make a difference?

Basically what I'm saying is I can imagine rolling up at an event and starting cooking, but not overnight as I think everyone around would help themselves whilst you sleep! So what can I cook in 4 or 5 hours?

I totally get the whole slow'n'low thing though, I strongly suspect there's no way of speeding it up other than cutting the joints smaller, otherwise its gonna be tough meat at the end of the day, and nobody wants that.

Is there no halfway between the BBQ smoker and a grill?

I am planning to get a propane tank of about 250gal, I presume that'll make a decent start to the whole thing, I have found a good bit about construction, but if anyone has any important tips feel free to share!

Again my apologies for lack of knowledge but I am here to learn!


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Old 01-14-2011, 03:11 PM   #2
is one Smokin' Farker
Join Date: 06-09-09
Location: Willow Grove, PA

You can do chicken anywhere from 1-2 hours and ribs from 4-6 hours or so. Give or take a bit, but chicken and ribs will cook pretty quickly compared to brisket or pork butts. I think most people who do vending on the weekends and cook brisket or pulled pork cook ahead of time and then reheat to sell the day they are vending. They may cook over night the night before or a few days in advanced. You can cook chicken and ribs the day of. Hope this helps and good luck.
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Old 01-14-2011, 03:19 PM   #3
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Join Date: 07-02-10
Location: St.Louis

Brisket and Pork butts your looking at 9-12 hours.I normally do mine over night or put it early in the morning and take it off at night and reheat in a foiled pan.

Pork Ribs your looking at 5-6 hours

Chicken is about 2 hours

Pork steaks are pretty cheap and you can do in about 2-3 hours as well
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Old 01-14-2011, 03:20 PM   #4
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Location: Livermore, CA

What do you want to cook?
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Old 01-14-2011, 03:21 PM   #5
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Join Date: 02-02-08
Location: Westfield,Ma.

Best advise I can give ya is BBQ ain't rocket science but there is a right and wrong way to go about it. Stick around here and read then ask a million questions. The guys and gals around here are more than happy to give you answers. Good luck.
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Old 01-14-2011, 03:27 PM   #6
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Join Date: 09-21-09
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Not all BBQ is cooked at 250. You could cook pork butt in 4-5 hours if cooked around 300*. Ribs and chicken will cook faster at that temp as well. You could set up early in the morning at the event and get the cooker going and be done by lunch time. Good luck with your plan, let us know how it goes.
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Old 01-14-2011, 03:29 PM   #7
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what no BBQ haggis?
1[B] - [COLOR=orange][I]The Good-One Rodeo Smoker[/I][/COLOR][/B]
[I]2- [COLOR=blue][B]Char-Griller Outlaw[/B][/COLOR] with offset[/I]
[I]2 - [COLOR=blue][B]Char-Griller [/B][/COLOR][I][COLOR=black][COLOR=blue][B]Professional[/B][/COLOR] [/COLOR][/I]With offset[/I]
[I]2 -[B][COLOR=darkorange]Gold[/COLOR][/B] [/I][B]Weber 22 1/2" kettle, with therm- sear grate, ash can[/B]
[I]1 - [B]200gal[/B] smoker[/I]
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Old 01-14-2011, 03:35 PM   #8
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Join Date: 02-09-09
Location: vancouver b.c. Canada

Welcome Stan,
you've landed well on this site.Sounds like you want to go big!
I'd suggest looking into the Ugly Drum Smoker thread to get you started smoking.
Amazing amounts of info about building a great [and cheep] smoker to learn on and the whole process.
As far as things to smoke under 5hrs: chicken,ribs,turkey,fish,spam,venison,beef chuck roasts, pork shoulder steaks,'fatties',abt's, Moink balls.[Haggis]I'd bet that Scottish bangers would be amazing!
Got to stop listing, I'm getting hungry!
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good luck,

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Old 01-14-2011, 03:37 PM   #9
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Join Date: 07-02-10
Location: St.Louis

I was a novice at BBQ'in until I found this site.Just stick around and dont be scared to ask questions.And you can learn to make the best Q you have ever had.Enjoy
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Old 01-14-2011, 04:54 PM   #10
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Join Date: 03-09-10
Location: Liberty Mo

There are some who swear by doing briskets hot and fast at around 350 to 400 degrees for about 4 to 5hrs but the margin of error is very small between being done or burnt. I dont know how one taste from the other but I know there are some hot and fast cookers out there.

Also I know when I cook at a competition and its quiet time around 11pm or 12a everyone kinda gets their game face on and get settled in. Havent really seen anyone wondering around and snooping. I thought it was kind of an unwritten rule not to bother other teams while they are prepping/cooking.
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Old 01-14-2011, 05:08 PM   #11
Got rid of the matchlight.
Join Date: 01-13-11
Location: stirling scotland

Well that's amazing, thanks for all the responses!

BBQ haggis - could be on to a winner there....

I haven't been able to get to the Ugly Drum Smoker yet, because I can't search yet, because I haven't enough posts probably, or have a look at Norcorednecks pics

I definately want to do the pork butts, they're delicious, and no harm in having a few experiments to see if they can be done at higher heat. I think the briskets too, if I can cook them beforehand.

Its about being able to roll up on site with the monster trailer first thing, light up and be ready for 12 - 1 o'clock for service

I guess you can get up to heat pretty quickly. I have two wood stoves here for my house so I'm no stranger to lighting fires.


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Old 01-14-2011, 06:54 PM   #12
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Location: Waverly, TN

I do a brisket in 5 hours in a foil uncovered pan at 250° . 2 hour fat cap down to get the max amount of smoke in the meat. Flip it for 1 hour fat up, Than flip to fat down and cover with foil for an hour, flip again, recover cook to 205° internal and its done.
Lang 84 Deluxe-CookShack SM150 Smoker,TN orange thermopen OL' Timer's BBQ.
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Old 01-14-2011, 07:17 PM   #13
somebody shut me the fark up.

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Join Date: 06-26-09
Location: sAn leAnDRo, CA

Stan, I would consider some other things along with how to cook what we cook. There are a few differences in getting certain cuts of meat and and how they are cooked. After all, you are going to have to buy the meat and sell the BBQ. Once you decide on what you are going to cook, there are going to be a lot of folks that can help you move forward. Out here in CA, we are more about grilled meats and pulled pork but, just a few states and 1000's of kilometers over, they are more about brisket and sausage.
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Old 01-14-2011, 10:16 PM   #14
RICK Allen
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Join Date: 02-23-10
Location: Qualicum beach B.C. Canada

I only do special events which is much like what I believe you want to get into , it may not be the right thing to do but Ismoke at about 300 till
I think, the bark and flavour is right, then put in a pan with a can of pepsi wrap tight with tin foil and slow cook for about 3hrs for a full steam tray pan of ribs and about 4 hrs for boneless butt, wrapped and pepsied, V8 instead of pepsi is also a great alternative, to save on cleaning and reserving the juices from the pork I put the pans I'm gonna use under the meat while doing the first process, just my thoughts but results and timelyness are my main concern
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Old 01-15-2011, 08:05 AM   #15
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Join Date: 03-02-08
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Originally Posted by stanX View Post
I haven't been able to get to the Ugly Drum Smoker yet,
No search needed, here you go:
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