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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 05-28-2019, 02:23 PM   #1
Is lookin for wood to cook with.
Join Date: 03-20-13
Location: Atlanta, GA
Default Switching from stick burner to gravity fed

I currently use a reverse flow smoker and pride myself on doing "traditional" bbq using only wood smoke. However, as my catering/vending business scales, I am looking to gain efficiency and need something to mount to my bbq trailer that is currently being built. Gravity fed smokers seem to be great for efficiency and maintaining temps for a long period of time without constant tending. However, my concern is whether or not I'll be completely changing the flavor profile of the finished product. I know that the charcoal ash drops down onto wood chunks which produces smoke, but is the wood smoke flavor still as pronounced as it is with a stick burner that burns 100% wood? Has anyone had experience with this? Any suggestions, pointers, will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-28-2019, 02:33 PM   #2
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Join Date: 02-28-11
Location: Savannah, Georgia
Name/Nickname : Chad

I'd say that the smoke flavor is much less pronounced with a gravity fed vs a stick burner. With that being said, the convenience factor is more than worth it, and unless someone is comparing them side by side I doubt it would be a noticeable difference. There's been more than once where I forget to put wood chunks in the chute and it still tastes great with just the lump charcoal.
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Old 05-28-2019, 09:03 PM   #3
is One Chatty Farker
Join Date: 10-16-08
Location: Virginia

You are at a crossroads that I was at about 6 or 7 years ago. I was running stick burners for the first 4 years I was in business. Staying up most of the night as business increase 3 to 4 nights a week caused me to begin to have health troubles among other issues and it simply became too much. I made the move to an FEC120 pellet cooker and the answer is yes it will change your product but with time and learning new ways you can still produce and great product. I'll say this, anyone, who is unwilling to make a move to change their cooking ways from traditional cooking must figure a way to either A) hire a pitmaster to cook while you run the daytime operations whether that is catering or selling in a food truck or B) hire a business manager to run day to day operations while you be a pitmaster and stay up most of the nights. If you continually try to be both you will eventually crash and burn.
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Old 05-29-2019, 09:24 AM   #4
Is lookin for wood to cook with.
Join Date: 03-20-13
Location: Atlanta, GA

Great advice. Thank you!
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