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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.

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Old 04-30-2013, 02:35 PM   #1
Wandering around with a bag of matchlight, looking for a match.
Join Date: 07-27-12
Location: Burlington, KY
Default Best Cooker for Comps and Catering?

Greetings to all.

Last year I had the privilege of judging five BBQ competitions as a KCBS judge. At the end of the season I felt it would be important for me to compete as well so that I can appreciate what those who have turned in great and some not-so-great boxes go through.

As a long time backyard smoker, I would also like to use my cooker and experience for some small catering opportunities. As such I'm trying to figure out what cooker to purchase to meet the needs of competing and catering.

The first thing I need to decide on is a towable cooker or a trailer. I own an Envoy and can tow ~5000 lbs. I like the idea of a Meadow Creek TS250 with the grill but I also see the benefits of an enclosed trailer to store all of my goodies. The problem with the enclosed tailer is that I don't see getting a cooker that'll meet the catering requirement.

So assuming I which to pursue both competing and catering, what are your thoughts? What if I put the catering aside for this season and just focused on the competing and then perhaps picked up something more suitable for catering next year?

I've long loved the Meadow Creek as mentioned above but have also becoming attached to the Jambos.

Or do I just use my WSM (perhaps pick up a second) for this year and see how it goes?

One thing I have noticed is a lack of Meadow Creek cookers at competitions. Granted I've only done five but I would have thought I would have seen more.


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Old 04-30-2013, 04:19 PM   #2
is one Smokin' Farker
flyingbassman5's Avatar
Join Date: 11-26-12
Location: Saint Louis MO

Competition cooking is one thing....

Catering is a WHOLE different animal.

Yeah sure they both involve cooking food for people BUT the main difference is that with catering, you MUST be licensed and have access to a commissary kitchen. You don't need that to be in a competition.

I think cookers are just the same. You have ones like Backwoods that serve a better purpose as a competition cooker than a catering cooker. For most comps you don't need a large capacity cooker unless you are vending. For catering you want capacity, usually in the form of a large offset. The Meadow Creek would be an excellent catering cooker but the size wouldn't be beneficial for a competition unless you are vending.

For the best of both worlds, look at a Lang 60 Deluxe with a chargrill ad on. It would serve the purpose of both fairly well. Its small enough to not be overly bearing at a comp and large enough to cook for 100 or so person party if you are crafty.

Edit: Also want to point out that with Catering, your single largest hurdle you will face is the local Health Department. Not just yours, but the one of whatever county you are catering in. Though don't let anyone, including me, discourage you. It IS doable!
18" OTS, 22" OTG, SJ Silver, Cimarron Offset, Coleman Bullet, PBC, UDS, QMaster ATC
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Thanks from:--->

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