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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 01-22-2014, 06:58 PM   #1
ShizuokaMark
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Join Date: 01-19-14
Location: Fukuroi, Japan
Default Getting a smoker in Japan

Greetings brethren from Shizuoka, Japan, about an hour or so from Mt. Fuji.
My wife and I are in the planning stages of opening a small BBQ joint. Remarkably, even though many western foods have made their way east, low and slow barbecue has not. I can count on one hand the number of establishments I am aware of throughout the entire country.
That's not to say that Japanese don't like BBQ. Just the opposite.
Yakiniku is wildly popular, as is "tailgating" (No pickup trucks here either. Whaa??).

Most everything needed to create great cue is available here, including meat, spices, etc.
We also have the famed white charcoal which should assist with cooks.
However, the most important ingredient cannot be found anywhere. The smoker.


At first we will be remodeling our home to create space for up to 15 diners at a time. Live/Work residences are commonplace here. Down the road if all goes well we will move to a stand alone facility. We will also only open 3 days a week to begin with. Fri-Sun.
I'm estimating that we will have about 150-250 customers during those three days although we will be offering additional menu items other than just BBQ, i.e., burgers, fried chicken, Philly cheese steak, etc. It's a taste of America but I really am excited about bringing the low and slow smoking concept.

So, I'd like to get ideas and input on what might be my best option for smoker type and size, as well as how to get one shipped or built here.
I have a metal worker friend who is excited about helping but of course he has never built a smoker so I have reservations about how well that would go. I have gotten quotes from a few manufacturers in the States but due to the size and weight of the units, shipping will cost nearly as much as the smoker itself.
Any of the esteemed builders on here interested in setting up a shop in Japan?? hehe
It's a virgin market and you would have zero competition!
Or perhaps if someone was interested in "vacationing" here for a few weeks we could put you up, feed you, supply you with a workshop and assist you with sourcing materials, etc.

Due to space requirements I have been leaning towards a vertical type although I'm not completely restricted to that.
I've been researching the merits of each kind and manufacturer so I'm looking more for sourcing options rather than merits of each.
At the moment I'm thinking my best bet will be to build a couple of UDSes. To make them commercially viable I was going to do some custom work to increase capacity and efficiency. Similar to this: http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/1...al-drum-smoker
I would build a shed to house them which would help with insulation. Temps here range from low 30s at night in winter to mid 90s in summer, not unlike Jacksonville, FL where I called home for 30 years.

Thanks in advance for any input.

Cheers

Mark
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Old 01-22-2014, 09:13 PM   #2
awscwi
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I cant help you with building a smoker but i would love to see some pics of your setup as you progress...
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:34 PM   #3
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I'm not sure about posting links to other forums here but it was done just above so here you go.

http://smokerbuilder.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=10

You can purchase plans from Frank for $80 or spend 6 hours +\- figuring it all out. I would build a reverse flow with a warming cabinet for a restaurant. I built a reverse flow w/o a warming cab and I love it.

Use 1/4" throughout and it will cut your fuel costs way down. It will take quite awhile to get stable but will stay steady for a long time once it's there.

As for size you should ask guys here. But either way it will be HEAVY and you should build it onto a trailor.

You will find out pretty quick why BBQ costs what it does.
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:50 PM   #4
ShizuokaMark
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Absolutely! As soon as we secure financing and finalize the plans I will begin posting regular progress reports. We're hoping to open by early summer so things will need to move along fairly quickly. Fortunately I'm not anticipating nearly the kinds of hurdles and troubles that marubozo has had to deal with. There isn't anywhere near as much red tape here and the vendors are far more reliable.

Quote:
I cant help you with building a smoker but i would love to see some pics of your setup as you progress...
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Old 01-23-2014, 06:40 AM   #5
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Mark-san, can you easily purchase charcoal in your area? If so, a gravity fed cabinet style might work well for your needs if you have space restrictions.

I have been to a few Korean bbq places in Japan by Nagoya, but can't say I have seen American BBQ there. I think it would be a great novelty and pick up fast.

How far are you from Oguchi?
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Old 01-23-2014, 06:58 AM   #6
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Time,space,ease of use, wood availability, you could try two or three WSM 22.5, amazon might not deliver free but yu could ask, production costs and resale cost may even out faster to your benefit. I don't think to many people if any have them there,you could corner the market. Good luck.
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:26 AM   #7
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I fought tooth and nail to find a place I could combine home and work.
Dam zoning. Good luck. Looking forward to watching your progress.
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:30 AM   #8
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At least for something to start, I would build a couple of UDSs? They will make nice backup units and personal/tailgating cookers once you get a permanent unit (if business takes off). At that point, either a commercial unit or a large gravity fed would be a good option.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=23436
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:02 AM   #9
ShizuokaMark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrfish View Post
Mark-san, can you easily purchase charcoal in your area? If so, a gravity fed cabinet style might work well for your needs if you have space restrictions.

I have been to a few Korean bbq places in Japan by Nagoya, but can't say I have seen American BBQ there. I think it would be a great novelty and pick up fast.

How far are you from Oguchi?
Charcoal is easy to get anywhere here. All of the yakitori and yakiniku shops use it as well as consumers for day camping, etc.

Oguchi is north of Nagoya. I'm in Shizuoka prefecture about an hour and a half east near Hamamatsu.
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:06 AM   #10
ShizuokaMark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolverine View Post
Time,space,ease of use, wood availability, you could try two or three WSM 22.5, amazon might not deliver free but yu could ask, production costs and resale cost may even out faster to your benefit. I don't think to many people if any have them there,you could corner the market. Good luck.
Thanks! That's exactly what I was thinking with the UDSes. Space is an issue with most people here but they still love BBQing. If I can introduce folks to good southern American low and slow cue then there might an excellent opportunity to build and sell units on the side.
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:14 AM   #11
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We just shipped one to England a few months ago if you are interested.
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:22 AM   #12
ShizuokaMark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sliding_billy View Post
At least for something to start, I would build a couple of UDSs? They will make nice backup units and personal/tailgating cookers once you get a permanent unit (if business takes off). At that point, either a commercial unit or a large gravity fed would be a good option.

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=23436
That's EXACTLY what I was thinking. In the beginning it may be a first come first served basis until I get an idea of where the business is headed. Not being able to keep up with demand would be a great problem to have. On the other hand, if I drop 5K+ on a commercial unit and another 2 or 3 on shipping, it ups the financial burden and adds a level of seriousness that I'm not sure I want to tackle on a 3 day a week business right off the bat. I think if I build the UDSes well with some added features to help with efficiency such as temp controllers, I can not only get things rolling but perhaps also get a secondary business building and selling them. While we DIYers in the States would never pay more than 2 or 3 hundred dollars to have someone build one for us, I'm pretty sure I could get 7 or 8 hundred a piece over here all day long.
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:25 AM   #13
ShizuokaMark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by insaneh View Post
I fought tooth and nail to find a place I could combine home and work.
Dam zoning. Good luck. Looking forward to watching your progress.
Fought tooth and nail where? Japan?
Live/Work structures are the norm here. Nearly all small businesses run that way.
Thanks for the support. I'll definitely be posting the whole process once it officially starts..
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Old 01-23-2014, 09:04 AM   #14
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Mark-san,

I wish you and your wife good fortune.

Some day I hope to travel to your country and say hi!

Keep us informed!
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Old 01-23-2014, 09:26 AM   #15
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Mark, good luck on your new venture. True BBQ would be quite unique in Japan and the Japanese love to latch on to something new, especially from the U.S. I lived in Yokohama for nearly 20 years, and I have never seen an American style BBQ joint, even around US military bases there. I think you've got something there and I smell success.
Like Italian wood fired pizza ovens in just a handful of pizzerias in Japan, a smoker would be quite something there. That would be awesome.
Shizuoka no ocha takusan nonde gambatte kudasai ne.... :)
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