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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 02-01-2018, 11:31 AM   #1
longwayfromhome
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Join Date: 09-05-13
Location: Auckland, NZ
Default Looking for a small charcoal smoker that can cook 'commercially'

Hi

Just started into commercial cooking (cook restaurant 'specials' 2 x week)and finding my gear under strain. I have two big smokers (a LSG 6" offset and a BQ Grills cooker) and two small smokers (WSM 22" and a small gravity feed unit). Don't use the large smokers for mid-week cooks, so they are out of the picture.

The following is typical of what is happening since I started filling these machines. My 'specials' cooks each week are on the two small smokers (these are good because I can separate two meats but cook in parallel). WSM is OK, but I am struggling with the small GF unit. It is an excellent cooker, but I am finding when fully loaded (say two large 5-rib beef ribs on each of 5 shelves - but space is full) that it just takes hours to get back to a decent temp. For instance, on Wed I pre-heated for 2 hours to 400+ degrees (heat-soak), put the 10 plates of ribs on (metal racks were already in to be pre-heated) on and the temp went down to the low 200s (temp varies top-to-bottom) say 200-230F - all well and good and expected ... but here it stayed until the pork belly cook finished on the WSM some 4 hours later at which point I split the cook and with a load now of only 3 of 5 shelves it began to slowly creep up.

Now, I do place the ribs so their position was varied so the airflow was good. I gave the smoker a periodic blast with the weed-burner to be sure the charcoal was well lit, have previously put a blower into it which kinda worked but reluctant to rig up permanently. Have come to the conclusion that the smoker is underpowered in terms of firebox size.

So, I am looking out for another smoker that can stand continuous, high-volume (in terms of being full) operation. I don't want to simply get a larger machine and half fill, because the small one, on castors, is something I can handle myself easily (has to move over ramps, bumps etc between storage and cooking area). What I would like is a smaller charcoal smoker (max say is shelves at one sheet pan size), min 5 shelves (with decent clearance - 3" is too small) and above all can be operated consistently when full and still quickly reach say 300F within an hour or so of loading. Oh, and it must have well thought-out grease handling as I have found out this is an important consideration!

I am very familiar with Cookshack models, but the FEC-120 is a little wide for my available space, but am certainly considering.

Any recommendations from experience on models that can achieve this type of performance? Would be especially good if it can fit through a regular door opening.

TIA.
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... but for all that, I left my heart along the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway ...
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Old 02-01-2018, 12:03 PM   #2
AussieMatt
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No experience but check out 270smokers.com and see if one of their models doesn't fit the bill.
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Old 02-01-2018, 12:32 PM   #3
longwayfromhome
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieMatt View Post
No experience but check out 270smokers.com and see if one of their models doesn't fit the bill.
Mmmm... I see your direction of thought ... small footprint etc. would love to hear from someone who has uses it regularly, and completely full. The practical direct experience is what will count.
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Ralph in Auckland... with a WSM 22", a FireMagic 24S, a BQ Grills pig cooker, an LSG 24 x 60 offset ... and a hopeful attitude.
... but for all that, I left my heart along the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway ...
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Old 02-01-2018, 02:32 PM   #4
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I know one of the regulars here has a Sumo, maybe 16Adams, but I'm not 100% sure if it's him or one of the other guys.
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Old 02-01-2018, 06:42 PM   #5
HBMTN
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You should call Terry West @ 270 Smokers.
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Old 02-02-2018, 04:35 PM   #6
longwayfromhome
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These certainly look likely candidates (especially the large Memphis) ... anyone with experience, particularly cooking very regularly when the smoker is very full and also handling large volumes of grease/drippings?

Any other thoughts?
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Ralph in Auckland... with a WSM 22", a FireMagic 24S, a BQ Grills pig cooker, an LSG 24 x 60 offset ... and a hopeful attitude.
... but for all that, I left my heart along the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway ...

Last edited by longwayfromhome; 02-02-2018 at 06:23 PM..
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Old 02-02-2018, 09:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longwayfromhome View Post
These certainly look likely candidates (especially the large Memphis) ... anyone with experience, particularly cooking very regularly when the smoker is very full and also handling large volumes of grease/drippings?

Any other thoughts?
Like I said give Terry a call. He lives here in my small town and 270 Smokers is based here. Terry feeds 2000 people for one event every spring for a local university and he cooks on the 270's. I'm sure he would be happy to help you and answer any questions. They are also a favorite cooker for many competition teams these days.
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Old 02-08-2018, 04:34 PM   #8
ruger35
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270, Assassin, even a LSG cabinet would fit the bill
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