The BBQ BRETHREN FORUMS.


Forum Portal Recipes Smoke Signals Magazine Welocme Merchandise Associations Purchase Subscription Brethren Banners
Go Back   The BBQ BRETHREN FORUMS. > Discussion Area > Catering, Food Handling and Awareness > Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses.

Notices

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.


Reply
Thread Tools
Unread 01-28-2010, 01:36 AM   #1
Smokin' Frenchman
Got Wood.
 
Join Date: 01-28-10
Location: Whitby, ON
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default Starting up Small Catering gig - Cooker advice

Hi All,

Great forum you have here! Lots of reading which is great.

I'm looking at getting out of the IT industry and into some BBQ'ing over the next 2-3 years. I will keeping my day job and I want to do this part time on weekends so that if it doesn't work out well then at least I've eaten a lot of Q, lol

Anyways, my plans this summer are to do some smaller events with friends/family/friends business BBQ's etc. nothing too big maybe 20-30 people. I have some people already interested which is great. I will be using the tips from here about contracts etc. even for friends. It will be mostly ribs, chicken, maybe some butts and more likely some steaks, burgers and sausages (Nature of the demand around here unfortunately).

My key thing over this summer will be to cook, cook, cook, cook, etc you get the picture. I am also attending Myron Mixon's class in Feb of this year, I know that's geared more towards KCBS competition but I'm sure I'll learn some valuable pointers :)

Here are some requirements:

-I'm looking to hopefully buy a cooker locally, easier if I have warranty issues and for supporting local dealers.
-I would also like something where if it doesn't work out or if I need to expand in a year or 2.....I can just use my new toy in the backyard no problem or as my competition cooker.
-With that said, it would be nice to be able to move it from the backyard to the truck with relative "ease" for on-site cooking as well as backyard practicing
-Needs to be able to handle smoking, but also grilling (would love to be able to properly sear steaks at high high temp)
-Needs to be "easy to use" IE likely not a stick burner
-Needs to work year round, in sub 32 degree weather (gets to -20 Degrees Celcius in winter often)
-In the 1k-2k CDN price range

My initial thoughts are:

-BGE XL with DigiQ, weird I know but it has "cool" factor, is 1.5k cdn. for the EGG, I can smoke, make pizza, steak, burgers, etc. etc. etc. this thing can do it all and would be a nice backyard cooker. 452 sq in. lifetime warranty.

-Traeger (not sure which, Professional is $1400, COM150 is $2800) I'm thinking the COM150 is overkill though. But with the Pro it's easy to use, pretty hands off, I can smoke and grill on the same unit and decent to use in the backyard after, can't sear steaks properly though. 418sq in. and 3 year warranty, need to have 120v power to use it.

-American BBQ Systems Pit Boss (unsure of price) but this seems like a great unit, you can smoke on one side and grill over the firebox on the other, VERY cool. I don't think they have Canadian Dealers though. 1704 sq in of smoking and 432 sq in of grilling. This is probably really expensive, anyone know the price?

That's basically where I'm at, any thoughts? As I said this will start off small while perfecting my craft and hoping to NEED to upgrade to a full blown enclosed trailer model in a year or so.

Thanks for the Help, sorry this post is so long!

Jay a.k.a. Smokin' Frenchman
Smokin' Frenchman is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 01-28-2010, 02:18 AM   #2
grillfella
is one Smokin' Farker
 
grillfella's Avatar
 
Join Date: 02-13-07
Location: Best BBQ in south whittier los angeles
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default

Good luck brother. you will get hooked on catering. It feels good to get compliments on your cooking while getting paid. Ask any caterer in this forum

grillfellascatering.com
grillfella is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 01-28-2010, 04:32 AM   #3
tmcmaster
is One Chatty Farker
 
Join Date: 09-23-08
Location: York, PA
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by grillfella View Post
Good luck brother. you will get hooked on catering. It feels good to get compliments on your cooking while getting paid. Ask any caterer in this forum

grillfellascatering.com
Agreed, 1000%!

www.PMRBBQ.com
__________________
Tim McMaster - Porter Mac's Rockin' BBQ - Recently converted Pellet-Head
tmcmaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 01-28-2010, 05:15 AM   #4
BigJimsBBQ
Full Fledged Farker
 
Join Date: 06-10-09
Location: Newnan, GA
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default

Jay,

This is a good way (week-end) to break into Q catering. The most important thing is the smoker, and I believe a stick burner is fine to start. You have the needed WOW factor at on-site events with min cost. You also will have the versatility of product which includes large items like Whole Hogs. I recommending taking a second look and go to to the LANG site Pigroast.com (I use a Model 84 Longneck) or talk to Myron about his smokers.

Best of Luck to you and I will see you at the Feb class,
__________________
Big Jim - Newnan, GA
Customized Lang Model 84 Longneck
BigJimsBBQ is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 01-28-2010, 08:59 AM   #5
Smokin' Frenchman
Got Wood.
 
Join Date: 01-28-10
Location: Whitby, ON
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default

Thanks for the advice, much appreciated. I spent a day in a kitchen at a Conference center this past weekend, had to help with lunch for 4000 people. It was interesting to say the least but man, cooking/serving food to people is awesome. Much better then selling people IT equipment!!

So many different options for cookers!

I'm very anxious to get something so I can start cooking because right now I'm rocking a Bradley........(duck's for cover) lol

But I might wait until after I take the class, that might make more sense. Maybe someone there would be selling something to upgrade etc. where I could get a good price. Or I can check out the JOS cookers.

See you there Jim! (Is there a forum somewhere with discussion with people taking the class?)

Jay
Smokin' Frenchman is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 01-28-2010, 09:19 AM   #6
Capn Kev
is one Smokin' Farker

 
Capn Kev's Avatar
 
Join Date: 12-08-09
Location: Littleton, CO
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default

Based on your requirements, look at Traegers, Louisiana Grills, Green Mountain, and maybe even Cookshack. I too just launched a small catering operation, but I opted for an FEC-100. It is exactly what I needed. Of course, I already own a Traeger which I can also use.

Good luck!
__________________
Kevin
Swinestone Cowboys BBQ Team
FEC-100, REC TEC Grill, WSM 22.5", UDS, KCBS CBJ #54829
Capn Kev is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 01-28-2010, 11:12 AM   #7
TOPS BBQ
Full Fledged Farker
 
TOPS BBQ's Avatar
 
Join Date: 10-01-07
Location: Fresno, CA
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default

Jay,

If you don't mind getting compliments for your food than good pay, then this is probably for you. 20-30 people is not going to make you any money. I started the same way and soon changed my minimum to 50 people. I really prefer 100 or more.

As for your cooker; Never used one, but the metal on Traegars seem pretty thin to keep that cold out. BGE's are nice, but if you are going to cook on-site, you need to find something more mobile.

A question for you: Are you willing and prepared to spend a thousand or more for a small cooker and then find out you are going to need a larger more expensive one sooner than you thought? If you are planning on really getting into this full blown in 2-3 years, why not just plan (save) for that nicer cooker? You at least won't have to learn how to use a different cooker.

Good luck!
__________________
www.TOPS-BBQ.com

Diamond Plate FAT 50 Ultra
200-Gal Barrel
55-Gal Horizontal offset
2 55-Gal Vertical Barrels
Bar-B-Chef Offset

Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting for dirty!
TOPS BBQ is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 01-28-2010, 12:18 PM   #8
Smokin' Frenchman
Got Wood.
 
Join Date: 01-28-10
Location: Whitby, ON
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default

Yeah, that's true, which is why I had the Traeger COM150 in there because it can do Volume. The downside of it for me is up here in Canada we don't have all of these places making good cookers, like Stumps or Lang or JOS or Spicewine etc. etc.

I don't mind driving to pick something up in the US of course if it's not THAT far away.

The problem then say I get a smoker on a trailer, I live in a townhouse with only a single car garage and double car driveway and I am the end unit but there is another house beside me so I can't bring the trailer to the back yard for when I want to cook on it or practice, I would have to do that in the driveway, which is a little weird. I could store the cooker in the garage but having to go from the backyard to the driveway to check up on the meat is a little weird.

:(

But then again, even with say a COM150 type unit, it's really heavy so while I could roll it to and from the back yard, getting it into the truck would be an issue.

This ain't gonna be easy ain't it? lol Oh well, it will be part of the fun!

Jay
Smokin' Frenchman is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 01-29-2010, 08:44 AM   #9
BubbaBones
Knows what a fatty is.
 
Join Date: 09-08-08
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default

Glad to here more Canucks looking to take the plunge. I almost did this year but I purchased a chip wagon instead and will be working it this year. I hope to add BBQ next year after I get established.

I think the ABS are nice units for what you were describing but it retails for just under $3k

If you are interested I purchased Country Smokers Whole Hog last year and it is an awesome pellet cooker and I really love it but since I am into the chip wagon business now and not doing catering I will not be needing it. Here is a link http://www.countrysmokers.com/wholehogsmoker.htm take a look. Last year I cooked 110 pounds of shoulders at once which is enough to serve 200 1/4# pulled pork sandwiches. This unit smokes low and slow and sears steaks to perfection and will cook enough food for 30 to 50 people with ease.

Send me a PM if you are interested and we can work something out in your price range as.
BubbaBones is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 01-29-2010, 09:30 AM   #10
Smokin' Frenchman
Got Wood.
 
Join Date: 01-28-10
Location: Whitby, ON
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default

Hey BubbaBones, replying to your PM in a second :)

Some new development

I had a chat with the health department and explained to the lady on the phone what I wanted to do, she mentioned a few things that will make things pretty complicated:

-I cannot do ANY food prep in my home, would need to "rent" space in a restaurant or the like, somewhere that is certified by the health department and do all my prep there. So if I want to make baked beans, coleslaw, salad etc. I can't do it from my home. I would either need to do it all on site or in the rented space.
-I need to ensure I have coolers or fridges that can keep the food cold when transportation (this one is a no brainer, of course)
-I need to have multiple sinks on my rig, hand wash and food prep/washing sinks. This is a challenge as I was just going to get a normal smoker on a trailer, wasn't really planning on having a crazy huge rig with hot water tanks etc. :( Not this year anyways.

I am setting up a meeting with a Health officer in the next week and will sit down with him, show him plans of what I actually would be cooking with, what I would be doing and I will see where it goes from there. I want to be on the up and up with them.

I also need to find out what is considered actual catering compared to just BBQing for a bunch of friends or a party with friends. If I'm cooking for friends and not getting paid, even if there is 30 friends there I'm thinking that does not fall into the same rules?
Smokin' Frenchman is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 01-29-2010, 10:10 AM   #11
TOPS BBQ
Full Fledged Farker
 
TOPS BBQ's Avatar
 
Join Date: 10-01-07
Location: Fresno, CA
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default

Catering for friends & family - No need to meet any HD rules.

Catering for any private party for $$. Otherwise known as a Private "Chef" - If all prep and cooking take place on-site (no need for sinks...etc).

Catering to the general public - HD inspections, permits, sinks...etc shall be implemented.

Note: Every municipaliality has different requirements and you should check in with them for verification as to how they run their show.

Good luck!
__________________
www.TOPS-BBQ.com

Diamond Plate FAT 50 Ultra
200-Gal Barrel
55-Gal Horizontal offset
2 55-Gal Vertical Barrels
Bar-B-Chef Offset

Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting for dirty!
TOPS BBQ is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 01-29-2010, 10:50 AM   #12
Smokin' Frenchman
Got Wood.
 
Join Date: 01-28-10
Location: Whitby, ON
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default

OK, I would likely do catering for private events, not really setup somewhere to sell to the general public. Just party's, car meets stuff like that. I will get the guidelines from the HD and ensure I don't break any rules and this will help me know what types of events I can and cannot do.
Smokin' Frenchman is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 01-29-2010, 02:30 PM   #13
Ford
is Blowin Smoke!
 
Ford's Avatar
 
Join Date: 04-14-07
Location: Lakeland Florida
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokin' Frenchman View Post
OK, I would likely do catering for private events, not really setup somewhere to sell to the general public. Just party's, car meets stuff like that. I will get the guidelines from the HD and ensure I don't break any rules and this will help me know what types of events I can and cannot do.
Private chef = everything onsite. Any type of cooking for pay is considered either private chef or catering or vending. 3 categories. Catering requires the prep area but youy feed people as a group in one lacation for a set fee. You don't need a vending setup. Vending means you charge by the plate selling individual portions to the public even at a car meet. Big differences but other than using the clients kitchen for prep as a private chef all require the enclosed prep area with ammenities. From talking to a couple of folks in Ontario it's a lot of hoops to jump thru. Might want to talk with Hand Daddy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokin' Frenchman View Post
Hey BubbaBones, replying to your PM in a second :)

Some new development

I had a chat with the health department and explained to the lady on the phone what I wanted to do, she mentioned a few things that will make things pretty complicated:

-I cannot do ANY food prep in my home, would need to "rent" space in a restaurant or the like, somewhere that is certified by the health department and do all my prep there. So if I want to make baked beans, coleslaw, salad etc. I can't do it from my home. I would either need to do it all on site or in the rented space.
You can buy premade slaw and salad and don't need a prep area. Cost a little more but cheaper than getting a full prep area. Beans are a little more difficult but you can buy precut onions, peppers, fruit, etc.

This also applies to prep of your meat. Need a prep area for trimming and seasoning. Can't just setup a table and go for it.
-I need to ensure I have coolers or fridges that can keep the food cold when transportation (this one is a no brainer, of course)
Here in MI they must be NSF to be used. Other States vary.
-I need to have multiple sinks on my rig, hand wash and food prep/washing sinks. This is a challenge as I was just going to get a normal smoker on a trailer, wasn't really planning on having a crazy huge rig with hot water tanks etc. :( Not this year anyways.
You maybe able to prep and vend using an EZUP and bus tubs and a hand wash station or you may not. We can here in MI if you get the right HD inspector.
I am setting up a meeting with a Health officer in the next week and will sit down with him, show him plans of what I actually would be cooking with, what I would be doing and I will see where it goes from there. I want to be on the up and up with them.
Ask if your cooking area needs to be screened in. I've heard it's a regulation in Ontario but can't say for sure.

I also need to find out what is considered actual catering compared to just BBQing for a bunch of friends or a party with friends. If I'm cooking for friends and not getting paid, even if there is 30 friends there I'm thinking that does not fall into the same rules?
And you can cook for people so long as you do not charge them. It's no different than doing burgers at the park or whatever for a group. But as soon as there's any compensation then it's catering.
__________________
Ford
Retired competition cook. BBQ mentor.
Ford is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 01-29-2010, 02:49 PM   #14
falldownbbq
Banned
 
Join Date: 09-21-09
Location: boudez,pa
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default

If you going to do it.. go big or go home is my motto.


Check this out..

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=77193



Anyone looking to get in the game is nuts not to buy this thing up!!
falldownbbq is offline   Reply With Quote
Unread 01-29-2010, 03:07 PM   #15
Smokin' Frenchman
Got Wood.
 
Join Date: 01-28-10
Location: Whitby, ON
Downloads: 0
Uploads: 0
Default

There is no price there...not sure how this such a good deal?

Anyways.

Spoke to the HD more and I will need to give them plans of what I want. They prefer to have an actual "unit" they can inspect rather than something I setup everytime. So a Trailer with sinks/hot water built in kind of thing. Which is A LOT more money.

Something like this, with built in sinks etc. http://www.sybbq.com/b_4ft_3724.php would I would hope I could find something MUCH smaller and less expensive, any ideas?
Smokin' Frenchman is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Catering Gig Advice Please!!!!!! Shiz-Nit Catering, Food Handling and Awareness 4 05-12-2011 11:40 PM
Phubar's Small Catering Gig for Tobias de Haan and Peter Blom Pron Pt.2 Phubar Q-talk 7 10-12-2010 08:00 AM
Phubar's Small Catering Gig for Tobias de Haan and Peter Blom Pron Phubar Q-talk 17 08-01-2010 11:24 AM
BBQ Sauce Bottling & Sales - Need Advice on Starting Small Weiss Mountain Smoke Q-talk 5 06-25-2009 04:21 PM
Small catering gig today. Pics for y'all... Hawgsnheifers Q-talk 22 04-02-2007 10:21 PM

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Loading



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:52 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise v2.6.0 Beta 4 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
2003 -2012 © BBQ-Brethren Inc. All rights reserved. All Content and Flaming Pig Logo are registered and protected under U.S and International Copyright and Trademarks. Content Within this Website Is Property of BBQ Brethren Inc. Reproduction or alteration is strictly prohibited.
no new posts