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Catering, Food Handling and Awareness *OnTopic* Forum to educate us on safe food handling. Not specifically for Catering or competition but overall health and keeping our families safe too.


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Unread 01-18-2011, 11:10 AM   #1
Rocky Branch BBQ
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Default Lang 84 in NC & Health Dept

I am trying to get a catering and festival business established here in NC and decided on a Lang 84. In speaking with the Health Dept. they stated I could not cook onsite with a wood burning unit unless it was NSF approved. I am aware about the need for the commissary and how it needs to be set up. My question is there anyone that knows about how to make that work in in NC. Also was told I should cook the meat at the commissary/cool/reheat then hold in the Lang at the event. Please share any experiences with cooking over wood in NC away from a commissary.
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Unread 01-18-2011, 11:36 AM   #2
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I have no idea, but I would suggest asking the HD for very specific instructions on what they want.

Where I am, they prefer us to cook on site and not have to transport cooked food, if possible.
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Unread 01-18-2011, 08:53 PM   #3
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I would call Lang and tell them what you are running in to. I'm sure you are not the first, maybe they can help you with this. I would also ask the HD what the difference is between the Lang and the brick pits used in many NC Restaurants that were errected by brick masons not NSF. If you have not talked with Lang ask for Tom or Ben when calling.
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Unread 01-18-2011, 08:55 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by HBMTN View Post
I would call Lang and tell them what you are running in to. I'm sure you are not the first, maybe they can help you with this. I would also ask the HD what the difference is between the Lang and the brick pits used in many NC Restaurants that were errected by brick masons not NSF. If you have not talked with Lang ask for Tom or Ben when calling.
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Unread 01-19-2011, 05:19 AM   #5
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The HD said for festivals a 1 to 2 day temporary permit is required and no problem with a stick burner. But for catering I have to cook with NSF aproved equipment in conjunction with a commissary. Spoke with Ben Lang yesterday and he said they were not NSF approved, but there are sure lot's of NC folks happily using his smokers and catering. Suggested I post and ask NC caterers how they didi it. I'm asking local caterers and most tell me they don't cook at the catering site but just deliver and serve precooked meals. The restaurants with the old true southern pits must be grandfathered in under the laws in place now.
Learning a lot from this site and really appreciate the feedback. Trust me I don't give up and I will figure this out soon and get to smoking for others. I'm proud of what we produce now for friends, family, and small parties.
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Unread 01-19-2011, 06:58 AM   #6
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Make a list of anyone else you can find in your county who is in business doing what it is you are attempting to do. Make a trip down to your local HD. Ask them specifics as to what it is they are requiring of you. Ask them to show you where it states these requirements in the NC DEH code...do not just take them at their word...ask that they show you where their determinations are coming from...it must be in the code for it to be enforced. If you still aren't satisfied, ask them how business X, Y, & Z are allowed to do what they are doing when it is the same thing you are attempting to do.

As for traditional brick pits...there is no such grandfather clause. You can still build a brick pit today and go into the bbq business. You just have to follow the sanitation regulations put forth by the DEH.
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Unread 01-19-2011, 02:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky Branch BBQ View Post
I am trying to get a catering and festival business established here in NC and decided on a Lang 84. In speaking with the Health Dept. they stated I could not cook onsite with a wood burning unit unless it was NSF approved. I am aware about the need for the commissary and how it needs to be set up. My question is there anyone that knows about how to make that work in in NC. Also was told I should cook the meat at the commissary/cool/reheat then hold in the Lang at the event. Please share any experiences with cooking over wood in NC away from a commissary.
I would get a copy of the HD requirements so you know what they say and then ask to speak to the manager of the dept. If you are talking to a counter person they may not know all the requirements for a BBQ. I found that out when I put in the restaurant and the HD didn't know the rules. Thankfully I had read them myself and brought it with me and showed them that BBQ was treated differently than other food businesses due to the nature of the cooking process. Remember, they work for the county and don't think for themselves.
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Unread 01-19-2011, 08:34 PM   #8
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...snip
...Remember, they work for the county and don't think for themselves.
And your county level elected representative works for you. If you find others who are considered legal doing essentially what you want to do, or if you feel that the regs aren't being interpreted correctly, a phone call or visit to your county supervisor (or what ever elected county level representatives are called there) can sometimes be a great help to cut through some of the bureaucratic BS.

Good luck,

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Unread 01-25-2011, 09:15 AM   #9
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Can tell you its a real PITA.. NC loves their bbq, just not cooking it. To vend outside of a festival, you need an inspectable kitchen to work in, store goods and set up and clean the cooker. The meat must be cooked on site. If cooked ahead, the meat must be handled (and that means to and from the cooker) from an inspectable area. read that as inside door or inside smoker. Then on site there as to be sani water, wash/rinse/sanitize for dishes etc, handwashing area, calibrated thermo's and a 5# fire extinguisher. Dont forget the shelter..

Festival vending a lot like that except food has to be prepped and cooked on site after you have been inspected. also for most vendings (fairs etc) you need fire retardent canapy too. Next time there's a bbq festival near you, go on the day before and get in the way a little and talk to the folks vending while they are setting up. not the ones with the mobile kitchen trailers, the ones with cookers on the street.

If you call the health departement to ask a question, give them a "nick-name", they will note the call in the system. Hard to play a little stupid if need be if you are in the system asking specific questions. don't know if they would ever look it up..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky Branch BBQ View Post
I am trying to get a catering and festival business established here in NC and decided on a Lang 84. In speaking with the Health Dept. they stated I could not cook onsite with a wood burning unit unless it was NSF approved. I am aware about the need for the commissary and how it needs to be set up. My question is there anyone that knows about how to make that work in in NC. Also was told I should cook the meat at the commissary/cool/reheat then hold in the Lang at the event. Please share any experiences with cooking over wood in NC away from a commissary.
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Unread 01-25-2011, 09:18 AM   #10
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the ones with the open / brick pits are all grandfathered in. I was looking into doing the same thing. that or take my profession and the hobby and blend them and open a bbq joint. i met with a lot of folks.. i now work for redbox.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HBMTN View Post
I would call Lang and tell them what you are running in to. I'm sure you are not the first, maybe they can help you with this. I would also ask the HD what the difference is between the Lang and the brick pits used in many NC Restaurants that were errected by brick masons not NSF. If you have not talked with Lang ask for Tom or Ben when calling.
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Unread 01-25-2011, 09:21 AM   #11
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Catering with any equipement is OK in NC. But, to be a private caterer there are some rules. You can hire me to come cook whatever you want AT YOUR HOUSE. If i do some of the prep before, thats gotta be done in a commissary/restaurant. its a fine/grey area. And to do it right you need insurance. which will require same inspections etc. if you just do festivals then most offer an insurance options for those that need it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky Branch BBQ View Post
The HD said for festivals a 1 to 2 day temporary permit is required and no problem with a stick burner. But for catering I have to cook with NSF aproved equipment in conjunction with a commissary. Spoke with Ben Lang yesterday and he said they were not NSF approved, but there are sure lot's of NC folks happily using his smokers and catering. Suggested I post and ask NC caterers how they didi it. I'm asking local caterers and most tell me they don't cook at the catering site but just deliver and serve precooked meals. The restaurants with the old true southern pits must be grandfathered in under the laws in place now.
Learning a lot from this site and really appreciate the feedback. Trust me I don't give up and I will figure this out soon and get to smoking for others. I'm proud of what we produce now for friends, family, and small parties.
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Unread 01-25-2011, 01:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad About Que View Post
the ones with the open / brick pits are all grandfathered in. I was looking into doing the same thing. that or take my profession and the hobby and blend them and open a bbq joint. i met with a lot of folks.. i now work for redbox.
When the current regulations first came out, sure there were existing restaurants that had their pits granfathered in. There have also been new restaurants pop up since then who built open brick pits. Then you have the countless pit fires that have completely destroyed the cook house at restaurants...no grandfather clause would allow them to rebuild...but they do rebuild. They do so simply by following the regulations.

The most prominent example that comes to mind is Ed Mitchell's "The Pit" in Raleigh. The Pit uses brick pits fired with coals. They have only been around a handful of years.

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