View Full Version : Suggestions for Restaurant Smoker

06-09-2017, 01:50 AM
Hey there!

Looking to start a BBQ business here in Okinawa Japan at the beginning of next year, 1/2018. The location is set however there are a number of factors to consider in terms of choosing the right smoker for my business.

The location of the restaurant/bar is less than 100m away from the ocean so needless to say salt is in the air constantly. The smell of an outdoor smoker would travel far and attract many customers however I am concerned about rust prevention. This has led me to look at an indoor smoker(s).

-Ole Hickory Pits CTO & CTO DW
-Southern Pride SPK-500 & SP-700

The Ole Hickory is a more cost effective route and with the shipping costs to consider I have been leaning that way. However the Southern Pride has the rotisserie and incorporated basting abilities. They both have similar max quantities but I need advice on the finer aspects of the smokers. I also like that they can all be maintained without constant supervision.

The restaurant in which we will be changing to a BBQ joint does about $700k a year currently with an average around $60k a month, this is total sales excluding cost ect... Currently only a night time operation with breakfast/lunch available on weekends only. I look to change that in the future offering a lunch service daily as well as a dinner service.

There is a large customer base in the immediate area consisting of many americans and local okinawans, also foot traffic is prevalent all day considering the weather. There are also only 1 or 2 other BBQ restaurants currently on island none of which make quality BBQ.

My biggest questions revolve around which smoker is best for the establishment and the amount of customer traffic. Indoor or Outdoor.

I appreciate any comments, concerns, and advice that can be given. I am new to this website but have been using it as a resource for ages. Thank You!

06-09-2017, 07:00 AM
Call the folks at Ole Hickory and ask them about their Rotisserie models. I have owned both Ole Hickory and Southern Pride and would take the Ole Hickory over the Southern Pride as I believe they are built better and have better pricing. I know the customer service is better at Ole Hickory as well.
Based on experience for a restaurant setting, I would choose the rotisserie over the fixed shelves of the CTO ask I feel you will have better airflow when fully loaded.

Good luck in your endeavor.


06-09-2017, 10:03 AM
Take a look at the Cookshack commercial pellet smokers as well. They are NSF certified (don't know if that matters in Okinawa) and operate efficiently.

06-09-2017, 01:06 PM
CTO or DW all day long. There are no air flow issues with a CTO as they have that nifty little convection fan. Do the math on how many portions of food you can get out of one, and you'll likely decide that you don't need a gargantuan pit that requires fuel to keep hot no matter how much meat is in it.

You can put out several hundred portions/servings per day with a normal/original CTO. You should easily get 200+ servings of pulled butts off of a CTO at one time if you needed to...that's not counting any meat you put on when the butts come off (ribs, chicken, sausage). So literally HUNDREDS of people can be fed off a CTO, single-door, per day. The DW would double that if you feel you needed it.

Strangely enough...I've almost always been able to guess if a restaurant was using a Southern Pride. They have a distinctive flavor that I have learned to identify (think - GAS).

As for what the restaurant before you grossed...I wouldn't let those numbers hold salt...not when you're changing concepts. It would be great to know those numbers would be accurate, but I wouldn't count on them.

Good luck & happy hunting!

06-09-2017, 03:00 PM
not sure if you have read this entire thread or not, but there is soo much valuable info contained with in, as well as the trials and tribulations that can be associated with a BBQ restaurant. unfortunately none of us know what really happened for this to end............


06-10-2017, 12:31 AM
If you want real BBQ you need a real pit. Theres a reason people started lining up for Aaron Franklin. He does not use a commercial "pit", does not boil it or bake it. What are you going to do that the other 2 BBQ restaurants are not doing?

Your neighbor in S. Korea uses a Gator Pit....


Just my opinion.

06-10-2017, 01:22 AM
I really appreciate all of the responses!

I have since contacted Ole Hickory Pits and have been quoted for both the CTO and DW as I believe they would work best given the space and their capabilities. I have looked into a few pellet smokers as well but the issue there being that we cannot obtain pellets easily to justify having such a smoker.

As far as the BBQ pit goes I would absolutely love to have one but because of the location and size I have to work with it just isn't feasible. I'll have to make a trip to South Korea and check out that place, good BBQ is few and far between in the Far East.

Next step is to track down a consistent wood source locally, being such a small island we are relatively limited in what wood is available. This also led me to the CTO & DW as they do not use wood as the heating source, allowing me to maintain a lower cost of goods.

Again I appreciate all the responses, I will update as the timeline progresses. In regards to the other thread about opening a BBQ restaurant, I have enjoyed reading through that very much. Thanks again brethren!!!

Notorious Q.U.E.
06-10-2017, 08:48 AM
If you want real BBQ you need a real pit. Theres a reason people started lining up for Aaron Franklin. He does not use a commercial "pit", does not boil it or bake it. What are you going to do that the other 2 BBQ restaurants are not doing?

Your neighbor in S. Korea uses a Gator Pit....


Just my opinion.

I think Rockinar is dead on the mark. As a Navy vet with time in a joint command at Kadena, I always knew the scuttlebutt re where the best grub was on the island.

Depending on labor costs and ability to babysit a fire, true blue stickburner flavor is what an American service member will miss from home. When we had to pull watch duty, shipmates would sometimes buy a dozen meals for the command as a morale boost. They'd drive to the other side of the island for the goods.

You want product differentiation and branding. Looks like you're launching soon so Fabrication times are a factor. Gator pit and Lang are strong candidates, if you buy the stickburner concept. If you go for a BBQ dining experience that's just like being in a southern US city with music, banners, and art to boot, you're gonna shine in Oki!!

06-10-2017, 06:57 PM
Also check out Oyler pits. Lots of Texas restaurants use them.