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Old 02-19-2010, 11:32 AM   #1
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Caterers Input needed badly

Ive got a huge dilemma here. I am at a very close point of making purchase for a cooker so that I can cater larger parties. I had planned on an offset the whole time. After talking with a good friend he highly advised a pellet cooker because of the efficiency and how much less work there is involved and it still puts out award winning food. That sounds like pretty sound advice to me. I would like to hear some of your feedback on this. Im completely stumped in what way to go.....The efficiency/ less cost to run part of the pellet cooker plays big with me. Any help is greatly appreciated. Im completely stressed about this. Thanks. db
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Old 02-19-2010, 02:47 PM   #2
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Re: Caterers Input needed badly

Can you fit enough on a pellet cooker?
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Old 02-19-2010, 03:56 PM   #3
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Re: Caterers Input needed badly

Right now Im targeting corporate catering. So far I havent needed "more" space on my 18 and 22 wsm's. I would like to however get into doing bigger events such as company picnics, weddings etc. My head is spinnin' again.
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Old 02-19-2010, 04:01 PM   #4
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Re: Caterers Input needed badly

Quote:
Originally Posted by dollarbill
Right now Im targeting corporate catering. So far I havent needed "more" space on my 18 and 22 wsm's. I would like to however get into doing bigger events such as company picnics, weddings etc. My head is spinnin' again.
Gary, and a lot of others, have the Lang 84 and can do a BUNCH of product. But, they do have to attend to it a lot.

The Stumps is a good one to look at. http://www.stumpssmokersinc.com/
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Old 02-19-2010, 04:06 PM   #5
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Re: Caterers Input needed badly

If it were me and I was looking to do big time catering I would look into one of the Commercial Traeger units.
http://www.traegercommercial.com/commercial/index.cfm
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Old 02-19-2010, 06:51 PM   #6
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Re: Caterers Input needed badly

You can cook all your stuff on WSM and Pellet cookers, but you'll need a big pull behind pit to show people when you arrive on site and serve the food from. It's a presentation thing.

Kinda half-joking, and half not.
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Old 02-19-2010, 07:36 PM   #7
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Re: Caterers Input needed badly

I use an FEC for catering without issue. It's a great unit unit to use with good output and lesser input. No complaints from customer's side, or from my side, as they are less work to use. ScottDaQ is right on with the presentation thing, too. PM me, dollarbill, if I can help you at all!
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Old 02-19-2010, 11:13 PM   #8
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Re: Caterers Input needed badly

Well how serious is you about this venture and how much money do you have to spend? Seeming to recall your health goons is limited to non existent. There is a difference ya know?

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Old 02-19-2010, 11:22 PM   #9
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Re: Caterers Input needed badly

Whatever pit that you start with----you will always need a bigger one.

I stay away from BBQ pits that require electricity. We have done tons of catering where there is no electricity available---and generator noise is generator noise. Rottieserres with bearings and moving parts always break when they are running---they never break at home in your garage.

I am presently using a Bushrod upright smoker that holds about 400 pounds of meat. I also have an offset if I need to cook for more people. When we cater tri-tip we have a towable Santa Maria style grill that will hold 6 cases of tri tip.

It is nice to set the dial on a smoker and have it keep a steady temperature for hours, but I would make sure that I have every extra part that might be needed. Pellets may at some time be a supply issue if the pellet manufacturer goes broke or on strike etc. We just keep cutting logs.

Every smoker built has pros and cons.
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:57 AM   #10
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Re: Caterers Input needed badly

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrienne
I use an FEC for catering without issue. It's a great unit unit to use with good output and lesser input. No complaints from customer's side, or from my side, as they are less work to use. ScottDaQ is right on with the presentation thing, too. PM me, dollarbill, if I can help you at all!
I completely agree on the presentation thing! Completely! I think seein a big off set pull up or just sitting there is instantly a conversation piece, not to mention the "coolness" factor. That was 100% my intentions until I talked with my buddy. The more I thought about it (pellet cooker) the more it really made sense. If Ive got a gig today and need meat ready for tomorrow too, I dont really have to worry about tending fire in an offset and as Adrienne said it produces quality food. Dam-it, I never thought spending thousands of $$$ would be this difficult. Im still completely stressed on the situation. Thank you guys for all of the input. If anyone else has input please share. Thanks again. db
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Old 02-20-2010, 12:22 PM   #11
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Re: Caterers Input needed badly

I can't compare the Lang 84 to a pellet cooker because I don't have a pellet cooker... but I do have a Lang 84 and this is what I know...

I can put 240 lbs of pork butts on the Lang

I can put 2 cases of brisket flats (24) on the Lang

The Lang can cook Low and Slow real nice... All I got to do is throw a log or two on once an hour once you get your vents dialed in (easy)

With rib racks, I can cook 4 cases of curly's ribs (52 racks) AT LEAST

I can cook pork or brisket ahead of time, chop pork or slice brisket and Foodsaver it... bring it to a catering event and reheat in boiling water on a turkey fryer while I fire the Lang up to 350 degrees and cook 250 pieces (legs and thighs) of chicken to get some smoke in the air and Look like I am cooking on site (this also makes a cheap second meat option)

The warming Box on the Lang cooks beans real nice too (you just need to rotate em)

The Lang is a Big convection oven.... air moves through that thing nice... I did a wedding last summer where I did Baked Chicken (covered foil pans for no smoke) Apple stuffed pork loins (the only thing cooked in there that got smoke) Green Beans and reheated Make ahead mashed potatoes. Had 10 full pans in the Lang at one time in addition to 8 whole pork loins. things were tight and had to do some moving and shuffeling but we pulled it off.

Again... I don't own nor know much about a pellet pooper, but I know the Lang is much more versatile than people realize. Feel free to ask me anything about the Lang. I also think it is your best bang for the buck as far as cooking space per dollar spent.

When deciding on which cooker to buy, you need to figure in Space, cost per square foot of cooker space, cost of fuel it uses, what you want to accomplish with it, do you have time to tend to it. etc.

Let me know if you have any questions
Gary
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Old 02-20-2010, 01:02 PM   #12
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Re: Caterers Input needed badly

Great narrative. Now the legal catering folks in this area do not ever cook on site as far as I know. They cook it in their designated food prep area and bring it to the scene of the crime in Cambrios and serve in the Sterno driven holding pans. Now could they drag out and fire up an offset pit to add some odor and ambience to the atmosphere for a few hundred extry bucks? I bet so. Now some of the outlaw branch of the profession do cook on site whilst the smart ones copy the big boys. They just sub out a home kitchen for the commercial commisary. They cook what you want to eat including but not limited to bbq. They just have to work by word of mouth and passing out bizness cards. No signs..ads in the paper etc.

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Old 02-20-2010, 04:42 PM   #13
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Re: Caterers Input needed badly

The first part of what BW said was what I was thinking about.
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Old 02-20-2010, 05:21 PM   #14
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Re: Caterers Input needed badly

Right at 10k

I'll bet there's opinions now.....LOL

I appreciate everyone input here. I'm tryin to weigh the differences. Positives and Negs. of each one. Theres alot of both on each side.
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Old 02-20-2010, 05:25 PM   #15
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Re: Caterers Input needed badly

I thought this one one of those "So eazy a Caveman could do it" things......damn.
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Old 02-20-2010, 06:30 PM   #16
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Re: Caterers Input needed badly

Quote:
Originally Posted by dollarbill
I thought this one one of those "So eazy a Caveman could do it" things......damn.
"Next time, maybe do a little research?"

Sorry couldn't resist!
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Old 02-20-2010, 06:40 PM   #17
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Re: Caterers Input needed badly

sob lue room.... Thats about par for my course.
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Old 02-20-2010, 08:02 PM   #18
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Re: Caterers Input needed badly

10k will buy you a lot of anything bbq & cooking wise
Most of this has been said but they are serious issues to think about when you lay out 10k b
I am on my second rig and still changing things for my next one
Find out the rules & regulations in your area & where you will be cooking.
Moving parts & even gas lines will break any time (been there at a job for 80 people hour away from my shop and 2 hours away from serving time)
Stumps smokers make an insulated charcoal cooker. Very fuel-efficient no moving parts
He also builds trailers and catering rigs
Carters cookers in sc builds stainless steel gas cookers & catering trailers you want show & go pull up with one of these & youíll get it!
Carters also build a cooker that has a buffet table inside of it. Will keep your product hot for as long as you want. Iím on my second Carters and just bought a stumps stretch my next rig will be a combination of both pm me and I can get you information on carters (no web site) if you need it regardless good luck you are making a very difficult decision
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Old 02-27-2010, 03:58 PM   #19
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Re: Caterers Input needed badly

I would check with my supplier if you are interested in Traeger. I am saving to get a Com200 from them and it is WAAAAAAAY less than retail! I was in total shock. It would be worth a look whoever you buy your wholesale supplies from. I am starting my biz next saturday. This will be the first day i am open, and all I have to work with is two traeger professionals and a stick burner.

Have fun!

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Old 02-28-2010, 02:40 PM   #20
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Re: Caterers Input needed badly

Well for 10k I would start looking on eBay and CL for a used Southern Pride or Ole Hickory. Install it under cover at your house and hook up to natural gas if you got it. Oylers are also nice. Cept dont get the Little Red Smokehouse because it dont hold enough meat. That should leave you enough to buy a few Cambrios and a cheap van to deliver the goods. Few serving gizmos from Sams etc. Few large breastes serving and skullery wenches to do all the work and you be in bidness.

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