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2021 Meat-Up In Memphis Canceled - Rescheduled for March 2022

We've unfortunately had to cancel the 2021 Meat-Up in Memphis. We are rescheduling for March 18-20, 2022. More details and re-booking info coming soon! For now click here for more info.
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Pit recommendations for a restaurant

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  • FireMan
    Charter Member
    • Jul 2015
    • 8358
    • Bottom of Winnebago

    What do they want to accomplish, aims, goals. Do they even know what they are getting into. Just training 3 or 4 of their guys sounds like you need to ask a lot of questions even before you start thinking equipment. Will it infringe on their existing M.O. & menu.
    Here in the states there is sometimes a theory of Field of Dreams philosophy, build it & they will come. That often results in failure. I would sit them down & “grill” them, find out every little thing you can find out. Then go home & put a plan A, B & C together. See if they can handle it & grasp it.


    • Henrik
      Henrik commented
      Editing a comment
      So true, that’s what I’m thinking.
  • zero_credit
    Club Member
    • Mar 2020
    • 595
    • Near Chicago, IL
    • Current Pride and Joy:

      Masterbuilt Gravity 560


      Old (sold) Loves:

      Weber 22" Premium


      Thermoworks POP

      Preferred Charcoal:

      B&B Charlogs/B&B Lump

    Yes, I think Fireman has nailed it.

    1. what foods do they want to cook?
    2. How much time do they have to cook it?
    3. What tools do they have available?
    4. what do their customers want? This could be different than what they want to cook?
    5. Can they obtain the quality meats needed to cook ribs etc to their standards?
    6. What space constraints do they have on equipment?
    7. How much capital can they invest to address space, equipment, and training shortcomings to produce quality Swedish BBQ or BBQ that meets their customer needs?
    8. How do they want to cook BBQ? Is that different from how you think they should cook BBQ? What is their response when you suggest new approaches?
    9. Are there external deadlines that must be met to add this BBQ food to the menu?
    10. What are competitors doing?
    11. How will they market the menu to customers?
    12. Pricing of food?
    13. Given expected training, sourcing, equipment, marketing, and other costs, is the expected revenue from adding BBQ to the menu a profitable decision?

    My guess is that if you can say the opportunity is say $10,000 a year that will inform an investment of x into the equipment and y if the opportunity is say $50,000 a year.


    • FireMan
      FireMan commented
      Editing a comment
      Long form Zero, good work.

    • Henrik
      Henrik commented
      Editing a comment
      Great input, I’ll add this to my list of questions.
  • Sweaty Paul
    Founding Member
    • Aug 2014
    • 1624
    • Hays, KS
    • Green Mountain Grill - Jim Bowie
      (I've never regretted having too much grate space).

      Weber Genesis Gas grill
      Weber Kettle grills x 2

    How about a Myron Mixon water smoker or a Lone Star Grillz cabinet smoker. Might be a little more set and forget based on what I have read especially if they don't want to tend overnight.


    • zero_credit
      Club Member
      • Mar 2020
      • 595
      • Near Chicago, IL
      • Current Pride and Joy:

        Masterbuilt Gravity 560


        Old (sold) Loves:

        Weber 22" Premium


        Thermoworks POP

        Preferred Charcoal:

        B&B Charlogs/B&B Lump

      Put another way, you ideally would identify constraints from a time, people skills, or capital perspective and then be able to suggest equipment and training suitable for their budget and skill set.


      • willxfmr
        Club Member
        • Apr 2017
        • 543
        • Fondy

        For ease of use, an indoor gas or electric commercial smoker is going to be the best bet. For a bit of show, and good capacity, I would think a vertical offset would be the way to go. Smaller footprint, can run charcoal or wood, and easy enough to slap a fan controller on if you're using charcoal.

        As a side note. You really should know better than to ask "What kind of Smoker should I buy?" The answer is obvious. All of them!

        Edit: Sorry! Changed my mind! Tell them this one or nothing! Be sure there is a steam whistle option!
        Last edited by willxfmr; January 5, 2021, 12:58 AM.


        • Mr. Bones
          Mr. Bones commented
          Editing a comment
          Mighty Cool, an only 900 kg.

          Needs a cowcatcher, though..

        • Mr. Bones
          Mr. Bones commented
          Editing a comment
          More'n happy to provide th steam whistle, Brother

          Shot this 19NOV19, standin less than a hunnert feet from where I lived 15+ years of my life...

          Nuthin like th soothin sound of trains literally every 5 minutes, 24/7 to help one sleep well!
          Last edited by Mr. Bones; January 5, 2021, 07:37 PM.
      • Mr. Bones
        Charter Member
        • Sep 2016
        • 10198
        • Kansas Territory
        • Grills / Smokers

          Kingsford 24" grill (Free) 'Billy'
          Brinkmann Smoke n Grill
          Oklahoma Joe Highland, gaskets, LavaLock baffle / tuning plate. 'Big Joe'
          Weber 18" Kettle ($30 CL) 'Lil' Feller'
          Weber Smokey Joe ($25 CL) 'Lil' Brother'
          Weber 22.5 Master Touch '93 P Code Blue($85) from fellow WKC member Bmitch 'Elwood'
          Weber 22.5 Bar-B-Q Kettle '69-'70 "Patent Pending" Red ($80) from fellow WKC member dwnthehatch 'Maureen'
          Weber 22.5 OTS DD Code Black ($40 CL) 'DeeDee'
          Weber 22.5 OTS DO Code Black ($15 CL)
          Weber 22.5 OTS E Code Black ($20 CL
          Weber 22.5 OTS EE Code Black ($20 CL

          Weber "C" Code 18.5" WSM '81 ($50 CL) 8-0!!!
          Weber "H" Code 18.5" WSM '86 ($75 CL)
          Weber " " Code 18.5" WSM

          Weber 26.75, $199 NFM clearance !!!
          Weber SJS AH 'Lil' Brother'
          Weber SJS AT 'Lil' Sister'
          Weber SJS DE Code (FREE) 'Lil' Helper'
          Weber SJG M Code 'Lil Traveller'
          Weber SJS AH Code 'Kermit'
          (Lime Green)
          Horizon 20" Classic, w/baffle/tuning plate (FREE)
          Good One Open Range, (FREE), Monthly Prize from AR giveaway!!!!

          Ol' Skool Bi-metal probe pocket thermo, that has checked / served ~ 1,000,000 meals in my possession, easily...
          Maverick ET-732, (Black)
          Thermopops, (Red, Yellow, Green)
          ThermaPen Mk4 (Black), THANKS!!! to jgjeske1
          Blue ThermaPen Mk4
          Orange Thermapen Mk4
          Pink Thermapen Mk4
          ThermoWorks IR-GUN-S
          ThermoWorks Smoke
          ThermoWorks Open Box Smoke
          4 Pro Series cable extensions
          Smoke Gateway

          2 Slow 'N Sears, Slow 'N Sear XL, Grill 'N Griddle
          BBQ Vortex, 2 Hovergrills, Top Deck
          Warming shelf
          MyWeigh KD-8000Kitchen Scale
          Backyard Grill marinade injector
          Acoustic Guitars/Electric Guitars/Basses/1928 National Duolian/Harmonicas/Banjo Washboard, Spoons, kazoos, pocket comb with wax paper, egg shakers ;-)
          Bear Paws
          Meat Rakes
          BBQ Dragon/Chimley of Insanity, Dragon Wing Shelves (x2 ea.)

          Probably a ton of cast iron, mostly very old...still cookin'
          G'Ma's Piqua skillet, :-)( They went out of business in 1934~)
          '60's Revere Ware (Mom's), + others found elsewhere
          60's CorningWare 10-cup percolator (Mom's) Daily driver
          50's CorningWare 10-cup percolator (G'Ma's), for a backup! ;-)
          Carpy Wally World stock pots, in approx 2 gal/3gal sizes, blue speckledty-porcelain enameled
          Tramontina 6.5 qt Dutch Oven

          Cutlery, etc.:
          Shi*-ton of kitchen/chef knives, most sharper than my straight-razors are. (Better steel!) Chicago Cutlery, Old Hickory, various, including some nice German stuff ;-)
          Dexter 12" slicing knife, 6" Sani-Safe boning knife
          Smith's Tri-Hone Natural Arkansas Knife Sharpening System
          Multiple steels, from all over the planet
          Crock sticks
          Diamond stones, various
          Lansky Sharpening System

          Daily driver:Washington Forge Mardi Gras, Navy / Cobalt Blue
          Dinner: Guests: Washington Forge, Town and Country
          Fancy / Formal: Family silverware

        Originally posted by Attjack View Post
        I think seeing a big American BBQ looking cooker out there will probably help draw people in.
        Reckon some live wood smoke would be a draw, as wail...

        Not sayin, by any means, that a stickburner is easier to operate, or train folks to use, but: How many times yall been drivin past some lil joint, smelled th smoke, an went in, fer a lookaround, at th least???


        • rickgregory
          rickgregory commented
          Editing a comment
          The challenge is that they're in Sweden - think about it in the late fall through early spring. How cold is it, can they put the cooker(s) under cover, etc.

        • Mr. Bones
          Mr. Bones commented
          Editing a comment
          @rickygregory Already taken into initial considerations, amigo.

          Yup, fer any kinda outdoor cooker(s), they's gonna want em a shelter / cover, reckoned from th git-go, that was already a given, least in my mind...
      • Stuey1515
        Club Member
        • Dec 2019
        • 468
        • NSW Australia

        In my humble opinion I think your mates are a bit of cart before the horse. If the starting point is training four chefs then it sounds like someone's good idea. How many little food outlets have you seen disappear because someone thought turning their hobby into a business sounded fun.
        As several have alluded to already, the question is "forget about the cooking at this point, what's the business plan?"
        I might have limited skills with BBQ but I have 15 years experience in building a small business, and easy it ain't!


        • JimLinebarger
          Club Member
          • Jun 2017
          • 926
          • Spokane Valley, Wa.
          • Grills/Smokers
            Blaze 32" 4-Burner Gas Grill w/infrared rear rotisserie burner
            Weber Jumbo Joe
            Weber 22" Master-Touch Kettle
            Pit Barrel Cooker
            Great Outdoors Smoky Mountain Series 36" Vertical Gas Smoker
            Traeger Timberline 850

            Thermoworks Smoke
            Maverick ET-733
            Thermapen Mk4, Red

            Sous Vide
            Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker, Bluetooth, 800W
            Anova Precision Cooker Insulated Container
            Lipavi C15 container and lid
            Lipavi L15 Rack

            BBQ Guru DigiQ (for PBC and 22" Weber Kettle)
            BBQ Dragon
            BBQ Dragon Grill Table for 22" Weber Kettle
            Fire Butler (for Weber 22")
            Grill Grates for Jumbo Joe and Blaze grill

            About me
            Name: Jim
            Nick name: Bear
            Location: Spokane Valley, Wa.
            Born at a very young age at Egland AFB, Ft. Walton Beach, FL.

            USAF vet, ECM (F4 & B52)/B52 Crew Chief, Computer Systems NCO, disabled
            Former Computer Tech/Admin
            Campus Manager/Lead Tech/Tech (IT) for The Kemtah Group contracted to Intel, Rio Rancho, NM.
            Short Term Missionary to the Marshall Islands with MAPS of DFM of AOG

          Seems to me what they cook will help determine what they cook it on/in. If chicken is available, that is a fast cook also. Or some form of fowl. If no overnight cooks, and no long cold smokes for like salmon or other fish, maybe see what their real goal is and what their true expectations are. What is the availability of wood, pellets, charcoal, gas? What is the cost of each? Continuous supply of fuel and product? With that in mind, is this the right time to start a new venture with this pandemic? We have had over 100,000 small business close permanently here because of it.


          • Polarbear777
            Club Member
            • Sep 2016
            • 1894

            Sounds like they probably don’t have experience in BBQ to know how long things will take, requirements for tending, cleaning, turnaround, keeping it viable for service, sourcing.

            I suggest you teach them your class, and teach them what they are getting into. Then if they are still serious you’ll have an idea of their business plan and commitment and will know what size and money they should spend.
            Last edited by Polarbear777; January 5, 2021, 05:56 PM.


            • Greygoose
              Club Member
              • May 2019
              • 751
              • South Shore,MA

              I think I would look at how many plates a day are served and figure the % of that would possibly be Q
              then over size a smoker to accommodate guesstimated additional demands.
              Just about every smoke house runs out of something before they shut the lights out.
              add a Santa Maria grill and a Hanks special out front for samples and some Smokey advertising !


              • jfmorris
                Club Member
                • Nov 2017
                • 3594
                • Huntsville, Alabama
                • Jim Morris

                  • Slow 'N Sear Deluxe Kamado (2021)
                  • Camp Chef FTG900 Flat Top Grill (2020)
                  • Weber Genesis II E-410 w/ GrillGrates (2019)
                  • Weber Performer Deluxe 22.5" w/ GrillGrates & Slow 'N Sear & Drip ‘N Griddle & Party Q & Rotisserie (2007)
                  • Custom Built Offset Smoker (304SS, 22"x34" grate, circa 1985)
                  • King Kooker 94/90TKD 105K/60K dual burner patio stove
                  • Lodge L8D03 5 quart dutch oven
                  • Lodge L10SK3 12" skillet
                  • Anova
                  • Thermoworks Smoke w/ Wifi Gateway
                  • Thermoworks Dot
                  • Thermoworks Thermapen Classic
                  • Thermoworks RT600C
                  • Whatever I brewed and have on tap!

                I can't add to all the great advice - I think a lot of good things have been said here, and what you advise them really depends on their understanding of BBQ and what their time to tend a fire is.

                But, I am opinionated, so will chime in anyway!

                While it is not the "best" BBQ in the world (to me), a local place called Dreamland is a place I love to visit, just so I can watch the guy tending their huge brick pit. They burn logs, and its interesting to watch the guy using a 6 foot long spatula or pitchfork type thing to move around spare ribs and pork butts that are cooking. They don't smoke overnight, but do smoke starting in the morning, for lunch and dinner. You can get butts done during the day for pulled pork for dinner that evening - I imagine if you have lunch, it is last night's pulled pork. It would almost have to be, unless they start smoking at 4am or earlier, and I doubt that!

                Anyway, if they are wanting to keep wood on hand and tend a fire, and serve a large number of folks, I am not sure that the smoker they are looking at will hold enough, given that even ribs will take 5 hours to cook, and its not ideal for tri-tip. They will need more than just that cooker for sure, and if fire management is an issue, indoor propane smokers are what MOST restaurants I see around here seem to use. They still use wood to get smoke, but its not the primary fuel source, and temp control is automatic. Whatever they do, I see need for a smoker, a large grill, and a flat top for other menu items...


                • Henrik
                  Founding Member - Moderator Emeritus
                  • Jul 2014
                  • 4492
                  • Stockholm, Sweden

                  So much great input, thank you all! I sent a loong email to the owner bringing up a lot of the ideas/questions raised here, we'll see what they say. The restaurant has been around for 10 years, so they are 'up and running' for sure. They want to bring bbq into their menu. I have also (like many of you) suggested a grilling station to be able to serve nice steaks and such also. And it's an eye catcher in the restaurant to have a pit like this:

                  Click image for larger version

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                  I'm gonna talk to them on the phone to start closing in on what they want vs what they can actually do.


                  • Spinaker
                    Spinaker commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Salt Lick! This is a cool spot!
                • rickgregory
                  Founding Member
                  • Aug 2014
                  • 1179
                  • Seattle, WA

                  One other option that I don't think anyone mentioned, and which might, depending on layout of the place, let them do overnight cooks is a solid, high capacity pellet grill. Con - lighter smoke profile. But it's set and forget and CAN go overnight if they want to.

                  All of the business questions above are excellent and they should all be answered if possible but some things are hard to quantify - size of opportunity can be, especially if BBQ is new to the area. In those cases, it can be worth it to invest a little into testing the market. If that is the case, they could always grab a recteq or similar and offer just a limited BBQ dish or two, in order to see if people like the stuff. They do? Great, expand. No interest? You're out the equivalent of $1000 or so even if you can't resell it.
                  Last edited by rickgregory; January 5, 2021, 02:19 PM.


                  • Maxriptin
                    Club Member
                    • Aug 2017
                    • 24
                    • 18" Weber Kettle
                      22" Weber Kettle with Slow N Sear
                      Weber Genesis (propane)
                      28" Blackstone Griddle
                      Pit Barrel Cooker
                      Chefsteps Joule sous vide
                      Bernzomatic TS8000
                      Thermapen MK4

                      Avid beer fan (IPA, big stouts. Bitter = Better in my book)
                      untappd user: maxriptin

                      Cocktails: Alton Brown turned me onto boulevardiers. That has become my travel cocktail. At home it is usually spiced rum, vodka, or whisky mixed with ginger ale.

                      Planning on a DIY smoker. **Those plans got scrapped. Between the PBC and the SnS, a DIY smoker project has moved way down the list. Now I want to build an Argentinian style grill!

                      Former homebrewer with plans on returning to it when location and time allows.

                      No restrictions with me (love meats, cheese, veggies, etc...) however a friend I often cook with has celiac so I avoid gluten in my cooking. (PS. Stone delicious is a gluten reduced beer that he highly recommends )

                    I think expectations of the consumer is something to think about as well. Does their customer base have an already formed opinion of what BBQ is? I managed to get to Gothenburg in February of 2019 and while walking around saw a sign that said BBQ on it. I was super excited to see what Swedish BBQ was. It was an odd time of day so there were no tables with patrons so I didn't get to see any food as I entered. But, looking at the menu, nothing fell under what I consider BBQ. They did indeed have a great list of grilled items. So my preconceived notion of what I think BBQ is differed from the restaurant. (And maybe the area, that I don't know.) I also noticed no smell. I feel like the smell of a BBQ restaurant is big. The smell of the smoke, or even at least some wafting aroma of the smoked meats. (Again, the lack of smell could be attributed to the time of day (after lunch but before dinner hours.) I hope that helps some!


                    • jfmorris
                      jfmorris commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I think you hit the nail on the head - many folks think of grilling as "BBQ", and don't even realize that smoking is an entirely different thing. I live in a BBQ rich region in North Alabama, yet I still run into folks who just think it is all "grilling". I've got a son in law who is a good example. I highly doubt his parents even own a grill, much less a smoker.

                      I think the pit the customer has asked Henrik about suggests they know what a real smoker is, or alt least I hope so.

                    • Henrik
                      Henrik commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Great input. In this case they want the real deal, but we’ll see what they _can_ do realistically also.
                  • PaulstheRibList
                    Founding Member
                    • Jul 2014
                    • 1582
                    • Lake Charles, LA
                    • Started Low-N-Slow BBQ in 2012. Obviously, it's taken hold (in chronological order:
                      1.) A pair of Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5's
                      2.) #LilTex, a 22" Expensive Offset Smoker (looks like a Yoder Witicha)
                      3.) #WhoDat1, a HUGE Gravity Fed Insulated Cabinet Smoker (cooking chamber 3'x2'x6')
                      4.) A Full Size Commercial Dryer/converted to Vertical Smoker.
                      5.) Jambo Backyard stickburner (my FAVORITE Pit so far)
                      6.) GrillMeister, a huge 24"x48" Adjustable, Charcoal Grill from Pitmaker.com
                      7.) 22" Weber Kettle with Slow-N-Sear
                      8.) Vault insulated reverse-flow cabinet smoker from Pitmaker
                      9.) BarbecueFiretruck...under development
                      10.) 26 foot BBQ Vending Trailer equipped with HUGE Myron Mixon 72xc smoker is HERE, Oct 2016!
                      11.) Opened www.PaulsRibShackBarbecue.com Food Trailer officially in March 2017
                      12.) Austin Smoke Works 500 Gallon Propane Tank Offset Smoker, named "Lucille" as travel pit for PaulsRibShack, Oct 2018.
                      12.) Opening Brick & Mortar location at 4800 Nelson Rd, Spring 2019. Had a pair of 1,000 Gallon Austin Smoke Works pits, both in RibShackRed for our new place!

                      Fabulous Backlit Thermapens, several Maverick Remote Thermometers (don't use any remotes anymore), Thermoworks Smoke, Other Thermoworks toys, Vacuum sealer, lots and lots of equipment...

                      I'm loving using BBQ to make friends and build connections.
                      I have #theRibList where I keep a list of new and old friends and whenever I'm cooking, I make 1 to 20 extra and share the joy.

                    Great Questions and Advise




                    2021 Meat-Up In Memphis Canceled - Rescheduled for March 2022

                    We've unfortunately had to cancel the 2021 Meat-Up in Memphis. We are rescheduling for March 18-20, 2022. More details and re-booking info coming soon! For now click here for more info.
                    See more
                    See less
                    Meat-Up in Memphis