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Selling BBQ To Others?

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  • 6th Borough BBQ
    Former Member
    • Feb 2017
    • 411
    • Jersey City, NJ

    Selling BBQ To Others?

    Hello Everyone - I've had a lot of inquiries regarding me selling my BBQ and have been shaking off the idea for a long time. I know BBQ is a hard business and I already have a great job. Needless to say, the BBQ chatter from folks asking has been taking it's toll on me, and the beat of "what if" has been churning in my head. So I've figured, let me check the forum!

    I know there is a ton of complexities, but specifically I'd really appreciate it if someone with successful experience can give me some guidance from a pricing perspective on the following few scenarios. I've been asked about doing all of them recently and need a starting point.

    - Selling BBQ myself at an event (like a farmer/arts market)- How much should I set the price of my meat at retail? (2X cost/expense, 3X, some other way?)
    - Catering BBQ for a small event (like dropping it off at household superbowl party at leaving) - price per pound? per person?
    - Selling BBQ to a Restaurant to resale - How much should I price to a Restaurant who wants to buy my product to resell to their customers? So I make, hand to them, and they sell.

  • Troutman
    Club Member
    • Aug 2017
    • 7475
    • aka Troutman Taco - Hanging Free in Tejas






    I'm sure you'll get a ton of responses to this. I think all of us, especially if we're asked, would have grand visions of being in the bizz. But as you say it's hard work so you have to calculate the risk/reward factor. I'd say call around your area and ask what prices are for catering and selling que. I know the restaurants down here all have basically the same pricing, for instance brisket sells for anywhere from $18 to $20/lb flat rate. They weigh it and that's the cost. Somewhere in there they cover their nut and make a profit.

    Anyway, good luck I know its tempting. Hope you make the right decision and get some good advice before making it !!


    • randy56
      Club Member
      • Aug 2017
      • 478
      • Newburgh In

      Around here we sell butts and a slab of ribs $20.00 when we do a competition cook and we are allowed to sell to the public, we pulled pork sandwich, with bag of chips $6.00, brisket sandwich & chips $10.00


      • Butchman
        Club Member
        • Mar 2017
        • 510
        • Estero, FL

        You might consider figuring out your food cost. Your cost for the meat divided by the number of serving portions by weight. I’m guessing a pulled pork sandwich would be at least 4 oz of meat. Figure in your cost for a bun and the sauce etc. Once you know your cost then mark it up for a reasonable profit. Back when I was in the restaurant biz our food cost in the diners averaged around 20-23% of the retail sales for the restaurants. Keep in mind that was mostly eggs and waffles which are very low food cost. The better the cut of meat the higher the food cost. There’s not much profit selling steaks in restaurants. I think a 20 - 25% markup over your cost would be on the low side for pricing on average for a pulled pork Sammie.


        • FireMan
          Charter Member
          • Jul 2015
          • 7860
          • Bottom of Winnebago

          You should be able to get some good tips from PaulstheRibList, he bein in the biz & all. Maybe pm him. He’s a pretty cool guy & very helpful.


          • texastweeter
            texastweeter commented
            Editing a comment
            I 2nd that

          • Steve B
            Steve B commented
            Editing a comment
            My thoughts exactly. Paul might be the best to get info on this topic.

          • Troutman
            Troutman commented
            Editing a comment
            Yup, he's the man....Car 54 Where are You ???????
        • Frozen Smoke
          Club Member
          • Nov 2017
          • 1528
          • Northern Mn

          Agree with FireMan Paul will be helpful especially if you're looking at this as a full time business. I do this on what I call a casual basis. No public street type events private parties only. Have done lots of weddings, grad party, bachelor and even a bachelorette party once where I was the only guy out of 35 gals!

          I price each party on a individual basis. What they want me to provide, for how many people and how far do I need to travel.
          It's more work than people who have never done it will realize. Hours of prep work and there is a lot of equipment you need. Especially for transporting and holding foods safely. Cambro's are not cheap.

          I will say for me all the work has been worth it. there have been some gigs I didn't make much on but met some awesome people who I'm still friends with. I usually stay the night on site at most parties. I pull the smoker behind the motor home, get all set up and start cooking.

          Always get to join the party after the feast is over. This may be a good way to get your feet wet before taking the full plunge.
          If a friend is having a son or daughter that is graduating volunteer to do the catering. Grad parties are generally around a hundred people or more. Or do a casual on site wedding. I've cooked for 300 at weddings.

          Do a couple of these to get the experience of what's involved. Make a few bucks but do it mainly for experience. You will find out how deep you want to get after that. Good luck in whatever you decide to do.


          • PaulstheRibList
            PaulstheRibList commented
            Editing a comment
            Great advise!!

          • Troutman
            Troutman commented
            Editing a comment
            Well there you are Paul....where's your advice????
        • DWCowles
          Founding Member
          • Jul 2014
          • 9703
          • Smiths Grove, Ky
          • Hi, my name is Darrell. I'm an OTR truck driver for over 25 years. During my off time I love doing backyard cooks. I have a 48" Lang Deluxe smoker, Rec-Tec pellet smoker,1 Weber Genesis 330, 1 Weber Performer (blue), 2 Weber kettles (1 black and 1 Copper), 1 26" Weber kettle, a WSM, 8 Maverick Redi Chek thermometers, a PartyQ, 2 SnS, Grill Grates, Cast Iron grates, 1 ThermoPop (orange) and 2 ThermoPens (pink and orange) and planning on adding more cooking accessories. Now I have an Anova sous vide, the Dragon blower and 2 Chef alarms from Thermoworks.



          • EdF
            Club Member
            • Jul 2016
            • 3229
            • Atlantic Highlands, NJ
            • Uuni Pro (new kid in town)
              Karubeque C-60
              Large BGE since 2002 + plate setter + pizza stone + upper grid + stainless paella pan for drippings (the best!)
              TEC Cherokee FR since 2014 (portable infrared grill - does a mighty sear)
              Polyscience Sous Vide Pro since 2012 (wasn't much else available in those days)
              Thermapen Air
              ThermaQ (or its predecessor)
              Thermoworks Hi temp IR
              BBQ Dragon & Chimney of Insanity
              Various other stuff

            The number one thing I'd be checking is the state and local regulations for vending your food.

            Then as folks have said above, your materials costs (both amortized costs of your equipment, and the cost of the food you're cooking).

            Finally, don't overlook transportation and venue costs, and especially, the cost of your labor.

            And you do want some margin, so find out what's typical, so you can make some money at it. Passion is great, but has its opportunity costs as they say.

            And taxes, insurance and all that mundane business stuff.

            Good luck!


            • Troutman
              Troutman commented
              Editing a comment
              Gee EdF you are too much of a logical business man. Make money? Worry about taxes? Now I'm going back to my back yard instead of Troutman's BBQ Truck......

            • EdF
              EdF commented
              Editing a comment
              That's why I keep to my own backyard too!
          • tRidiot
            Club Member
            • Dec 2015
            • 721
            • NE OK
            • Traeger BBQ124
              Yoder YS480
              Chargriller Duo gas/charcoal side-by side

            Yeah, I've had a number of folks ask me if I'd sell them some que, or tell me I should open a BBQ place. I just laugh. And laugh and laugh and laugh.

            I love to cook for folks, I'd much rather cook and give it away on my terms, when I want, when I can and how I want and how I can - than to have to meet someone else's schedule or have them pay me for it. Nah... I like to cook for our church, our local free medical clinic and friends and family. I'd have to invest in a much bigger setup even to take orders from friends. Don't have the room for that right now.




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