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12 Month Smoking In Illinois?

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    12 Month Smoking In Illinois?

    I'm attempting to start a catering gig but Illinois doesn't make this easy. I have a commissary I can use for my non-BBQ items, but when the health inspector I was talking to about smoking meats outside told me to just use liquid smoke I about passed out. LOL. She told me I can do work like that outside if I can have an outdoor space with a working sink (some expense to get connected, but willing) amongst other things.

    I'm trying to figure out a way to cover my deck (16x20) in Illinois so I can smoke 12 months a year. I honestly thought about building a sunroom of sorts around it and having vents go through the roof so I could enclose it for when those 6-12 inch snow storms come blowing in. In looking through other posts I have noticed metal roof looking gazebos and a few other things that look like they could hold up. Any ideas out there from the always knowledgeable crew out there so I can start bringing more good food to northern Illinois?

    Do they require a permanent shelter or will a temporary one suffice? If you search for wind and snow rated portable garages you can find plenty about the size you need and not at a tremendous cost.
    They also make portable self contained hot water sinks that have the NSF seal. Years ago I had to order quite a few for some mobile clinics we were setting up. We bought from a medical supplier but I’m sure you can find them cheaper at other suppliers.

    I know when Del’s Lemonade was setting up portable stands on our boardwalk, the health inspectors required something similar. They would roll their carts and portable sinks out each day to conduct business.

    Good luck with your search.


      Illinois sounds like California in terms of business friendliness. I eventually had to give up on taco cart catering when my city told me I needed to pay to store my grill in a health code approved space. i was using a local restaurant as my kitchen of record and for food storage and prep and they couldn't fit a big taco cart there. it was going to take a big chunk of the little profit i was struggling to earn to rent an additional space so i kind of hung up the biz plan.

      i also was in need of a sink and was considering something like this, which is portable and much easier and cheaper than installing area drains and running H20 lines.

      Also, i know it's a considerable investment, but have you considering an enclosed trailer? this is a local guy's rig. it's open air but could board up for nasty weather maybe.

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        I live in Southern Illinois so I can relate a little. I built a pergola over part of my deck and installed a knee wall around 3 sides and a solid wall in the back. I put up heavy outdoor blinds to keep the wind, snow and rain down to a minimum. I’ve cooked outside pretty much all year around.
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          I've got a metal roofed pavilion outside, and with the right roof structure, it will hold up as well as or better than any other type of roof. It's all about rafter spacing, battens (horizontal pieces you screw the roofing down to), screw spacing, etc. Some places by code might require solid plywood or underlayment under the roof if it is attached to your house.

          The big issue for me would be an outdoor sink with hot water, in Illinois. That's gonna require some really solid insulation to avoid the pipes freezing up in the winter. I like the ideas mentioned above of a portable sink with hot water - those have a storage tank you fill with fresh water, a built in heater (requires an outlet), and a grey water tank to capture the water from washing hands and other stuff.


            You may need three sinks, One for washing, rinsing, and disinfecting, then don't forget space to dar dry.
            Have fun and good fortune to you.


              I so appreciate all of the suggestions and ideas. I'm talking with the lady from the health department again early next week. Going to ask her about the portable sinks and the permanent or temporary walls. I had even been looking at a cedar gazebo with an aluminum roof at Sam's Club or CostCo. I figure 12x14 would be plenty of space for me to do smoking besides the commissary kitchen I would be using. Your ideas also gave me a few more for building "walls" around a couple of sides to reduce effects of the elements of northern Illinois. I'll keep you updated!



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