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How to scale up for a large party

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    How to scale up for a large party

    After my last cook at work, I had a couple co-workers who asked me about catering my short ribs. I told them if they paid for the meat, I'd be happy to cook it up for them. But I've got some pretty basic questions before I seriously consider doing this:

    1) How would I handle cooking, say, 10 slabs or more at the same time? Could I rent an offset cooker to practice on and eventually do the cook on?

    2) Is it possible to go directly to a farm to purchase the slabs in bulk for a lower price than my butcher?

    Your advice is appreciated!

    #2
    1) There are pit makers that rent out smokers. Not sure what would be around your location. You would also need advice and a definite "dry run" to get the hang of an offset you have never cooked on before. Especially if there will be wind and/or inclement weather

    2) Definitely stick with a butcher for volume. Not aware of many farmers selling fresh meat off the farm. Unless you live near the guy that was on Food Inc. Course he mostly did whole chickens.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks Jerod, I've been doing some more research on higher capacity smokers and I'm liking the idea of sticking with verticals (don't think I'm ready to cook with a stick burner). A couple brands that stood out are Backwoods, Spicewine, and Pitmaker, but it's shocking how much the price goes up. From like $200 for a smoker at the big box hardware stores to $2000 for the above mentioned. I'm surprised there's no mid-level price range (or maybe I just didn't look in the right place). The Backwoods Chubby is the exception and looks like a flexible and affordable option at just under a grand.
      Last edited by eugenek; November 29, 2014, 11:26 AM.

      Comment


      • eugenek
        eugenek commented
        Editing a comment
        smarkley, does the expanded capacity of the PBC rely on hanging meats? I'm not sure how that would work out with short ribs. Plus, one of my complaints with the WSM is that it's difficult to access the bottom rack without removing the top rack. Seems like I'd want the ability to manage and access the meat from the side, no? Appreciate all the help.

      • Huskee
        Huskee commented
        Editing a comment
        That's the balancing act with smoker choice. Price vs results vs capacity vs user friendliness. Cabinet styles offer better shelf access, and offsets even more so with their grill-like layout. But a PBC's price:results: capacity ratios are great.

      • PaulstheRibList
        PaulstheRibList commented
        Editing a comment
        I can cook 8-10 racks of St. Louis in my 22.5 WSM, depending on the size of them. I purchased a 2nd WSM so I could cook for parties. Add in the Converted Dryer, and there is another 15 racks plus. #cookbigonthecheap

      #4
      Have you checked out AR's equipment reviews here: http://amazingribs.com/bbq_equipment...eviews_ratings

      Comment


      • eugenek
        eugenek commented
        Editing a comment
        Duh, I keep forgetting and just do Google searches first. Many times, they bring me right back to AR so I should know this by now!

      #5
      Meathead gives the Brinkmann Trailmaster Vertical a decent review, seems mostly on the fact that the smoke can flow up naturally. Sounds like there are mods to help with leakage, too. Might be a good, inexpensive option in learning to scale?

      Comment


        #6
        I admire the trailmaster for its unique setup. I think it would be an excellent smoker for its budget price point. With some tinkering to manage airflow and temps you could do some great things with it.

        Comment


          #7
          So I went to my local hardware store to take a look at the Brinkmann. They're not charging sales tax this weekend which was enough for me to make the purchase. In addition, I got a 20% discount (I'm not sure why, but I didn't bother asking!). The final price out the door was $223.99.

          From the looks of it, I'll need to use Nomex gasket around all the doors (firebox lid, firebox door, smoker door, water access door) and RTV sealant when installing the various bolts during assembly. I'm sure I'll find other mods soon.

          Comment


          • HC in SC
            HC in SC commented
            Editing a comment
            If it has the same firepan as my 2 door Brinkmann cabinet, then you may need to drill holes in it for decent air flow. I bought a Kingaford round wok topper and just put it on top of a couple of small stones to elevate from the OEM pan. Oh, and don't trust the thermometer that comes on it, but you probably already knew that. Have fun!

          #8
          And you can always convert to gas. Best thing I did with my cheap offset.

          And best to mod it would before you cook on it with respect to gaskets and what not.
          Last edited by Jerod Broussard; November 30, 2014, 08:02 AM.

          Comment


          • eugenek
            eugenek commented
            Editing a comment
            Yup, I'm going to work on it first before cooking. I've seen a couple videos of pre-modded versions with smoke pouring out everywhere. This might be a good excuse to go buy a welder from Harbor Freight!

          #9
          I haven't cooked beef short ribs on my WSM ever since I got the PBC. Buy whole racks, ask butcher to cut in half lengthwise. Hook in the PBC and call it a great day.

          Comment


          • Ernest
            Ernest commented
            Editing a comment
            oh yeah it's just as low maintenance unless you're doing 4 briskets like Jerod.
            I have done 4 chickens, 6 racks of ribs. Separately of course, just make sure that once you dump the lit coals you let it get hot with the lid off before hanging the food.
            Trick when doing a bunch of chickens is to open the bottom vent 100%

          • HC in SC
            HC in SC commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks for the tip! I will be putting this dude to the test - especially for get tog there and work events. I'm gonna do six racks this weekend set with the vent where it should be and go from there. I have read a lot of you guys' experiences to get some parameters for adjusting / kick starting temps.

          • Ernest
            Ernest commented
            Editing a comment
            Get to know your PBC and it will treat you right.

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