Hello from Wisconsin.

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by mattr, Nov 3, 2015.

  1. mattr

    mattr Newbie

    Hi Everybody,

       As you can probably tell by my username, my name is Matt. I have been in the food industry for about 7 years already, mainly mobile food concessions. So far it has been basically kettle corn and pork rinds under a tent setup. However earlier this year I found a great deal on a concession trailer that needed some work. After replacing the drop down floor, replacing all the vinyl floor covering, and some other remodeling/modifications, I was finally able to use it at my last event this year. With the "new to me" concession trailer, also comes a different menu. Some of the things I am planning on offering is nachos with smoked meat of my customer's choosing on top of it, along with smoked meat sandwiches and also homemade french fries. 

       Now as for my choice of a smoker, I am planning on building 1 and possibly 2 of the fridge smokers utilizing charcoal for the heat source. My father, who is retired welder/fabricator, now works part time for the town at the local recycling center, is providing me with the old refrigerators. I get to go pick one of them up tomorrow, maybe even both of them. My reason for going with the charcoal is for two reasons, one is IMHO I believe the meat has a bit better taste, and second is basically nostalgia. When growing up back in the 70's and 80's, one of my friends father had three of those old fridges set up for smoking basically anything that people would bring him to smoke. I was always pleased to be the "taste tester" whenever over there. The old style smoker even goes great with my concession trailer logo which uses an old style diner neon border. Some busier events I even plan on bringing the smoker with me to get some of that great smell out to potential customers.

       I am not just building it for business reasons, I also love the taste of smoked foods and plan on doing lots of testing before the 2016 concession season starts here in the central part of Wisconsin.

  2. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome to the board, Matt! Quite a few people here do concession/event business.

    Here in Columbus we have a hopping food truck scene.
  3. mattr

    mattr Newbie

    Thanks. I am hoping to be the pioneer for my area with my food trailer and hope it catches on with the locals. Madison, WI has a small bunch that get designated areas to set up at and one of my goals is to get the same food scene rolling farther North up by Antigo, WI area. Only problem is lots of the locals do not accept change in their lifestyle very easily. The area is made up of mainly old family farmers and they like the traditional home cooked meals, which is mainly why my menu will be leaning more towards that instead of the fancier type items as some food trucks have in the bigger cities.
  4. [​IMG]   Good afternoon and welcome to the forum, from a cloudy, rainy  and cool day here in East Texas. Lots of great people with tons of information on just about  everything. 

  5. mattr

    mattr Newbie

    Hi Gary, Thanks for the welcome and if it helps you feel any better about your weather down in TX, I just came in from outside and there is snow flurries falling here.

    Little update regarding the fridge situation.... I was able to score two old fridges, one Crosley, and the other is an older GE. At least I think it is older because of the metal door skin. 

    I might be wearing out the search function on the website with all the info I am trying to gather regarding my build(s)....lol. Hope I don't break it and wreck it for everybody else...lol.

    Last edited: Nov 7, 2015
  6. bauchjw

    bauchjw Master of the Pit

    Welcome Matt! Sounds like you have a great vision! I'm an Iowa guy, but left the farm a while ago so I understand your challenges! I used to work concessions for fairs, concerts, big events in the 80s and 90s. The two big ones were the John Deere tractor show held annually in Iowa or Illionoi and the Ragbrai bike ride across Iowa. You should check into them to see if you could get a spot. We made ALOT of money at both. Check out the Smoker Builds in Smoking Supplies and equipment under the forum tabs at the top. I'm sure you can find some great stuff there! Beyond that you will find a lot of help here for smoking recipes and techniques.

    Good luck! Looking forward to hearing/seeing how it goes for you!
  7. mattr

    mattr Newbie

    Thanks for the welcome bauchjw... This year should be a very good year for me as long as I can get some decent shows booked with the trailer. I even have 2 "helpers" lined up to setup and operate the kettle corn tent. They have helped me for the past 2 years at my super busy shows, with one show we could have used 2 more in the stand because it was just that busy for us... It is always a nice feeling when I can expand the business. The smoking aspect of things may or may not help with my plans for the trailer since sometimes it can be tough getting into shows if the market is flooded already for that area. However, I always loved the taste of smoked meat and fish, so my time here will not go to waste no matter what the future has in store for me. 
  8. Matt, I wish you the best of luck in your pursuit of smoked meatiness. I live in Wausau wi, and they set up those trucks just like you have. But Antigo is my home town. Born and raised, left and came back, left again. Most my family is in white lake, polar, Bryant and Madison areas. I think change is good. Better food makes for some happy people. When you make it up this way let me know. My family and I love food and love smoked meat. And to help someone who shares my passion and a dream just can't be beat.
  9. P.s. In Wausau Wi, every year they host the Ballon and Rib Fest. They fly hot air balloons, fire works and go all out on the meat. Ribs, Ribs,Ribs, pulled pork, you name it. If you can smoke it they eat it. Kind of like rythym and booms in Madison on a smaller scale. Check it out, And Welcome Home to SMF.
  10. mattr

    mattr Newbie

    Thanks for the welcome....

    I am actually located a little South of Antigo, down between Bowler and Mattoon. I travel over to Wausau a bit, all depends on how often the GF needs to go to the DR.

    I heard about the balloon and rib fest, just never called them before regarding setup because until recently it was only kettle corn I was doing, and I can only take in so much sales before the machine doesn't keep up with demand. And yeah, bigger KC machine in the near future too, just gathering all the needed materials for it and building it myself. I will be going from my current 80qt cooker up to a 240qt, so lots more production out of it. That and then with the addition of a food trailer, I am hoping I will be super busy and see all the hard work paying off. As far as the smoker, not sure if that is more of a necessity for the business or for myself... okay, more for me because I love smoked foods. So far my expertise remains solely on the consumption aspect of things, yet willing to learn everything I can about making the best possible smoked foods there is.

  11. I go through Mattoon on My Way to Phlox. My parents there. Couple times a month. If you are in a need for another older fridge or long cast iron cooking stove with oven doors and bread boxes built in (maybe future smokers), let me know. My parents bought a house that has these (and just an older modern stove) in the basement. I know they would be glad to see them go to someone who will actually use them.
  12. mattr

    mattr Newbie

    I should be all set with the 2 fridges I have to be converted. I think if demand ever rises enough that those 2 smokers cannot smoke enough then I will build a smokehouse. Who knows though, I might get some of the locals into building a fridge smoker too...lol.

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