Questions involving cooking for others / events

Discussion in 'Catering & Large Group Gatherings' started by cpsmoke, Aug 18, 2015.

  1. cpsmoke

    cpsmoke Newbie

    I recently completed my reverse flow smoker build and already have people asking me to cook food for their events. I am in Minnesota. Does anyone know what if anything is needed to be "legal" in regards to cooking say pulled pork for weddings, events, etc. It would not be catering per say as I would be cooking it ahead of time (day before). Any advice is greatly appreciated. Can one legally charge or would you just be taking a "donation"? 
  2. reflect

    reflect Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    Most states ask that you cook on site to be legal.
  3. 3montes

    3montes Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    A bit late on this but I also live in Mn. My understanding is that if you are selling as a street vendor or to the general public you need to be inspected and licensed.

    Also as I understand it unless your pit is stainless steel forget about passing inspection in Mn.

    I have done many weddings, grad parties groomsmen dinners etc. As long as you are doing private parties and are not charging by the plate I think you are good.

    I don't charge but I say tips are accepted. Always has worked well for me.

    I was cooking at a customer appreciation party at my sons house. He is a real estate agent and was having a party for all his clients.

    Health dept showed up because a nosy neighbor called and said someone was selling food off of a cooker.

    Told the guy it's a private party and he said yeah I thought so as soon as I walked up. He complimented me on the looks of the food and my smoker and moved on.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2016
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Geez...That's the type of neighbor that will report your 8 year old for operating a Lemonade Stand without a license...JJ
  5. Search "Minnesota Catering License" on google and the first result should be "Food Catering Requirements" at the Minnesota Department of Health. Get in touch with them. Seriously, when I started in Florida, I asked people in the food business about licensing and regulations and probably got a different answer from each person for the same question. Always check with the people who will eventually be doing inspections of your business, and keep in touch with them because even then things change or are overlooked. I can't stress that enough.
  6. A State license?  We should be lucky here in Maryland.  Health regulations are a County matter here, and a particular practice that is Prohibited in one county can be Required in the next county.

    Having said that, I can echo that most of the inspectors I have had dealings with are reasonable as long as you follow the rules - whatever they are.  Also, as they get to know you and see that you know what you are doing they don't bother you much.  Just always have the handwash station set up correctly, hot stuff hot and cold stuff cold and they are usually OK.
  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    AND ALWAYS WASH THE CAN OPENER! [​IMG]  It must be Day One in inspector school in PA. Every restaurant I worked in the health inspector checked the Can Opener very first thing!...JJ
  8. I'm with you brother.  We had a while here where the water filter on the ice machine supply line was the most critical aspect of food service in the western world... but whatever, play the game.
  9. big dawg nc

    big dawg nc Newbie

    Reminds me of this from this past summer.

  10. 3montes

    3montes Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thats exactly the situation it was. My son said he was the kind of neighbor nobody wants. He calls the city and complains regardless about what any of the neighbors are doing.
    Problem here is this area is so over regulated in Mn that you get different answers from all the state people you talk to. Each one has his own interpretation of the regs. All of them know some of the regs but none of them know all the regs. I know a guy down in Mpls who is a pit builder. He told me he spent nearly two days talking to the state about what it would take to build wood fired pits that would meet state regs and be able to qualify as licensed. He said the information was so confusing and conflicting he just gave up on the idea.

    Nothing is simple once the government gets involved.

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