What type of smoker to buy?

Discussion in 'Catering & Large Group Gatherings' started by lovelife, Jan 23, 2016.

  1. lovelife

    lovelife Smoke Blower

    In a couple of months from now me and my gf are starting a catering and 'to go' company. We're super excited! 

    I am looking for one or two smokers that can support my reverse flow smoker (which isn't huge). As most of you know, starting a company isn't cheap. I got a super good deal on a professional kitchen which is awesome. Anyway, long story short, I want to watch my budget and not invest in another offset smoker (yet). I am looking for a smoker that give me a lot of room for product but doesn't cost me a fortune. I am really curious what you guys would recommend. So far, I only have had experience with offset smokers.

    I really appreciate all of you and am so glad I've found this forum!

  2. halfsmoked

    halfsmoked Master of the Pit Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    [​IMG]   Wow what a loaded question you are not going to believe all the different suggestions you are about to receive and all of them are going to be personal preference, I'll start with mine I use a 40" gasser they now have a 44" that will hold a awesome amount of meat for under $400.00 and the reviews look great on it. Hope you receive a idea that works for you.
  3. lovelife

    lovelife Smoke Blower

    Would love to read all you guys opinions on this subject even when they differ :)

  4. sawinredneck

    sawinredneck Meat Mopper

    Since you are wanting to go commercial I'd sure look at a pellet set up so you don't have to babysit it! If you want to do a stick burner you'll have to go big and still have someone watching it most the time. Not going to talk you out of propane, but what happens when you didn't get the bottles refilled and need to smoke all night? (Trust me, it will happen!) Then you still need to add something to it for the smoke flavor.

    The GMG line up has a WiFi rig that will tie to your phone so you don't have to be right there, but not sure they are going to be large enough for you.

    There are lots of commercial manufactures out there and I wouldn't even know where to steer you other than to look at them and see what you do and don't like about them.

    Smoke Daddy is great people! I emailed on a Saturday and got a reply two hours later! They make a pellet hopper you can put in just about anything you have lying around and make your own smoker! Old file cabinet,refrigerator,paint cabinet,and so on. You can be very creative with this unit!

    Best thing I can tell you is to figure out how much you think you'll need to cook, then see what's out there in that size and see what people like/dislike about them. Then see if you can live with the problems that particular unit has, as nothing is going to be perfect!  
  5. jcbigler

    jcbigler Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Since you are in Holland, buying a well built commercial smoker here in the U.S. and shipping it might be prohibitively expensive. 

    Look online and see if you can find a used Bewley, Olyer, or Ol' Hickory or other all wood burning smoker. 

    If not, it's worth calling one of those manufacturers and ask them if they will sell you a set of plans so that you can have one fabricated in Europe (make sure you tell them you are in Europe so they know you aren't going to compete with them). Or maybe they will know of someone who has one for sale. 

    Or, do it the hard way and build your own. Two or 3 smokers built out of 500 gallon propane or water tanks should keep you going for all the meat you need to cook. Probably be a lot cheaper that way too. 

    I assume that there are old, unused propane tanks in Holland?
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2016
  6. 3montes

    3montes Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Why are you ruling out a offset? It's what you're familiar with and you can get them in a infinite variety of sizes. Besides when you can say to your potential customer "everything I cook is authentic wood fired bbq" it sets you apart from the others.  Sure it's more work than firing up a gasser or plugging in a electric to the wall but as with everything the things that require more work are the most rewarding.
  7. lovelife

    lovelife Smoke Blower

    Good point! I would like another offset, they are just so expensive.

    Maybe it would be an option for me to get something cheap since I will be smoking inside a warehouse. So no wind, rain, snow etc...

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