I'm from the great white north of Canauk ville, and we may not run thick in the BBQ scene, but there is a growing love here for the slow smoke foods. However I didn't grow up my whole life in Canada. I also lived in Florida and Las Vegas for a big part of my Teenager life (Florida for 3 years and Las Vegas for 5). It was Las Vegas where I witnessed my first slow smoked ribs at this place called Struton Gates (sp?) and I was hooked ever since. It did take me a very long time to actually get the art of smoking right, and I know there is always room to improve.
I've been a backyard BBqer for 6 years now, and every chance I get I slow smoke my favorite meats that being baby back ribs, brisket and pulled pork. I will also try different cuts of meats I get from my butcher. I have cooked a lot of big pork shoulders for friends and families parties, and always get told I should open up a smoke house. I have entertained the idea before. Just felt I needed more time to develop recipes, so I never took the plunge. Well one night I hit a epiphany when I was cooking a pork shoulder for a party i was asked to cook for. I said to myself I love to do this, and I can say for sure I would feel way better for getting paid something I like to do. This lead me to start my research and start building a business plan. My Dad taught me this is the best place to start lol. As I was gathering pricing I approached my butcher and told him
Me: "I need to chat with you about pricing"
Butcher: "he said why"
Me: "I want to open up a restaurant... walk in/sit in type of place"
Butcher: "What type of restaurant?"
Me: A Smoke House (said with a big smile =))
Butcher: Eyes get really big and said "I need to see his old location" as he set it on fire by accident and needs to fill it (welding rookie move lol). Nothing big in my mind it was right across the street.
That being said I looked at his old place and it was an awesome set up. Walk in fridge, Exhausted Hood, sinks. His insurance covered some of the damages, but of course he had to put a lot of his own cash to get the place back up to par. I told him this place looks perfect for a smoke house and told him I need the lease so my lawyer can look at it... want to make sure there's nothing there that can mess with potential business. I get a call from my butcher and he wants to partner up with me on my idea, so I thought about it for a little and chatted it over with my Dad. We both thought it was a great opportunity to partner up with the butcher. Just have to finish up some accounting with the financial statement and also create a critical path, and then we are off to the races.
I will be more then happy to share my goals and errors as I go through this process, so any future backyard BBQer that wants to open up their smoke house can learn from my mistakes and achievements.
As for my smoker at the moment I just use the Webber mountain smoker. I really like the water pan it has in the unit, which helps in keeping the meat moist through out the cooking process. I also live in the city, so I can't have a huge smoker in my back yard as space doesn't permit it, but I will be upgrading to a Southern Pride smoker in the near future SPK-300. Anyways I have read a lot of helpful advice on this site, so thought I would join for all the fun conversation of slow smoked meat.