My name is John. So glad to be here, and am excited to add a new post.
I am a native of Arlington, TX, and was, until last year, a corporate attorney in NYC. I am in my early 30s, but I left the legal world in search of more fulfilling passions. I've been seriously contemplating the idea of starting a brick-and-mortar BBQ joint a few years down the road with a fellow BBQ enthusiast -- it wouldn't be in NYC or TX, but maybe somewhere that doesn't have much or any BBQ to begin with. (Apologies if it offends anyone, but I am a die-hard fan of Central-Texas BBQ.)
That said, I have absolutely no experience smoking meats. I've been cold-emailing and cold-calling some renowned joints around NYC and around Austin to get some kind of unpaid internship where I can start to learn the ropes of cooking the perfect brisket and ribs. So far, no great leads.
I was hoping someone could help me answer a few technical questions or direct me to some good resources about BBQ as I consider whether to keep putting together a business plan (which would be at least a year or more before starting to execute). I get lost in all the forums on here, so have a hard time finding the information I need exactly. Basically, my apologies if this information is all posted elsewhere! These forums are amazing, and I learn so much, but still trying to track down very specific answers. For instance:
1) If I initially needed to sell 200 pounds of smoked meat (mostly brisket and ribs) per day in one or more off-set, wood-burning smokers, what kind of dimensions am I looking at for a smoker? For example, if I needed to smoke 40 briskets (10-12# briskets) a day, how would that translate that to cooking space or smoker dimensions?
2) Similar to question 1, how would that envisioned capacity affect whether I wanted to buy a pre-fabricated smoker, hire a welder, or learn to weld myself (I have ZERO experience welding)? What would be the difference in costs or what could I expect in costs for the first two options? And if I decided to build a smoker, would I need to start with, for instance, a 250-gallon tank? 500-gallon? 1000-gallon?
3) Are there differences in quality when having stacked cooking racks versus a single, centralized rack?
4) What's the best way to gauge wholesale prices of briskets and ribs on a commercial scale? What kind of contributions do alcoholic beverages make to the revenue?
5) What are the issues with starting BBQ joints in cities? Are there mostly zoning/building issues? Are there mostly "nuisance" lawsuit issues, given the almost 24 hours of smoking per day?
Anyway, these are the kinds of questions I've been trying to answer on my own... but I am having a hard time parsing through the web and all the forums here for these kinds of answers.
Glad to be part of the the forum, and would be eternally grateful for any and all insight!! I am at your mercy.