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Looking for Advice... Remodeling Bowling Center Cafe and Making a Full BBQ Restaurant/Sports Bar... What Kind of Smoker Do I Need/Want?

willic

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So... A little background... I've been in the restaurant business 20+ years. I'm in Martinsville, VA and want to convert my bowling center cafe to a new full service lunch and dinner restaurant, focusing on BBQ. What kind of smoker do I want/need? I have a limited hood size that is full of equipment. I can build a shelter outside to smoke. I think it might be really cool for the people driving by to see all the smoke outside (I'm on a major thoroughfare). Propane would be easy, or I want charcoal, wood? What about the Alto Shaams and Southern Prides? I belive a restaurants food must be exceptional, not just good to be successful. PLEASE HELP ME!
 

smokerjim

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I personally think wood would be most cost effective, more time tending to it though but I think your patrons would be more I intrigued , but that's just my opinion
 

chilerelleno

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Commercial vertical smoker, natural gas or propane, burning wood chunks for smoke.
NG is inexpensive, temps are almost set and forget and lower wood costs.
Smaller units start at about $2,500.00-$5,500.00.
I'd imagine you'd need/want a larger unit, time to start shopping, I'd be looking for used.
 
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jcam222

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I believe you are looking for something from Southern Pride or JR Mfg Little Red Smokehouse.
 

chilerelleno

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Or go whole hog, with a traditional or reverse flow stick burner.
Be prepared to hire a couple of competent Pitmasters to cook at nights, and for the wood costs.
 

chilerelleno

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Question, what do you plan to serve?
What will be your BBQ menu mainstays, whole hog, brisket, ribs, butts for pulled or chopped, chicken, sausage, steaks or what?
Whole hog Carolinas style is gonna take equipment a it's own.
Briskets take a lot of grate space and along with ribs take time to do well.
Chickens are economical on space and time, either smoked or rotisseried.
Sausage can be bought smoked and open grilled for effect.

A lot of customer allure with an open pit grill and/or rotisserie cooking chicken and sausage.

So what's cooking Doc?
 

krj

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I believe you are looking for something from Southern Pride or JR Mfg Little Red Smokehouse.
Agreed with these two options. Eventually I want to be using one of the Little Red Smokehouse's myself, but it's a little hefty on the pricetag atm.

A lot of places use the Southern Pride smokers and they turn out come decent food.
 

daveomak

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So... A little background... I've been in the restaurant business 20+ years. I'm in Martinsville, VA and want to convert my bowling center cafe to a new full service lunch and dinner restaurant, focusing on BBQ. What kind of smoker do I want/need? I have a limited hood size that is full of equipment. I can build a shelter outside to smoke. I think it might be really cool for the people driving by to see all the smoke outside (I'm on a major thoroughfare). Propane would be easy, or I want charcoal, wood? What about the Alto Shaams and Southern Prides? I belive a restaurants food must be exceptional, not just good to be successful. PLEASE HELP ME!
Have you seen one of those "Southern Pit" smokers...
A rectangular box built out of brick... Wire racks about 36" off of the floor.... About 8" of brick above the racks and an insulated hinged lid covering it all.... counterbalance weights for the lid...
That's real "Pit BBQ"......
 

SecondHandSmoker

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Sounds like a great idea.
Just keep in mind, SMF is a site dedicated to the backyard enthusiast and really cannot make recommendations for commercial operations.
Any recommendations from the site's members are there own opinions and therefore are not endorsements from the website itself.

Perhaps the best place to start would be to research what your county and state regulations and requirements are regarding equipment etc.

I, for one, would hate to see you drop quite a few grand into making this come to life only to have some "inspector" tell you it doesn't pass muster.

Sorry to be Debbie Downer, but that had to be said.
 

jcam222

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Check the classifieds here, an Old Hickory commercial into was posted
 

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