smoker size for my needs

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Original poster
Jun 28, 2023
I am a backyard BBQer and I am in the process of planning a smoker build and I have some general questions.

goals/reasons for build:

One reason for starting this build is I currently smoke on a modified OKJ Highland, and with the amount of food I am starting to smoke just personally at home, the amount of wood processing I have to do is just getting out of hand with having to run such small splits.

Reason two is I am diving into starting my own bbq business and I will need the volume of a bigger cooker.

My idea is an offset smoker, not sure if RF or not yet, mounted on a trailer with a warming cabinet, and wood storage.

Would a 250 gallon propane tank be enough volume to get a catering/bbq trailer business up and going? or should I go straight to a 500 gallon tank?

also for either size tank, what is the best option for a trailer? build my own, purchase something cheap like a utility trailer or pop up camper frame and modify it?

In my area there is a definite market for bbq, its something people want. We have one bbq restaurant in town, and one other restaurant in the next town over. neither place is anything to brag about in my opinion, not bashing them or saying their food is bad. Just there isnt an option for people to get true good TX style bbq around here.
I have done a couple parties and events for friends, and their guests were beyond pleased with my quality.

Just trying to do all my homework before setting anything in stone, and going into business if it doesnt make sense.

Thanks guys!
A 250 gal tank with 2 racks one above the other will cook a lot of food of course a 500 would hold more. Personally if it was my first smoker build I think I would do a 250 gal reverse flow then if I outgrow it I would also have a better idea of how to add features that suit me more than the 250 when I built the 500 if I ever needed a bigger smoker. As for the trailer I would prefer to build my own if I had the skills to do it that way it can be exactly the way I want it. I would consider a propane burner for heating/cooking things. Maybe try to figure out how to add a sink with a water tank and possibly a on demand propane hot water heater. Not things that you have to have my present Lang smoker doesn't have those things but they would be nice additions if I was trailering to cook.
The thing I would stress above all else is to check the laws where I plan to do business and find out what the requirements are. I'm in Florida and the rules and laws to cater legally are hard to meet.
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sorry for the slow reply, had a lot going on the last few days.

I appreciate the advice.
I have decided to go with a 250 gallon, and I decided to build the trailer as well.
will be an offset smoker with an insulated square firebox. Still debating if I should go with a warming box or not above the firebox.

A friend at my work (machine shop) has his own welding business, so he will be working with me on the build. scored a decent amount of free material for the trailer today from work. Hopefully picking up a tank this weekend.

As far as laws go, I have been printing off and going through everything I can find online to get familiar before I make a phone call and actually discuss this with local officials.

once this gets rolling I will try and post a build thread to update on progress is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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