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Catering, Food Handling and Awareness *OnTopic* Forum to educate us on safe food handling. Not specifically for Catering or competition but overall health and keeping our families safe too.


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Unread 05-05-2013, 07:06 AM   #1
Dyce51
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Default New Trailer in the works

I am in the beginning stages of building a BBQ Concession/Catering trailer. I am building one styled after the Southern Yankee BBQ Shack trailers. The trailer I have is a 14' long (I may extend it a bit and move the axles not too sure yet) The split up I'm thinking is 5' for the smoker open area and 9' for the enclosed kitchen area. I'm planning to build my own smoker/cooker but not sure what size to go with. I'm leaning toward using a 120 gallon compressor tank (74"L and 29"D) with an offset firebox reverse flow design. Do you guys think the 120 gallon tank will be too small?? That 2146 sq cooking area on 1 shelf and slightly less on the upper shelf so with 2 cook shelves in it thats around 4000 sq cooking area. (top shelf removable so I can still roast a pig as well.) Looking at doing a few local Festivals and also Catering.
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Unread 05-05-2013, 07:18 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dyce51 View Post
I am in the beginning stages of building a BBQ Concession/Catering trailer. I am building one styled after the Southern Yankee BBQ Shack trailers. The trailer I have is a 14' long (I may extend it a bit and move the axles not too sure yet) The split up I'm thinking is 5' for the smoker open area and 9' for the enclosed kitchen area. I'm planning to build my own smoker/cooker but not sure what size to go with. I'm leaning toward using a 120 gallon compressor tank (74"L and 29"D) with an offset firebox reverse flow design. Do you guys think the 120 gallon tank will be too small?? That 2146 sq cooking area on 1 shelf and slightly less on the upper shelf so with 2 cook shelves in it thats around 4000 sq cooking area. (top shelf removable so I can still roast a pig as well.) Looking at doing a few local Festivals and also Catering.
First step is to contact your health department so see if this plan is even legal. The proposed setup wouldn't even get past hello in Minnesota for serving to the general public.
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Unread 05-05-2013, 07:31 AM   #3
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I have talked to the health dept and the told me it was ok as long as the materials are non porous and never contained chemical or oil based products. and the "open area" must be screened off as well. I have to submit a detailed drawing with a list of all materials to be used in the cooker build.
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Unread 05-05-2013, 07:36 AM   #4
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I have talked to the health dept and the told me it was ok as long as the materials are non porous and never contained chemical or oil based products. and the "open area" must be screened off as well. I have to submit a detailed drawing with a list of all materials to be used in the cooker build.
Sounds like it should work then.
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Unread 05-05-2013, 07:57 AM   #5
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I have seen so many people build a smoker out of a 250gallon + tank and that made me wonder if I am under shooting it by looking at the 120 gallon tank.

Like I said I am still on the drawing board right now I have to submit all my drawings of the cooker, the trailer floor plan, plumbing layout with backflow preventers and electric layout with 30 amp service panel to the health dept for approval before I can start the build. I want to make sure I have approval before I start throwing money at this project.
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Unread 05-07-2013, 03:14 PM   #6
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120 seems quite small to be trying to cater or vend out of. I use my 150 gallon RF to cook comps and works just fine, but to go full fledge vending or catering I figure I'll have to expand and go to something much larger, similiar in size to a 250 gallon or so. Now if your not planning on serving everything fresh out of the smoker (steam pans and such), then it may work.
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Unread 05-08-2013, 12:01 AM   #7
Jeff Therrell
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Get a bigger trailer!!!!!!! I built a 24' with a 7' porch and now I wish I had built a 36'. Inside we have a 36" flat top, 2 40# friers, 1 sandwich prep refridgerator, 1 full size fridge, sinks, and hatco 3 drawer warmer. It takes 3 to 4 people to run it and it is very cramped. My cooker is a 6' H, 4' W, 3' D. cabinet style cooker and it is also cramped on the porch. I'm really not complaining we are having a ball and making a little money too.
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Unread 05-10-2013, 11:34 PM   #8
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I really would like a bigger trailer. The local festivals have a limit to 10x20 space and they say your whole trailer must fit or you buy 2 spots. Being the first year I am leary of going to big to quick I figure start out smaller and then expand.

120 gallon sounds too small for my needs now. I will look at larger tanks...I did see a guy on local craigslist with a 375 gallon....
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Unread 05-13-2013, 05:59 PM   #9
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Post some pics when you start building.
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Unread 05-22-2013, 06:21 AM   #10
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Oh ya I plan on starting a new thread once the build is under way. Still working out details with the Health Dept right now....Seems no-one is in the office these days due to a MAJOR norovirus break out here that closed all our schools til next week. So it seems they are not there to return phone calls or emails!
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Unread 05-22-2013, 09:35 AM   #11
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I think 120gl will be to small. My buddy and I our building one right now. I also I you math might be off just a little on the grate size. the bottom ones are 27by22 and there are 2. the top ones are 27by20. (the tops could have been bigger) but that still only gives us 1188 for the bottoms and 1080 for the tops. together 2268 sq in.
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Unread 05-22-2013, 11:47 AM   #12
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Oh BOY the ball game just changed up on me!! A different inspector from the Health Dept. called me back today........She just changed everything on me!! She is now telling me that I cannot build my own smoker!! She says that welded joints are NOT allowed..?..?.. she says that the smoker needs to be stainless....she has really CONFUSED me now!!! I thought I had the details figured out with the Health Dept then came a different inspector.... UUUUMMMM So I asked her about a Lang60 or a Lang84 and she said I need to submit a detailed spec sheet from the manufacturer with all material grades and info to see if it will be ok.....I'm gonna go totally bald by the end of this!!!!!GGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!
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Unread 05-22-2013, 11:57 AM   #13
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got to love the HD. same thing with building inspectors, one guy tells me one thing different one tell me a different thing.
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Unread 05-23-2013, 12:17 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dyce51 View Post
Oh BOY the ball game just changed up on me!! A different inspector from the Health Dept. called me back today........She just changed everything on me!! She is now telling me that I cannot build my own smoker!! She says that welded joints are NOT allowed..?..?.. she says that the smoker needs to be stainless....she has really CONFUSED me now!!! I thought I had the details figured out with the Health Dept then came a different inspector.... UUUUMMMM So I asked her about a Lang60 or a Lang84 and she said I need to submit a detailed spec sheet from the manufacturer with all material grades and info to see if it will be ok.....I'm gonna go totally bald by the end of this!!!!!GGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!
If Ohio is anything like Kansas (and I think this holds true in almost all states) you will find that each HD official has the power to interpret the regs in their own fashion.

We went through a very similar situation here in KS. It finally came down to having to go totally commercial grade on all equipment and a commercially built trailer if we were going to be "approved". We got 4 different interpretations from 4 different HD officials of their own regs.

We checked with the state and they said that it was up to any individual inspector to approve things within their individual interpretation. That is why we have stayed with festival events only which do not require a food license and have minimal regs to deal with.

I wish you luck.

EDIT: p.s. I should add that we have a deal with a local licensed kitchen that allows us to use their facility to prep our food stuffs. This allows us to sell at the festivals without having to have a licensed trailer, etc. In KS there is such a thing as a Temporary Food Establishment reg that allows for serving at a limited number (currently 6 in a calendar year) events without needing to obtain a food license. As long as we follow food safety practices regarding transport to the event and holding the foods at proper temps at the event our HD can't touch us.
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Unread 05-23-2013, 03:18 AM   #15
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NSF and eliminate the problem anywhere you go...
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