Catering… What Pit is Best for You?

Catering... What Pit is Best For You? - Lone Star Grillz

There’s no doubt Lone Star Grillz has no shortage of grills that can accommodate everything from backyard barbecue, competition barbecue, catering outfits, pop-ups and full-time barbecue restaurants.  If you are reading this, it’s likely you are considering starting a catering business or expanding an existing one.  So, what is the best pit for catering?  To answer this question there’s a few things to consider.  

What type of barbecue do you want to offer?  Are you looking at marketing your catering business as a craft barbecue company?

When we hear the term craft barbecue, we think of low and slow barbecue such as brisket, ribs and pulled pork cooked over a clean burning hardwood fire in an offset smoker.  Barbecue cooked low and slow in an offset cooker is hard to beat. But is it the best for catering?  

One of the best parts about cooking on an offset smoker is the experience of being outdoors, tending the fire, manipulating the coal bed, and feeding it fuel every 45 minutes or so.  As great as this is, it’s one of the challenging aspects of catering with and offset smoker.  Staying up all night tending a fire, then prepping and cooking the sides, delivery, along with set-up and clean-up can make for a long day or two.  If you plan on being an owner operator caterer, an offset barbecue may not be the best option for you.

Are you going to cater on site, or will you be cooking off site and delivering the finished products in commercial warmers and coolers?

Catering on site is always fun but it comes with some challenges depending on the menu and equipment at your disposal.  If you have ever cooked a full barbecue menu for 100+ people you likely have experienced some pitfalls along with your successes. Cooking a full menu of two proteins, and multiple sides is no easy task.  This is even more difficult if your menu consists of “The Big Meats” (briskets and pulled pork) and you are an owner operator caterer.  I think we can all agree it’s not an easy task to relocate your pits, fuel source, accessories, food products and setup a mobile kitchen.

Due to these challenges many caterers choose to cook off site and deliver the finished food products in insulated commercial food warmers and coolers.  This business model has been extremely successful for many caterers and commercial kitchens.

Are you going to be an owner operator, or will you have a staff that will assist with either the cooking process or delivery, set-up, serving and/or cleanup?

This may sound redundant but it’s something to consider when setting up your business model and plays into the two previous questions.  Having a staff greatly increases your overhead expenses but also increases the efficiency of your business and expands your bandwidth. 

Many of our customers started their catering business from their passion for barbecue as a backyard barbecue enthusiast.  This natural progression from backyard barbecue enthusiast to owner operator caterer is not uncommon in the barbecue catering industry.  The transition from barbecue enthusiast to caterer/pitmaster, to full time barbecue establishment with full time staff, is a few decisions away from being a reality.  There’s no doubt this will resonate with many of the people reading this and know how beneficial this information may have been when starting their catering business. 

Lone Star Grillz have many customers all over the country operating catering business.  We have spoken and listened to our customers and learned from their experiences.  As previously mentioned LSG has no shortage of grills and smokers that can accommodate all of your catering needs.  The following is some of the pits that we offer that have been proven to be successful for some of our customers operating catering business.

The Lone Star Grillz Off-Set Smoker
Offset Vertical Smoker - Lone Star Grillz

If the art of craft barbecue is what you are chasing, then the LSG off-set smoker is the pit to have.  LSG offers many sizes, and options to accommodate your catering needs.  The offset smoker is a great option for those who want to cook off site and deliver a finished product to their customers.  The offset smoker is a great pit for those who are looking at just cooking pre-ordered proteins such as brisket, chicken, ribs and pulled pork.  These proteins can be sold whole or by the pound on holidays, weekends and gameday events.  

On the flip side using an offset smoker as an owner operator caterer comes with some challenges.  As previously mentioned, being up all-night tending a coal bed and feeding the fire may not be the best option unless you have a staff to assist with the other task that comes with being a caterer.  The other downfall of catering with an offset smoker is they can be difficult to travel with due to size, weight, fuel source and requires additional equipment such as a truck and trailer.

The Lone Star Grillz Insulated Vertical Smoker

Cabinet Smoker - Lone Star Grillz
The LSG IVS has proven to be the workhorse for many of our customers who are owner operator caters. The LSG IVS its truly a set it and forget type of pit.  The LSG IVS if perfect for those who want to cater full menu catering events. The IVS can be set up well in advanced before the proteins need to be cooked to meet your delivery deadline.  Most of our customers using the Lone Start Grills Insulated Vertical Smoker will cook their proteins overnight or put them on in the early morning hours.  The IVS can run for multiple days on a completely loaded firebox and can easily accommodate multiple cooks and/or catering events over several days.  Many of our customers who are owner operator caterers have supplemented their offset cookers with an Insulated Vertical Smoker.  The LSG IVS is an amazing option for those who want to cook off site and are going to be owner operator caterers.  

Just like the offset smoker the LSG IVS my not be the best option for those who are looking to cook on site.  Though, the LSG IVS has a smaller footprint they are built like tanks, heavy and requires additional equipment to travel with.

Lone Star Grillz Cabinet Pellet Smoker
Cabinet Pellet Smoker - Lone Star Grillz

There is absolutely no doubt the LSG Cabinet Pellet Smoker is going to change the catering game for those owner operator caterers.  The LSG Cabinet Pellet Smoker is one of the smokers we are most excited about and designed with our owner operator caterers in mind.  The LSG Cabinet Pellet Smoker is very similar to out IVS but it equipped with an overside 40 pound hopper and precise cooking temperatures with the push of a button.  The Cabinet Pellet Smoker can accommodate up to 16 whole briskets, 48 pork butts, 32 racks of ribs and 32 whole chickens.  

We put some serious thought and engineering into the LSG Cabinet Pellet Smoker.  With the option of mixing in real wood chips in with the pellets we greatly closed the gap between pellet quality barbecue and barbecue cooked on an offset smoker.  This is the definition of a set and it forget it barbecue and perfect for those long overnight cooks.  If you are thinking of starting a catering business or expanding an additional one, or operate a commercial barbecue restaurant, this is the one smoker that can accommodate them all.  

Much like the offset smoker and the IVS the LSG Cabinet Pellet Smoker has its challenges when it comes to cooking on site and requires additional equipment to travel with.  Though, you will not get the whole barbecue experience when cooking on the Cabinet Pellet Smoker, this smoker has proven to produce some serious quality barbecue.

Lone Star Grillz Trailer Pits
24" x 60" Trailer Pit with Vertical Slow Smoker - Lone Star Grillz

There’s no denying the holy grail of catering, and barbecue restaurants is the trailered smoker.  Lone Star Grillz offers multiple trailer pit options, sizes, and add-ons such as gas burners, storage boxes, warming boxes, Santa Maria style pits and more.  Our trailer pits are built to the highest standards, and we are a licensed trailer manufacturer. We have several trailer pits to choose from with standard options.  We also offer full custom-built trailers to meet your competition, catering and commercial barbecue needs.

If you are looking to be a caterer who cooks on site, do pop-up events at local breweries, competition cook or tailgater the LSG trailered pit is for you.  The downfall to owning a trailered pit are their size, maintenance cost (tires, registration) and the storage of it when it’s not in use.

We hope you found this information useful and shed some light on the thought of starting a catering business.  If you are using a LSG product as a caterer, please tag us in your social media post and use the hashtag #LSGcaterer for a chance to be featured.