Posts Tagged ‘BBQ Smokers’

Monday, July 11, 2011 @ 09:07 AM

I have been finding more and more people coming to the food vending or the catering business. Many people either lost their jobs or found such a lack of work that they needed to recreate themselves. Everyone has to eat, right? In this turbulent economy, having some comfort food to make the heart and soul feel better, is not such a bad thing. The recreated people that I have been finding are now cooking, grilling, and\or deep frying food for festivals, farmer’s markets, events and catered parties.

Some of the people that I have recently met were lawyers, contractors, carpenters. Their career industries have not been doing so well. They have chosen to take up deep frying and food vending as side income or as an out and out career change. The food vending industry has blown through the roof right now. The West Coast of America taking a great leap forward with the food truck industry. But food vending has spread it’s fingers far and wide throughout the U.S. and even into Canada. And not just food trucks either. Caterers, street vendors, food carts, mobile trailer vendors, event and festival vendors.

And, we are not just talking about the typical hot dog truck or coffee truck anymore. The more your fare varies compared to the cart next door, the better off you may be. You want something interesting and tasty. Not the same old, same old. People are not just using griddles and steam trays any more. There are mobile grills and BBQ smokers. Panini and sandwich press machines. Mobilized trailer pizza ovens. Portable outdoor propane deep fryers have become a huge added cooking appliance to some vendors. With so many different nationalities and palates in North America, the food fare  options are endless!

I spoke with someone the other day. They do bratwurst for festivals. They have decided to add a deep fryer to their outdoor cooking equipment to hopefully bring in more business. They will be adding a sort of thick potato chip with different spices.

I know of another company that all they do is deep fry. They work a farmer’s market in Oregon, once a week for the whole season. They deep fry empanadas, sort of a meat and vegetable pastry.

Potato twisters, a deep fried spiral cut potato on a stick, has become huge. Originating in Korea, where it has become the number one street food, it has hit the streets and fairs of America with full force. I saw a program on TV where a vendor at The California State Fair has taken the twisted potato and tweaked it. He put a hot dog on the stick first, then placed the spiral cut potato around it before deep frying it. Sounds odd right, but interesting. I would try it!

Fish tacos have taken the country by storm. Odd as they sound, having deep fried fish in a soft shell tortilla is all the rage. Even some of the bigger fast food restaurants have picked up on that.

There are endless ways to make money while selling food. Time and effort are involved, but ingenuity, honesty, integrity, and a little brains can get you places that you never thought you could go. There is a man the started a deep fried food tent at the Texas State Fair. He deep fries anything and everything. It brings people back for more. Just to see what they are deep frying today. This gentleman makes enough money through the fair to now sustain him for the rest of the year. Now, that’s deep frying for a living!!

Like I said before. Everyone has to eat. If you are looking for a way to make extra money, and you can cook fairly well, maybe it is time to jump on the comfort food vending band wagon. Get a deep fat fryer and start making french fries at the local festivals. Take your grill to the farmer’s market and roast corn on the cob. When the weather starts getting cooler, get yourself a turkey fryer, or a large stock pot and propane cooker and make some chili for the apple festival or fall leaf and craft fair. With a great idea and some time and effort, you could be on your way! The American dream starts here!

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Saturday, June 11, 2011 @ 09:06 AM

I just finished watching Bacon Paradise on the Travel Channel. I know that the world of bacon has exploded over the past few years, I had no idea that it was to that extreme. I have seen the blogs, the bacon salts, pictures of meats wrapped in woven bacon blankets, the bacon wallet, chocolate covered bacon, Bakon Vodka, and even bacon lip balm. That should have been an inkling. There are so many restaurants out there that are focusing strictly on the bacon.

Watching the program was a great inspiration to me. Given the fact that I love bacon, I now have more ideas for cooking with bacon than I had before. Yes, yes, I know. Bacon is probably one of the worst foods as far as being health conscious and cholesterol savvy. But, who doesn’t love bacon? Waking up in the morning to the smell of bacon and a pot of fresh coffee….mmmm.

Pork bellies are the American version of bacon. In Europe they use the back portion for bacon. Traditional Irish bacon looks more like thin sliced boneless pork chops. Bacon comes in other forms now as well. You can get lamb bacon now. For the more heath conscious mind set, turkey bacon and tofu bacon.

I have worked with rumaki before. For those of you that don’t know rumaki it is basically a chicken liver, a piece of water chestnut, soaked in Teriyaki sauce, rolled in brown sugar and wrapped in bacon and broiled or grilled. Not everyone is about the chicken liver. Myself included, but once you taste the combo of flavors and textures together…it just works. I have played with the recipe and made it with chicken breast and pineapple chunks. I have actually considered deep frying rumaki in my outdoor propane deep fryer.

There were a few of these restaurants on the program that actually bought in pork bellies, cured and smoked them on their premises. One place called “3” in Arlington, VA actually has a pig roast once a month, but they place pork shoulder and pork belly under the splayed pig, so that the juices from the pig drip right down over everything while it is all in the roaster box together.

One restaurant, called Slater’s 50\50, Burgers by Design, actually makes bacon burgers. Not a beef patty with bacon on top…actually ground bacon made into patties. This young man started this idea by tailgating with friends in San Diego. At the time they were making 100 % ground bacon burgers. Mr. Slater has now added 50 % beef to the mix, ergo, 50\50. The light bulb just went on for me. I am ready to go out and buy a pound of bacon, a pound of ground beef and get out my meat grinder.

Now that I am totally hungry and want bacon. I am going to a barbeque at a friend’s house this afternoon. He is all about the smoke. He has 2 BBQ smokers, a smaller grill and has just added a larger Char-Broil grill to the mix. I know that he is smoking a whole turkey, 2 pork shoulders and probably some beef too. There was no bacon to be involved…until now. I saw many places serving bacon on a stick or bacon lollipops while watching Bacon Paradise. I just so happen to have some thick cut applewood smoked bacon from the North Country Smokehouse in Claremont, NH. I am going to thread the bacon onto soaked wooden skewers, place them on the grill, and have them for appetizers. I have some cracklins that I have been saving to trysmoked as well. Think this will be the perfect opportunity to give it a whirl.

Well, now that I’ve made you hungry, go out and get yourself some bacon.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011 @ 06:04 AM

I still find it fascinating, the ingenious ways that people tailgate. Some folks are just quiet and simple. A hibachi or card table with a table top grill, some burgers and a cooler out of a car trunk. Some people have taken a typical truck and made extensions and slide out rigs on the truck to go a little more extreme. I’ve seen people with trailers and motor homes. They bring full sized refrigerators, BBQ smokers, outdoor propane deep fryers and outdoor fire pits.

Then, the real hardcore fans. Not that the other folks are any less of fans. Maybe the phrase I am looking for is hardcore tailgater. These are folks that buy old ambulances, buses and fire trucks. They trick them out, add video and sound equipment that is better than in their own houses, and then paint everything to match their favorite team’s colors. Either that or they just make tricked out towable trailers that come equipped with everything from TV’s and beer taps to grills and deep fryers attached.

Some tailgate clubs have multi-talented people that can pull these rigs off. Other people need to rely on some of the companies out there that can put a rig together for them. A few of these companies are Freedom Grill, Freedom Trailers and  Imagi-Motive.

Freedom Grill on the lesser end of the extreme. They have grilling systems that attach into your vehicle via the tow hitch, so that they are outside of the truck for travel. That way you can store more stuff in the vehicle, chairs, coolers, friends. Then the uint swings away from your vehicle while you are cooking. They also have alternate hitch packages so that you can tow your boat or trailer and still have your Freedom Grill on the back of your truck. They also have tow-behind units that are have a nice big grilling area and some units even have storage compartments. These units are great for tailgating with large groups, or even for catering.

Freedom Trailers goes a bit more extreme. They are a company out of Willacoochee, Ga. They manufacture trailers. Not travel trailers that you would take to the campground, but more like hauler trailers that can be tricked out, tailgater style if that is your wish. A\C, TV, storage and counter tops, a couch, and all painted in your team colors.

Imagi-Motive out of Magnolia, TX. is way more extreme. They cater to smaller groups with Tailgate Party Box. The Party Box has the adaptability to allow consumers to bring “high media” to their tailgate without the need for a truck or any other vehicle. It was designed to fit in the back of an SUV, but is also able to sit on top of a table for those that don’t tailgate out of a vehicle. It has everything you need to throw a great party including flat screen TV, satellite system, surround sound system with DVD player and more. All of this is contained in a small, easy to operate box that sits inside the rear of your SUV or truck.

Imagi-Motive have also  stepped out of the tailgating trailer box and designed something that is more practical and customizable than your standard box trailer. This new innovation in tailgating technology allows for more accessible storage, 360 degree usability, and more options than your standard box trailer. There are many features that can be added, including  TVs, surround sound, satellite, grills, smokers, keg taps and cooling, running water and they will even throw in the kitchen sink. They encourage you to sit down and speak with them first about your own tailgating style and what your wants and needs are before the trailer plan is even designed.

These are the folks to take a bus, or old fire truck to and have it customized for your tailgating needs. If you are not a custom car builder or lack basic carpentry skills, they can do the job for you. They can take a travel trailer and re-work the unit so that it meets your tailgating needs. Whether you are tailgating once a week with your favorite college football team or traveling the race circuit doing 3-5 day tailgates, Imagi-Motive can do the job!

So there are lots of products out there. If you tailgate often, there are many ways to make your life a little easier. If you only tailgate occasionally then a table top grill and a cooler is fine. But if you are an extreme tailgater, are in a tailgating group, or thinking about starting one, get out there and check some of these fine folks out. Love to tailgate, just make it more convenient and easier to enjoy the party and the game.


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Friday, April 15, 2011 @ 07:04 AM

Drag racing tailgaters still always amaze me. They are always extreme to the max. As far as racing tailgates go, to me drag racing enthusiasts take the prize. I have seen everything from small Habachis to big propane grills that look like engines. Table top stoves to big trailer pulled BBQ smokers. Outdoor propane deep fryers and turkey fryers. I have even seen the Queen of Philly Cheese Steaks show  up with a stock pot and outdoor propane patio cooker and make cheese steak for 150 people. I have even seen grilling competitions set up while the drag racing was going on.

Usually when at a great race venue, there are regular style camping spots to set up at. Full hook ups, even cable connections. Even if you aren’t showing up with a trailer or motor home, there are ways to get through 3-5 days of tailgating quite easily. They have places to buy ice and propane, they also have carts that go through the venue selling bags of ice. Some venues will even send around honey carts to pump your tanks if need be.

I did see something different yesterday at the drag strip. I’m quite sure that it has been done before, but it is the first time I have actually seen it. I saw a tailgating group. They had a motor home and hook ups. But tailgating for 5 days with a big group? Motor home refrigerators are not really that big. Even when I’ve done the 5 day tailgate we always had to store extra food in coolers, or leave the area to go back to a store. Yesterday, I saw a man with a full sized refrigerator that he brought along to set up right in the middle of his tailgate. How awesome is that?! Now coolers can be for just beverages and all your food and leftovers can be put in the outside fridge.

People come up with great ideas to make tailgating easier all the time. I just find the human brain fascinating!

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011 @ 09:03 PM

The ways of the world have certainly changed of late. The food industry has taken a slight turn. After the stock market crash and the huge rise in unemployment, many people have turned to the food industry to supplement or replace old incomes. People have to eat no matter what. People can cook, or they can’t. Some people are better than others at cooking, but some things do not take a degree in brain surgery to cook.

In the past, even in my life time, when times were hard, people were and are still going out to eat. Maybe not to real fancy restaurants, but a place that serves a good meal for a fair price, usually has a full parking lot, especially on the weekends. For people that are still working, after a long work week, who wants to cook dinner? There is a local eatery that I like to frequent, and have for years now, almost every Friday. The food is decent, the prices are fair, and they actually have the added bonus of a free salad and free soft beverages, tap beer and house wine with your meal. It is family friendly and even my picky kids managed to find something to eat every time we go there. They have a very large burger menu but they also serve other things like fish, chicken, steak, etc.

So as I said, people still have to eat. You can eat while you are at work, you eat at festivals, you can even eat at the beach or just walking down the street. Some people have decided to try and cash in on this. Food carts have been around for centuries. People used to sell bread and wine at stadiums and arenas in ancient Rome and Greece. In past years, things more likely to be seen were pretzel and hot dog carts in big cities like New York. Starbuck’s coffee carts in Seattle.There were hot dog trucks on the side of the road. Coffee trucks pulled into industrial area parking lots where people didn’t have a deli or pizza place close enough to grab a quick bite. Ice cream trucks and food vendors with all kinds of food could be found at fairs. Many deep fried foods like french fries, fried dough, and funnel cakes are standard festival food products. All of these staples are still available, but let me tell you, we’ve come a long way from the hot dog truck baby!

The West Coast of the United States has virtually exploded with food vendors, food trucks and food carts. It is spreading slowly across the states too. The choices of food are endless too. We are talking basic American fare like burgers and pressed sandwiches to foods with strong ethnic roots from every region of the world. And we are not just talking any old burgers either. You can get gourmet burgers right on the side of the road. People are trailering BBQ smokers and outdoor propane deep fryers and setting up for the lunch crowd on a daily basis. Deep fry carts are not just for the fair grounds anymore. You can set up a Friday Night Fish Fry almost anywhere now. Fish tacos are gaining popularity throughout the U.S. now. You can pull up to a food truck and get empanadas or gumbo. You can find fine French cuisine or all organic food. The options are endless and people are coming up with new ideas every day.

They do say that necessity is the mother of invention. If you lost your job, and can’t find a new one, why not create one for yourself. Find something that you can cook well and bring it to the masses. You will want to look into the laws of your state and city regarding the sale of food to the public, and the operation of deep fryers and grills in public places, but why not? Our nation was formed by people with new thoughts and ideas. People gotta eat! Why not go out there and feed them?

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Monday, January 17, 2011 @ 06:01 PM

So, this years Superbowl will be in Arlington, Texas.

I know that Texans take their barbecue very seriously as well as their tailgates. I can only imagine how awesome a Texas Superbowl tailgate party would be. BBQ smokers everywhere! Grills, turkey fryers, heck, all kinds of outdoor propane deep fryers, and all sorts of outdoor cooking equipment. Meat everywhere! Smoked brisket and sausages, ribs, fried turkey, pulled pork and beef. An absolute BBQ Mecca!!! I wish I did not live so far away. This would truly be a tailgate haven and heaven that I would love to witness. Just to walk the pavement looking at everyone’s set ups and see all of the different kinds of food would be simply awesome. I mean this is Superbowl! And in Texas. You just can’t get any bigger than that.

To all you folks that will be participating in this year’s Superbowl tailgate madness….I salute you!

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Saturday, January 15, 2011 @ 03:01 PM

The Pro NFL football season is coming to a close but with frenzied tailgaters, bar goers, and couch potatoes every where. It is always hard for me to decide if this time in the season is my favorite or the beginning of the season is.

I love the beginning. All those tailgaters out there have been chomping at the bit. They have gone over their tailgate bins, renewed & replenished any items that may need it. They have checked their outdoor propane deep fryers, their grills, and BBQ smokers. They get new t-shirts and banners. They make sure they are updated on any new procedures and rules that their venue may have. It is always a very exciting time.

By the end of the season, everyone’s tasks are old hat. Everyone knows what they are doing. Much fun has been had, much good food has been eaten, memories have been made, much camaraderie has gone on throughout the season. But…if your team makes it to the play offs…it’s all on…all over again! The same feeling as the beginning of the season returns, with vim & vigor.

Good luck to all of your favorite teams out there! Wishing everyone a good game, and not some long drawn out blow out. Here is to another year in Pro Football!!!

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011 @ 08:01 PM

It never ceases to amaze me how ingenious people can be when it come to outdoor cooking equipment. Tailgaters, competition barbecuers, and just BBQ smokers in general. There are so many different ways that grills, smokers, and outdoor propane deep fryers can be made. Not all of us are capable of welding or fabricating our own cooking equipment. But some people are. You get a good idea or think that a unit that you have is good but could be better and you run with it. You either do it yourself or take it to someone who can. Tailgaters and people that compete in BBQ competitions, are looking for new ways to improve the way they cook, their menus, and their cooking equipment all the time. I get very excited when I see a non-cookie cutter smoker or grill. I love to walk through parking lots and tailgate lots and see different peoples’ set ups. There are so many different ideas out there and so many different ways to do things.It can be very inspiring.

Never stop learning, never stop thinking, never stop trying. It is in our nature. Get out there and cook! Get out there and innovate! Get out there and inspire someone or get inspired!

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Sunday, December 19, 2010 @ 05:12 PM

Christmas is great time to upgrade your favorite tailgater’s cooking equipment. If you know of some new equipment needed or something that is outdated and needs upgrading, now is a great time. Odds are, you are a tailgater too, and though you may not be the head cook and bottle washer, there is a good chance you know of the groups’ gear. This would be a great time to pitch in and get “cookie” some new gear.

Typically, grilling season is over for the summer set, and Thanksgiving turkey frying season is over. Little do they know that tailgaters do this sort of thing, almost year round. Grills usually go on sale at summer’s end, so this time of year is even better for great values. You can always wait until tailgating season starts up again next year, but why wait. If there is something the group needs now, why not go for it. New tailgating supplies make great gifts.

Get your tailgating club a Bayou Classic turkey fryer if they don’t already have one. They are multi-purpose outdoor propane deep fryers. They also stew, steam and boil.

Get an All-In-One. These units deep fry, boil, steam, grill, and they can be used as BBQ smokers too. Having units that serve different purposes helps save space when traveling to and from your venue.

Have a great tailgating season and a great holiday season too.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010 @ 07:12 PM

There are many different kinds of smokers out there. BBQ smokers, for indoors or outdoors. Wood, propane, electric, and digital smokers. Stationary cabinets, outdoor rolling smokers, collapsible take where ever you want smokers. They even have smoker cans, smoker bags, and oven and stove top smokers for those in apartments or that have limited space but still like to enjoy great smokey flavor with their food.

The world has come a long way since the days of smoke lodges and tents. Foods used to be smoked and cured for preservation before mass production of refrigeration. There were also no trains, planes, or automobiles either. Food would last longer when smoked, for long trail pilgrimages and long sea voyages.  Many people enjoy smoked meats and cheeses today but buying these items can get pricey at times.

To have your own smoker is a fabulous option. You can make smoked briskets, turkeys, pepperoni, sausages, cheese, fruits and vegetables, etc. And even if you don’t have the space for a smoker, you can always stock up on smoker bags for just such an occasion as wanting a piece of smoked salmon for dinner. Throw in the fish, some potatoes and asparagus, put the bag in the oven and viola…a smoked meal all in one bag. Easy cooking and even easier clean up.

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