CUSTOM BBQ FOOD TRUCKS FOR SALE
Karpatia USA is based out of Atlanta, Georgia but we deliver nationwide and even to Canada.
Before you go looking for a used local bargain barrel on wheels or get yourself a nightmare off of used vending just because it was only a few hours away, consider that BBQ food trucks are a big investment at any rate and your truck and BBQ are a dynamic duo forming the linchpin of your whole operation.
Great barbecue is a combination of your skills and preparation, the meat you source, and the equipment you use to cook it. A lower mileage or brand new step van can add to the look of your business and the reliability of the operation but will really do very little for your cooking. And what’s more important? Quality products build a reputation and repeat customers all by themselves.
We’d love to sell a new truck as the base for your BBQ food truck conversion as much as the next builder, but is that the right decision for you at this point in time? What we love even more is to see you succeed and have a profitable food truck business for many years.
Thinking long term here, we work with you to find the perfect solution fit for your business. Spend time on this, think it through. Get lots of quotes and while you’re at it get one from us too. Be surprised by the price and convinced by the quality and testimonials.
BBQ FOOD TRUCK OPTIONS
There are smoked start to finish on board BBQ food trucks. But the relatively tight confines of a truck do not easily lend themselves to that. And there is more to BBQ than smoking, although most Americans will say BBQ is “low and slow” a lot of UK and German BBQ food trucks will disagree. After reading along you may too!
A practical budget solution for BBQ food trucks is to tow a BBQ smoker behind your truck or to prepare the meat at your restaurant or a commissary, finishing off the preparation on board. Of course an on-board smoker or other on-board options are perfectly possible and we can sketch out what that looks like for you too. If you have even bigger barbecue needs you can consider a BBQ porch trailer as an alternative to a truck.
TYPES OF BBQ TRUCKS
BBQ SMOKER FOOD TRUCK -
A budget option – and maybe technically not really a “BBQ food truck”. Although, you have a BBQ and a truck now, and you are going to have to tow that trailer somehow.
Many BBQ food trucks use this setup. Brand it as a BBQ food truck and you’re done. This kind of setup is usable for events, festivals, farmers markets, and weddings, but is not a viable option for a food truck concession or license in most metro areas. This is because it is generally not approved to cook with a unit that is not self-propelled or enclosed.
Exemptions exist or you may be able to classify as a hot dog cart – always ask your local county health department about their food truck permit rules.
You can also choose to get a smoker, customizable to any size you want, including the amount of chambers and their volume. We also offer propane or charcoal based grills as a BBQ trailer option from as small as 7ft.
PREP & COOK BBQ TRUCKS
Preparing a great amount of barbecue requires a lot of space, and even the largest step van or truck does not have square footage close to a BBQ pit restaurant. A great compromise can be to have a regular size step van or box truck, do all the mise-en-place in a restaurant or commissary, and simply finish plating when doing service.
You can reheat brisket and other meats perfectly fine in a regular oven, or even better – in a combi steam oven, and put in a deep fryer, stove, griddle, and hot plate to reheat meats and prepare sides live.
ONBOARD BBQ FOOD TRUCK
A step van on a tightrope is a fun mental image. Now realize that is exactly what you are getting yourself in to when cooking barbecue live on board.
Timing the cook to service and having enough of the right food at the right time using only your on-board smoker is a delicate balancing act due to the inherent size restrictions of the smoker unit on a BBQ food truck. We would only recommend this kind of build to the most experienced of operators and it is also a type of build that is highly customized to your style and menu.
Prices for premium custom BBQ trucks start at over $100k and keep the well-intentioned amateurs out of this league of the food truck race. Building a BBQ food truck of this level of quality may take up to a month of extra design consultation alone and requires extra time to build too. This is time well spent that is going to earn itself back double when you are operational because everything is cut, fit, and measured just for you and your menu.
Popular models are the larger step vans or an Iveco / Man truck but we can go huge and convert a semi truck too. Prices start from $100k.
SMOKING VS. GRILLING
VS. BBQ & WOOD, PROPANE, CHARCOAL
You could even take it one step further and venture in to what at first sounds like truly irredeemable territory in the eyes of professionals and enthusiasts – electric BBQ.
There is enough merit to the argument that a gas BBQ is not even a BBQ, let alone the electric grill, but hauling a ton of wood for your smoker is also not ideal This is why it is important to stay educated on the subject.
What matters is serving the clientele and meeting your local food truck license standards.
bbq food truck for sale background image behind form
A good, fixed location can be an epic moneymaker but barbecue smoke and a real open fire on wood and coals and city legislation are not a usually happy marriage without proper counseling.
For this reason large commercial smokers on board of a food truck can be electric and grilling is optionally done on propane or an electric grill. This too is one of the reasons that a prep & cook truck can compete with an on-board barbecue truck in terms of quality as the real wood fire prep can be done off-truck.
If you do want a real fire, wood, or coals, and a food truck license, we will have to be very specific and strict and pre-verify everything before delivering your build. State to state differs but cities to counties do too, so in a twin cities situation or a state line scenario we will go through your business plan and all local requirements together in detail.
BBQ TRUCK ESSENTIALS
It is tempting to splurge, over-plan, or over-budget your first food truck build. However, the future is the future and now is now so our advice is to get what you need now with some room to grow. Do not invest the budget needed to operate a successful truck to the scale where you hope to be in five years at the start of year one.
Starting modest sets you up for a higher chance of success by keeping a larger buffer or having a smaller monthly lease payment.
The most common overpayment is in the value of the truck itself, but you have to learn to separate the value of three very different things:
- the vehicle used as the base for your BBQ food truck
- the build out cost
- the kitchen equipment installed
For the truck, the risk of an older unit experiencing an accident or break down right before your event is real and it does happen. Some builders will try to oversell you on this uncertainty to get a newer step van out their door. As the margin of a builder is mostly in the build out cost, we do not see a reason why.
Kitchen equipment should be quoted transparently. We list every single item separately priced, including the equipment vendor. A package deal can be a good deal but is something you should always vet by checking the list as a whole.
Most of the difference in builders should be in the build out cost, relating to the materials used, skill of the staff, and quality of the work and finishings. You should ask for specifics here, as there are many varieties and quality grades of stainless steel, “diamond plate” and aluminum siding materials, and vinyl wrap quality. These things may look identical on paper or e-mail but can be very different in practice to touch, feel, and use.
ESSENTIAL OR COMMON EQUIPMENT AND ITEMS TO CONSIDER AHEAD
ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT BEFORE DIVING IN TO A CONSULTATION ARE:
For the truck itself you need to consider the materials to use
and the features you want, most commonly:
Worktables- Stainless steel as a restaurant kitchen, or heavy stained oak like a coffee shop?
Fridge and Freezer- Which models do you want and how much space do you have?
Water Tank and Heaters- What do you want, need, and what is mandated?
Triple Sink and Handwashing Sink- What are the size requirements?
AC / Heating- What options are necessary?
Most thought is spent on the grill, BBQ, and smoker.
Other important considerations are:
Storage Space- Dry and cold, refrigeration and freezer space. The more you prep off-truck the less you need onboard.
Blast Chiller- Food may have to be cooled back to a certain temperature fast to meet health department guidelines.
For the truck itself you need to consider the materials to use and the features you want, most commonly:
Flat-Top Grill/Griddle- What size? Electric or propane?
Steam Table- What size is necessary?
Stove Top- Are 4 burners necessary or do you need more?
Prep Station Cooler- What size and brand would work best?
Oven- Convection or Combi (steam) oven?
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT BBQ TRUCKSLearn more in our knowledge center ►
If you do it right, yes. Food trucks and concession trailers are some of the most profitable small businesses you can operate. Note though that a lot of food trucks can be operated without very specialized skills –but not BBQ!
You really need to know your way around a smoker or grill to operate a successful BBQ food truck much more so than an ice cream bar when doing an ice cream truck.
It all depends on your product and the effort you put in to the business. Go out there and grind every day, build the skills and you’ll be selling like hot cakes!
There are literally hundreds of food truck builders.
so why karpatia?
Karpatia provides one of the best quality-to-value ratio in the industry. From 100% Made in the USA to high end European classics and authentic conversions, we can do it all.
With Karpatia, you have an endless amount of possibilities. We will provide you with the best kitchen equipment and customizations such as full body wrap or painting. Working with us is fast and easy!
We also provide additional services to help you get started – from financing to food truck websites. We want to see you succeed, which is why we offer many options in hopes it will help your business be successful.
IS A BBQ FOOD TRUCK THE RIGHT DECISION FOR YOU?
Click below to get a free quote and officially begin the process.