Looking for a BBQ food truck for sale near you? Then you can stop and leave us right now. We are likely miles away, with our production in Texas or even partially overseas depending on what model you end up ordering.
Still – before you go looking at your 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 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. And let’s also be honest about our reason – that is so you buy 2-3 trucks or more from us over the next 20 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.
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” and putting meat directly over the fire or coals is just grilling a lot of UK and German bbq food trucks will disagree and 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 sketch out what that looks like for you too – or, if you have even bigger barbecue needs you can consider a bbq porch trailer as an alternative to a truck.
A smart budget investment – no need to get a step van, just tow the bbq trailer behind your cargo van or pick up.
Ideally combined with a restaurant or other options such as a commissary – you ditch the live cooking for storage on board that is finished to order.
Our premium option – step vans, Iveco or MAN trucks and other specialty units up to 40ft or even more converted to premium bbq trucks.
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 and we doubt you will use a horse. Even if that would certainly be awesome free marketing!
Many BBQ Food trucks use this setup. Brand it as – and call the whole thing – a BBQ food truck and you’re done. This kind of setup is usable for events, festivals, farmers markets and weddings but not a viable option for a food truck concession or license in a major metro as 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 office.
Popularly 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 starting at $4770.
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 frozen 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.
These types of food truck start from $40k and up.
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.
Not necessarily a bad thing – 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 will take up to two weeks of extra consultation alone and requires extra time to build too.
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.
Or to 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 tonne of wood for your smoker is also not ideal.
What matters is serving the clientele – and meeting your local food truck license standards, if you do more than event- and party catering and bbq competitions and are also aiming to get a fixed spot in a busy down town or office location.
A good fixed location can be an epic money maker – BUT – very big but – barbecue and 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 most large commercial smokers on board of a food truck are electric and grilling is 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 preverify everything before delivering your build. State to state differs but cities to counties do too – so in a twin cities situation or you are in one state but close to the border of another we go through your businessplan and all local requirements together in detail.
By assessing your dreams we come to a shared understanding of who we are building for and why
Exploring multiple design options lets us find the solution that best suits your business goals
We refine the concept and provide you with a detailed design that meets your needs
Close monitoring during production ensures we meet your standards. You can always fly- or drive in and take a look!
We offer a range of extra services to support your operation, so you can keep your focus.
It is tempting to splurge and overplan or overbudget your first food truck build – but the future is the future and now is now, so our advice is to get what you need now with some room to grow but to not invest the budget needed to operate a succesful truck to the scale where you hope to be in five years, at the start of year one.
You can always trade in the old model with us if we built it and starting modest sets you up for a higher chance of succes by keeping a larger buffer or having a smaller monthly lease payment, things that really count towards survival in the slow months of the year.
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:
For the truck, the risk of an older unit or accident preventing you from cashing in on an already booked gig by breaking down right before your event is real and it does happen – but in reality very rarely. 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. And 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, things that look identical on paper or e-mail in a quote 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:
Most thought is spent on the grill, bbq and smoker – of course, but that has gotten ample discussion above. Other important considerations are:
All the things you need to reheat your barbecue, finalize the mise-en-place for service or prepare the sides such as:
There are literally hundreds of food truck builders.
SO Why KARPATIA?
We also provide additional services to help you get started – from financing to food truck websites
Yes, we ship to Hawaii. Extra rates apply.
Yes, we ship to Alaska, although extra rates apply.
Containers go everywhere, and all units can always be shipped to the nearest port. We might not have a local forwarder in your country (yet) though, in which case we will find one together with you.
Karpatia has no showroom – but of course, we are always happy to show the workshop. You can make an appointment through our contact form and try before you buy.
We will gladly export your vehicle to Canada but need a little more cooperation with you to get it up to local code than we would for US customers.
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 succesful 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!
We certainly might – send a WhatsApp using the green button or use our contact form to enquire.
Quotes are 100% free no strings attached
Every truck and trailer is unique - we will help you fine tune your project and get it on the road!