Following this, some larger scale catering events were booked, and things took off with a very busy summer in 2019 starting with Black Deer Festival and culminating in Meatopia at Tobacco Dock with Bryan Furman from Atlanta, Georgia using the original 500-gallon pit.
With a packed diary for 2020 and plans set for the year ahead that all changed....
We had just built a vertical Hangi smoker for Matthew Burgess following an extensive chat at Black Deer Festival, we delivered it on 3rd April and was probably the quickest we have ever been around West London.
Covid decimated the catering and events business, so the decision was made to pivot to home delivery kits. There was also the small matter of the 20 tons of oak we had cut ready to use at festivals. With the boom in outdoor cooking by home cooks due to lockdown restrictions this was quickly cut into mail order size logs and a text to order system setup.
We were now a supplier of logs rather than a catering company.
A website was designed and built using limited knowledge and distribution setup as quickly as possible.
The next decision was the biggest and that was to put all the knowledge of smoking and fire management and produce offset smokers for others. A huge investment in equipment was made and the workshop set up in late 2020. The first 250-gallon order came in for delivery in May 2021 for Big Lee's Bar & Grill.
After meeting Dave (Wilson's BBQ) at an event hosted by Oliver from Pro Smoke we lent him our personal 100-gallon smoker (when you build smokers your personal smoker is never yours for long). Dave helped us iron out some kinks and we developed the 130-gallon backyard pit with him ready to launch at Meatopia 2021. We exhibited 4 smokers at the event which were used by Karan Gokani of Hoopers, Robin Gil of The Dairy, Elliott Cunningham of Lagom, Brad Crater of Carters of Mosley, Liam Barker, Melissa Thompson.
We also sold our original 500-Gallon pit to The Cave after lending it to John Bingley (Exec Chef) for a few weeks.
Following this we created a custom 200-gallon smoker for Moog BBQ and watched it being craned in over Snowdon. Delivering this was an experience to forget with the fuel crisis going on and towing a smoker 300 miles with fuel limited to £30 a top up helping us out no end….
The orders for backyard barbecues then came in following Wilson's BBQ using it. The next iteration was then developed for those wanting a more rugged smoker capable of being moved around. The competition smoker was delivered to The Shack and quickly snapped up by a pitmaster with experience at Freedman’s in Austin TX.
Following this an order was placed for two 500 gallons by The Cave. More orders for backyard enthusiasts followed.
No one else in the UK is making pits like ours and they certainly aren’t fully insulating their fireboxes like we do.
A joiner by trade and following a stint in Construction Site Management commuting to London daily he knew working for himself building smokers was the goal.
A father who wanted to be closer to his daughter’s school and working for himself allowed this.
A qualified Commercial Manager with 15+ years Supply Chain & Operations experience specifically in Planning, Cost Management and Delivery.
Having worked with CFD and FEA using Ansys this knowledge is applied into our designs.
Hannah is a director of Smokey Oak Barbecue, joining in 2018 and helping out at many festivals bringing her 15 years of manufacturing management experience to the role. Hannah has a degree in philosophy and is also a Six Sigma Black Belt.
Jessica is our Visual Media Manager and is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the creation, management, and distribution of visual content for Smokey Oak Barbecue. Their role involves working with various forms of media, such as images, videos, infographics, and other visual assets, to promote and enhance our brand, products, and services