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Project Spotlight: Custom BBQ Trailer

Project Spotlight: Custom BBQ Trailer

Some of the greatest food truck and trailer inspiration comes from the ideas and implementation from others. We're going to take a look at a Project Spotlight: Custom BBQ Trailer to get some designer and engineering tips!

Let's begin with the customer vision:

Big D's BBQ Branson reached out to Kansas City's APEX Specialty Vehicles for a custom-built BBQ smoker trailer that will be traveling around the Branson, Missouri area serving smoked BBQ creations at community events, festivals, catering events, and weddings.

Project Spotlight: Custom BBQ Trailer

Design and Engineering Solution:

One unique aspect of the Project Spotlight: Custom BBQ Trailer is that APEX is the only specialty food truck and trailer fabricator to stock custom units for customers' immediate needs. This is referred to as the SPEC units, which have all been designed and engineered to maximize the highest level of productivity and ROI.

Big D's BBQ visited APEX's location and was able to walk through the SPEC trailers on their lot. This allowed them to reach the decision that with a few custom modifications, the BBQ trailer would be ideal for their needs.

The custom trailer was equipped with rear-mounted dual Ole Hickory smokers. Ole Hickory smokers are custom built in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and are nationally recognized as the leading smoker manufacturers. The difference between this trailer and other BBQ trailers is that all of their meats (barbecue, smoked meats, Memphis-style baby back ribs, Texas-style brisket, smoked sausages and more) are smoked from start to finish within the trailer. The trailer configuration allows for the meats to be stored, smoked, and served from the confines of the custom-built trailer. APEX's engineering and design team worked on the configuration and weight distribution of the trailer to ensure it met all weight restrictions while traveling from venue to venue.

After the modifications were complete and the branded graphics package was installed, a group of the APEX fabrication team hand-delivered the custom trailers, both the Big D's BBQ and their sister trailer - Parlor 76 Pizza Company- to ensure they were up and running just in time for the reveal of Branson's new attractions.

All design, engineering, and fabrication was completed in APEX's 50,000 sq. ft Kansas City facility. Each trailer built by APEX is high-end and carries the longest and strongest warranty in the industry. The APEX warranty is five years, which is more than 10X any other builder.

This unique project offered an opportunity for all facets of APEX’s production process to push the envelope, from business development, design, and engineering to production and fabrication.*This project was the winner of The Best Of Branson's viewers choice award for Best Barbecue!

Let's explore a bit more about custom BBQ trailers and some tips to consider when building yours.

BBQ trailers not only differ in complexity and functionality, but they also greatly range in length and throughput.

Tip #1: Outline your menu and cuisine options

This is imperative to understand that the size, configuration and equipment needs differ for all custom BBQ trailers. Questions to consider include:

  • What foods will you be serving year-round? Seasonal?
  • What other menu items will be serving that are not BBQ-related?
  • How many people do you anticipate serving per event? weekend?
  • A deep dive into your menu can save you time, money and frustration as you proceed with the design and build of your BBQ trailers.

Tip #2: Determine the Trailer Components

Once you establish your menu, the equipment list will need to be completed. High-end builders like APEX have an in-house design team that will assist in pairing your needs with the perfect equipment. For example, a 42-ft competitive BBQ trailer that APEX built had an Ole Hickory Pits smoker mounted in the rear of the trailer, which offered an innovative way to smoke the meats while providing ample cooking room within the interior of the trailer. In addition, that specific trailer was equipped with a restroom and sleeping quarters for the competitive nature of the trailer use.

Tip #3: Invest in the Design and Engineering Process

An investment in the design and engineering process should not solely be in a monetary way. Select high-end builders like APEX Specialty Vehicles provide extensive design and engineering services during the proposal stage of the process. The initial focus on design and making changes to a 3D model is much more efficient – both from the customer’s standpoint, and from the builder’s perspective. During the exploratory stage of the build process, it’s imperative that you ask questions. Ask the builder for suggestions on how to configure the equipment based on your needs. Ask for recommendations of customers you can speak to that have built a similar trailer. Become engaged in the design process and truly understand each element and dimension. This part of the process is truly the most important element of the build. Once you have the design exactly how you want it, the build process can be executed.

Tip #4: Warranty

Not all builders have the same apples-to-apples warranty. APEX provides a five-year warranty, which is one of the longest and strongest in the industry on all trailer builds. Every aspect of the build will be completed in APEX’s 50,000 sq. ft. facility, so the craftsmanship is backed by those that completed the work, in this case APEX.

Tip #5: Aesthetics

Let’s be honest… people want to eat from a clean and aesthetically pleasing food trailer. APEX uses the highest quality materials and finishes that will bring the WOW factor to your unit. Adding trailer graphics make a huge difference in the presentation of your trailer. Not all builders provide graphic application, so that may be a question you’d like to clarify before beginning the process.

As you begin the process and have any specific questions, feel free to reach out to the experts at APEX. Complete the quoter form here.

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