1. Butcher block
The Pitmaster’s desk. The larger the better. Plenty of room on the block is great for several reasons. Minimizing clutter and having room for your cuts as you go is a bonus for efficiency. Who doesn’t work better with a bit of extra room? A bigger block is also going to contain more juice, preventing spilling and limiting cleanup.
The go-to knife, a must have for cutting large brisket as well as taking out big beef ribs in one fell swoop. While there are options in a cimeter, your best bet is always a plain, razor sharp blade.
3. Magnetic knife holder
A Pitmaster needs to always be organized. This is the best way to keep your tools clean, within reach, and organized. Do surgeons hide their tools in drawers? (I actually don’t know the answer to that)
Obviously they are important because we’re handling hot meats, but I would say more importantly, they benefit the two most crucial things in the restaurant business; sanitation and efficiency. Gloves are going to help big time on both fronts. The sanitation is obvious, but often overlooked are both the time spent cleaning your hands as well as meat lost in that process.
5. Butcher board scraper, aka dough scraper, aka pastry cutter
Probably our best friend when things are busy. A quick, easy way to get a fresh surface for the next cut of meat.
6. Holding cabinet
An absolute must for a successful business. No matter what we do we will rarely be serving all of our meat all at once. Even if there’s a line out the door it takes time to get the people shuffled through to their tables.
7. Butcher paper
Buy it in bulk, it won’t go to waste. While great for keeping the moisture in the meat, we also often see it used as a cover for trays as well as tables. Add a piece of tape and you’ve got a package for leftovers.
It seems to be the norm that BBQ joints are a by-the-pound business these days. This system is great on both sides of the counter and really takes the guesswork out of serving sizes. The customer gets exactly what they paid for and we get paid for exactly what we served. It’s a win-win.
9. Knife sharpener
One of the most obvious things on the list, but often underutilized. Keep it at the side of your block, in view, and if possible between you and your knives. This location will increase the likelihood of regular use. Maintenance is extremely important.
On something like a large beef rib, salt is nonexistent when you get to the center; it just doesn’t penetrate. Adding a little coarse salt to the newly cut side is a must.
Saving the best for last. Your rub is your signature on the meat. There are many kinds of rubs for many kinds of meats, but developing something unique to you is important in the BBQ game.