Starting Your Own Restaurant

A new restaurant business requires plenty of planning, attention to details, and commitment toward quality and success to be successful.

First of all, determine what the main concept of your restaurant will be. For example, will it be a causal family restaurant or a high-end elegant restaurant? You will need to research the potential location to see what will work in that area. For example, a location like Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills would probably not have a moderately priced, casual family restaurant.

Outline your restaurant’s menu, and define its specialties. Identify how your restaurant will meet the area’s needs, such as offering catering or being the only authentic Italian cuisine restaurant in town.

Create business plan for your restaurant. This plan should include the restaurant’s concept and type of menu, as described above. Then create a budget to determine the required startup costs and funding requirements.

It’s time for paperwork! Apply for the required vending and restaurant licenses, according to your city’s ordinances. Secure a commercial insurance policy that provides protection and liability coverage for the business, its customers, and staff.

Now for a fun part. Create a delicious menu that engages with potential customers reading it. One of the first things a customer looks at before deciding to eat at a restaurant is the menu. The best menus have “personality” and are a visual representation of your restaurant’s cuisine. Don’t make the menu boring. For example, instead of merely “Spaghetti” on your menu, you can call it Grandpa Mateo’s Famous Spaghetti.

Purchase or lease your restaurant’s equipment, inventory, furniture and fixtures. Set up the restaurant interior so that the kitchen/staff areas are efficient and the customer area has “atmosphere.” Employ effective interior design using the appropriate colors, decorations, and props. Atmosphere is very important in a restaurant, reflecting not only the type of cuisine you are serving but also imparting a sense of well-being to your customers.

Hire staff for your business. Background checks are important and you want the people working for you to have a sense of loyalty. Treat them well and they will treat the customers well!

Ok, now we’re ready to get this puppy off the ground. Advertise and advertise well in local papers, both print and online. There’s no such thing as too much exposure. Social media is also an efficient way of getting the word out about your new restaurant. Now that your advertising has stirred the public’s interest, you’re ready to open your doors and start making money.

Bon appetite!

Have a Merry Christmas with This Smoked Ham Recipe

Dazzle your tastebuds with a delicious smoked ham cooked in your very own smoker for your Christmas dinner this year! 


Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours


  • 1 (7 pound) pre-cooked bone-in ham 
  • ⅓ cup BBQ spice
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 ¼ cup apple cider (divided use)
  • Cooking spray
  • Fresh herbs or fruit for garnish


  1. Preheat smoker to 250 degrees F
  2. Coat a disposable aluminum pan with cooking spray. Place the ham cut side down in the pan.
  3. Sprinkle the BBQ spice over the exterior of the ham. 
  4. Place the pan in the smoker and cook for one hour.
  5. Continue to cook the ham for another 2-3 hours, basting every 30-45 minutes with the 2 cups of apple cider. 
  6. The ham is done when a thermometer, inserted into the thickest part of the ham, reads 140 degrees F.
  7. When the ham is about 135 degrees F, make the glaze.
  8. Place the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup and remaining 1/4 cup of apple cider in a pan over medium heat.
  9. Bring the pan to a simmer. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until glaze has just thickened.
  10. Brush the glaze all over the ham. Transfer the ham to a platter. Garnish with herbs and fruit if desired, then serve.

Tips for Smoking a Ham

There are many ways to smoke a ham, and if you feel like getting creative you can try making your own homemade version of the BBQ spice mix!

Choose a disposable aluminum pan to keep your clean-up to a minimum, but remember that disposable pans can be flimsy and must be handled with caution to prevent burns or spills. 

Choosing the Right Smoker

A high-quality smoker is a great gift idea for the food connoisseur in your life. As you’re looking for the right smoker, consider versatility, size, price, features, and fuel type. 

For example, a smoker that’s easy to clean and maintain is ideal for the chef who loves convenience, whereas the more meticulous cook might prefer a smoker with precise temperature control.

Cookshack is the place to look to find the perfect smoker to cook up your mouth-watering Christmas ham. Visit our website to see everything we have to offer!

Preparing the Perfect Smoked Turkey for Thanksgiving

Are you looking for a fun way to spice up your Thanksgiving meal? Try our mouth-watering smoked turkey recipe with our state-of-the-art Cookshack smoker for an unforgettable holiday meal. 


Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 10 hours


  • 1 (10 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned salt
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 (12 fluid oz.) cans cola-flavored carbonated beverage
  • 1 apple, quartered
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper


  1. Preheat smoker to 225-250 degrees F
  2. Rinse turkey under cold water and pat dry. Rub the crushed garlic all over the outside of the turkey and sprinkle with seasoned salt. Place in roasting pan. Fill turkey cavity with butter, cola, apple, onion, garlic powder, salt, and ground black pepper. Cover loosely with foil.
  3. Smoke at 225-250 degrees F for 10 hours, or until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees F when measured in the thickest part of the thigh. Baste the bird every 1-2 hours with the juices from the bottom of the roasting pan.

FAQs About Smoking a Turkey

Is using a disposable roasting pan dangerous? 

A flimsy disposable roasting pan is more likely to buckle under the weight of a large turkey, possibly burning you in the process. Use a stainless steel roasting pan or handle a disposable pan very carefully. 

Is a fresh turkey juicier than a frozen one? 

This depends on personal preference. Consider getting a frozen turkey if you like to shop for Thanksgiving ingredients well before the holiday, and remember that a fresh turkey should be cooked within 1-2 days of purchase. 

Should I brine my turkey? 

Brining helps to avoid chewy, tough, and dry meat. Understanding the ins and outs of brining isn’t difficult once you know a few basic principles!

Our Cookshack Smokers

At Cookshack, we have an amazing variety of innovative smokers to help you get that delicious, smoky flavor every time! They’re easy to load, clean, and maintain and are also energy-efficient. Our smokers are made with special Spin-Glas insulation that’s surrounded by double-walled construction so the outside of the smoker is cool to the touch and safe for family. 

If you’re looking for the perfect smoker to cook up your delicious Thanksgiving turkey, Cookshack has a large variety to choose from. Visit our website to see what we have to offer!

How to Smoke Meat like a Pro

Last month, we helped you prepare for hunting season, and with a successful hunt comes a bounty of meat that you’re eager to smoke! Smoking is a delicate science that requires much more finesse than grilling burgers on a BBQ. Here’s a guide to smoking meat for a tender and delicious cut every time.


It’s a scientific fact that brining your meat keeps it from drying out during the smoking process! For optimal moisture retention and to combat an overly salty flavor, soak your meat in a brine, with sugar, molasses, and herbs & spices, for 10-12 hours before smoking. To make a good base, add three tablespoons of salt to one quart of water then throw in whatever else you prefer. 

Choose the Right Flavors

Each type of wood releases a unique flavor and aroma which affects the taste of your food. Mild woods, like apple and alder, are great for foods without a lot of seasoning, while strong woods like mesquite, hickory, and pecan are perfect for more heavily-flavored meats. 

Keep it Low and Slow

If you’re smoking over coals, don’t add your protein until the coals have hit their heat peak and developed a coat of white ash. You want the charcoal for its heat, not its flavor. Make sure there’s a gentle and consistent flow of smoke throughout the cook.

For long cooks, cooking over indirect heat is key. The meat juices and fat drippings will cool the embers over time and produce a bitter, dirty smoke, so you’ll want to keep big cuts of meat away from the flames while maintaining a temperature of about 225ºF.

Use a Water Pan

Smoking’s severe process tightens muscle fibers, squeezing out natural juices and drying out the meat. Using a water pan in your cooker can maintain the temperature, limit major fluctuations, and even out hot spots. The water vapor will also allow more smoke to stick to the meat, boosting its flavor and creating a smoke ring. Just be sure to refill the pan as needed.

Finish Off Right

Don’t wrap your meat in foil or remove it from the grill until the crust is caramelized. This is one of the best parts of smoked meat! Also, removing your smoked meat too early can lead to foodborne illness, whereas removing it too late can result in a bitter, dry cut. You want to cook it to the recommended internal temperature, no more or less.

The Recipes to Top It Off

Ground Venison Jerky


  • 5 pound ground venison (may substitute ground beef)
  • 1/4 c. Tenderquick
  • 2 tbs. black pepper
  • 2 tbs. garlic powder
  • 2 tbs. Marjoram
  • 3 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tbs. cayenne pepper


  • Mix ground meat and seasoning. 
  • Roll out on wax paper to fit your smoker to 1/8 inch thick. 
  • Smoke for 2 hours at 140˚F. 
  • Remove from smoker and blot excess fat with paper towel. 
  • Flip meat over on new wax paper. 
  • Smoke for 1 additional hour at 140˚F. 
  • Remove jerky and cut into strips and serve.

Smoked Quail or Pheasant


  • Sprinkle 8-10 quail or 2 pheasants, spit, with Cookshack Spicy Chicken Rub.
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 chopped sweet red pepper
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can mushrooms or 1 lb. fresh mushrooms
  • ¼ c. cream sherry wine or apple cider
  • 1/8 tsp. Tarragon
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground lemon peel
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Mix all ingredients and pour over meat in 9X13 baking pan. 
  • Smoke-cook for 3 hours at 225° with 2 oz. of apple wood.

If you’re looking for the perfect smoker to cook up the rewards of your big hunt, Cookshack has plenty of smokers for you to choose from. Visit our website to view what we have to offer!

Preparing for Hunting Season

With summer almost over, it’s time to gear up for the upcoming hunting season. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or brand new to hunting, following these tips will help you get off to a great start.

Study, Study, Study

Make sure you know all details about regulations in your state. Many details of these regulations will change from year to year, so don’t assume regulations from last year will be applicable for this year.

While you’re in study mode, this would also be a great time to take a hunter education course. Classes are offered by most state wildlife agencies and are available in online or traditional formats. Classes tend to fill up in the summer and fall so be sure you sign up quickly! You can find a list of state wildlife agencies here.

Purchase Licenses, Tags, and Stamps

What you need to buy depends on which animal you’re hunting, where you’re hunting it, what you’ll be using, and when you’ll be hunting. Usually the first step is buying a big or small game license. Deer, elk and other big-game hunters also need species tags for the animals they’re hunting, while most waterfowl hunters must have both a federal migratory bird stamp and state validation to hunt ducks and geese.

Learn the Land

If you are hunting on private land and haven’t already asked permission, this is should be your first step. Introduce yourself to the landowner and ask for permission to hunt on their property. Even better, offering them a hand around their farm or acreage is a great way to build a relationship and say thank you, paving the way for more opportunities to hunt there in the future.

You’re going to be spending a good amount of time on your hunting land so it’s best to get well acquainted with it early on! A great way to start is to spend some time with maps as a good map can provide a wealth of hunting information. 

Next you’ll want to get out and learn the land firsthand. The more familiar you are with that area, the more likely you’ll be to enjoy a successful hunt. Scouting a hunting spot multiple times during the late summer and early fall will allow you to learn the daily comings and goings of the species you’re after.

Once you’ve bagged that big buck, you’re going to want to grill a steak or two! Find the perfect grill for tender, seared meat, at Cookshack by visiting our website!

4 Major Benefits of Cooking with a Pellet Grill

Now that summer is here, and backyards and patios are filling up with families, it’s time to take the cover off of your grill and get cooking! But why spend this summer sweating over a rusted grill when you could get a top-of-the-line pellet grill that’ll change your cooking forever?

Here are the 4 major reasons why you should consider buying a pellet grill.

#1 Wood Fires Taste Better

Let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like grilling your meats over a natural wood fire. Unlike charcoal or propane, the smoke from a wood fire surrounds and enhances your meat, and gives it that signature smoky flavor that gets your guests smiling.

Grillmasters interested in pellet grills can further enhance the flavor by buying special pellets.Use hickory, apple, or cherry wood pellets to give your BBQ a unique mouthwatering taste!

#2 Versatile Cooking

With a pellet grill, you open your family up to a wide variety of meats and flavors you are not able to reach with a normal grill. 

From classic burgers, steaks, and chicken you’d put on a normal grill, to briskets, ribs, and turkey you’d place in a smoker, you’ll make your backyard the home cooking hub of the summer.

#3 Easy to Use

No need to be nervous about new features and cooking methods—pellet grills are designed to be 100% user-friendly. Cooking meat starts simply by pushing a button, so you don’t need to worry about lighter fluid or propane sources. 

Best of all, wood pellets do not flare up like charcoal or propane, so there’s no need to worry about any surprise burns!

#4 Consistent Control

Constantly tapping the thermometer on your grill to get the dial moving? Grillmasters can ditch these struggles with the absolute temperature control of a pellet grill! 

With completely enclosed environments and electric heating methods available, you’ll have full control over what temperature your meat is at and get it to the perfect level of juiciness.

Barbecuing meats is both a science and an art, and like any artist, you need the best tools you can get to satisfy the senses and create something great. Give our grilling experts a call today at 1-800-423-0698 or visit us online and explore our wide variety of smokers and pellet grills.

How to Grill The Perfect Steak For Your Family and Friends

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Celebrating 100 Years of The National Restaurant Association Show

Every year, restaurateurs, celebrity chefs, and food fanatics travel from across America to one of the world’s greatest culinary events: The National Restaurant Association Show!

This year’s event marks the 100th anniversary of the organization, and here are some of the reasons why you should consider going to McCormick Place in Chicago, IL from  May 18th-21st.

A Century of Style and Taste!

The National Restaurant Association has spent the last 100 years connecting kitchens across America and giving restaurant owners the support that they need to succeed.

This dedication is most clearly seen in their annual restaurant shows that bring together the latest and greatest innovations in the cooking world along with all of the hottest trends that restaurants need to grow their customer base.

“Meat” and Greet With Celebrity Chefs!

The National Restaurant Association Show isn’t just the place to keep your restaurant on the cutting edge of cuisine, but it’s also a gathering event for tastebud trendsetters like Rick Bayless, Abra Berens, and Abe Conlon too.

Celebrity guests aren’t only restricted to the kings and queens of cuisine though; the National Restaurant Association is also proud to welcome the greatest spirit masters in the world, including Tony Abou-Ganim, Jarmel Doss, James Bowers, and many more!

See the Latest Innovations from Cookshack!

Cookshack has been attending the National Restaurant Association show for over 33 years, and it’s no stretch to say that we’ve become just as much of a staple as the delicious food demos.

Cookshack will also be providing free samples of our delicious meats and signature spice and sauce blends, meaning every guest will walk away with a head full of ideas and a belly full of samples!

Cookshack is proud to be celebrating over 33 years at the National Restaurant Association Show, and we look forward to celebrating with you on May 18-21st at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL. Book your tickets online and then make sure to stop by booth #2035 to visit with us and see how Cookshack can help make this years event the best one yet! If you can’t make it to the show, you can visit our website to take a look at all we have to offer!

5 Easy Ways to Boost the Lines at Your Pizza Food Truck

Food trucks are a wonderful thing. When the weather gets warm and the food trucks line the blocks, that’s the time when the whole city comes out to enjoy the different cuisines. But the only thing better than visiting a food truck? Owning a food truck.

Here are just a few tips from our team on how to make your pizza truck a smashing success.

Focus on a Single Cuisine

Plenty of food truck owners get into the industry because they want to share all their recipes with the world, and that’s great! However, spreading your menu too thin with a wide range of offerings will confuse your clients, as people looking for a good slice of pizza may not be down for your grandmother’s baba ghanoush.

Save time and energy by focusing your menu on what your clients love the most.

Change the Menu Regularly

We know you put your heart and soul into every dish you make, but whether you like thyme or parsley, variety is the real spice of life. Keep your clients coming back by providing fresh twists on your pizzas that go with the seasons, like spicy summer pizzas or Halloween pumpkin pies!

Embrace Social Media

If there’s one thing people love more than enjoying delicious food, it’s posting about it on social media so their friends and family can enjoy it with them.

Making sure your food truck has a presence on all the major social media platforms is a great way to foster positive word-of-mouth and alert your fans to where you’ll be popping up next!

Consider Providing Delivery

Food trucks are already a pretty mobile endeavor, but there can always be more! 61% of foodies have said that whether or not a restaurant has delivery services impacts their meal choices, so clinch the clientele with a delivery driver today!

Find a Way to Relax and Unwind

We get it – owning and operating a food truck can be a stressful job. Between tight margins, spending all day in a cramped space, and seasonal crowds, anybody can find themselves feeling worn out and finding a few new grays.

If you want to make sure food truck is a success and you’re in a space where you can enjoy that success, find an outlet or hobby where you can release this stress. 

Running a pizza food truck can be a fun and creative career, and we want to make it an easier one too! Give the team at Cookshack a call today at 800-423-0698 or visit us online to see our wide selection of picture-perfect pizza ovens.

How to View and Write a Cookshack Review

The 411 on Cookshack Reviews

Cookshack has received a few questions about how the new website works. Hopefully, over the next few months while people get used to the new site, we can help make finding information easier. Here is a little bit more information on Cookshack Reviews including Howtos.

What reviews does Cookshack Publish?

We publish ALL of the new reviews we receive online. 1 star or 5 star, our reviews are viewable on our website. We also distribute our reviews during weekly meetings so everyone knows exactly what issues or compliments customers have. Feel free to leave an honest review. We feel that reviews are the only way anyone can make an educated decision on what product will best fit their needs, even if it’s not with us. You can also find more reviews on our Facebook Page.

How can I view the current online reviews?

To see the reviews already made for a product, follow these steps

  1. Navigate to that product by using the navigation panel on the top of the site or use the magnifying glass in the upper right corner to search for your product.
  2. Once you’ve made it to the product page, you can scroll down to see the average review scores and the breakdown of stars given in the reviews.
  3. Click “All Reviews” to see all details and comments. You can also arrange the reviews by date or by rating.

How do I write a Review for a Smoker? (Click through method)

From, follow these steps:

  1. If you have a residential smoker, click “Residential Products” in the navigation header. If you have a commercial smoker, click “Commercial Products” in the navigation header.
  2. Next, click “Equipment.” This will take you to a landing page with pictures and descriptions of our smokers on it.
  3. From here, you simply click the title of the smoker you would like to review.
  4. On this page, you will see the smoker, price, details, specs, features and current reviews. Scroll down and under the reviews panel, click “Write A Review.”
  5. Once you have filled out the review form, you can either submit your review or preview what it will look like before submitting.

Not only can you write a review of each of our smokers, pellet grills, charbroilers and pizza oven, but also leave a review on any product we sell on our website. Unless you already know where everything is on our website, the easiest way to get to a product to review is to use the search tool.

How do I write a review for something other than a smoker? (Search Method)

From, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the little magnifying glass in the upper right hand corner.
  2. Enter a search term that describes what you would like to review. For example, if you have the SM025 Smokette Elite Electric Smoker, you can search for “SM025” or “Smokette” or even “Elite.” Another example would be searching for “brisket” if you want to review the brisket rub.
  3. Select the product from the search list.
  4. On this page, you will see the product, price, details, specs, features and current reviews. Scroll down and under the reviews panel, click “Write A Review.”
  5. Once you have filled out the review form, you can either submit your review or preview what it will look like before submitting.