Texans identify so closely with their barbecue, you might call it the "national food of Texas." Adapted by German immigrants from a Mexican vaquero recipe, Texas barbecue consists of a concotion of beef and spices, roasted over a hardwood fire. The smell of hickory-smoked ribs coming from a roadside stand is as irresistible to most Texans as a wood-fired pizza oven in Brooklyn or a thick cheesesteak in Philadelphia.
Location, location, location
Find a good location for your roadside stand. It should be well-traveled and preferably near an area traffic stops or can easily stop when they smell the barbecue. From a regulatory standpoint, you'll also want to make sure it's legal to sell food there. Check with your local health department for restrictions, especially around schools, neighborhoods and other businesses.
Obtain necessary permits. You'll have to get a state food permit. Roadside stands and mobile food stands generally require the same type of permits. Check with your local or county health department to see if they require separate licenses.
Make sure your barbecue is prepared in a commercial kitchen or food establishment. Texas law clearly says that food shouldn't be prepared or processed by a roadside vendor. Keep your roadside stand clean at all times. It is very likely a health department official will come by for an inspection.
Provide plenty napkins and utensils, at a minimum. Good Texas barbecue tends to be messy. A trash can, picnic tables, desserts and cold beverages are also good items to have available. A large tent or awning will also protect you and your customers from sun and rain.
Don't keep your barbecue uncovered for longer than necessary. Covers for your food-serving containers keep out road dust and flies.
- barbecue image by petar Ishmeriev from Fotolia.com