Frequently Asked Questions
Below, you'll find the answers to some common questions that we frequently run into.
If you don't find your answer here, feel free to message our Facebook page, text or call 250-794-2509 or email BlackCatsBBQ@hotmail.com.
You can also contact us using the online form provided in the "Contact Us" section of our website.
Why don't you answer your phone? Are you ignoring us?
If you don't get an answer, please leave a message and we will get back to you ASAP. I promise, we're not ignoring you. We're just super busy and sometimes can't answer the phone or are out of cell service range. Thanks for your understanding!
Why is my meat PINK? Are you SURE it's cooked?
We frequently monitor food temperatures to ensure that items are maintained at a safe temperature throughout the cooking time. Smoked meats frequently have what's referred to as a "smoke ring". This pink ring is created as a result of a natural chemical reaction during the cooking process. It is completely safe and does NOT indicate undercooked meat, though we understand that it can be a bit unsettling...especially when it comes to meats such as chicken.
Why hire Black Cats BBQ, over another company?
We are fully licensed and Health-Board certified/inspected, with all food being prepared in a commercial facility, adhering to Northern Health's standards. If your caterer cannot show you their Foodsafe certification, a current permit to operate and up-to-date health inspection report, we would advise you to go elsewhere, for your own safety. All licensed and certified/inspected facilities will be listed on Northern Health's website, under "Food Facility Ratings" which can be found on the top left of your screen on their webpage. Search by your location, and you can then view the most up-to-date inspection reports. For example, we are listed in Taylor as "Black Cats BBQ". http://www.healthspace.ca/Clients/NHA/NHA_Website.nsf
We also carry commercial liability insurance. While many caterers do not carry this and it is not a legal requirement to operate, our insurance protects your guests if for example, someone was to be injured by touching our hot smoker, our staff damaged a guest's vehicle or property, the S'mores Bar or fuel canisters for the buffet ignited something, or in the case of Foodborne illness. Having a fully insured caterer gives you peace of mind during your event and many venues also appreciate this extra level of protection. (Some venues also REQUIRE it!) Our pitmaster/chef, Mike, is also a trained Safety expert and former paramedic. If you or your venue would like copies of our health permit, commercial liability, or foodsafe certification, please don't hesitate to let us know!
Can you accommodate food allergies/intolerances?
In many cases, yes! We can generally accommodate most food allergies/intolerances or tailor your menu to your specific tastes or likes/dislikes, often at no extra charge. In the case of severe allergies or celiac disease, we do suggest those guests may want to supply their own meal however, to ensure complete control/safety. While we do our best to prevent cross-contamination, often we are working in a venue's kitchen where we cannot know for sure that allergen's have not been present or contaminated work surfaces, dishes, utensils, equipment, etc. In the interest of keeping our clients and their guests safe, we tend to err on the side of caution.
Will you cook just the pig, while we cook the side dishes ourselves (or just the sides)?
Unfortunately, we only offer full-service catering. We understand that you might be on a budget and are trying to save some costs this way, but we would be happy to discuss your budget concerns and work with you to find a price that everyone is comfortable with. We don't offer to cook just the meat or hog mostly due to the fact that fellow caterers have offered this service, and had their name tarnished when the client didn't make enough food to go around, or the guests didn't like the client's food, or if someone were to become ill due to Foodborne illness. All of these issues are blamed on "the caterer" and reflect poorly on them. As a result, we've decided to offer full-service catering only so that we are in-control and 100% responsible for all of the food. As I said though, if you're on a budget, we would be happy to try work with you to cut costs where possible. If you want a certain side dish, you are more than welcome to provide us with a recipe to make it exactly the way you would like...or try our version. We can likely cook just about anything you could dream up.
We can also recommend another local caterer/pig roaster in the area who is fully licensed to operate who DOES offer "just the pig" or "just the meat" if we're unable to accommodate you or can't offer you an agreeable option within your budget. We want you to have the wedding or event of your dreams and to be happy with your food/menu...even if WE'RE not the ones providing it!
After my event, Can we keep the leftovers?
Generally, no. After your event, food may have been sitting out for a number of hours and is no longer considered "safe" to reuse. Further, many events may not have proper storage/mechanical refrigeration available. Caterers have had guests "take leftovers" or "make up an extra plate" and store these improperly in their car or at the event venue while they celebrate, intending to take the food home with them at the end of the night. This is extremely dangerous and can lead to Foodborne illness. To limit our liability, in most cases you will not be permitted to keep the leftovers. (Additionally, EVERY event will have "leftovers" as we automatically build in a 15% overage to account for extra-hungry guests, extra guests showing up last-minute, feeding your DJ/event planner/photographer, etc. that you may have forgotten to count in your guest list... This 15% overage has not been billed to you and belongs to Black Cats BBQ. Don't worry, though! Leftovers don't go to waste! We generally use them to feed ourselves and our staff members, or recycle them into animal-feed.)
What happens if more/less people show up to my event?
We will check with you for a final count/check on numbers a week prior to your event. However, you may have extra guests show up that you didn't anticipate. We do build in a 15% overage in food quantity to account for these guests, however you MAY be billed for extra plates after your event if your numbers have been grossly misrepresented. This is at Black Cats BBQ's discretion ONLY. Please try to give us as accurate a count as possible. We only guarantee enough food for the number of people that you have reported to us and been billed for.
Do you offer a discount for kids?
Generally, no. We explain to all of our clients that YOU know your guests best, and it is YOU who is determining how many plates/people you will need food for, at your event. If you decide to count anyone under the age of 12, for example, as 1/2 of a person, that's generally fine. (Just please let us know this ahead-of-time so that we won't bill you extra based on "plate count" after the event) You do need to use your discretion though and we always suggest on erring on the side of "too much" food rather than not enough.
We also point out to our clients with young children in attendance at their event that even though a 5-year-old, for example, can't/won't actually eat much food...it is the PARENT dishing up the child's plate, and they will always dish up a full plate, despite the fact that much of it will often be wasted and end up in the trash. Unfortunately, those portions DO still need to be accounted for.
How far in advance do we need to book you?
If you want to ensure availability for your event date, we suggest booking as soon as possible. We often book a year or more in advance.
Do you require a deposit?
At the time of booking, we do require a non-refundable $500 "Save the Date" deposit. Your event is not considered "booked" until this deposit is made. Please understand that this deposit secures your event date for you and that we have likely turned away other clients for this date in the meantime. In the event of cancellation, we will allow you to either re-book for a later date and utilize your deposit as a credit for a new date or event, or we MAY offer to refund your deposit if we are able to re-book your date with another client. For this reason, we suggest that you give at least 90 days' notice in the event of cancellation to ensure that we have the best chance possible of advertising your event date to other potential clients.
When is payment due?
Payment is due in full no later than 14 days prior to your event. This allows us to secure food, pay vendors, schedule staff, and arrange transportation/accommodation if needed. Especially in the case of whole hog pig roasts, we have to order the hog 2 weeks' in advance to ensure there is an appropriate sized hog available for your event. Being paid in advance also allows us to clean up after your event and quietly slip out at the end of the evening, without disturbing you or your guests.
Are there any additional service fees, hourly rates for staff, rental fees, or gratuities that I need to worry about?
Some local caterers DO add a rental fee for chafers/warmers, serving dishes/utensils, or hourly charges for themselves or their staff. We include disposable table covering, plates, cutlery and napkins at no extra charge. However, if you would prefer china plates and silverware, we are happy to rent these on your behalf, for an extra fee. We do not charge an hourly rate for our staff or ourselves. Generally, we include 2 hours' of service time for dinner, but if you require us to be onsite for a longer period of time, no need to worry, we will stay until the job is complete! Our staff are onsite to help setup, serve guests buffet-style (help lend a hand where needed, keep chafers full, and ensure guests have everything they need), clean up plates and dishes afterwards, empty garbages, clean up any spills, and clean up the buffet area afterwards. If we have been graciously offered use of a venue's kitchen, we will leave the kitchen as clean or cleaner than when we arrived. We DO charge an automatic gratuity of 15%, which is given to our hard-working staff members who have prepped, cooked, served, and cleaned up after your meal.
Can I rent your smoker/equipment?
No. We do not rent out our equipment. Equipment can be quite costly to build/buy and maintain. We rely on our equipment working 100% perfectly for competitions, catering/special events, and day-to-day operations. Renting out equipment also brings liability if someone was to be injured, or if the equipment was damaged.
***UPDATED 2018 - Mike will actually be building and SELLING his own smokers and rotisserie pits in the near future! He has been hard-at-work designing his pits for the retail market and we look forward to being able to offer them for sale, soon, completely customizable! Give us a call or come on down and chat with Mike if you'd like to see what he can offer you.
If you want to turn out great barbecue yourself, come talk to Mike. We come from humble beginnings and Mike is a firm believer that you can turn out great barbecue, on just about anything. Which brings us to our next question...
Will you teach me how to barbecue?
While we're always happy to talk BBQ if you need some advice, at this time, we don't offer formal classes/instruction. It IS something that we're considering for the future, though.
HAVE A QUESTION THAT YOU THINK BELONGS ON THIS PAGE? LET US KNOW! THIS PAGE WILL CONTINUE TO GROW AND EVOLVE AS QUESTIONS COME IN. THANK YOU! :)