My Outlook: Jan Clem
How did you get into the food truck business?
We always wanted to have a restaurant. My son and my husband decided that they were going to do this. My husband always cooked and my son likes to cook, too. Our food truck has been on the streets since March.
What is the first thing people ask when they find out you run a food truck?
“Do I have fun?” I tell them it’s a blast!
What is it like running a food truck?
It is very exciting, It’s also very hot! What’s fun is that we get to see the same faces and new people. We get to pick and choose where we want to be. People constantly call us wanting us to come out to their businesses, and they are excited we are there—that’s the most fun part of all.
What are some of the biggest challenges?
Just keeping everything going. My husband John and my son JJ put the whole thing together. They bought the truck—it was just a shell. They put the plumbing and machinery in it while making sure it was up to code. It took a lot of detail work and a lot of researching. We are very particular about everything we do.
What are the best benefits?
We are a family that gets to be together all the time and we work well together.
How do you do the actual cooking?
Our food truck is our kitchen. We have a smoker in it, we hand cut our own fries, make our own brats, mustard—everything is all done right there. It’s crazy how it all works. We make brisket, pork, chicken and more. It’s fun to offer new things all the time. We also bring in homemade items that no one else has.
German and BBQ is an interesting combination. What inspired you to serve those types of food?
My husband has a German background. The Germans were actually some of the first people to cook meat BBQ-style. When we were coming up with the concept, we knew we wanted to do BBQ but wanted a different flair to stand out.
What is your favorite thing on your menu?
Loaded fries. We can go through 400lbs of potatoes a day. We put any of our meats on there—brisket, pork, brats or chicken—and top it with our famous cheese sauce and more. We load them up!
What happens when you run out of food?
The hardest thing is gauging how many people you are going to feed. We have run out of food before. When that happens we just have to close up. We are realizing that people will eat whatever we cook.
We came up with all our recipes ourselves and everything is made from scratch. We use many secret ingredients! Also, five years ago, none of us would have thought we’d be running a food truck. Now, our family and friends get to see our dreams coming true.
To find out more about Klemm’s Smoke Haus visit their facebook page.