Fat Stack Smokers sits deep at the end of a long, narrow industrial strip, tucked away in quiet Sun Valley, a neighborhood on the northeastern stretch of San Fernando Valley. The building is little more than a collection of pull-up stalls, with just enough room to roll in a couple of vehicles to wrench on while squeaky old stereos whine on in the background. There is no sign for Fat Stack Smokers (let alone a website), and there isn’t even anywhere to park. But unbeknownst to probably any other tenant in the eleven surrounding stalls, this diminutive machine shop is at the heart of Los Angeles’s current smoked meat movement.
The shop itself doesn’t look like much, just two guys (or, usually, one) hacking away at metal tanks and fusing the pieces back together with some keen welding chops. At well under 800 square feet in total floor, space is at a premium, so one might find co-owner and primary welder Eric Wech — a thickly-built man from Hollywood with a background in everything from office work to stand up comedy — straddling an empty former propane tank to get the right angle, or hopping up on a box to finish a tight corner.