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Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses. this forum is OnTopic. A resource to help with catering, vending and just cooking for large parties. Topics to include Getting Started, Ethics, Marketing, Catering resources, Formulas and recipes for cooking for large groups.


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Unread 05-05-2010, 11:06 PM   #1
Demosthenes9
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Default New to Brethren but would really appreciate some advice.

Hello, Found this site after deciding that my current smokers are too small and I want something bigger. Have been a driveway / backyard smoker for years and have done small 60-80 person parties at the house.

As luck would have it, found out today that a family member is requesting my Q for a college graduation party for both their daughters.

Guest list started at 45 people but is now up to 135.

Requested menu is Spare Ribs, Pulled Pork, and the dreaded grilled chicken breast.

This will be a very low key "back yard BBQ" of sorts but the numbers are throwing me and there are some other concerns after reading some of the threads here.

I'm the "drive way" smoker guy who pulls foiled ribs out of the smokers, let's them cool a bit then throws them in the fridge out in the garage. Based on some posts I came across, it seems that this is not a good thing to do?

Party will be held at relative's house on Sunday, the 23rd starting at noon. If I want, I can take my two Smoke Hollow smokers and my 6 burner gasser over to their house Saturday afternoon and cook overnight.

I had kind of planned to cook the Butts a few days in advance, pull and sauce them, then store in zip locks in the fridge. Would empty into sheet pans and reheat them the day of the party

Hell, guess it makes a lot more sense to just ask how you guys and gals would approach this instead of explaining my incorrect way of doing things

Questions that come to mind:
1. "Schedule" for the proteins.
2. Safe handling procedures.
3. Amounts of proteins needed.

(BTW, part of the "plan" was to cook the chicken breasts at the event. Side items and foodservice will be handled by others. I'm just the grill guy for the event.)

Again, would appreciate any and all advice you all might provide as I'm kind of way over my head here (but don't tell anyone I said that :) )


Thanks,

Dave


Addendum: If it helps, here are the smokers that I will be using.

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Unread 05-06-2010, 02:12 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Demosthenes9 View Post
Hello, Found this site after deciding that my current smokers are too small and I want something bigger. Have been a driveway / backyard smoker for years and have done small 60-80 person parties at the house.

As luck would have it, found out today that a family member is requesting my Q for a college graduation party for both their daughters.

Guest list started at 45 people but is now up to 135.

Requested menu is Spare Ribs, Pulled Pork, and the dreaded grilled chicken breast.

This will be a very low key "back yard BBQ" of sorts but the numbers are throwing me and there are some other concerns after reading some of the threads here.

I'm the "drive way" smoker guy who pulls foiled ribs out of the smokers, let's them cool a bit then throws them in the fridge out in the garage. Based on some posts I came across, it seems that this is not a good thing to do?

Party will be held at relative's house on Sunday, the 23rd starting at noon. If I want, I can take my two Smoke Hollow smokers and my 6 burner gasser over to their house Saturday afternoon and cook overnight.

I had kind of planned to cook the Butts a few days in advance, pull and sauce them, then store in zip locks in the fridge. Would empty into sheet pans and reheat them the day of the party

Hell, guess it makes a lot more sense to just ask how you guys and gals would approach this instead of explaining my incorrect way of doing things

Questions that come to mind:
1. "Schedule" for the proteins.
2. Safe handling procedures.
3. Amounts of proteins needed.

(BTW, part of the "plan" was to cook the chicken breasts at the event. Side items and foodservice will be handled by others. I'm just the grill guy for the event.)

Again, would appreciate any and all advice you all might provide as I'm kind of way over my head here (but don't tell anyone I said that :) )


Thanks,

Dave


Addendum: If it helps, here are the smokers that I will be using.

Dave whats up brother, welcome to the brethren Don't sweat the small stuff. If you are doing chicken breasts brine them first so they won't dry out. Do a search for brinning in case you don't know. Some of the other guys will chime in and they have a little more experience on butts and the right cook times. I do my butts around 7hrs and a few hours wrapped in a towel in an empty cooler.

regards Bill D
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Unread 05-06-2010, 07:42 AM   #3
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135 people = 34 racks of ribs, 9 pork butts and 135 pieces of chicken.

I'd say your way short on cooking space. Pork could be cooked ahead of time but the ribs and chicken have to be cooked hot to serve.

If you have to ask about safe handling procedures, i'd pass on this gig and do some more reading in the catering forum.
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Unread 05-06-2010, 11:39 AM   #4
Demosthenes9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grillfella View Post
Dave whats up brother, welcome to the brethren Don't sweat the small stuff. If you are doing chicken breasts brine them first so they won't dry out. Do a search for brinning in case you don't know. Some of the other guys will chime in and they have a little more experience on butts and the right cook times. I do my butts around 7hrs and a few hours wrapped in a towel in an empty cooler.

regards Bill D
Thanks Grillfella! Have never brined before so I'll have to read up on it. Normally, I use the secret family marinade recipe of Italian dressing and Worcestershire :)



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbq Bubba View Post
135 people = 34 racks of ribs, 9 pork butts and 135 pieces of chicken.

I'd say your way short on cooking space. Pork could be cooked ahead of time but the ribs and chicken have to be cooked hot to serve.

If you have to ask about safe handling procedures, i'd pass on this gig and do some more reading in the catering forum.
Thanks for the info Bubba. Handing this one off isn't really an option as it's a family obligation kind of thing.

As to the safe handling, what I'm mainly concerned about after reading some other posts is cooling down the ribs correctly if cooked in advance.

As you indicated, I don't have the room the do 34 racks on site and go straight from the smoker to serving platters.

Is there a "safe" way for me to smoke in batches here at home, cool them down and refrigerate them, then transport and bring up to temp on site ?

I have three full size refrigerators here at the house that can be put to use.
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Unread 05-06-2010, 11:52 AM   #5
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I would stick with butts beans and cloe slaw for this and explain when you get bigger set up you would be happy to do the rest. As bubba stated you have to do the ribs and chicken on site and serve off of it and not reheat them. The butts can be reheated.
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Unread 05-06-2010, 01:21 PM   #6
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I agree with Bubba and The Pigman on ribs and chicken. However if you do want to cook ribs ahead here's what to do to cool.

When the ribs are cooked, let cool for 30 minutes on a stainless table. Then vac seal each slab individually. Then take a marine cooler 150qt job and put 40 lbs of ice in the bottom, add 6 slabs and an additinaol 40 lbs of ice. Leave for an hour then take out and put in fridge. Don't do more than 6 slabs at a time. And make sure the seals are good. Keep doing this with 6 slabs at a time until all have been cooled. Meat should be safe. Transport to the site in cooler with lots of ice and then reheat. If seals are good you can put in a turkey roaster with water boiling to reheat and then open and toss in the smoker just for a few minutes.

You can do the same with the chicken.

Butts - I will pull and put in 1/2 pans and 5 should work for you. Put in ice for 2 hours and make sure they stay above the water line so no water gets into the potk or it's ruined.

Good luck. And my advice is change the menu to something you can handle with your equipment or see if you can find somebody local to help you out.
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Unread 05-06-2010, 01:54 PM   #7
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How many racks of ribs can you cook at once? If you can only do say six racks, there is no reason you cannot cool them down in a regular refridge or freezer. You can even get away with 10-12 racks.

The
two-stage method reduces the cooked food’s internal temperature in two steps. The first step
is to reduce the temperature from 135ºF to 70ºF within two of preparation
and from 70ºF to 41ºF
or colder within an additional four-hour period. Total cooling time should never exceed six hours.

The one-stage method is designed to reduce the cooked food’s internal temperature from 135ºF
to 41ºF or colder within four hours of preparation. This method should only be used if the food is

prepared from ingredients at ambient temperature, such as reconstituted foods and canned tuna.

Very simple to achieve. You are fine. Just dont pack a full pan of pork and throw it in your household reefer!
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Unread 05-06-2010, 03:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford View Post
I agree with Bubba and The Pigman on ribs and chicken. However if you do want to cook ribs ahead here's what to do to cool.

When the ribs are cooked, let cool for 30 minutes on a stainless table. Then vac seal each slab individually. Then take a marine cooler 150qt job and put 40 lbs of ice in the bottom, add 6 slabs and an additinaol 40 lbs of ice. Leave for an hour then take out and put in fridge. Don't do more than 6 slabs at a time. And make sure the seals are good. Keep doing this with 6 slabs at a time until all have been cooled. Meat should be safe. Transport to the site in cooler with lots of ice and then reheat. If seals are good you can put in a turkey roaster with water boiling to reheat and then open and toss in the smoker just for a few minutes.

You can do the same with the chicken.

Butts - I will pull and put in 1/2 pans and 5 should work for you. Put in ice for 2 hours and make sure they stay above the water line so no water gets into the potk or it's ruined.

Good luck. And my advice is change the menu to something you can handle with your equipment or see if you can find somebody local to help you out.
Does this mean when I leave my ribs on the counter for 1-2 hours to cool then place in fridge I'm creating a hazzard for food and family or is it a taste issue?? HELP i'm worried!
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Unread 05-06-2010, 09:07 PM   #9
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Demosthenes
Hey if you need additional Smokers I'm Local and have some extra smokers. When is your event, My Partner and I Might Be able to help you pull this off. depending on the day
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Unread 05-07-2010, 12:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juicybuttsbbq View Post
Demosthenes
Hey if you need additional Smokers I'm Local and have some extra smokers. When is your event, My Partner and I Might Be able to help you pull this off. depending on the day
Porkchop

Thanks for the offer PorkChop !! I appreciate it.

I think I'll be okay as I have access to the third smoker in the picture I posted. That will let me smoke about 12 racks at a time. Would of course be nice to be able to do all 30+ ribs at once (along with the butts) in a single smoker, but that will have to wait until my cousin and I build a trailer rig :)

I have the time to do multiple smoke sessions. What really concerned me was when I found out that my "cooling method" was suspect at best.

In short, I do a modified 3-2-1. I smoke the ribs for awhile, then foil wrap them with an Apple Cider spray, then pull the foil wrapped packs out, let them cool on a table for about 30 minutes then would put the foil wrapped packs in the refrigerator in the garage.

I'd then pull the packs out of the fridge a couple days later when needed, let them come up to temp a bit on the counter then put them back in the smoker at 275 for about 30 mins to an hour.

Pull the foil pouches out again, unwrap, back in the smoker for a a bit to firm back up and then serve (or lower the temp back down to 200 to hold them until needed.

It never dawned on me that this wasn't a good (or safe) method for cooling and reheating.


By my reading, using a 2 stage cooling method that Jacked UP BBQ mentioned should solve the problem ?
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