MMMM.. BRISKET..
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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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Old 10-10-2018, 07:35 AM   #1
SmoothBoarBBQ
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Join Date: 02-25-17
Location: Jacksonville, NC
Default Catering for 600...kind of panicking!

Hey All,

I got a catering gig for Nov 9th for 600 people. It's an informal Marine Corps Birthday Ceremony for a unit who had their formal Ball cancelled by Hurricane Florence. It's going to be an outdoor event and they are requesting 2 meats (pulled pork and brisket), as well as 2 sides for each Marine/Sailor. No families so very few women and no children.

Right now I'm guessing I'll need roughly 200Lbs raw of each meat. Can anybody chime in on whether or not that seems appropriate?

I have two cookers... a very large "hog style" direct heat cooker that I will be using, as well as a 24x60 RF offset smoker. I'm looking for ways to be able to cook all this meat and get it ready within a 24 hour period. My current plan is to cook all the pork the day before, leave it whole, and then re-heat it on the morning of the event.

I'll be doing the briskets hot and fast and figure I can do about 20 pretty easily on my cookers at a time. So I'm looking at cooking those 20, then wrapping and putting them in a heated cooler. Then I'll put on the next batch, cook those, and wrap / in a cooler. It's at this time that I'm looking at heating up the pork and getting it ready to pull / serve. So I'm kind of nervous about an approximately 10 hour hold time on that first batch of briskets, but with a hot cooler full of hot meat I think it will be OK?

Sides are going to be very basic with baked beans and coleslaw which I can prepare the day before, so not much of a worry there.

As for serving I'm looking at 3 serving lines and the unit will be providing me with 2 people per line to serve the sides. For portion control me, my wife, and my vending partner will be at the end of the line serving the meat. I'm thinking with this setup we can probably get the entire group through the line in less than an hour and without it being too much of a gaggle.

Any insight / input / guidance would be very much appreciated. Thanks all. Good thing is that I have a full month to get this all sorted and build a time-line and sequence of events.
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Old 10-10-2018, 07:46 AM   #2
Bbq Bubba
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For a 5 oz serving of each meat, you'll need 375# of each meat raw.
Not possible with your set-up.
Your looking at about 12 full pans of beans. How will you reheat that?
12 full pans of coleslaw cant be made a day ahead and you need cold storage.


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Old 10-10-2018, 07:50 AM   #3
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You should be ok with that amount of meat if you are doing the portion control. If you think you will use it often, I'd invest in a holding cabinet. We rely heavily on our alto shaam. Just did a wedding and held pork and brisket for like 20 hours prior to service and it came out great. We also use carlisle insulated boxes that will hold stuff hot for at least 6 hours if its filled up with hot food. You'd probably be ok with a cooler jammed full of hot brisket, but it would make me a bit nervous.
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Old 10-11-2018, 06:56 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nachos4life View Post
You should be ok with that amount of meat if you are doing the portion control. If you think you will use it often, I'd invest in a holding cabinet. We rely heavily on our alto shaam. Just did a wedding and held pork and brisket for like 20 hours prior to service and it came out great. We also use carlisle insulated boxes that will hold stuff hot for at least 6 hours if its filled up with hot food. You'd probably be ok with a cooler jammed full of hot brisket, but it would make me a bit nervous.
Yeah, the hot holding has me nervous. Just for the sake of food safety I backed out of the deal. Not to mention the absolute chaos of trying to serve 600 people in a short period of time. I just don't have the experience to ensure I can pull this off without any major hiccups.

Either way thanks for your advice and I'm definitely going to add a warming cabinet to my trailer. I've got a propane powered one (miscommunication with my fabricator..lesson learned) and it's great when there is no wind, but with any wind the temp inside the cabinet fluctuates like crazy and it's not really useful...also very prone to flame-outs with such a low flame.
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Old 10-14-2018, 09:02 PM   #5
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I'd be at around 300lbs of each meat raw weight. As far as holding brisket 12 hours for food safety that no problem provided you maintain 135* or hotter. At 135* or hotter, you can hold safely 24 hours or longer. It's quality you have to worry about. What's the most people you have fed prior to this? If you have not fed near that amount of people then you may consider pulling in a friend or another caterer to team up on the job. You're looking at hot holding roughly 23 briskets, 37 butts, 12 pans of beans, and cold holding 12 pans of slaw. Not to mention you have to cold store all of that meat prior to cooking. If you have the ability for all of this then hey go for it and proper planning will make execution a success!
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