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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 07-21-2010, 04:59 PM   #1
Southern Home Boy
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Default Need some advice...

Someone at work discovered that I'm a competition BBQ cook and now I've been "nominated" to do the company picnic.

I've never "cooked for the masses" before and since this is my JOB, I want to make sure I do it right.

Historically, we've had about 200 people (broad range of ages) at this thing.

The President is pretty much leaving it up to his Executive Assistant (who in turn is leaving it up to me) as to what the menu will be.

I've got a double-grate UDS that I'm pretty sure I could fit 8 7-8 lb. pork butts in and the park we're having it at has a large charcoal grill at the pavillion.

My initial idea is to smoke 8 butts for pulled pork sammies, grill a bunch of burgers and dogs to augment and serve up a few different sides like slaw, BBQ beans, potato salad and chips and have canned pop on ice.

Figuring 1/2# raw weight per person on the pork, that would give me about 120 servings. Given the other sides and burgers and dogs, does this sound like enough?
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Unread 07-21-2010, 06:52 PM   #2
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In my neck of the woods if I showed up to a BBQ of 200 people with enough pork for 120 and hot dogs and burgers for the other 80 I would get hung by at least 70 people. I'd find a way to do more pork or not do it at all. Just my opinion.
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Unread 07-21-2010, 07:04 PM   #3
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Ive got to agree, you need more cooking surface, maybe a rental yard santa maria style grill and do a bunch of tri tips? I do that for the football season snack bar, its too easy.
Also, if your not use to 8 butts on your drum, it will be slower than 1-4 so Goodluck and try to have fun with it!
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Unread 07-21-2010, 08:15 PM   #4
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Better have a minimum of 80 lbs of finished pulled pork + sides. Dogs and burgers are just on standby in the event you accidently run out of pork which you don't want to happen. You might think you can figure 1 sandwich (1/4) per person, but there is nothing stopping the first few pork lovers from slapping a 3/4 lb pile on their plate. Figure enough pork to feed everyone, and have the dogs and burgers ready to go (cook on demand) just in case someone wants one.
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Unread 07-21-2010, 08:18 PM   #5
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If you are concerned about portion control, you can always have a "trained" server building sandwiches for your guests to avoid the piling on. Might speed up the serving line a bit as well.
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Unread 07-21-2010, 10:43 PM   #6
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Thanks y'all. I sort of figured that'd be the case. I guess I just needed to hear it from someone else.

Ok... Plan "B": I guess that just means I have to build another UDS.

Damn the luck......
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Unread 07-22-2010, 05:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PCDoctor_1979 View Post
If you are concerned about portion control, you can always have a "trained" server building sandwiches for your guests to avoid the piling on. Might speed up the serving line a bit as well.
Everytime we cook around here we always have 1 or 2 or 3 that think they are the only ones eating and they are the ones that only show up when food is present. I definitely agree with the PCDoctor on this one.
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Unread 07-22-2010, 07:46 AM   #8
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As far as cooker space goes, couldn't you pre-cook and then reheat, at least a portion of it?
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Unread 07-22-2010, 09:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txschutte View Post
As far as cooker space goes, couldn't you pre-cook and then reheat, at least a portion of it?
Yeah, I could, and I probably will at least to some degree. I even thought of doing some of the butts in the oven and then just mixing the pulled pork from the oven in with the 8 butts from the smoker. I may still go that route.

Another option is to use the UDS AND the ProQ (and possibly even the NBBD) and just maintain three fires. I'm not real keen on that idea as it begins to be more like work and less like fun, but it IS an option.

As for portion control, I will probably do one of two things:
1. Have some helpers plate
2. put 3.25oz. scoops in the pulled pork trays to use for scooping onto buns. That's about the right size for the smaller buns and I think most of the folks I work with would be a little hesitant to seem greedy by taking two scoops. I may be wrong about that, but I think not.

Either way, I'll be taking everyone's advice and doing at least 80# (probably more like 100#) of raw pork to make sure I have enough for everyone.

Thanks everyone, and keep the pointers coming... I'll take anything y'all can offer in the way of advice, tips, tricks or ideas.
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Unread 08-24-2010, 10:40 AM   #10
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People can be totally oblivious to the fact that they are not the only ones eating! Always bring more than you think you need, and it is totally ok to do some a day or two before and then reheat. Doing Tri-tip is a great idea too (hotrodhog) If you cut it close on the meat though, make sure you aren't going to run out of sides!
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