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Catering, Food Handling and Awareness *OnTopic* Forum to educate us on safe food handling. Not specifically for Catering or competition but overall health and keeping our families safe too.


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Unread 09-02-2013, 10:19 PM   #1
the_hunchback
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Default High School Event - feeding ~1300

Feels like forever since I've posted but becoming the music parent president hasn't helped with me not being able to get here.

I'm partially in charge of what we call an ice cream social. It's an annual event that the high school music parents (boosters) do every year and all of the kids perform in a laid back environment.

The past few years have grown and finally last year serving 1300 people. We have a mixture of kids and adults. Each person gets a choice of hot dog or hamburger/cheeseburger, chips and soda. Dessert consists of ice cream and/or cake/cookie/pie/etc.

We'll buy 800 hamburgers and 500 hot dogs. We're using two Sam's Club event grills - http://www.samsclub.com/sams/8-burne...rill/183402.ip. According to the description there is about 1000sq ft of cooking space.

We plan to serve food starting at 5 and going until 8. The students will start performing at 6pm and while we'll have some people showing up at 5pm the big trickle starts at 5:30pm and last year they were lined up a ways until about 7:30 and then people walked up without a line to get food until 8pm. In years past they have cooked the burgers and hot dogs and then wrapped them with the bun on in individual foil wraps.

I'll have cambros to store them in and/or big coolers - See this thread http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=81577

I have several questions.
When should we begin to cook?
How much should I try to get done by 5pm?
We'll get inspected by the health department probably right at 5pm so I have to make sure everything is at a good temperature and whatnot.
What can I do to help make things go smoother?

People can't go back for seconds unless they pay again so we really buy the food we need, and if I need more we can make a trip down the street to get more. Our Price Chopper cuts the patties fresh for us so they aren't frozen.

Thank you for any help as this is all volunteer based so that we can help support the music program at our high school.
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Unread 09-03-2013, 07:39 PM   #2
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I may be wrong but I am in Sams Club weekly and walk by those grills and I don't think you have anywhere near the capacity with two of those to cook 800 hamburgers and 500 hot dogs in a timely manner. I think you should get more cooking capacity.
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Unread 09-03-2013, 07:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_hunchback View Post
there is about 1000sq ft of cooking space.


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Unread 09-03-2013, 10:06 PM   #4
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How long does it take you to cook a hamburger? Those will take the longest. How are you holding the meat after it is cooked? What type of assembly do you have set up? Keeping the meat above 140*F is your challenge.
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Unread 09-03-2013, 10:35 PM   #5
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I would definitely grab another gasser for the dogs. I cooked 120 ribeyes on one of those grills and it took almost 30 minutes.

The big key with the burgers is to only touch them three times. Place them on the grill, flip when the juices pool on top, and then to pull them off. If you have some putz that moves them all around and smashed them, people will eat crappy burgers and they will take longer to cook.

It is not that the burgers will individually take longer to cook, it is that you will have empty grill space. With the gasser for the dogs, two cooks and two assistants can pull it off without any precooking.
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Unread 09-03-2013, 10:50 PM   #6
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Do the hot dogs need to grilled or boiled.
At our little fair we go through several hundred hot dogs a day X3 days. They boil them.
Another though is holding them in an 18 qt electric roaster.
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Unread 09-03-2013, 11:22 PM   #7
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I think you meant 1000 sq. inches per grill X 2.

This is off the Sam's Club spec. sheet that you linked to your original post.

Total cooking area: 1001 sq. in. of grill space.
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Unread 09-04-2013, 12:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HBMTN View Post
I may be wrong but I am in Sams Club weekly and walk by those grills and I don't think you have anywhere near the capacity with two of those to cook 800 hamburgers and 500 hot dogs in a timely manner. I think you should get more cooking capacity.
I agree that more cooking capacity would be ideal. However, this is a fundraiser held once a year and purchasing another grill would take away from profit. That isn't even the biggest issue, finding a place to store it for 364 days for 1 day of use is the big issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyle's BBQ
How long does it take you to cook a hamburger? Those will take the longest. How are you holding the meat after it is cooked? What type of assembly do you have set up? Keeping the meat above 140*F is your challenge.
I don't know how long, that's a good question. I have some cambro type holders that is like a cooler, donated from the military, to hold the food in. Assembly is basically pulling them off the grill and either putting them in a container or straight to being put into buns and then wrapped in aluminum foil. We kept the meet above temperature last year, health department was there inspecting with laser thermometers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawg Father of Seoul
The big key with the burgers is to only touch them three times. Place them on the grill, flip when the juices pool on top, and then to pull them off. If you have some putz that moves them all around and smashed them, people will eat crappy burgers and they will take longer to cook.
Excellent suggestion. Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbqbull
Do the hot dogs need to grilled or boiled.
At our little fair we go through several hundred hot dogs a day X3 days. They boil them.
Another though is holding them in an 18 qt electric roaster.
I have two of these grills, each having 1000 sq in for a total of 2000 sq in. Sorry about the ft, I just get used to that.

I hadn't thought about that at all. I'll have to bring that up. Thank you!


Thank you everyone for the input. I'm trying to lead a group of volunteers through this adventure and improving this and making it easier is a big goal of mine. It's something that's been a bit of a headache.

It's well worth it though because this event is for the high school music students to help raise funds for things our school can't take of with the budget cuts.
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Unread 09-04-2013, 03:19 PM   #9
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I would cook the dogs in a big crawfish pot. You could probably cook 200 hotdogs in about 5 minutes. Boil the water, throw in the dogs, wait a few minutes, lift the strainer, dump them out and let someone throw them in buns/wrap in foil. Repeat.
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Unread 09-04-2013, 07:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_hunchback View Post
I agree that more cooking capacity would be ideal. However, this is a fundraiser held once a year and purchasing another grill would take away from profit. That isn't even the biggest issue, finding a place to store it for 364 days for 1 day of use is the big issue.
In that case I'd figure a raw hamburger pattie starts out at somewhere between 5 and 6 inches so taking 6 inch that means one hamburger takes up about 36 square inches, divide that into 2000 sq inches of cook space that means you can get about 56 hamburgers on per run. So that means you will have roughly 14 batches of hamburgers to cook. That is a whole lot of hamburger grease so be ready for flare ups.

Something to consider would be to erect a large grill out of cinder blocks. Lay the bottom row out 4' x 8' then get a piece of 1/4" plate steel 4'x8' and lay it on top. then on top of the plate steel stack two more layers of cinder blocks. The lay a couple of supports across the top of the blocks and a 4'x8' of expanded metal. The plate steel becomes your charcoal bed and cook on the expanded metal. This gives you roughly 4600 square inches on cook space and can be disassembled and stored when done. You could probably get the blocks and maybe a portion or all of the steel donated by the business. Even if you had to buy it the cost would probably be less than the Sams Grills.
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Unread 09-04-2013, 07:15 PM   #11
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From my point of view, the easiest thing to control is the setup, that means, really consider your movements, your cold preparation and workstations. Once those are figured, the hardest part of any event is the 'middle of the cook', when the orders are going hot and heavy. I would minimize pre-cooking early, throw the entire grill surface at the problem around 10 minutes before service. Fill 3/4 of your grill with burgers, and 1/4 with dogs, do that in an orderly fashion. It is amazing how many hot dogs you can heat and grill if you do it in an organized fashion.

I like to do one layer, neatly in a row, with enough room to roll them one full rotation. You should be able to get at least two rows going. Also, if you can get the wieners in a steam pot, so they are already fully hot and you are just coloring them on the grill, that is more space for the burgers.

Assuming you have good heat, I would venture a typical commercial sized patty takes no more than 10 minutes to cook, if you give each patty a squeeze in the middle, that aids in cook time. If you have the grill full to start, you should be rolling enough to keep up.
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Unread 09-13-2013, 09:09 PM   #12
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Well I don't have any pictures. I appreciate all of the advice and I think things went pretty darn well. We served about 1200 meals to people and I don't know how many desserts right now.

I didn't get started cooking as early as I would have liked and the grillers didn't keep the grill full the entire time. With that said it was better than last year and even though we had lines waiting I can't complain about how things went.

Thank you everyone for the advice and I can't describe how much knowledge you guys gave me!
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Unread 09-14-2013, 12:20 AM   #13
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Keep your notes. They will come in handy next year.
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Unread 09-14-2013, 05:28 AM   #14
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Check into renting a commercial grill for additional cook space
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