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View Full Version : BBQ'ing for co-workers and I'm farking nervous...last minute suggestions?


DOHCFOX
04-16-2008, 12:05 PM
Good morning...

I've thrown a couple of gatherings at my home for which I've BBQ'ed varying quantities of ribs, chicken, brisket, and so on. Usually these gatherings consist of 20-30 invites, most of who are family. In other words, while I strive to create the best BBQ that I can within my limited experience, if things go slightly awry, I am not too worried about it.

So this Saturday, I will be providing BBQ for a co-worker's 'going away' party and I am nervous as hell about getting things to turn out the way I want them. There are roughly 50 invites and I plan on preparing enough BBQ for 70. The invites have been encouraged to bring their own sides as I will not be providing any. I plan on BBQ'ing:

pork ribs - with a rub and apple juice
brisket - similar to the ribs
chicken - brined over night, rub the next dayBBQ'ing will be performed in my neighbor's wood burning smoker who's pictures will soon be posted here.

Could I ask folks to throw some last minute suggestions my way that would help calm my nerves, maybe some sage advice that will keep me from having to show up at work on Monday ashamed of myself? :eek: BBQ'ing always seems to go well for me but since I've only done this about 5 times, my lack of experience has me feeling very insecure.

Many thanks in advice! I will post pics of my progress on Saturday.

JT

Midnight Smoke
04-16-2008, 12:09 PM
JT,

Not much of a expert here so JMHO...

If you BBQ'd for 20-30' just do what you do in triple. Give yourself plenty time and relax, it will be good. The brisket will be the timed one.

hcarter
04-16-2008, 12:12 PM
Stagefright, you'll be fine. What was it my forensics club teacher always said? "just imagine them all in their underwear." That'll make ya laugh, then you'll relax. Seriously though, just cook as if your cooking for yourself/family and remember that you can't control everything. You'll do well I'm sure.

YankeeBBQ
04-16-2008, 12:15 PM
Just remember if you screw up you'll never live it down ! That should be enough incentive not to screw up. It's good to be nervous it keeps you on top of your game !

BobBrisket
04-16-2008, 12:20 PM
Give yourself PLENTY of time. You are looking at most of the time spent on the brisket alone. What's the weight of the brisket/s? These can go 1-1.5 hours per pound, sometimes even closer to 2 hours. The brisket can be done in advance and then ziplocked and fridged until the day of.
Ribs are at least 5 hours depending on the temp you will running, so these can be done the day of, just start early.
Chicken can be tossed in for the last 2-3 hours of the ribs, again depending on the temps, but ribs and chicken hold well in aluminum pans covered with foil.

You will do fine. Just make sure the pit is ready to go. Many times I don't take into to consideration the time it takes to get the fire going and the pit regulated.

Worst case scenario..........if things don't look like they are cooking fast enough, crank up the heat or toss them in the oven.
Plan ahead and you'll be fine.

hd4me
04-16-2008, 12:26 PM
Dude, if you can cook for thirty, you can cook for 50!!!!!!! You have the whole Brethren on your side!!!!!! Drink a couple beers and relax.:cool:

YankeeBBQ
04-16-2008, 12:29 PM
Start early. If things get done early they will hold well in a cooler for several hours

Pipin' Pig
04-16-2008, 01:28 PM
You may want to consider a but in there. I would be concerned with just one brisket for that many people. If they like it, it will go fast.

Butts are the easiest thing to do, very forgiving and can sit wrapped in a warm cooler for hours if they get done ahead of time. When ever I go for a large crowd, I always start with butts as primary.

BobBrisket
04-16-2008, 01:35 PM
You may want to consider a but in there. I would be concerned with just one brisket for that many people. If they like it, it will go fast.

Butts are the easiest thing to do, very forgiving and can sit wrapped in a warm cooler for hours if they get done ahead of time. When ever I go for a large crowd, I always start with butts as primary.

Good point, and good idea.

DOHCFOX
04-16-2008, 01:37 PM
Give yourself PLENTY of time. You are looking at most of the time spent on the brisket alone. What's the weight of the brisket/s? These can go 1-1.5 hours per pound, sometimes even closer to 2 hours. The brisket can be done in advance and then ziplocked and fridged until the day of.
Ribs are at least 5 hours depending on the temp you will running, so these can be done the day of, just start early.
Chicken can be tossed in for the last 2-3 hours of the ribs, again depending on the temps, but ribs and chicken hold well in aluminum pans covered with foil.

You will do fine. Just make sure the pit is ready to go. Many times I don't take into to consideration the time it takes to get the fire going and the pit regulated.

Worst case scenario..........if things don't look like they are cooking fast enough, crank up the heat or toss them in the oven.
Plan ahead and you'll be fine.

First off, thank you all!

I was thinking that I'd stoke up the pit at around 0700 as the meal is at 1630'ish. And because I'd prefer to get a good night's sleep before the afternoon's beer drinking, I'm going to throw the brisket into the oven on 225 at about midnight.

I've sent out a PM about obtaining access to the Brethren's recipe page as I'm interested in trying out a new rub other than my old standard for this particular occasion. My initial thought though is to do a rub for the ribs made of a base of ancho chile peppers. I cannot get enough of that stuff.

JT

DOHCFOX
04-16-2008, 01:41 PM
You may want to consider a but in there. I would be concerned with just one brisket for that many people. If they like it, it will go fast.

Butts are the easiest thing to do, very forgiving and can sit wrapped in a warm cooler for hours if they get done ahead of time. When ever I go for a large crowd, I always start with butts as primary.

I have to ask a totally igorant question regarding butts. Would that be a pork butt? What else would you mind telling this newbie moron about them? :biggrin: Sounds very interesting...

Regards,

JT

Divemaster
04-16-2008, 01:43 PM
Start early. If things get done early they will hold well in a cooler for several hours

You can approach the brisket and ribs a couple of ways...

When I was cooking for NASCAR, I would cook, slice, and then cryo-suck the briskets and put them in the freezer. This way all you have to do the day of the event is thaw and put the whole cryo bag into boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes to warm. Ribs also work well this way but I like to under cook them just a bit because they'll cook that last little bit in the water (and no, this does not constitute boiling ribs!!!!!).

The other thing you should remember is that a pre-warmed cooler is a great asset! Plan on the briskets being done a couple of hours early and then keep them in the cooler until you are ready to slice and serve. Be careful of keeping the ribs for to long in a cooler because they'll start to fall apart.

Remember, if you have questions, there are about 4,500 of us here to help out any way we can!

Pipin' Pig
04-16-2008, 01:47 PM
I have to ask a totally igorant question regarding butts. Would that be a pork butt? What else would you mind telling this newbie moron about them? :biggrin: Sounds very interesting...

Regards,

JT


Yup I am talking Pork Butts. Probably the most forgiving thing to BBQ and there are as many different rub/sauce/no-sauce/injection combinations as there are people on this forum.

There is not "right" or "wrong" way to do them but I prefer them with an injection of some sort of apple cider concoction, the same rub I use on my ribs and a Carolina style cider vinegar based sauce.

Roo-B-Q'N
04-16-2008, 02:21 PM
First off, thank you all!

I was thinking that I'd stoke up the pit at around 0700 as the meal is at 1630'ish. And because I'd prefer to get a good night's sleep before the afternoon's beer drinking, I'm going to throw the brisket into the oven on 225 at about midnight.

I've sent out a PM about obtaining access to the Brethren's recipe page as I'm interested in trying out a new rub other than my old standard for this particular occasion. My initial thought though is to do a rub for the ribs made of a base of ancho chile peppers. I cannot get enough of that stuff.

JT


Several schools of thought here, but if you plan to have the brisket take on a smokey flavor, oven baking will lessen the chances of this happening. For the most part, and again several schools of thought, meat will stop taking on smoke around 140*. Is this true or not??? This is not the thread to deabte that :-D. If you are simply going for a baked brisket go for it, but ensure you have some liquid in there with the brisket to help prevent drying out.

As to rubs and sauces, when catering we go more mild that we would if cooking for ourselves, and we serve sauces on the side.

And now for the all important disclaimer . . . just my .02 cents.

BobBrisket
04-16-2008, 02:44 PM
I think 140 is the temp where smoke intake stops. Then based on this, you could toss it in the smoker till it hits 140 and then toss it in the oven. Best of both, smoke and higher heat to finish quicker.

By the way what cooker are you using? That will help us figuring out a plan.

Divemaster
04-16-2008, 02:55 PM
Actually if I recall, 140 - 145* is where the smoke ring stops forming (it's a chemical reaction). It is my understanding that the smoke flavor continues to cling to and penetrate the meat after that point.

I should note that I have smoked briskets and then once wrapped with foil, put them in a low oven to complete (and have even kicked the oven up to the 300-325* range to spead things up).

BobBrisket
04-16-2008, 03:14 PM
Actually if I recall, 140 - 145* is where the smoke ring stops forming (it's a chemical reaction). It is my understanding that the smoke flavor continues to cling to and penetrate the meat after that point.

Good catch. That temp has to do with the smoke ring and not smoke penetration.

You could still toss it in the smoker for 2 or 3 hours or longer to get the smoke and then into the oven. This could even be done early the day of the party and then held in a cooler till serving time after coming out of the oven.

DOHCFOX
04-16-2008, 04:20 PM
By the way what cooker are you using? That will help us figuring out a plan.

I'll be using a cooker made out of two propane tanks set side by side and joined at one end by a wood burning stove. Each 50 gallon propane tank contains two stainless steel, slide out racks. In other words, I have lots of cooking space.

After some thought, while I really like the idea of doing a pork butt, I think I'll stay with brisket as I'd like to have all three main BBQ meats for this gig as I've got kind of a mixed crowd. I will however throw a pork butt on for my own personal enjoyment t the same time.

BobBrisket
04-16-2008, 04:31 PM
I'll be using a cooker made out of two propane tanks set side by side and joined at one end by a wood burning stove. Each 50 gallon propane tank contains two stainless steel, slide out racks. In other words, I have lots of cooking space.

After some thought, while I really like the idea of doing a pork butt, I think I'll stay with brisket as I'd like to have all three main BBQ meats for this gig as I've got kind of a mixed crowd. I will however throw a pork butt on for my own personal enjoyment t the same time.
Sounds like an interesting cooker there! Got any pics?

Roo-B-Q'N
04-16-2008, 05:19 PM
Actually if I recall, 140 - 145* is where the smoke ring stops forming (it's a chemical reaction). It is my understanding that the smoke flavor continues to cling to and penetrate the meat after that point.

I should note that I have smoked briskets and then once wrapped with foil, put them in a low oven to complete (and have even kicked the oven up to the 300-325* range to spead things up).


Ahhh perhaps that is it. Thank god I put the disclaimer in at the bottom :wink:. But I believe you are correct.

So to restate . . if you are not worried about a smoke ring . . .

scottyd
04-16-2008, 05:37 PM
Put the Tip jar out!!

watertowerbbq
04-16-2008, 07:42 PM
BBQ'ing will be performed in my neighbor's wood burning smoker who's pictures will soon be posted here.




My biggest concern would be that it sounds like you are not using your equipment. Unless your neighbor is there to help show you how to run it or you've run it many times yourself, you could be in trouble trying to cook that much food in a smoker that you are unfamiliar with.

Like most of the posts said, do what you did for 20-30, except just do more of it.

I've cooked for the office about 3 or 4 times. It can be nerve racking, but remember, most of them don't know how good real bbq can taste, so you can be off your game a little and most people won't know the difference.

Have fun and post pron!

DOHCFOX
04-16-2008, 10:14 PM
My biggest concern would be that it sounds like you are not using your equipment. Unless your neighbor is there to help show you how to run it or you've run it many times yourself, you could be in trouble trying to cook that much food in a smoker that you are unfamiliar with.

I've tooled around with this particular smoker about 5-6 times, a few of which were for groups of about 20-30. Between my neighbor and I, I think we'll be able to make things work. Great point though!

I've cooked for the office about 3 or 4 times. It can be nerve racking, but remember, most of them don't know how good real bbq can taste, so you can be off your game a little and most people won't know the difference.

That's the attitude I've had when BBQ'ing for family and regarding the points you brought up, I shouldn't be worried about my co-workers either! Regardless, I'll try my very bestest.

Have fun and post pron!

Pipin' Pig
04-17-2008, 11:18 AM
That is a real interesting design. If you could post pictures it would be appreciated.

Good luck and let us know how it goes (with lots of pictures so we know it happened) :-D

Nitrofly
04-17-2008, 01:08 PM
good luck you should do fine you can cook for 30
70 will be fine.. make a plan and follow it.. I agree
with the comments about start the brisket in the smoker
a nice smoke ring goes a long way.. take some pics

DOHCFOX
04-17-2008, 01:24 PM
I'm going to Sam's Club this evening to buy lots and lots of meat. I'll post pics of what I get this evening!

JT

backporchbbq
04-18-2008, 01:28 PM
Good luck. I wish I was part of that party. Can't wait to see the pron posted.

icemn62
04-18-2008, 02:03 PM
I would put the brisket on the night before and check it in the AM when you wake up. Time is no longer a factor. I don't know if you can get to the cooker at will or not.

I would also enjoy a cold beverage or two as soon as the cooking is done so that you can enjoy the event.

RELAX, have fun.

jestridge
04-19-2008, 10:49 AM
Cooking for friends is hard . But you be ok . I been cooking for group for several years still get nervous. Being nervouse is a good sign you care about what you cook and how it taste. My neighbors is so sure of his cooking he never cook a good pig always suck.

backporchbbq
04-19-2008, 10:57 AM
Ok as some of you might remember I have not had a smoker since October, and I have been going Farking nuts. We are picking up our Meadow Creek TS120 next Saturday and seasoning it right away.

Here is why I am writing the post. We are gonig to cook St. Louis ribs Sunday for the house, and I work for a 911 ambulance company. We are 8 hungry guys, how many racks do you think. We have never cooked St. Louis ribs, how long do you suggest they cook, and what degrees. Thanks brothers.

DOHCFOX
04-19-2008, 01:49 PM
Cooker temp: 240's
Ambient air temp: Low 40's
Current weather: Rain mixed with snow
My demeanor: Wet, relaxed, slightly hung over :rolleyes:

Pics are on the way.

Paulie G.
04-20-2008, 01:12 PM
Just cook like you're cooking for yourself. Don't sweat the small stuff.

swamprb
04-20-2008, 02:40 PM
So- How did it turn out?