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Questions about potential large cook for kids

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  • FishTalesNC
    Club Member
    • Dec 2017
    • 1176
    • Durham, NC

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    Questions about potential large cook for kids

    My wife is on a school bus with my kiddo chaperoning for a field trip and I get a text: "Hi, I love you..." And in my almost 14 years of marriage, that is somehow NEVER good. So, my daughter is in 5th grade which is the last grade for elementary school in Durham. Apparently they actually have graduation parties now for just such an occasion, including feeding the little buggers, and its going to be school cafeteria food unless they figure something else out. Now you see where this is going... though I've committed to nothing at this point!

    I've never cooked for any big party like that. Once I did something for UNC Hospital that was about 30-40 people, but that's it. I'm told this would be about 120 kids, and the ask is pretty much pork butts with 4 chickens in case some kids can't eat pork. I read Meathead's party planning article on the free site, but didn't really find the info I was looking for. Obviously the suggested 1/2 pound of meat per person would be a bit much since these are 10-11 year old 5th graders. Would 1/4 pound (small pulled pork sandwich) be a good target you think? If so, we're talking like 30 pounds of pulled pork. But I only have a 26" kettle with SNS, and a PBC. So I can do 6 butts at once, and then four chickens in the PBC after those butts are done. If I figure 8 pounds precooked weight per butt, for 48 pounds, would that keep me over 30 pounds after cooking? Not sure I even have the equipment to pull this off... (though I sense an MCS opportunity here, HA!) The other part of this that is interesting, and may make it easier, is that they'd need it all at 10am on a Monday. So I think at this point the ask would just be for me to deliver cold pork butts and chickens I've already smoked, and they would be reheated there and pulled, etc. probably by the cafeteria folks. I'm not even sure how to best handle the food after its done cooking so that its as good as it can be the next day. Would I still put it in a hold for a couple of hours after the smoke? I don't have anything like a food saver. I'm guessing I'd just double wrap in heavy foil and put in the fridge until the next morning and just deliver it. Heck, I guess if I'm doing that, I could even smoke meat on Saturday too which kind of doubles my capacity.

    Any info is greatly appreciated, I really have no clue what the "gotchas" could be for something like this. Not sure I could pull it off with what I have available, but would like to feed the munchkins something other than cafeteria food if I can.

    Thanks!
  • Troutman
    Club Member
    • Aug 2017
    • 7198

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    #2
    Here's an idea. When I was at the Houston BBQ Festival one of the venues was handing out Kings Hawaiian Roll sliders. They just stuffed a piece of brisket into the roll, it was delicious just like that !!! Substitute some pulled pork and the little buggers will gobble them up.

    Also don't forget about those magic two words that kids love.....mac + cheese !!! Good luck !!

    Comment


    • FishTalesNC
      FishTalesNC commented
      Editing a comment
      That's a great idea, hell I'd go for pulled pork sliders especially on King's Hawaiian rolls! Its so early in this process to know for sure, but I think I'm only being asked if I'd smoke the meat. I think the rest would be provided by the school or others, and no doubt mac & cheese better be on the menu. I'm just not sure if I can smoke enough meat, if I should pull it while its hot and keep it in a steamer pan, or leave the butts whole, or how to keep it from drying out, etc.

    • gcdmd
      gcdmd commented
      Editing a comment
      You could put cheese on an asbestos shingle, and kids, including teenagers, will gobble it up. Come to think of it, that probably applies to most adults, as well.

      Every summer I cook breakfast for a bunch of teenage bible school counselors and helpers and always include some sort of potato and cheese casserole, generally to rave reviews.
  • jfmorris
    Club Member
    • Nov 2017
    • 3005
    • Huntsville, Alabama
    • Jim Morris

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    #3
    FishTalesNC I had an engagement party here October before last for my oldest daughter, with 80 folks (adults) in attendance. The main item on the menu was pulled pork, and I cooked 74 pounds precooked weight (9 butts). I also grilled 20 pounds of buffalo wings (precooked weight).

    I smoked the butts and pulled all the pork about 2am the day of the party, packing each butt into one of those foil half steam table pans with a crimped on foil lid (I buy them at Sam's), and stored it in the fridge. I put a couple more of the foil pans in a 170F oven to start reheating as refills for the crock pots. A few hours before the party, we filled up several crock pots and started reheating pork, and I fired up the Performer and the Genesis to cook wings about 90 minutes before the party.

    We had 3 butts we never pulled from the fridge, and at least enough pork left in the crockpots to fill another pan. The wings were consumed within 20-30 minutes of the start of the party.

    That party was mostly 20-somethings, with about half of the, being guys (college friends of my 26 year old daughter and her husband), along with adult family members. Take that for what its worth, but if 80+ adults consumed 6 butts (plus chicken wings), I think you are totally safe with 6 butts for 120 kids. The kids are not going to fill a plate up with meat like a bunch of 6 foot tall hungry 25 year old guys. You will be feeding teachers and some parents too I bet though, so I think your plan is sound - 6 butts and 4 chickens. I assume you will pull the chicken?

    I would not deliver the butts cold and whole. You cannot pull cold meat. I would pull and pack it on Sunday, and just deliver for them to reheat. Get those 9x13 half pans at Sam's or Costco, along with the lids. They are great for BBQ. One will pretty much hold one pulled butt.

    Get a gallon jug of Sweet Baby Ray's to go with all that BBQ too. I would not waste time with a vinegar based or home made sauce for a bunch of kids. They like it sweet.

    Comment


    • Dan Deter
      Dan Deter commented
      Editing a comment
      Since its Durham, I might have some vinegar based sauce as well...for a lot of those kids its probably what they're used to.
  • FishTalesNC
    Club Member
    • Dec 2017
    • 1176
    • Durham, NC

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    #4
    Right on, thanks jfmorris , I was about to tag you because I KNEW you'd done this kind of thing before! Thanks for the info on pulling first. I was afraid it'd dry out too much doing that, but you're right - a whole butt would have to be heated up thoroughly to be pulled, so doing that first makes a lot of sense. I didn't realize they sold the half pans with lids at the wholesale places, I'll definitely grab those as well, should make reheating pretty easy for them. And yeah, I'll probably pull the chickens too, that'll be easier to reheat and not deal with any bones. Maybe I make this happen after all...👍🏻

    Comment


    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      It's under $10 for a stack of 3 dozen of those pans at Sam's Club, and maybe $7 for 3 dozen lids. I like to keep them in the pantry all the time.

      Don't sweat it - you've got this cook. To be honest, I would be surprised if you could not do it all at once with the 26" kettle and the PBC. Well, maybe not. I can fit two large butts on the 22" kettle, so I guess maybe you can fit 4 at a time on the 26". Might be time to get creative though, and turn them on the thin edge or other stuff.

    • FishTalesNC
      FishTalesNC commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah, I can definitely do 6 at once jfmorris . I've seen 3 hung on a PBC, and I've fit 3 on my 26" once before - man that was a tight fit! Only time I've ever had to refill the SNS!

    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      FishTalesNC have you ever thought about dropping a couple of butts next to the SNS on the charcoal grate? Maybe you have a wire rack you could put them on, since its likely pretty crappy unless the grate is new. Sure, the butts down there will take a couple hours longer than the ones at the top level, but it would be a way to maximize space in the 26" kettle.
  • Murdy
    Club Member
    • May 2018
    • 464
    • North-Central Illinois

    #5
    Since your cooking for a class, there are other parents around. Could you put out some feelers and see if another parent might also be able to take care of some of the meat and split up the load? Do you know anyone you could borrow another kettle from or might another parent have one?

    Comment


    • FishTalesNC
      FishTalesNC commented
      Editing a comment
      Its a good point about splitting up the load, but apparently they’re hoping I’ll smoke the meat and they’ll just reimburse me for that. Charcoal, pans, rub, etc I’ll just donate to keep their cost down. I’m not yet sure who started the ball rolling since they’re still on the field trip today, I’ll find out more tonight.
  • klflowers
    Club Member
    • Sep 2015
    • 3214
    • Tennessee

    #6
    Man, that sounds kind of scary fun. I have cooked for some church functions, but there were lots of others cooking too so I didn't have to shoulder the bulk of the cooking. I am sure you will knock it out of the park.

    And yeah, every time my wife starts with "honey, you know how much I love you", I am immediately suspicious.

    Comment

    • PBCDad
      Club Member
      • Jan 2016
      • 369
      • Seattle area
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      #7
      If you play it right, it could be an MCS opportunity, and you could even wait until after and say, "this would have been so much easier if..."

      I definitely agree that you should pull the pork when they are hot and done. No need for a cambro hold unless it makes timing easier for you. If you want to be real relaxed about it, smoke them over the next few weeks, pull, put in 1 or 2 gallon ziplock bags, and freeze. Thaw before the party and add butter to the pans for the reheat. The chickens I might do the morning of because that is a quick cook and I think chicken dries out easily, but the night before should also work if you are just pulling it.

      Two more considerations for you to think about, is the food only for the kids or will the parents be eating too? And just make sure you are covered on liability, or be real sure you won't have any problems with the people involved. I would hate for a kid to get sick, the parents remember seeing a little red in the chicken they were eating, and you get pulled into a legal fight.

      And be ready, because once your wife knows you can do it, and you nominally enjoy it, and things turn out great, you'll get volunteered for a lot more functions. Ask me how I know...

      Comment


      • FishTalesNC
        FishTalesNC commented
        Editing a comment
        I don't know too much yet since I won't be able to talk to them until tonight. But apparently my daughter's teacher approached my wife about it on the school bus for the field trip this morning. She is "going to take it to the committee", not even sure what that means. But you're right, I mean you can't even take homemade cupcakes for a birthday to school - they have to be store bought with a sticker that says they never touched a peanut!
    • jfmorris
      Club Member
      • Nov 2017
      • 3005
      • Huntsville, Alabama
      • Jim Morris

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      #8
      This is how you do it.... just line all your cookers up and have at it! I smoked 84 butts once (two towable reverse flows plus my little offset), but have no pictures, as it predates me having a smart phone.

      Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_7573.JPG Views:	2 Size:	1.45 MB ID:	665816
      Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_6942.JPG Views:	3 Size:	2.98 MB ID:	665817
      Last edited by jfmorris; May 10, 2019, 08:52 AM.

      Comment


      • klflowers
        klflowers commented
        Editing a comment
        Now that's a lineup.

      • gcdmd
        gcdmd commented
        Editing a comment
        That's a sweet setup, especially with the pool to cool off in on a hot humid day, which I am sure you have plenty of in your neck of the woods.
        Last edited by gcdmd; April 28, 2019, 10:26 PM.

      • jfmorris
        jfmorris commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks gcdmd we definitely have some hot days here! The pool is ready, needs to come up about 10 more degrees before I jump in this year.
    • LA Pork Butt
      Charter Member
      • Dec 2014
      • 5347
      • Grew up in New Orleans, lived in Texas for 20 years, lived in Mandeville, LA for 22 years. I now liv

      #9
      Try this formula from the Wise One Cookbook free on NakedWhiz.com

      HOW MUCH MEAT?
      For pulled pork, a typical sandwich (or serving) is 4 oz of cooked meat. For adult males, you might want to plan on 2 sandwiches per person. For women and children, plan on one sandwich per person. The average butt loses about 40% of its weight while cooking. So, to get 6 pounds of cooked pork (24 sandwiches) you would need to start with 10 pounds of butt (2.4 servings per LB of uncooked meat). So a simple little table is all you need:
      Lunch for 12
      Recently, I did a BBQ lunch for a group of 12 (3 women, 9 men) at work. Here is what we wound up eating. I had brought extra of everthing and encouraged everyone to take seconds so you might be able to get by with slightly less.
      ü A one-quart container of coleslaw.
      ü A 55 oz can of baked beans. (one and one-half quarts).
      ü 19 buns.
      ü 8 pounds of Boston Butt (provided 6 pints of pulled pork). (The formula above predicted 8.75 LBs)
      ü One and one-half bottles (16 oz each) of BBQ sauce.
      ü One-half of a 12 1⁄4 oz bag of potato chips.
      ü 12 soft drinks.
      ü 20 mini-moon pies.
      WEB SITES and MISCELLANEOUS Page 11
      People
      Servings
      Number of men
      {Number of big eaters}
      Times 2
      {Servings}
      Number of women and children
      {Number of small eaters}
      Times 1
      {Servings}
      Total Servings
      {Total servings}
      Divided by 2.4
      {Pounds of Butt to buy}

      Comment


      • FishTalesNC
        FishTalesNC commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks LA Pork Butt !!! Exactly what I was looking for as far as servings, weight lost during cooking, etc. Comes out to 50 lbs, so about 6 butts on the larger side. Data gives me confidence! 👍🏻

      • LA Pork Butt
        LA Pork Butt commented
        Editing a comment
        FishTalesNC you can download the cookbook in a PDF.

      • FishTalesNC
        FishTalesNC commented
        Editing a comment
        Found it and downloaded it, info on Page 11 - thanks again @LA Pork Butt!!
    • CaptainMike
      Club Member
      • Nov 2015
      • 2466
      • The Great State of Jefferson
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        Fireboard
        Thermoworks Smoke and Thermapen.

      #10
      Can you get in touch with someone in the cafeteria? I'm thinking the head cook would be great for advice and assistance, especially if you're serving out of their kitchen. After all, feeding a bunch of kids is what they do every day.

      Comment


      • FishTalesNC
        FishTalesNC commented
        Editing a comment
        Lord help me, I don't think they want me to serve it too. All I've been told is they want me to cook it and deliver it at 10am on a day in the future, pending approval by some committee. Good point though that if they're doing it out of their cafeteria, those folks may want to have a say in what works best for them!

      • CaptainMike
        CaptainMike commented
        Editing a comment
        I was thinking they would have some great advice on portion size and what the kids would prefer to eat. Who doesn't like pork butt, especially in NC, but you never know. They might tell you the kids love hot dogs with cat soup.

      • jfmorris
        jfmorris commented
        Editing a comment
        CaptainMike I wish I could like your comment! Cat soup! . Reminds me of a parody song "Cat's in the Kettle"...
    • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
      Club Member
      • Jun 2018
      • 543
      • Eastern NC
      • 2018 MAK 2 Star
        Charbroil Big Easy SRG

      #11
      If the school isn't paying for the food, I've found the local groceries are very often willing to donate some or all of your needs. I'd hit up the local butchers (mom and pop, non-chain) first just so they get some extra recognition, but I'd bet Harris Teeter and Food Lion would pitch in something. As for the cook, everyone else already gave great advice... I'd keep it simple, most kids don't have a concept of cost to flavor if they even have a refined palette. Pulled pork and chicken drums hits the majority for something they would eat, let some other parents whip up the mac n cheese, pasta salad type dishes and hopefully they can help come up with a menu that everyone can enjoy something Good luck!

      If you go the pulled pork route and don't have the space to get everything done, I can do 8 good sized butts/shoulders at the same time and you're about an hour away which is almost the perfect time in foiled in a cooler

      Comment


      • FishTalesNC
        FishTalesNC commented
        Editing a comment
        I never even thought about asking for the food donation - great idea! Yeah, they aren’t even asking the kids what they want, I guess it’s sandwiches from the cafeteria or pulled pork if it’s “allowed” to be brought in. We need something like the Bat-signal for AR members - be on the lookout for a pig in a searchlight! 😂
    • gcdmd
      Charter Member
      • Sep 2014
      • 1019
      • The Republic of Texas

      #12
      So, any updates? Did you run into a problem serving food not prepared on site, i.e., in the school kitchen?

      Comment


      • FishTalesNC
        FishTalesNC commented
        Editing a comment
        It doesn’t appear it’s going to happen. My wife asked about serving food not prepared there and hasn’t had a response from the teacher in charge. The parent heading it up from “our” end is frustrated because she can’t get an answer either. Last I heard - my family and that other parent plan on matching the 5th grade “budget” and having Chik Fil A cater it. I’ll admit I’m bummed, but it’s better than cafe food for them and they’ll love it. Of course if someone gives the go ahead I’m game...

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    The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted

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    Napoleon's NK22CK-C Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It's hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the NK22CK-C a viable alternative.

    Click here for more about what makes this grill special


    Finally, A Great Portable Pellet Smoker

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    Green Mountain's portable Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it's also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Davy Crocket from your smart phone or laptop.

    Click here to read our detailed review and to order