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Wedding Planning

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    Wedding Planning

    Based on someone else's thread about reheating food for 200, I thought I better start getting some ideas for my daughter's wedding on May 16 - she is still saying that I am making all the meat!

    Basically, the plan right now is that I have to smoke pulled pork and pulled chicken for 200 folks for the wedding dinner, and I am most certainly not smoking the day of the wedding with the ceremony at 4pm, followed by dinner. Thankfully, I did inspect the kitchen at the venue today, and they have 2 large warmers that hold 4 or 5 full steam table trays each. I just gotta figure out how I will get meat I make and pull or shred in advance reheated and into the steam table trays the morning or afternoon of the wedding.

    Right now I am thinking I will smoke the week before, pull all pork and chicken, vacuum seal it all (which compresses it a lot), and freeze. It will go from deep freeze to coolers for the hour drive to the venue at sunup, and I am thinking using 2 Anova circulators in two large coolers (I will make a hole for Anova in the lid), and the vacuum bags go into a bath at say 140F or 160F, to get the still cold meat warmed up. I would do that around noon. The volunteer ladies (all friends) staffing the kitchen then just have to pull them out, and dump the contents into the steam table trays (which I will have foil liners in), fluffing it up as needed, in the remaining hours before the wedding, and by 4pm, all the meat and hot sides are in the warmers or oven.

    I am also thinking that I need to throw into the wedding budget the purchase of a new Weber Smokey Mountain 22", to increase my cooking capacity! . I'll have to figure out how to sneak that past the women folk though, as the money is going out now faster than it is coming in...

    #2
    The only recipe or discussion I found on the free side of AR concerning pulled chicken is in the "Sweet Georgia Brown" chicken recipe. I think I am going to have to pick up a couple of yard birds, maybe this weekend, and smoke them, as I have never in my life tried to make pulled chicken.

    I am thinking being in Alabama, more folks will go for pork than chicken, but there is that finicky few (my future son in law, my sister in law) that I know always go for chicken and avoid pork (or beef even). I am thinking the mix will be about 2/3 pork, 1/3 chicken, but maybe it should be 50/50? What do you folk think?

    Comment


    • EdF
      EdF commented
      Editing a comment
      I'd go with much more pork (based on discussing with other Q folk). Keep the 2/3 - 1/3 ratio; should be close enough.

    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for confirming my thoughts EdF. Plus the pork, while it takes longer to smoke, is much less work in my opinion, for a lot more meat.

    • MartinNC
      MartinNC commented
      Editing a comment
      In my events people seem to get larger portions of meat than chicken, so sticking with 2/3 pork sounds right.

    #3
    Can you smoke it the day before? Do that and you eliminate the need for vac sealing. That's what I did for my son's grad party. I smoked 50 pounds of pork butt they day before the party.

    Comment


    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      The day before the wedding we will be at the venue decorating it all day, with the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner that evening - the groom’s parents are catering the rehearsal dinner, but it’s not nearly so big as the wedding, and the budget I gave my daughter apparently demands me smoking...

    • Santamarina
      Santamarina commented
      Editing a comment
      I’m with the Father of the Bride on this one. While it’s absolutely how I would do it for a random event, the day before the wedding is no time to be glued to the pit for the Father.

    • fzxdoc
      fzxdoc commented
      Editing a comment
      I second what Santamarina said. A girl needs her Dad the day before and day of the wedding to fix anything that might come up. Dads are great to have around for that, and for the occasional hug, too.

      Kathryn

    #4
    I like the plan. I didn't go nearly as much for a recent family reunion (head count far lower) but the process was the same. I was amazed at how long it took to heat up the pork. Are you going to sauce? It sounds like that was the plan for at least the chicken? I think that's also wise, because holding the meat to temp is bound to have a drying effect, and a little moisture helps. I used Carolina sauce for my pork. Doesn't need to be heavy, just something to add some moisture.

    Comment


    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      Normally I would not sauce the meat, but think I will for this event, for the reasons you mention. Not sure what sauce I would use for pulled chicken...

    • JCGrill
      JCGrill commented
      Editing a comment
      Maybe just some chicken broth.

    #5
    I like your plans. For the pork, I would get it to temp and would try to keep it in large pieces instead of pulling. Do not sauce anything until you take it out of the water bath. At the time you put it in the steamers, pull but not as much as you would at home. Sauce. Keep other steamers back a bit and don't full pull and/or sauce until the first tray is almost done. People have a tendency to keep the lids open and fully pulled pork cools off quickly when you have a long line of people serving themselves.

    Comment


    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      I won’t be able to pull 100 pounds of meat while I am dressed in a suit for wedding pictures before the ceremony unfortunately, so if I pull it onsite, it has to be in the morning, then held in the warming racks until 5pm. I don’t think the ladies serving will be up to pulling all the pork.

    • tbob4
      tbob4 commented
      Editing a comment
      I didn’t expect you to actually be pulling the meat. I believe that given the method you proposed, which I think is brilliant, the pulling will take care of itself with very little instruction.

    #6
    I'd suggest you get rely on your kitchen staff for the whole day of the wedding, the day will go extremely fast and as the father of the bride there are more duties that will be bestowed on you the closer the day gets closer.
    I'd explore a vegan option, also a fish dish.
    When my son got married the meal menu became a major issue for the few that just can't eat gluten or salt.
    60/40 pork to chicken would be my un-educated guess for the rest.

    Comment


    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks, my plan is to just get the volunteer staff (my wife’s friends) going, but I’ll have to get things started for the meat. The ladies are making all the sides for us.

    #7
    I give you credit, thats a lot on your daughter's wedding day. I have no advise on your questions, as this is beyond me. I wish you the best as marrying off a daughter (I did both) is different than a son. Oh, one question; when can we expect our invitations?

    Comment


    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      Haha, invitations are going out next week... save the dates were a while ago! I saw a couple hundred dollar charge to the USPS for stamps on my checking account earlier this week. This will be the third kid to get married. My oldest daughter got married September 2018, my son in January 2019.

    • RichieB
      RichieB commented
      Editing a comment
      Great, your no rookie at this. Again, congratulations and hope your catering questions are answered and the cook is perfect as well as the wedding.

    #8
    I wouldn’t freeze it. It will keep fine in vac sealed bags in the fridge.

    Cooking from frozen will set you back time wise and both chicken and pork is delicate.

    also make sure you turn on the steam tables and give them a test run like a new cooker.

    are you going to keep the white meat and dark separate??

    I also would heat up a hot stock or liquid to give them a jump start at the steam table.

    Does the venue have ovens??

    just some random thoughts

    Comment


    • tbob4
      tbob4 commented
      Editing a comment
      We should go and help. You do the chicken and I will do the pork. I don’t trust myself with the chicken. I may have to taste too often.

    • jfmorris
      jfmorris commented
      Editing a comment
      I’m planning on shredding and mixing the entire bird, so white and dark will be mixed. Yeah, there are ovens available too.

    • fzxdoc
      fzxdoc commented
      Editing a comment
      I like the way you think, HouseHomey . Large amounts of meat take longer to reheat that we think it should, most of the time.

      Kathryn

    #9
    First of all this is why we didn't have a daughter.

    Secondly, I wish we did have a daughter or two.

    You are a lucky man and if I lived closer would offer to help.

    Comment


      #10
      jfmorris what you really need is a couple of amazingribs volunteers to come and help get the meat out for you. 😏👍

      Comment


      • ComfortablyNumb
        ComfortablyNumb commented
        Editing a comment
        Yeah, I figure we could double his guest list!

      #11
      I recommend 140 for the SV reheat, 160 is pretty high for a reheat and may dry it out.

      Comment


        #12
        In case this helps...I recently did a wedding reception of ~125 people. We bought 100lbs raw weight of butts. I am very picky in trimming, I trim a LOT of surface fat. Pulled pork was the main course, the only meat, and there was buns for those who wanted sandwiches. Mix of people like typical for a wedding reception- some older teenagers with huge appetites, some little kids and elderly with small appetites, one vegetarian that I know of. There was a decent amount left over, but not "tons". So I would suspect if you're not as trim-happy as I am that .75lb raw weight per person (or thereabouts) would be plenty. I cannot help you on chicken, never made that much. Anyway I did it all the day before, pulled it while hot, put in large foil lasagna pans, let sit at room temp to cool, and refrigerated over night. We just reheated it all in those large rectangle electric slow cookers, it took two large ones (I can't think of what they're called). No SV mess for me!

        Comment


        • jfmorris
          jfmorris commented
          Editing a comment
          Good info Huskee! I do have one of those large electric roasters - you are right, it holds several times what a crockpot would hold, and has actual temperature settings.

        #13
        If you have ovens I would do like Huskee just said and forgo the SV. As I said I would not start from frozen. Hot stock and cover tight and warm in low ovens and transfer to steam table.

        Comment


        • jfmorris
          jfmorris commented
          Editing a comment
          Starting from frozen will depend on how soon before the event I am doing the smoking - if it is more than 2-3 days, and that could be the case based on the volume needed exceeding my smoker capacity, then I will have to cook it in batches over a couple of day period.

          The pulled pork can probably handle freezing and reheating better than the chicken I imagine.

        • HouseHomey
          HouseHomey commented
          Editing a comment
          Perhaps cook your butts first. I think you mentioned that already?? All of that food is a time consumer even to reheat. In my kitchen, with professional equipment and space I start hours and hours in advance. Keep them covered until service. Use your MK4 and reseal that he with tape. Opening and resealing sets you back. If you must do it closer to what you think is the service point. Also Consider every action of service in your time management. You’ll be catering in no time.

        #14
        Congrats on the upcoming wedding! Three weddings in three years--wow! By next year you may have enough $$ saved up for that second Smokey Mountain.

        Seriously, though, enjoy pushing the last little chick out of the nest (I'm just guessing she's the last). A child's wedding is a wonderful time jam-packed with great memories, one of which will be how delicious your pork and chicken was.

        Kathryn

        Comment


        • jfmorris
          jfmorris commented
          Editing a comment
          Yes, she is the last, and momma bear is not coping so well with it. Not sure I am either! Those first two weddings were in two different years, but actually only 3 months apart, so it was a big blur of busyness.

        • fzxdoc
          fzxdoc commented
          Editing a comment
          jfmorris , I feel your wife's pain, and yours. We want our kids to have happy, productive lives but it's hard when they have to leave us to do it. My heartstrings are always twanging over the distance between me and my daughter. I hope your youngest isn't going to move away after the wedding. They knew what they were talking about when they coined the phrase close-knit family. Keeping them close is great.

          Kathryn

        • jfmorris
          jfmorris commented
          Editing a comment
          fzxdoc Kathryn we are so fortunate that all the kids have jobs and have bought houses within 5-10 miles of us here in Huntsville, Alabama. The youngest's fiancé already has a house, which she has taken over practically from a decor standpoint over the past year. We see my oldest daughter weekly on average - but my son is the toughest, as we MIGHT see or hear from him once a month. It's just a whole new dynamic to learn.
          Last edited by jfmorris; January 26, 2020, 08:20 AM.

        #15
        My hat is off to you for taking this on. I’ve gone through this a few times and I felt busy and rushed the entire week before with no spare time for anything, let alone cooking for the event. The payoff will be seeing your daughter’s smile when it is all comes together. My best to the new couple.

        Comment

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