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Cooking for a Crowd

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    Cooking for a Crowd

    Hi All!
    Next week I will be cooking for our gender reveal party. There will be approximately 30-40 people attending throughout the day. Below are the mains I am considering. I have never cooked for more than 10 people and that was with only on main offering. I am just not sure how much I should be purchasing to satisfy the crowd. Any advice or insight would be greatly appreciated.

    Pulled / Sliced Beef (Chuck)
    Ribs (not really sure which kind yet. Just going to see what the butcher has when I get there)
    I will probably do some kind of chicken dish. We have plenty of that in the freezer so I am not overly concerned.
    Last edited by ShibbyMcAwesome; July 26, 2020, 12:29 PM.

    The more variety you offer the more excess of each meat you need, since you don’t know who will choose what. I would do the beef and skip the ribs. If they are all adults 1/2 pound raw should cover it. If they are grade school children perhaps two children per half pound.


      The last time I revealed my gender I got in BIG trouble...

      If you go with two or more mains, make sure they are ones that you like for leftovers 'cause LA Pork Butt has it right. You need to cook more of each and you still might run out of one or two.


        Make sure you have some kind of finger food, especially if there'll be kids in attendance. Maybe Thai chicken skewers with peanut sauce?


          Thank you so very much! I think scaling back the options and making more of one item is the way to go. The next challenge is making it so people are not constantly touching serving spoons, tongs, etc. We were think about getting portioned out paper boats or even containers the placing them in a chaffing dish. Thoughts?


          • Red Man
            Red Man commented
            Editing a comment
            You could designate one person to do all the serving, or just do it yourself.

          So, since it's just us Pit members here, do we get a sneak peek at whether it's a boy or girl? Is your avatar a clue?


            Keep the mains to a minimum and offer a bit of variety with the sides.


              The only way to avoid running out when offering multiple mains is portion control. Take the ribs for instance...because I've done this... As the guests move through the line they can have say 2-3 ribs. Period. (Whatever you've planned for.) IF there are any left after everyone has gone through the line...they're welcome to them. Some will want to scarf on ribs...some won't want any, but you won't know that until it's serving time.

              I would also do as Red Man suggested and designate a server or two/more depending on the total number of dishes & guests. Not only is it more sanitary, but portion control can be maintained.
              Last edited by surfdog; July 29, 2020, 10:07 AM. Reason: Shpelling


                I would do 1 main dish. And I would make that dish pulled pork. It's easy. People like it. It's forgiving. Have a couple different sauces for variety. Serve it on buns and in tortillas.

                ​​​​​ Lots of sides.

                If I HAD to have a second main dish, it would be chicken.

                Youre going to have to cook a lot of chuckies if you really want to serve beef. Better bet is two briskets.

                Either way, make sure you cook early and give the meat time to hold. Better to have it done early and holding than have 40 hungry people wondering how much longer the meat is going to stall.


                  I second what everyone is saying regarding a simple menu, and portion control. And a designated server wearing a mask and gloves. You don't want the guests breathing on the food without masks, so you need to almost have a serving table as a buffer between them and the server, and have the food BEHIND the server, so that the guests don't mess with it if they walk up without a mask. To me this would be safest, unless you just happen to have a plexiglass shield handy... or something to block the guests from the food.

                  As BFlynn says, pulled pork is a lot easier and cheaper than chuck. Right now, at least in my part of the country, beef is scarce, AND most stores have limits of one per item per purchase. One 8 pound boston butt will feed about 15 to 18 folks. One chuck roast will feed 5-6 at the most, as most chucks are only 2.5 to 3 pounds around here. Chicken also seems to remain readily available, and is cheap too.

                  I was planning to feed pulled pork and pulled chicken to guests at my daughter's May 16th wedding, but then COVID-19 hit, and we had a backyard reception for 15 family members only, same 15 in attendance at the church. When we were doing the 200 person event, I had worked out two ways to do pulled chicken - one was smoking whole chickens, the other was doing a 50/50 mix of boneless skinless breasts and boneless/skinless thighs, to get a good mix of chicken, with much less effort.

                  For 40 folks, I would do:

                  Pork - 3 to 4 8# butts if that is the ONLY meat
                  Chicken - 10 whole chickens if that is the ONLY meat (4 people per bird)
                  Beef - 10-12 chuck roasts, or packer briskets if that is the ONLY meat

                  I think for the pork or beef, you need about 1/2 pound COOKED meat per person, same for the chicken, to be safe and have plenty. Remember you lose about 40% of the weight of the meat in cooking, and for bone-in chicken, you also have to account for bones.


                  • Mr. Bones
                    Mr. Bones commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I like us yer 2nd pulled yardbird idea, Brother!
                    Super Easy! :cool

                  I’m going to sound like a grinch but have the meat portion catered.
                  We had a reveal party for our grand daughter last summer some women did salads and we found a place that made great chicken cutlets for a fantastic price, brought some buns, Bobs your uncle.
                  But if you insist on cooking I do agree simplify the Menu.


                    Thank you al for the advice. I have definitely scaled back. Still doing the chuck roasts an d a bunch of sides. I have decided to do some chicken tenders with variety of sauces. Ok so here is my next question and yes I have read the info on the site about trying to make things ahead of time. I would really like to make the chuck roast tomorrow evening. I was thinking about placing the final product in crock pots on low with some stock. Thoughts?


                    • BFlynn
                      BFlynn commented
                      Editing a comment
                      If you start the chuckies Sat evening, they'll finish Sunday morning. They can easily hold, wrapped in a cooler, for a few hours. In fact, that's recommended.

                      Are you aiming to have sliced chuckies? Or you plan on having the meat tender enough to pull?

                    Thanks BFlynn ! I was planning on pulling. Does this change anything?


                    • BFlynn
                      BFlynn commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Just cook to a higher temp to pull. 205 at least.

                      Ive only done a couple pulled chuckies, so someone else may have better advice.

                      If i was going to put it in a crock pot with liquid, I'd make up some of the Texas mop sauce listed on the free side.

                    • ColonialDawg
                      ColonialDawg commented
                      Editing a comment
                      If you wrap the chuckles in foil during your cook, you’ll get a ton of jus - save that stuff and mix it with the beef after you chop it up. If you don’t have enough jus, you can add a little bit of beef broth (but just enough to bathe the meat) - I like Better than Bouillon Roated Beef Base because I can regulate how much to add to water and it’s darn good. I would put BBQ sauce on the side for those that want it and a horseradish sauce as well. Caramelized onions are a good sammy topper.

                    ShibbyMcAwesome howd it turn out?
                    Happy campers?



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