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Old 09-02-2019, 05:42 AM   #1
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Help .. need advice on cooking for 225 people..

We just got asked to do what amounts to our first catering gig, 225 people supposed to attend wedding - they want ribs, chicken, beans, and potatoes( smashed, not mashed) .. our pitt holds approx 16-18 racks of ribs.. which he slow cooks for 6 hours, chicken will take approx 3 hours.. we are wondering HOW or what do we do with the first set of ribs taken off the pitt, until the rest of the food is ready - I'm thinking we'll have to cook the first batch the night before - BUT can we take them off the pitt, cool down, and put in fridge -wrapped of course, and just heat everything up before the dinner or do we need to take off pitt and put immediatly in fridge, again heating up before the dinner,( we have access to commecial kitchen for this event) BUT I don't want the food to dry out or get tooo done.... 2nd batch has to go on and come off, then put chicken on.. Now ...will this be safe??? What is the holding times for chicken and ribs?? OR is it best to just rent another smoker so we can do it all at one time? Problems I see with that is you never know how something else will cook.. Any suggestions or advice from you pros out there would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks

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Old 09-02-2019, 06:26 AM   #2
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Do you have a "hot box"? If not, wrap each rack in foil, then a towel and stow in an empty cooler. Is your pit an off-set or do coals go under the cooking grates? If the latter, you might want to pull and wrap them just before they are finished, as I mentioned above, then hit them on the pit or separate grill, sauce or glaze if using and finish them that way.
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Old 09-02-2019, 07:20 AM   #3
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Rent a couple of cambros, or a hot box for onsite. Refresh the cooked ribs an hour so so before service. Beans, potatoes can all be prepped and ready to blast... potatoes par cooked, seasoned and on sheet pans...beans, they can be cooked and held/covered in hotel pans and ready to blast. Chicken do the day of. Your food once cooked, depending on what state you're in, is no more than 90 min - 2 hours.

Renting a smoker can be a huge known, unknown. I don't know that I'd trust BBQ to a piece of equipment I haven't used before, for such a significant day for the clients.
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Old 09-02-2019, 08:43 AM   #4
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I would encourage you to turn down the job.

Start with a smaller less emotional event than a wedding. If you hit a few bumps in catering at a neighborhood event no one will remember but those same bumps at a wedding reception will be remembered and talked about for years to come.
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Old 09-02-2019, 01:00 PM   #5
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I would encourage you to turn down the job.

Start with a smaller less emotional event than a wedding. If you hit a few bumps in catering at a neighborhood event no one will remember but those same bumps at a wedding reception will be remembered and talked about for years to come.

Well said Aunt Bea.

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Old 09-02-2019, 02:53 PM   #6
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Uffda. Unless you have the equipment and the staff, I would probably dance away from that job.
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Old 09-02-2019, 06:45 PM   #7
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Yep, unless you’re in the catering business I also suggest you down this down.
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Old 09-02-2019, 08:44 PM   #8
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I would encourage you to turn down the job.

Start with a smaller less emotional event than a wedding. If you hit a few bumps in catering at a neighborhood event no one will remember but those same bumps at a wedding reception will be remembered and talked about for years to come.
I agree....

And also you really should get ServSafe certified.
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Old 09-02-2019, 10:44 PM   #9
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I agree....

And also you really should get ServSafe certified.
+1. And if you don't know what that means, you shouldn't be catering at all.

Btw, welcome to Discuss Cooking
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Old 09-03-2019, 09:45 AM   #10
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I attended a wedding last year which featured a very similar menu to yours. Almost everyone, including me, got food poisoning.

You need to have good commercial liability insurance.
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Old 09-04-2019, 10:05 AM   #11
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You probably didn’t want to hear comments discouraging you from going forth with this but I can bet you you will get similar replies even if went on BBQ Brethren, for instance.
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Old 09-05-2019, 01:17 PM   #12
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We've cooked for 175 which is still a long ways from 225. Sometimes the menu has to match the abilities of the kitchen and the cook. We wouldn't attempt smashed or mashed potatoes but maybe some sort of cheesy potatoes, maybe a church/funeral casserole type dish that bakes and stays warm in a commercial oven during those last hectic minutes and it can be thrown together in minutes. (We'll have the potato recipe in about 6 weeks for 45 people). The same with the ribs... adjust the method a little. We would do them in oven the day before, get them into safe keeping in a refrigeration unit of some sort and just worry about the final sizzling the day of and they can be stacked on the grill after they reach perfection. Take care with the beans to insure they are completely cooled before storing if cooked the day before. A big pot of beans not stirred will sour in the interior if they stay warm. Food shouldn't stand around warmish for more than an hour or so. The chicken should cook pretty fast if they are open up/split. Good luck. Maybe make smaller test versions before the event.
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Old 09-05-2019, 02:48 PM   #13
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I think we scared OP away. He came to ask for help instead we told him/her to quit.

Not nice.
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Old 09-05-2019, 02:57 PM   #14
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I think we scared OP away. He came to ask for help instead we told him/her to quit.

Not nice.
I know it's harsh, but the reality is, the OP would have gotten similar comments even had he gone to 'Catering, Vending, and Cooking for the Masses' subforum over at another BBQ discussion forum.
At least he also got some good, constructive advice here.
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Old 09-05-2019, 06:26 PM   #15
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We didn't scare him away.

According to his profile, he (or she) made the original post and didn't even stick around to read anything posted.

Always annoying although it happens often.
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Old 09-05-2019, 11:28 PM   #16
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Kayelle, they might have read the posts without logging in.

Nah, I didn't think so either...
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:06 AM   #17
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We didn't scare him away.

According to his profile, he (or she) made the original post and didn't even stick around to read anything posted.

Always annoying although it happens often.


That’s for sure.
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