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Old 03-17-2007, 07:18 PM   #1
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catering for Gala

This is not a bbq question, but general catering question. I've been recruited by my wife to cater the meat dishes for 400 people for the Summerville Junior Service League Gala next month. All the side dishes and desserts are to provided by others. This will be a heavy hors d'oeuvres buffet style menu. I was thinkg of smoking pork loin, grilled shrimp and pineapple skewers, and cubing top-sirlion roasts for skewers and marinateing in teriyaki, grilled with onions and mushrooms.
My question is number of servings of each meat, I was thinking 200 servings of each.
Pork loin will be sliced for sandwhiches. Three shrimp and pineapple per skewer. Three pieces of beef with onions and shrooms per skewer. That is 600 servings for 400 folks, probably 50-50 men to women ratio.
Any advise is appreciated on servings and serving sizes. Any recomendations on alternative menu items are also appreciated.
Thanks
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Old 03-18-2007, 07:40 AM   #2
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Sounds like a nice menu, but you need a pretty large group of people to pull that off... anytime you do skewers, you labor factor multiplies by 4, you have to cube it, marinate it, skewer it , then cook it, all , while keeping those large poundage numbers of meat at safe temp, and then safe temps in marinade, then holding, prior to the cooking process.. you might consider not marinating, and use spray bottles , or squeeze bottles to douse the meat as it comes off the grill

Another reaction I had is to stay away from the shrimp.. great idea, but peeling, deveining, marinating, skewering up, and grilling them off , and not have them dry out in the process of cooking that many shrimp, will be a challenge for professional kitchen staff, let alone a few people doing it..

using your numbers, 200 servings, using , let say 21-26 shrimp, 23 avg of that .. you need: 200 servings x 3 shrimp per skewer= 600 shrimp Divided by 23 avg shrimp= 26 pounds of shrimp... lotta work.. If it were me. I'd cook the shrimp, on a large sheet, un skewered, in your cooking vessle of choice, for 7 minutes, at 350, have some heated up pineapple chunks in teriakyi ready , then mix them up in a serving tray, and have someone scoop 3 shrimp per person in the line, with a dollop of pineapples, sprinkled with ginger.. There's a guy on another forum who is experimenting with cooking, then holding shrimp for large numbers.. I'll get a hold of him , and see what he reulsts have been so far...

I'm also thinking you wont have enough food... you need 2-3, some people say 3-4 appetizers (if it's not an affair that has a dinner serving attatched to it).., per person, per hour, of serving.. so, if every one of those 400 people take only 3 appys, you need 1200 serving of appetizers

you might want to consider cooking larger cuts of meat, with smallish dinner type rolls, and have a carving station for those meats IE Shoulder clod, chuck rolls, briskets, your pork loin idea fits in here, large cured hams that you smoke, etc etc

If you need any help feel free to PM anytime... hope I didnt come off as being negative, just wanted to let you know what you are up against.. sounds like a fun gig
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Old 03-21-2007, 09:36 AM   #3
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The other things along the appitizers line that goes over well is Sate chicken, but stay away from anything that uses peanut butter or peanut oil in the recipes, (to stay risk free for peanut oil allergys).

As Bobberqer says the prep work on appitizers can kill you, I prefer to set up a production line if possible to get them done in the shortest amount of time, get everyone you can on the skewering then when 2/3rds are skewered set someone to start dipping them and laying then across 2 sticks to keep them apart, and stap them all sticking together.

When you are grilling them, or deep frying if you choose to go that way they really don't take long so stay on top of the cooking part or they will be overdone.

The other things that are quicker to prepare are things like home smoked ham, cubed and stuck with some pineapple and a cheddar cube, as with the ham already being cooked all you are doing is "building" them cold, one pineapple ring will do 8 to 10 cubes.

Some other ham things that take less time than you think, are sliced ham rolls with cream cheese, again set it up as a production line lay out the ham on a clean surface cut a block of philladelphia cheese into strips the width of the black and about 1/3rd on an inch square, lay a strip of philly across each slice of ham, then roll the ham around the cheese, roll it till it can "sit on it's own tail", place onto sheet trays that fit in your smoker, (leave a little room between each roll, for the smoke to surround the ham & cheese roll), smoke for 10 -15 minutes, remove and allow to cool.
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Old 03-21-2007, 02:28 PM   #4
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Thanks to both of you for advise. I have changed my strategy somewhat on preparing this meat menu. I saw the complete menu last night, and there are at least 15 other menu items, cheeses, veggie/fruit trays, meatballs, quiches, etc..including desserts.
I plan to cook the pork loins whole a slice them when ready with Smokin' Cole's BBQ sauce on the side. I also plan to roast the top sirloin roasts whole (or halfs depending on their sizes) with the pork and slice when ready with a horseradish sauce on the side. There will be rolls for sandwhches. The shrimp will now be shrimp cocktail. You can buy cooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp from Sam's, so no prep. time there except waiting for shrimp to thaw. I feel bad about using Sam's shrimp since it is imported, and not South Carolina locals, but we are working on a limited budget with limited manpower. Thanks again for the insight.
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Old 03-22-2007, 09:51 AM   #5
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Good Luck to ya.. please share what amounts you end up cooking, and how much you have left over, and/or how fast you ran out.. Something tells me if you are doing the pork loin, and sirloin roasts, and the other stuff is finger food, your stuff will go first.. would be curious to know what actually occurs.. Thanks
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Old 04-15-2007, 04:31 PM   #6
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Did this event ever happen for you.. if so, any results in the way of your food, enough?? too little? too much??
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Old 04-15-2007, 07:34 PM   #7
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This event is Friday, 20 April, so only a few days away. We have a final head count of around 300. I plan on cooking 80lbs of whole top sirloin roasts and 60lbs of whole pork loins. We will also have 20-30lbs of shrimp and meatballs I'm told along with about 15 various sides to be done by others. I talked to a guy that has done this event in the past, and he says these folks eat lots of meat, so hopfully I have planned enough. I'll let you know how it goes next weekend, hopfully with pics.
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Old 04-21-2007, 04:55 PM   #8
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The event went very well. I showed up at 1:00pm yesterday to start cooking and everything was on the cooker by 2:15. I cooked (I think) 60lbs of pork loin (8 loins) and about 80lbs of top sirloin roast (6 roasts) as planned. The meat was cyropacked, but the weights were not labeled on the packs.
I cooked on my gaser between 290 - 300 deg. The pork was done at 165 internal temp around 4pm, so I pulled it, wrapped it in foil and placed in a cooler to hold until we sliced it. The beef got done right about 6:30, with an internal temp of 140, and the party started at 7:00, so I was kind of sweating that. But there was sliced meat on the chaffing dishes by 7:00.
I sliced the beef for roast beef, and Atlanta Bread CO. donated sliced bread for sandwiches. Everything was very juicy, tender, and tasted great. I heard a lot of great comments, and we did not run out of food. There were 3 pans of beef left over and 1 pan of pork left over. It did not look like 300 people, I'm thinking closer to 250. Apparently, they ran out of food the past three years at this event, so they did not have very high expectations, which were exceded.
Overall a successful event, and it looks like I will do it again next year. This is a charity organization my wife is a member of, so I was volunteered, which means no pay.
I did take pics, and will attempt to post them later.
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Old 04-22-2007, 10:35 AM   #9
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Good deal. Aint it great when a plan goes the way you thought. [smilie=a_bravo.gif]
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