Preparing for a party, advice appreciated

Discussion in 'For New Members' started by thecytochromec, Jul 25, 2014.

  1. Howdy,

    I'm prepping for a party my family is throwing labor day weekend.  I don't have an exact head count, but I think 30 mouths is a reasonable estimate. I'd like to serve brisket and ribs at 2:00pm. If there's room to squeeze in a fatty and the temps and wood workout, I'd like to try one of those guys as well.

    So I figured the best thing to do would be to approximate how much of each ingredient I'll need and secondly, what time each item should be cooked. I figured a pound of brisket of person and 6 racks of ribs should be more than sufficient. If I have leftovers, that's fine as it will be more of a two day thing.

    I've smoked one 13.5 lbs brisket that came out really well, so I'd like to try the same method but scale the size up to 3 briskets at slightly more than 10 lbs each or 2 really big, 14+ pound briskets. The previous method I used was 250*F and1 hour for each pound. I wrapped the brisket at a particular IT and let it stand for an hour after pulling off the smoker. After reading through some threads here I've seen people finishing briskets in coolers with blankets and things like that. That's really where my first grey area is. What's the best way to have the brisket ready on time? 

    For the ribs I'd like to do something relatively bullet-proof so I was thinking 2-2-1 on some baby backs.

    So, according to my calculations, if the ribs were the last to go on, which I imagine they should, the brisket would have to be done at latest by 9:00AM. So I'd have to have the brisket between 7 and 9 pm depending on the size. Do I have to smoke through the night or is there an easier way to go about this? Thanks in advance!
  2. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Howdy! [​IMG]

    Couple of options/ideas to consider:

    A good sized helping is 1/3 lb. per person of finished product, so for 30 people that's about 9-10 lbs of finished brisket. If you start with a 15 lb. raw brisket and subtract 35% for cooking loss you would get 9.75 lbs of finished. So 3 briskets is way overkill.... I would do two at most, or one big one if you can find a 16+ lb. one.

    If you don't want to do an all nighter then smoke your brisket up to a week ahead, then vacuum pack it and put it in the fridge (not the freezer), it re-heats just fine. However if you do decide to do an all nighter then toss your brisket on no later than 9 pm.... probably closer to 7 pm. It should be ready to remove and rest between 10-12 o-clock the next day. Wrap in two layers of heavy foil and place in a dry towel lined ice chest, and fill the rest of the space with towels as well. It will stay piping hot for well over 6 hrs. if need be, so don't worry about it finishing to early.

    For the ribs I would do them un-foiled, plan for 5-6 hrs., so if you do a all night brisket toss your ribs on around 6 or 7 AM the day of the feed. I would prep the ribs the night before and then all you have to do is put them on in the morning. Once the ribs are done double wrap in foil and place them in the cooler with the brisket until feed time. If you have a gas grill you can give the ribs a quick sauce and sear right before foiling them, this adds a nice flavor to the finished product.

    Even if you don't do the overnight brisket I would keep the same schedule with the ribs. Plan on approx. 6-7 racks of ribs for 30 people, that should give you some wiggle room as well.

    Best of luck! and don't forget the pictures!
  3. Thanks for the advice Rodriguez!

    I will make sure not to get too much brisket in that case.

    What about cooking the ribs for 5-6 hours unwrapped makes it appealing to you? I only ask because I haven't tried that particular method.
  4. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Unwrapped ribs come out great as long as you don't cook them to hot. I cook mine at about 250°, starting at the 4.5 hour mark pick the racks up about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way from one end and lift it up off of the grates. If it bends a full 90° and you see the meat fibers on the surface start to separate they are done. It's called the bend test, it varies a bit on time, but usually 5 to 6 hours on average - you will feel the looseness in the meat when it's done, it will bend easily. Ribs will be tender and moist.
  5. Back to the top!

    The number of guests has increased significantly so it looks like having 45 lbs of brisket before cooking won't be over kill. I plan on picking them up on Wednesday when the specials are released. I plan to vacuum seal them after they rest for a while. My room mate is taking Friday off to start the smoke and I'll join him in the monitoring after I get off work. I plan on doing the ribs Saturday. I think I'll go with the 5-6 hours method without wrapping. What's the best way to store ribs for the next day? I was thinking of keeping the foiled in the fridge until the next day. At any rate, this is going to be a huge party and I am going to feel pretty accomplished regardless of any imperfections that may occur.

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