Big Cook Question?

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Master of the Pit
Original poster
Jan 30, 2018
Riverside, Cal
Just trying to plan ahead here. I will most likely be cooking for a large company event. I will not be paid like a caterer but management will be paying for the meat. I am most likely looking at feeding 200 or so people. I will smoke and serve the meat and the rest of the food will be part of a company potluck style meal. So I'm not too concerned about any side dish prepping. So on to the meat. So I am guessing there will be anywhere between 200 and 250 people in the building for this event. I want to serve brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork, sausages and possibly chicken. My main question is about the heating of the brisket and ribs. Since I don't have a monster rig where I can cook all of this at once I am going to need to process the meats ahead of time. I may need to freeze some of it then thaw and heat it for the event. I have had great success with pulled pork and feel like that is not a concern. For those of you who have done something familiar, what do you feel worked best for your storage, freezing, and reheating methods?

Second part is to plan on how much of this meat that will be needed. Same numbers 200-250 people. IT workers. A mix of men and women from 20's to 60's. Maybe a 60/40 ratio of men to women. Office environment but with some field staff. What would be a good guess of how much of each to prepare?

Brisket -
Ribs -
Pulled Pork -
Sausage -
Chicken -

Thanks in advance for any input you can provide to make this a success for my co-workers.

Wow that's one heck of a crowd!I don't have the brain power to even deal with those kinds of numbers but there are certainly some here that do!
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I did some pulled pork for the 50 or 60 people that were still on site during the apocalypse last year. I three butts were way more than enough for that crowd. Things were different at that time though. People chose not to eat since there were so many unknowns about that pandemic. But I recall bringing home almost half of that meat. No illusions about this one though. Some of these techs are hungry. So I'm just looking for a relatively good estimate to work from. You can stretch pulled pork a very long distance.

Here are a couple of attachments that might be helpful. The BBQ calculator will give you an idea how much food you need for the group and the recipe scaling form will allow you to take a basic recipe and what it produces and scale for your crowd. Replace the sample info with your ingredients and save for each recipe you make.

As for prep - I would take one meat per day, smoke/cook/cool in refer. Next day start with the new meat, repeat process, and vac pac or zip loc the previous days meat for reheating.

I would cook the easy meats - sausage/chicken on the day of the event with the prior meats (brisket, pulled pork, etc.) , sans ribs, in a pressure cooker. Wrap the ribs in foil with some broth and place on the upper shelf of the grill(s) you are using for the chicken/sausage to bring to safe IT.

A simple grill with a lid, or an electric smoker would work to heat the pre-cooked ribs and maybe other meats as well. How you do this is all dependent upon the quantity of the meats that have been and need to be cooked for the event. When ready to serve you can go with buffet pans over sterno/water pans to keep the meat at a safe temp (`135F) and serve from them as well.

You want to keep the stress level as low as possible on the event day. Anything you can prep prior to the event and then just concern yourself with getting to a safe IT makes life simple.

Good Luck and let us know how it turns out, with pictures of your finished products! 🍻


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Although it's not great for preheating you could look at renting a warming cabinet to hold the meat. I would not do ribs
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Take jcam222 jcam222 advise and cut down on the selection. In the past myself and a friend at the office cooked for 120 union carpenters and laborers, and office staff. If you have any friends with deep-fry turkey setups incorporate them, a 13lb bird takes 52 minutes, 3-4 birds X 2 and you're good to go. Half a dozen butts and a bunch of quality sausage, cook everything onsite, fresh is better every time. RAY
Wow, that's quite an undertaking. Even cooking some things ahead, will you be working solo?

I've had good success with cook ahead pork butt, brisket and ribs, and they reheat fine if you have tabletop roasters for a hot water bath, or take your smokers and reheat in the same pouches you freeze the meat in. My drill is to smoke as usual, but wrap with juices (which help with the reheat). I vent the pouches, then reseal and flash chill in an ice slurry to get the temps below 40°.

I also think cooking 5 main meats could be a lot of work. I'm doing an event this month for maybe 200 and we are only cooking butts and legs of lamb. The minor meats are sloppy Joes and all beef hot dogs and some Hog Apple beans which have sausage and/or bacon in them. We get it all done in 20 hours or so, but there are 5 cooks in the mix. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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