Big smoke next Saturday...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jgibb, May 15, 2014.

  1. jgibb

    jgibb Newbie

    I am planning a big smoke for a bunch of people coming for a 'tech' session for our Valkyrie Motorcycles.  I did a smaller version of this last year when I first got my custom-made reverse smoker.  Now I have people coming in from out of state and I want it to be exceptional.  Here is my planned menu...

    Main Menu


    Pulled Pork

    St. Louis Style Ribs (my toughest smoke)

    Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs (Jeff's recipe)

    Smoked Mac N Cheese

    Cole Slaw (Vinegar Based)





    Hummus and Pita Chips (Homemade Hummus)

    Mango salsa and Tortilla Chips

    Fresh Fruit



    Chocolate Pudding dessert with chocolate chip cookie crust

    Others as they bring them


    Jeff’s BBQ Sauce

    Jeff’s Orange BBQ Glaze (for the chicken thighs)

    Pete’s (husband) BBQ Sauce

    Carolina BBQ Sauce (recipe from a local)

    I'm also having a keg of beer, various wines and sweet tea. And for my brother-in-law, cranberry juice with club soda.

    My wood-of-choice is cherry.  I am borrowing 2 electric smokers for the ribs and the mac n cheese, beans, and chicken thighs. 

    Any suggestions for additions, subtractions? 
  2. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Jgibb , I hope you have a grand time with your party, and getting it ready in a mannerly time. seems like a lot to do for one person ; hope you have help and plan on do aheads- Slaw , Beans , Rolls , cornbread(if you have a Castiron Cornbread Stick Pan , it will look more appealing. The Appetizers and desserts can also be done ahead of time. "The Greatest gift a cook can receive is time". Use it wisely .

    As far as drinks and such... I saw a cute Watermelon Jelloshot on "The Chew" today . . .Watermelon Jello made with Tequila and set-up in Lime halves. When set,cut the halves in half - they look like little Watermelons. A nice Sangria goes nicely with an outdoor meal.

    Sounds like you have the Brisket and Pork Butt figured out , the Ribs are just as easy... follow your favorite recipe (wrapped or not - I don't wrap and glaze with Turbinato Sugar (just rub a small handful on the meat side and in for 20min. or so to melt the Sugar.)

    Saucing is a personal choice... I don't sauce during cooking , My sauce is a condiment.

    Here's another good hint . . .go purchase a package of cheap Bath Rags -(Goodwill is a good source) for using as Napkins...paper is a headache when eating) then wash them for the next party.Set finger bowls out at each place and have fun.

    and as always , my favorite matra is . . .
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    WOW, BIG COOK!!! Sounds great You anywhere near Central PA? The only advice to add is, get Chafing Dishes. You are serving lots of people over time. You need to keep the hot food over 140°F and cold food under 40°F. Sick people don't buy Bikes...JJ
  4. jgibb

    jgibb Newbie

    great suggestions! My sister (across the street) has chafing dishings, so I will definitely be borrowing. I love the idea of the jello shots and sangria. And the use of the cloths instead of napkins - brilliant! All great suggestions! I am taking Wednesday, Thursday and Friday off - the meal is Saturday. Wednesday is for some house cleaning and mani/pedi (a girl has got to look good).  Thursday is strictly for cleaning and food shopping. Friday is for meal prep. I'm ordering the meat this weekend from a local butcher and will be picking it up Thursday. I can prep the brisket and pork butt thursday. Friday, I'll prep the ribs and the thighs. I can make beans ahead, hummus, fruit and (now) jello shots. I think I can do the mac n cheese, too. I'm (don't laugh) buying a second 'garage' refrigerator - much needed for all the smoking I do (you should see the juggling I do up until now with food prep). Also, Jeff pointed me to a great bean recipe. The man hasn't failed me yet (I've been told I'm no longer allowed to roast a turkey - my husband is all about the bacon butter smoke turkey now!) LOL! I have so much fun cooking for him!

    Um...what else... Oh, I'm totally with the 'sauce as a condiment' statement. My pivotal moment was the dinner at the Rendezvous in Memphis. I never put a drop of sauce on my food because it was amazing straight with the dry rub. My goal is to achieve such perfection. I will continue until I do - then try to surpass it. ;-)  I want to have a variety of sauces because I have people coming from south and north. 

    No pressure - I have a chef coming... who puts on a fabulous smoke herself in August.  lol - mine will be better! ;-)

    going back to the bacon-butter turkey - do I need to include that in my menu? I've been kicking that around. Its not that much effort considering everything else I'm doing. same temp as the brisket and boston butt. I thought the chicken thighs would fulfill that part of the variety, but now I'm wondering if I should include a couple of turkey breasts with the bacon butter. 

    Keep in mind - I tend to over do it. If you couldn't tell already.

    Thank you for all the feedback. You are helping tremendously!
  5. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks like it's going to be a great party.   Are you doing the brisket and the butt ahead of time ?
  6. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    You have the sauces covered unless you want an Alabama White Sauce for the bird the way you are making it. My " Kicked Up " version is below, the original is boring for my taste. Have some good quality Hot Sauce for the Chiliheads. I like, " Hotter Texas Pete. " For the Sangria, I have an outstanding Recipe that is easy, Cheap to make and produces 1 Gallon at a time. You have an awful lot of Smoked meat. A change up may not be a bad idea. May I suggest the recipe below for Pit Chicken, it would be good with Thighs or Leg Quarters...

    White Bubba Q Juice /Alabama Style

    2C Mayonnaise, Hellman's (Hey I'm a Jersey Boy!)

    1C Apple Cider Vinegar

    1/4C Honey or 3T White Sugar

    1T Horseradish, prepared

    1tsp Celery Seed, ground

    1tsp Salt

    1tsp Black Pepper

    1tsp Onion Powder

    1/2tsp Garlic Powder

    1/2-1tsp Cayenne Pepper

    Dash of Worcestershire Sauce

    Whisk all ingredients together until well combined. Taste and adjust Sweet, Sour, Salt and Heat to your taste. Refrigerate at least two hours for flavors to meld. Divide, with half to be brushed on the meat during the last half hour of the cook and the remaining half to be used as a Dip at the table.

    Makes about 3 1/2 Cups Sauce. NOTE: This makes a great Dressing for Cole Slaw as well...

    Pit Chicken aka, Roadside Chicken

    This Chicken is Grilled and sold all across the country at Roadside Stands and at Firehouse Fund Raiser BBQ's. Here is my version.

    Pit Chix Basting Sauce

    2C Apple Cider Vinegar

    1C Olive or other Oil

    2T Worcestershire Sauce or more to taste

    1/4C Brown Sugar

    1T Smoked Paprika

    2 tsp Granulated Garlic

    2 tsp Granulated Onion

    2 tsp Fine Grind Black Pepper

    1 tsp Celery Salt

    1 tsp Cayenne Pepper or Chipotle powder. Add more if you like Heat.

    1/2 tsp Grnd Allspice

    2Lrg Egg Yolks

    I always Brine my Chicken with my Families Favorite Brine and apply some Bubba Chix Rub. This is then Grill over indirect heat at 300-325°F until the Internal Temp (IT) reaches 175°F. If the skin is not Crisp enough, a few minutes, turning frequently, over direct heat will get you there.

    This stuff is Tangy with a Sweet and Spicy Finish. If you wish, instead of Brining, you can make a Double batch and add 1T Kosher Salt to half. Marinate the Chix for 4-6 hours with the salted half of the Brine/Basting Sauce then use the rest to baste during the Cook.

    I would squirt the Sauce on with a Sports Bottle about every 15-20 minutes and used all but 1/2 cup that I took to the Table to add a fresh Punch of flavor. Great Stuff!...

    Smokin' Great SANGRIA!

    In a Pitcher large enough to hold a Gallon plus Fruit, combine...

    1C Brandy or more...cheapo E&J, Christian Bros.

    1C Triple liqueur.

    2C Apple Juice or Cider

    2C Orange Juice...Fresh or Simply Orange

    1-2 Sliced Oranges...Lemons and Limes, Optional.

    1-2 Diced Apples

    2 1/2 Qt Red Wine...Riunite Lambrusco is my fav.

    *NOTE*  You will use most of the 3 Liter Bottle. Or if you have room, dump it all!

    Additionally, if you choose a really Dry Red Wine, you may need to add a bit of Sugar. The Lambrusco is on the sweet side so no additional sugar is needed. 

    Mix well and CHILL WELL...I stick it in the Freezer for an hour or more.

    "CAUTION"  This goes down smooth and will kick your BUTT!

     DRINK RESPONSIBLY....Please!?!

    Last edited: May 23, 2014
  7. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'm not sure if Turkey Breast would fit in the "Swing into Spring" thingy...however Smoked Turkey Legs Do. The Lords of the Feast will get a kick out of walking around with a big old leg to gnaw on.

    With that said , yes you can do Brisket and Butts ahead of time , they re- heat easily.

    Have fun and definitely have a Photojournalist among the help. I want to see this one . . .[​IMG]  I'll be watching...

    Have fun and as always . . .
    mixermanii likes this.
  8. jgibb

    jgibb Newbie

    didn't think about doing the brisket and butt ahead of time. That doesn't take away from the taste?
  9. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Won't say that there's absolutely no change, but I cook briskets ahead of time and reheat on site and people are always more than happy and ask how I do them.     I'll normally smoke briskets and butts the day before.   With the brisket, I pull it from the smoker, spritz it with some apple juice and wrap in foil (if not already wrapped) and set it out to rest for about an hour or two.  Then it goes into the fridge to cool.   Day of the event, I put the foil wrapped brisket back onto a smoker or in an oven at 250 - 300 for about 2 hours.   I aim for a serving temp of about 160.   When dinner time comes, slice and serve.

    For butts, I'll either do them the exact same way I do the brisket, pulling when they reach 160, or, I'll go ahead and pull them once they've rested a bit after coming off the smoker.   The pulled pork goes straight into disposable aluminum pans and I'll spritz it with a bit of apple juice and also some of the foil drippings that have been defatted.    Seal with a foil lid and into the refrigerator.    At the event, sealed foil pans go into the smoker/oven and reheat to 160.     Have a spray bottle of apple juice on hand and just watch the moisture level in the pulled pork.      Or, instead of apple juice, you could use JJ's  or SoFlaQuer's finishing sauce.

    Another reheat method that a number of people around here use is to put the pork into bags once it's been pulled, adding a bit of juice, drippings or finishing sauce.   To reheat, they'll drop the bags in hot water to bring it up to temp.  Then pan and serve.
  10. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Just in case you chose to use it. Here is the Finishing Sauce...

    Tangy Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce

    This is more of an Eastern North Carolina style Finishing Sauce...

    2 C Apple Cider Vinegar

    2T Worcestershire Sauce or more to taste

    1/4C Brown Sugar

    1T Smoked Paprika

    2 tsp Granulated Garlic

    2 tsp Granulated Onion

    2 tsp Fine Grind Black Pepper

    1 tsp Celery Salt

    1 tsp Cayenne Pepper or Chipotle powder. Add more if you like Heat.

    1/2 tsp Grnd Allspice

    Combine all and whisk well. Let rest, at room temp, a minimum of 30 minutes for the flavors to meld together. Or bring just to a simmer and remove from heat.

    This is best added as part of the reheat or to season and flavor the hot Pork.

    I don't know if there will be room in your smoker bu this Au Jus Recipe would be perfect to keep the Brisket juicy. Good for reheating as well...JJ

    Smokey Au Jus

    1- Lg Onion,

    4-5 Carrots,

    3-4 Ribs Celery

    3-4 Peeled Cloves of Garlic

    Toss them in a pan under the Beef, and let the whole deal Smoke for one hour,

    THEN add 4-6 Cups Beef Broth,

    2 Tbs Tomato Paste,

    1/2tsp Dry Thyme (4-5 sprigs Fresh)

    1-2 ea Bayleaf

    Finish the Smoking process to the IT you want. 

    While the Roast is resting, dump the pan juices veggies and all into a 2-3Qt Sauce pot and add 1Cup Red Wine, something you like to drink, and bring the Jus to a boil, lower the heat and simmer 20-30 minutes. Strain out the veggies and let the Jus rest a minute or so for the Fat to rise. Skim off the bulk of the fat then using strips of paper towel laid on top of the Jus, drag quickly across to take off the last little bit of fat.

    The purpose of Smoking the Vegetable for 1 hour before adding the Broth and Herbs is...The Smoked vegetables Roast in the Dry heat concentrating their Flavors and Sweetness giving the finished Jus a Richer, Deeper, Full Flavor.

    Serve the sliced Beef Au Jus or thicken the Jus to make Gravy.

    NOTE: If you are using this recipe with Brisket or a long smoke, additional Water will have to be added periodically to maintain the proper volume. Do not add more Broth as repeated addition and reduction will make the Au Jus too salty..
    demosthenes9 likes this.
  11. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    ABT's and Pork shooters!

    Precook, Precook, Precook... then the day of the party fire up the pit so everyone sees smoke and smokes some ABTs and Pork shooters, which you made the day before.
  12. jgibb

    jgibb Newbie

    Wow, thanks!!! This will also allow me to be fresher for the party. Being up all night, then having a large party tends to take its toll on me. I'll call my butcher shop and have them get my meat a day earlier. Thanks a bunch!
  13. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    O.K. , Jgibb . It is now Sunday .  .   . Now tell us about the Party . . . was it phenomenal  . . .and we need Q-view  ,  please . This party sounded too good to not see...[​IMG]  I'm jazzed and ready to know  how it went.[​IMG]  still waiting , remember


  14. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Bump.......what happened? Did the Party get out of hand? Jgibb? You O.K.? [​IMG]  I wanted to see the fun , and drool.!          
  15. jgibb

    jgibb Newbie

    No, it's the 24th, not last Saturday. Trust me, I'm a picture person. I will be updating as I go. I'm going to take your advice and do my brisket and pork butt Friday. I am intrigued by the finishing sauce and am lining up my chafing dishes and ice bowls to keep the hot stuff hot and the cold stuff cold. I even got a keg donated for the party, along w the tap, ice and cups! It's going to be a blast!
  16. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I'm sorry .[​IMG]   ... PATIENCE~~PATIENCE~~PATIENCE ~~OOommmmm [​IMG]
  17. jgibb

    jgibb Newbie

    OK, my count is jumping higher. I have 42 firm now. I think I'm going to bump my bacon-wrapped chicken thighs to 30 (from 20). I'm picking the meat up tomorrow. I'll rub the brisket and the pork Thursday and let set until Friday morning. I'll start soaking the chicken thighs in buttermilk Friday Afternoon.  I'll get my fruit cut up Friday and get the mac n cheese and the beans put together Friday. I'm digging the sangria, so I'll assemble that, too, on Friday (I may have to sample it a bit to see how it tastes...).  Tonight I want to gather my shopping lists. For the fruit, I'm thinking watermelon, strawberries, pineapple, oranges and grapes. All together into a fruit salad.

    BTW, getting a keg donated! As well as the tap, the basin, the ice and the cups. :) 

    Gathering tents, chairs, and tables as we go. Hotel rooms are set and so is overflow parking. My neighbors are going to be drooling over the fantastic smells and thinking I'm throwing a graduation party for bikers! Getting close! So excited!
  18. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Nice.  If you haven't done it before, cooking for 40+ can seem to be overwhelming, but it really isn't.  Just relax, have a good plan and run with it.   Speaking of a plan, have you decided on you cooking schedule yet ?
  19. jgibb

    jgibb Newbie

    I am taking the advice to do the brisket and pork ahead of time, so that will start early Friday morning. Tomorrow, I will rub them both and let them set. I'll write down and figure my timing in the morning with my coffee (best thinking time). I'm finding that having a printed out schedule keeps me on top of things. I'll post it in the morning. If you see it and find any holes, please let me know. You all have been a tremendous help.
  20. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'd definitely go with JJ's finishing sauce for the pulled pork.   With the brisket, it would depend on how you are serving.  I prefer to slice brisket somewhat to order and serve immediately if possible.  With a good sized group, I'll slice one brisket at serving time and have it on a platter.  As the platter empties, I'll grab another brisket, slice it and restock the platter.  If I know I won't have time to do all that, (or if there are lots of people to serve), then I'll just slice all the brisket and put it in a chafing dish.   This is when I'd use Jimmy's Au Jus.
    Sounds like you are set.  When figuring out the schedule for the reheating of the brisket and the butt, add in an extra hour or so just to be safe.   If you allot 3 hours to reheat the brisket and butt and it only takes 1 1/2 hours, it's no big deal.    Once they hit 160, either put them in the oven at 140ish or into a towel lined cooler to hold until needed

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