I just finished a 150 person event...first time ever

Discussion in 'Catering & Large Group Gatherings' started by ryanmn, Sep 24, 2017.

  1. ryanmn

    ryanmn Fire Starter

    I have never cooked for more than about 20 people, usually just groups of close friends, but was asked to prepare all the meat for a church event of about 150 people. I was really nervous but accepted the challenge and am very pleased with the results. I received a ton of praise and compliments, and although it was a ton of work I think the process went well. I made pulled pork, chicken, and a few sides and sauces, and kept everything pretty simple. I think going with easy meats and recipes was good for diners so the food was enjoyable for everyone, and made it easy for me to prep.

    Between my GMG Jim Bowie and Masterbuilt Dual Fuel i had plenty of cooking space for 8 shoulders and about 40lbs of chicken.

    Good luck to everyone who is trying to cater, I'm happy to share what I learned if anyone has questions.
  2. chilerelleno

    chilerelleno Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    :grilling_smilie: Thumbs Up
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2017
  3. thatcho

    thatcho Meat Mopper

    Congratulations on your success.
  4. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★


    That's a lot of people to cook for.

    22 is the most I've ever done & that was a lot of work!

  5. Glad it went well for you.
    Requests for my smoking expertise has grown in my little community over the years and this year I've done three smokes with a hundred or more folks...
    It is a lot of work, but it's always pretty satisfying, especially when you get recognization for your efforts.
    Now, just hearing "Walt's smoking..." draws people...and I've had folks ask for "my card" thinking I'm a caterer.
    The looks and responses I get when I say I'm just a backyard sorta BBQ guy and do this because it's fun are priceless.
    It doesn't get any better than that and makes it all worthwhile.

    Last edited: Sep 25, 2017
  6. ryanmn

    ryanmn Fire Starter

    That's awesome and sounds fun. Have you upgraded your equipment to accommodate requests for larger groups? I already know I'm at the extreme upper range for groups this large with my current arsenal of smokers. Also, besides the cost of ingredients, do you charge for your services or do you just donate your time? If you do charge, how do you do it? Per pound, person?
  7. I did recently purchase a propane MB 40XL...but I wouldn't call it an upgrade...
    Don't get me wrong there's absolutely nothing wrong with it...I got it more for large ammount of rack space for cold smoking cheeses and stuff in the winter.
    AND so far out of my 20+ year collection of smokers, I've managed...
    AND I don't charge for my services (yet) only costs. After this summer i may rethink that tbough. However, I do put out a "donations for the cook" can which usually nets me just about enough to cover the incidentals I always seem to forget about plus maybe a six pack.
    I don't think I actually want to cater...was a small business owner a few times in my life and I'm afraid that catering would take the fun out of it as turning a loved hobby into a business has done in the past.

    ryanmn likes this.
  8. 3montes

    3montes Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Good job Ryan! You learned two things. Cooking for a crowd is a lot of work. Anyone who has never done it can't possibly realize how much work it is. The other is it can be very satisfying. I have been doing large events for a number of years now. Some have been up to 300 people. It takes a incredible amount of prep time and organization. Then you have to plan transporting everything and keeping things cold as well as set up once you get to the site and planning the logistics of timing of when you have to start smoking in regards to when the masses want to be fed. My biggest one this year was 300 people for a wedding. I did the groomsmen dinner Friday night and the wedding Saturday. It was a outdoor event on a large beautiful farm.

    It was about a hour and 15 minutes from where I live. I took the smokers and my motor home there on Wednesday and set up my area. I stayed in the motor home on the hosts property all weekend and just cooked. It was a memory I will always have it was such fun!

    I have had such fun doing this. I have met so many people I would have otherwise not met. And as always the compliments on the food are nice to hear.
    ryanmn likes this.

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