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Meat for Daughters wedding

captain chad

Joined Jul 24, 2016
Hello All,

 My name is Chad and I am cooking the meat for my daughters wedding this Saturday, I am new to this site and I'm just looking for a little reassurance that I will have enough food and that it will be good. This is my first attempt at catering for anything bigger than a decent sized backyard BBQ so any advice or ideas you have to share would be greatly appreciated.

We believe we will have between 250 and 275 guests for the wedding, My Dad and I both have Traeger texas elite grills, I have a friend that has another texas elite we can use as well.  We are cooking Kahlua pork, and Tri-tip roast, as well as several side dishes.  I have 13 - 9-10lb pork butts (around 124lbs total)  and 6 - pakages of Tri-tip at 19lb average, (not sure if there are 2 or 3 roasts per package, about 114lbs).  I guess first off I'd like to know if you guys think that sounds like enough meat.

Thursday, all day, I am planning on grilling the pork butts on the traeger on smoke for 3 hours salted with red Hawaiian salt, then pull them and wrap them in banana leaves and foil and smoke for 7-8 hours at 325 deg. until they reach 195 - 200 degrees.  I did a trial run with one butt and it turned out really good, ( I did 2 hrs smoke and 5.5 hrs @325 that time,  IMO it could have had more smoke and the meat was a little firm in the middle), I am not sure if having that much more meat on the smokers  will take a lot longer or not.  After they are finished I plan on resting them and pulling them apart kinda roughly, leaving them in the juices and covering them with plastic wrap and foil in roasting pans and refrigerating until Saturday afternoon.  

The tri-tips I plan on cooking on the traegers on Saturday maybe a couple hours before hand  and slicing fairly thin with a meat slicer and keeping warm in the roasting pans.  I will have help to do this since I will be taking pictures and doing other "father of the bride" duties.  Everything I read said not to smoke the beef roasts days before and re-heat, so even though it will be hectic, I plan to do it the day of.

My Dad also has a big stainless propane smoker that will hold 6 roasting pans, I was thinking of using that to re-heat and maybe keep things warm on the wedding day as it gets closer to dinner.  We might use the traegers to do some of the re-heating as well.

I have used these forums over the years to look at recipes or a smoking method and to drool over some of the awesome food you guys cook on here.  I really respect this site and these forums and I am thankful for the people who post on here.

Thank you in advance for any advice you guys might have.



N. Idaho



Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
Joined Aug 27, 2008
Welcome to the SMF Family, Chad!!!

I know you're going to be busy when you find this post...cooking for a wedding, and bigger than the one I did...yeah, you're busy...so, I'll try to brief and cover what I know.

OK, your talking 19lb pkgs of tri-tip, so they'll have about 6 per pack...they're around 3+lb/ea...35 or so total TT. These will cook fairly quick to med/rare on med-high grate temps...less than 60 minutes for sure.

Regardless on the counts, 235lb precooked meat weight for up to 275 people is plenty of meats. Add a couple side dishes, carbs, etc, and you've got enough for 400+ for one meal.

Having larger quantities on the cooking grates with a closed cook chamber, plan a bit longer time, mainly for the cooker to recover to your target temperature due to thermal absorption into the meat. Leave a bit of gap between each item so they cook more evenly...don't over-crowd the cooker. Cold meat soaks in heat fast, and once the surface temps rise the absorption rate drops off...that's when you'll see your cooker temps rise and begin to stabilize again. A full load could take 30 minutes or more to stabilize...add that much to cooking time. Plus, your previous trial pork butt wasn't quite tender...need more time for higher I/T...probe tender is the key...some only need 195*, some need 205*, or anywhere between...check I/T, but probe to verify tenderness, then rest the meat.

Any hot foods should be held at 135* minimum per US Food Code (that's the food temp, not the steam-table pan temp)..140* offers a bit of safety margin. Chaffing pan kits may not be sufficient, but I check my hot foods with an instant read pocket thermometer frequently to determine if my holding temps are acceptable.

It was a few years back when I cooked for my daughter's wedding...out of town venue...had some chaotic moments with the venue for reheating meats, etc, but I worked the problems and made it to the other side in the end. Keep a cool head, and when a problem comes up there's usually a simple solution...just keep moving forward.

Don't forget beverages...some folks like after meal coffee, no matter how hot it is...cold beverages for sure. Think full buffet table and what it looks like when properly stocked. Serving utensils, pans/trays...the works. If you use electrical cords for slow-cookers or roaster ovens, etc, be sure they are secured, will not have liquids/foods dumped on unprotected plugs (ZAP!!!) or create a trip-hazard.

Hope for NO RAIN or high winds...been there.

Congratulations on the wedding!!!

Last edited:


SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Jun 22, 2009
Hi Chad!

  to SMF!

Glad to have you with us!

Sounds like Eric has you covered.

Congrats & good luck!


chef jimmyj

Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Group Lead
Joined May 12, 2011
Yep you got good advice. I find a 205 IT plus a rest has been 100% fool proof for me and I don't fuss with probe testing. Too much to worry about when busy, keep it simple. You have plenty of Meat! Like Eric indicated, the Meat is easy, getting all the Chafers, Serving Equipment, Condiments, Cups, Plates and Set up, will Bite you in the Butt! Get as much done Early as you can. The Food comes out last. Have plenty of Help and Delegate! You got a lot going on to be 80 to 90% hands on yourself! I have done many Carved Buffets and last minute Carve to Chafers. Dedicate your best and most experienced Sous Chef to cooking the Beef. For Medium to Med/Rare at service, cook the Beef to an IT of 120°F and place them in a 140°F Holding Cabinet, can be Rented. The beef will come up to 130-140 as it is held hot. Then have 2 Guys Carving Beef and the Pork ready to go in Chafers. Make sure the Pork is 165 BEFORE going over Simmering Water Chafer Baths. This will keep the meat hot. Chafers are NOT for reheating!...That is a BIG Gig for an experienced Caterer. Make a Plan and Work it. Best of Luck and Congrats to the new Couple!...JJ

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