Well Folks: Today lets talk about grilling for a crowd. It's one thing to grill up some ribs for the family, it's another thing to grill for a large group. I'm not a professional caterer, so I have limited knowledge about grilling for a huge event. I have cooked for about 75 people, and many times for groups of 25 to 35.
The first time you cook for a group of people that isn't family it can be a little scary. I'm here to tell you with a little extra planning you can do just fine. Getting a good count of how many people will be there is most important. You'll want to know how many are adults and how many are children. After you know the count you have to know what you are going to grill. I like it when I get to choose, but some times you can't do that and you will have to grill what is requested. Once you know how many and what you are grilling, the next thing you have to do is make sure you have enough grill space. You will need to have enough grill space to grill each meat choice, this is why I like to choose, because one of the easiest meat to grill for a crowd is Pulled Pork. Pulled Pork can be done before the event and is a great self serve meat. Ribs are tougher, as far as I'm concerned because to me these need to be smoked and served when the meal is served. You can do ribs before hand and heat later, I just think they are the best coming right off the smoker and onto the plate. Same with Pork Steaks you can do them ahead of time and reheat but again right off the smoker is when they taste the best, if you ask me. Chicken quarters are also poplar, and are easy to cook and serve.
Now after making sure you have enough grill space. To get a idea of how much meat you need is next hard decision you have to make. A good rule of thumb is a 1/3 lb person of pulled pork if only serving one meat if you are are doing 2 meat 1/4 lb per person.. That's when you have at least 2 sides. When serving ribs, 2 bones per person with 2 meats, 3 bones per person when serving by its self. Chicken quarters 1 per person when only serving chicken and split and serve one piece when doing another meat. Sides serve about 3oz per person of each side.
These are just some general guide lines. Don't jump out there and try to grill a company picnic for the first time and try to feed 100 people. Start out doing a cook for family and friends with 12 to 20 people to get your feet wet, and build up your confidence. That's really all most of you will every want to grill for,but once you start grilling for the family and friends, and you grill up some great BBQ. You will find that you will be asked to grill more often, and there will be more people each time. It's a lot of work so don't be afraid to say no. If you decide to grill for a large group, make sure you have help, and you are prepared to cover the cost of all the rubs, sauce and charcoal. All those expenses add up in a hurry and if it's a family get together you may find out, you won't enjoy the gathering, and all you did was work.
Now if you become the Pit Master that everyone wants to grill at their gathering, it is nice to hear all the positive feed back,. Just remember it's a lot of work, but if you are like me, and love to BBQ, it can be pretty rewarding.
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