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Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses. this forum is OnTopic. A resource to help with catering, vending and just cooking for large parties. Topics to include Getting Started, Ethics, Marketing, Catering resources, Formulas and recipes for cooking for large groups.


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Unread 09-08-2011, 08:33 PM   #1
dodgeramsst2003
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Default Feeding a crowd on a budget

I'm planning on hosting a medium size party for my coworkers, kind of a tailgate party but at my house. Need to figure out the best way to feed them for a reasonable price.

this originally started as a smoking party with everyone bringing something to throw on the smoker, but I decided that would be a bad idea since there is no telling what people would bring and I would have to come up with a way to cook everything at a moments notice. This was a co-workers idea and people at work were excited about it since they all love the food I bring in as leftovers.

I figure this will be about 40-50 people and right now am planning moinks, ABT's, cloinks, some butts for PP, cole slaw, baked beans and cornbread along with a keg and bottled water.

This wasn't planned as a "free" party so everyone is on board for chipping in for things..... I don't want to sound cheap, but I just can't afford to shell out 4-5 hundred for a party and everyone is on board for it.

So, I was thinking everyone chips in $10 I get the meat and a few will show up early to help cook, I'll do the sides as well. I figure I can get the meat, sides, keg, etc and still have enough left over for the spices etc that go along with cooking. I will provide my house to hold the event, smoker, wood, etc to make it happen out of my pocket.

Does this sound fair? I'm almost tempted to say that I will have enough participants to get a small pig (100lbs) to cook along with everything and we will have a feast as well as leftovers for people to take home. I'm not looking to make money off of this, and will probably end up contributing a couple hundred out of my pocket to make this happen, but these are my co-workers and I've been there 10 yrs now. We are like family and I want to make this a party to remember, but can't afford to pay for everything myself.

Does anyone have any ideas? suggestions? sorry for being so long on this, but I don't have parties very often, usually I'm cooking for a friends or family that make sure everything is covered.
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Unread 09-08-2011, 08:51 PM   #2
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Cheapest way to feed a crowd is chicken leg quarters,next cheapest is pulled pork.At least that has been my eggsperience.Sides are easy.If you have chicken and pork how can anybody not like one or the other?The same sides go with both.Have a ball!
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Unread 09-08-2011, 08:56 PM   #3
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My .02 cents...I say you arrange for a couple of them to bring sides...mac and cheese, baked beans, slaw, corn bread etc....Simplify your menu a bit. Maybe some PP and some whole chickens. I usually buy my yard birds for $3-4 a piece. I know you probably want to impress them, but I'd let the yard bird and the PP do the talking...Plus you could buy $150 worth of meat, arrange for a couple of coworkers to bring some sides and everyone can bring their own adult beverages..Either way, your out a $100-200. But this way, you don't look like your making money off of your friends
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Unread 09-09-2011, 12:45 AM   #4
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Keep it simple - do some PP if you'd like, even a couple butts should be sufficient. After that, I'd tend to stay away from larger hunks of meat, as you run the risk of letting things get pretty expensive, with some cooking space issues to boot.

Here's a couple other ideas that I've used at my own place that have usually worked well:

- Plain ol' hot dogs - everyone loves a good hot dog, easy to make, grill them to keep the smoker free.
- Chicken wings - fairly cheap, but consistant and easy to make, grill them to keep the smoker free.
- Meatloaf - fairly inexpensive, can be premade. Make it the day before, refridgerate, slice cold and grill up for sandwiches. Nice break from the normal hockey-puck hamburgers.
- Chili - you said a tailgate, right? Brew up a pot of chili, and have some of the other folks agree to make some as well, so there's a couple different kinds to choose from. Everyone has a favorite chili recipe.
- Nacho Bar - This one can consist of anything, can go hand-in-hand with the chili, easy to re-stock and replenish without the risk of a lot of waste.

Good luck!
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Unread 09-10-2011, 12:23 AM   #5
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This is a general topic ie;How to Feed a Crowd on a Budget. I think it is a Preparing food for a large group of people can easily turn into an expensive task.I will be painting as well and don't want to spend hours on food prep, but I want to feed them well.

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Unread 09-14-2011, 08:44 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies everyone. Not sure what the last one meant, but thanks none the less.

The party is set, I'll be doing pulled pork (pre cooking the day before and reheating due to smoker space) Moink balls, cloinks, ABT's, cole slaw, baked beans, and cornbread. Drinks will be lemonade, water, and keg beer, planning a 1/2 barrel of bud light and a 1/4 barrel of something good, with another 1/2 of bud on reserve just in case.

We are a small corporate company with good people and everyone is chipping in. Me and one co-worker are organizing this party and nobody even flinched when we mentioned that we might need donations to pull this off. I've even had people offer double the requested donation. We decided on $10/family for all you can eat/drink. I won't be having people go through a line, or have a list for collection, this will be strictly an honor system. I've been to at least 2 other parties of co-workers who had a party like this. So it may sound cheap, but it works for us I guess. Judging from the response I'm guessing that this will be 100-150 people including kids. s

The only hard part now is figuring out how much to cook with such a mix of people.
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-Downriver, MI
- UDS ( my new favorite cooking device)
- Homebuilt cold smoker, Cookshack SM008.
- 250 gal oil drum cut and waiting for me to build it
- (3) more 250 gal oil drums waiting for me to go get them.
- Custom offset in progress.
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Unread 09-14-2011, 10:29 PM   #7
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I think $10/family sounds very reasonable. We usually do a few "get-togethers" during the year as a pot luck. We ask people to bring a side dish. This works out well because people like to show off a bit and I also like seeing what other people bring. In actuality, we don't need the extra food as we usually have enough to feed twice as many as we invited. One thing that is inexpensive and is always as big hit (and easy to cook) are fatties. I used to slice a few of these up for appetizers. We don't do this anymore as it turned out that sometimes people eat just these and are too full for anything else. You never know how much people will eat. People here figure 1/3 - 1/2 lb meat per person cooked weight. I usually figure about 1 1/2 lbs per person, although I once did 3lbs of steak and porkchops per person for a small gathering and we cleared it out. A friend of ours just had a little party for her family and a few friends for her sons first birthday in which she cooked 100 pounds of meat and 60 pounds of chicken for about 60 people and they ate everything. I depends on a lot of factors, especially how much fun people are having.
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Unread 09-15-2011, 11:10 AM   #8
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I did a 100 person wedding reception for my son and daughter in law, we did 2 smoked pork shoulders, 1 beef brisket, 2 oven roasted beef butts with potatos and carrots, 10 lbs smoked hotwings with sides of baked mac, scalloped potatoes, mac salad, green salad & dinner rolls, 3 deserts, Ice Cream, gooey browies with cholate sauce, whipperd cream & cherries and wedding cake(not included in price) $300-400 all in for food...

Here's where the cost really are, we rented chaffing dishes and drink dispensers from a local party rental store...$125.00, Plates, cups, forks & napkins another $50.00-$75.00.
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Unread 09-18-2011, 10:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by razrbakcrzy View Post
I did a 100 person wedding reception for my son and daughter in law, we did 2 smoked pork shoulders, 1 beef brisket, 2 oven roasted beef butts with potatos and carrots, 10 lbs smoked hotwings with sides of baked mac, scalloped potatoes, mac salad, green salad & dinner rolls, 3 deserts, Ice Cream, gooey browies with cholate sauce, whipperd cream & cherries and wedding cake(not included in price) $300-400 all in for food...

Here's where the cost really are, we rented chaffing dishes and drink dispensers from a local party rental store...$125.00, Plates, cups, forks & napkins another $50.00-$75.00.
That's where I luck out. My mom and her husband buy everything because they have a party once a year and they like to impress. I will borrow their chafing dishes, drink dispenser, commercial popcorn machine, tables, chairs, and tents.

Right now I am planning on 100, but I'm thinking that it might be a smaller crowd. I figure at 100 people I need 25 lbs of finished pork (so start with 50 lbs, two bags of meatballs (60-70 per bag), two bags of chicken tenderloins, 50 jalapeno peppers (yields 100 ABT's), two packages of little smokeys, two tubs of cream cheese, and approx 9-10 lbs of bacon to wrap it all in. obviously this is probably overkill, but I DON'T want to run out of food.

There will be two half pans of beans, my neighbor is a caterer so I'll have her help with the cole slaw amount, and how much cornbread I'll need. I'll adjust the amounts as I get a better count on the number of people attending.

We've planned cornhole, horseshoes, ladder golf and today my friend who is helping put in a call to a friend that owns a party rental company for a bounce house for the kiddos (and drunken adults) The game/games will be on a projector on the garage door and probably a big screen that a friend has offered up for the cause as well as one or two smaller tv's that I have. I have two patio heaters, and a fire pit to keep everyone warm since this is all outside in Oct in MI.

all in all it's coming together nicely. People are excited since they've already tasted my cooking.
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-Chris
-Downriver, MI
- UDS ( my new favorite cooking device)
- Homebuilt cold smoker, Cookshack SM008.
- 250 gal oil drum cut and waiting for me to build it
- (3) more 250 gal oil drums waiting for me to go get them.
- Custom offset in progress.
Link To The Build: http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=71893
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