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Daddyx 01-07-2021 11:59 AM

Catering adjacent question
Normally when I smoke food for my family and friends it's consumed right away. This year I'm going to start helping out families in need and first responders in my community to give back a bit since I feel I've been very fortunate this last year with everything that has been going on. Besides resting or holding meats in my Cambro, I haven't done much with food that may be eaten much later so I'm looking for some input. Below is the initial thought process which may be off.

Ribs - I was planning on resting them, then slicing individual bones, putting into foil pans and covering. Then return to Cambro to deliver.

Pulled Pork - Rest, shred, dredge, put in aluminum pan, cover and return to Cambro?

Chicken (probably thighs) - Do I just put in an aluminum pan, cover and return to Cambro?

Brisket - No clue what to do here since I normally slice to order

Thanks in advance!

ynotfehc 01-10-2021 07:29 AM

Couldn't tell from your post if you plan to sell of giveaway. Either way, you need to be careful for liability and also the health department. If you aren't trained in food safety or insured, you are taking a huge risk, no matter your intentions. Minnesota really doesn't like serving the public without a license. You could also support local businesses by buying gift cards from small businesses and handing them out to first responders or others in the community. Then youre helping the ppl, local economy, and local businesses that have been struggling rather than taking more revenue away from them. But no I wouldn't slice or cut anything until they eat it, most ppl have a knife at home and can figure out how to ribs apart or have sliced a beef roast before. I see ppl all the time posting on social media themselves slicing a brisket wrong, and the world hasn't ended.

SmoothBoarBBQ 01-12-2021 10:01 AM

As already noted Minnesota is notorious for how aggressive their food code is when it comes to food handling. You should seriously consider taking a ServSafe Managers Course as it will answer a lot of these questions. This course has a lot of great food safety information and will help you avoid making any mistakes when it comes to hot holding / serving.

All this being said here is what I do with my BBQ food truck :

Ribs : Cook and leave them whole racks on the smoker (at about 175 pit temp) until I am ready to serve them. When I want to serve them I slice them and serve immediately. Pork ribs are very small in terms of mass, but they have a large surface area. So they begin to dry out immediately you slice them and you'll want to serve them as quickly as possible after slicing. You can wrap and hot-hold (ie Cambro) ribs for 2-4 hours as long as they remain above 145 internal temp.

Pork Butt : Again, I leave them whole because the same thing happens to pulled or shredded pork ; it will dry out rather quickly. If you dredge them and then hot hold them that sauce will overpower the pork and make the meat soggy.

Chicken Thighs : If they have skin, no matter how you cook them, that skin will get all rubbery if you put them in hot hold. If you're doing skinless thighs you can cook them, cover them, and put them in hot hold for about 2-4 hours. Again, 145 is the magic meat temp where you don't want the meat to dip below.

Brisket : I keep it whole and slice it to serve. Brisket is probably the worst offender about drying out quickly after you slice it. Leave it whole, wrapped up, and in the Cambro. Brisket hot hold very well and I've done 6+ hours in the Cambro without any issues.

They say something like "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" and when it comes to food handling that rings true. If someone gets sick (or claims your food made them sick) you might have a serious problem on your hands. Even if you give it away for free they can still make your life miserable. Perhaps you can look into local VFW's or something similar and see if they will assist you putting this together. Liability with food handling is a serious issue and people are ALWAYS looking for a quick way to screw someone for money.

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