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Your experience outdoor cooking for over 100 people

Discussion in 'Campfire Cuisine' started by MDarius, Mar 28, 2017.

  1. MDarius

    MDarius I break stuff. SILVER Star

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    My wife and I have been tagged to be in charge of meals for a church youth camp this summer. We're serving 170 to 220 people dinner every night, without electricity. We have a couple sinks, but no other amenities. I'd love to hear ideas and suggestions from this group...Other than find a different church. ;)

    So far we're thinking camp chef's and about 20 Dutch ovens. But, ohhhh, the cleanup. I've considered barbecue grills, but I don't think you can cook everything on the BBQ, the camp chef is more versatile. I expect to have 4 to 6 helpers.

    Breakfast: we kit the ingredients and send to the camps for them to prepare and lunches are sack lunches on the go. Again, we kit them up and send them out.

    Ideas? Experience?
     
  2. hkeller

    hkeller

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    CATERER!!! Seriously, It will be worthy it and not much more $$. You need serious people and gear to sling that much hash.
     
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  3. MDarius

    MDarius I break stuff. SILVER Star

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    We collectively have enough stoves and equipment, but yeah. I feel ya. But we're remote (in the mountains) and covering dinners Tue-Thur and lunch on Fri.
     
  4. ga89hoss

    ga89hoss

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    I would look into renting a BBQ trailer. Preferably with a flat top/griddle and strong propane burner. After cooking for that many folks clean up will be much easier. Good luck!
     
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  5. hkeller

    hkeller

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    Yeah. I hope this goes well, but this is going to be a lot of work. I second the BBQ trailer rental idea. I've done this a few times for a group of about 125. We bought food serviced sized cans/tubs of sides, many that could be served cold, like potato salad, and used a trailer BBQ to do chicken, pork loin and burgers. It is a lot of work, even with the right gear. You need enough volunteers to help, but too many can be a burden.

    Careful with some of the trailer set ups. They are designed to slow cook pigs, ribs, etc. If you need to do 200 burgers, they won't get hot enough to sear or really even brown. The idea of a griddle one is good, as you can do a lot more with it. Like brats with onions and peppers.

    Let us know how it goes.
     
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  6. MDarius

    MDarius I break stuff. SILVER Star

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    Thanks. I looked into the food trailer at your suggestions. The best option I found in the Salt Lake area was $280 a day. For 4 days that's cost prohibitive on a church budget. Maybe... I'll have to work on the menu and see how it fits in. It would make things a lot easier. I wish I owned a food truck. Mmmm...Gyros....
     
  7. MDarius

    MDarius I break stuff. SILVER Star

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    Short of getting a food truck or trailer I'm thinking Dutch oven liners at just over $1 each. That will make clean up a lot easier. We'd be Precooking any meat and reheat it in the DO's.
    -Chili
    -Sloppy Joe's
    -Costa Vida style burrito bar

    Day 4 is dinner at a park at the reservoir, so that's going to be hot dogs over charcoal grills that are installed there.

    Desserts?
    -Klondike bard one night
    -?
    -?
    -?

    I was planning to make a few cobblers each night and deliver them to groups that were awesome during the day. This would make it so I could get a cobbler to each group once during the week.
     
  8. JohnVee

    JohnVee SILVER Star

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    You could always do a meal or two that you buy in advance from a caterer or restaurant and simply heat on site. Stews, chili, etc. You'd still have lots of pots to clean, but prep time is cut massively. Vacuum bag and double seal anything you make yourself to bring. Freeze half of it to cut down on ice in the coolers.

    You might also look into buying a trailer cooker and selling it off when you're done. Propane pig cookers around here can be bought for 1000-2000 (used/new). You'd still have to deal with fuel and the limitations that @hkeller mentioned.

    EDIT: For prep, working over folding banquet tables sucks if you're over 5'6" tall. Make some leg elevators out of 1.5" PVC to gain whatever height you need. Seriously. An hour spent hunched over before dinner will still hurt in the morning if you're like me.

    Also, you might be surprised at the quality and price of some things like servingware that you can get at restaurant supply stores. Chef Store is where I go around here in NC. Don't get anything plastic for serving. For utensils, you can find wooden forks/knives/spoons on Amazon. That lets you just throw them all in the fire after dinner for less trash to haul out. They even come packaged all lined up and bagged for minimal footprint. That's nice if you'll need to bring a couple thousand.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
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  9. MDarius

    MDarius I break stuff. SILVER Star

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    Thanks! Great suggestions. I can get volunteers to pre-cook food. Vacuum sealing is brilliant. I can reheat it in the bag, saving on cleanup. I'll have to test some things before have to make sure the food still tastes good, but technically it could work. I'll check into the wooden utensils. I like options!
     
  10. JohnVee

    JohnVee SILVER Star

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    Maybe it's just me, but I've had a couple of blowouts when reheating chili in vac bags. I started double-sealing each end of the bag after that for bags I intend to to heat in water. I think the most likely cause, however, was letting the water reach a full boil instead of only a simmer.

    There are pleated bags now that work great for making a more cube-shaped package. Allows for a higher food:water ratio per pot. They can be a little more tricky to fill cleanly and seal without using way too much bag material.
     
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  11. ewillis

    ewillis SILVER Star

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    Dig a big ass hole in the ground, throw a bunch of nice size boulders in it, fill with hardwood, and light a fire! Next morning/afternoon, drop a foil/burlap wrapped whole pig in there overnight. Use your winch for the cool factor to bring it up the next day for dinner. Add some buns, sauce, and slaw...DONE! :pig:
     
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  12. ewillis

    ewillis SILVER Star

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    Wait...170-220 people?? Yeah...get a taco guy!
     
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  13. MDarius

    MDarius I break stuff. SILVER Star

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    Well, there's one night. ;)
     
  14. snobdds

    snobdds Ridin Dirty SILVER Star

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    Milk can dinner.
     
  15. MDarius

    MDarius I break stuff. SILVER Star

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    @snobdds , Milk can dinners...That's brilliant. I'm going to do some more checking on that. Thanks!
     
  16. Jdc1

    Jdc1 SILVER Star

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    Low country boil would be pretty easy.
     
  17. JohnVee

    JohnVee SILVER Star

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