Monday, December 28, 2009

Catering success

Our first catering job has come and gone, and aside from exhaustion, sore backs, a huge kitchen cleanup and LOTS of leftovers, it was a huge success.

We were offered the job for a party of 60 people at the request of a friend of ours, and after considering the wisdom of committing to a job two days after Christmas we decided to take it. Since this was our first job, we had to purchase a significant of "overhead" (steam table pans/racks, bulk ingredients, extra cookers) to execute the job. We also had to buy all our food in bulk; it was so much that we filled up the Mini twice!

The menu consisted of:
  • Beef brisket: I smoked six briskets overnight on my Caldera Tallboy using oak wood chunks and a variety of rubs.
  • Pulled pork: I smoked four boneless pork shoulders overnight on my Weber Smokey Mountain and apple wood chunks using Chris Lilly's Championship Pork Shoulder recipe. This preparation required a rub and injection marinade prior to putting the pork on the smoker and a mop during the cook. Quite labor intensive, but the results were worth it. We served the pork with Paul Kirk's Memphis style BBQ sauce that we made from scratch using gluten free ingredients at the request of our guests.
  • Chicken: We grilled chicken thighs on a kettle grill in the community center parking lot using Mike Mills Magic Dust rub and the Paul Kirk Memphis sauce.
  • Cowpoke Pintos: We cooked six lbs. of pinto beans using a recipe from Smoke and Spice. Again, we used gluten free ingredients, and I added about a pound of brisket burnt ends to add flavor. I contemplated adding fresh cilantro but ultimately decided not to. I personally love cilantro in beans, but it does add a strong flavor component that some people (and kids in particular) don't like.
  • Corn on the cob: We grilled corn on the kettle grill and basted it with a butter/vinegar/lemon juice recipe from Smoke and Spice.
  • Roasted butternut squash: Sharon really came through on this one. She roasted 10 lbs. of pre-cut butternut squash with brown sugar, butter, salt and pepper. The pre-cut squash wasn't the most cost-effective way to do this, but from a time/labor perspective, it was essential. Several guests said this was their favorite dish, and I suspect we'll be having this at home in the future.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we'd like to give special thanks to our friend Darrin for his help. We couldn't have done this without you, and we mean that. We appreciate your support and we're thinking good thoughts for you right now.

Hopefully we'll get some more jobs from this event. Just not this week, please, as we need to catch up sleep and rest our backs!!

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