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Need to feed 50 people on the cheap but good - ideas?

b
baconspit May 25, 2007 10:00 PM

I am having a bbq/backyard party that has turned into quite a large one at this point . People are bringing items to share but I will provide a good portion. Any suggestions for something that people would enjoyy but wouldn't break my back or my bank>

  1. f
    french roast May 25, 2007 11:51 PM

    I'm not sure if you're looking for prepared food or something to cook. I used to have to feed about 70 folks at a time on a limited budget, and I would often get food catered from El Pollo Loco. Good chicken, some good sides, and lots of tortillas. Pretty cheap, too.

    1. m
      Maximilien May 26, 2007 04:29 AM

      prepare a big veggie couscous and have BBQ on the side with some merguez.

      1. momof3 May 26, 2007 06:12 AM

        Make a few big pots of chili. Maybe a veggie or turkey one and then a traditional meat based chili. You could then supplement with grilled corn, some nice big bowls of green salad, tortilla chips or flour tortillas. Put out some fixin's and peeps can make their own burritos. Grab a party bucket fill with beer and you are good to go!
        Have fun.

        1. e
          Ellen May 26, 2007 08:13 AM

          Mediterranean cooking lends itself to plentiful but cheap options. You could make lots of hummous, tabbouli, baba ganoug, toasted pita, olives, stuffed grape leaves, and a greek salad. All can be made ahead except for mixing the herbs and veggies into the tabbouli. Marinate and grill chicken legs and wings in a garlic, lemon and olive oil marinade and serve hot or cold.

          1. flourgirl May 26, 2007 09:23 AM

            How about pulled pork? Pork shoulder slow cooked in the oven the day before - feeds a crowd and the cooking is done (just reheat.)

            2 Replies
            1. re: flourgirl
              scubadoo97 May 26, 2007 11:03 AM

              Pork shoulder is pretty cheap and will feed a crowd. If you go with chicken for the grill, leg quarters are usually the cheapest @ around $0.39-0.79/lb.

              1. re: scubadoo97
                woodburner May 26, 2007 11:37 AM

                Pork shoulder for pulled pork is a very good idea, at about $1.20 - 1.40 per pound, you can get a whole shoulder or two butts on a weber kettle, or put one into your oven... it will take a good 8 or 10 hours (or more), depending on the cut, but the results will be awesome, pulled and piled on hamburger buns, with some cole slaw on top. Need further info on cooking shoulders?

            2. steamykitchen May 26, 2007 11:09 AM

              Go to your local warehouse - buy ground chuck & a tub of gorgonzola...make gorgonzola stuffed burgers.
              I like the pork idea too - make your own tacos with a nice taco bar

              1. m
                MakingSense May 26, 2007 01:18 PM

                With that many people, play it safe and serve chicken. Lots of people don't eat pork. Dietary, religious reasons. Not ours to second guess. Thighs are the least expensive and also don't dry out when you have to hold them after they're cooked. You might try buying them from a wholesale outlet in case quantity.or one of your local supermarkets might have them on special. Supermarket specials are often cheaper than warehouse stores like Costco. In case of rain (horrors) you can even cook them in the oven. Always have a Plan B. Plans C through Q never hurt.
                Although an ethnic menu sounds appealing and inexpensive, it might well clash with traditional side dishes that your guests will bring if they are expecting a plain old backyard BBQ. Stick with safe.

                1. v
                  Val55 May 26, 2007 01:18 PM

                  Frying chickens are pretty cheap. Beercan them the day before (they take an hour or so to cook and you could probably do 3 at a time depending on the sixe of your grill). Then cut into quarters and reheat on the grill at the bbq. You can add sauce then if anyone wants.

                  1. f
                    froddard May 26, 2007 04:36 PM

                    I'm also having a big BBQ next weekend, and I'd already planned on doing a lot of the ideas mentioned above. I'm having pulled pork, BBQ chicken - I'm trying out the beercan thing tomorrow to test it out, potato salad and baked beans, and some hummous and white bean spread, green salad options for the not-so-meaty folks.
                    It's going to be a pretty casual affair, and I'm not sure how many people will drop in - it may be 20 or 40 - so I thought these options would be the easiest to work with.

                    I'm going to smoke some pork shoulder tomorrow and finish it up in the oven so I don't have to worry about it next weekend. What's the best way to freeze pulled pork? Do you pull it before freezing or after?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: froddard
                      woodburner May 26, 2007 08:05 PM

                      Definitely pull it first, then freeze. I do this a lot. Do you have a vac sealer? That's best, but even just in a plastic container or bag with as little air as possible. How do you plan to finish it? I do a N. Carolina-style sauce (western NC, for those who care), and I add the vinegar-based sauced when it's pulled, then freeze (don't drown it, just moisten). When you thaw and heat, be prepared to add possibly some moisture, and definitely some of your original rub (you used a rub when you smoked it, right?)

                      1. re: woodburner
                        f
                        froddard May 27, 2007 07:15 AM

                        Thanks for the tips. I did my first test with this last weekend, and this is pretty much how I froze it. Although I did drown it with the sauce last time...

                    2. p
                      piccola May 26, 2007 05:55 PM

                      Traditional: a big batch of baked beans, coleslaw (vinegar-based), and baked/grilled potatoes.
                      Unusual: hummus, gaspacho, couscous (as a pilaf or a salad), quesadillas (on the grill), frittata, stromboli, Moroccan carrot salad, omusubi

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