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rules of thumb for food amounts needed for cook-out?

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Planning a straightforward cook-out for about 50 people with the pretty standard fare of hot dogs and chicken, along with veggie kabobs and a big smoked bluefish. Will provide cook-out-y type sides, and others will be bringing sides, too.

The crowd ranges from people who exist on processed food to hardcore Chowhounds to a vegetarian or two.

Is there some general rule to figure out the amount of food we'll need? I'm totally clueless.

Thanks for any guidance.

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  1. Rule of thumb---adults eat 2 grill items the first hour, then 1 the second, 1 the next hour and one-half. Kids will front load, the stop and eat about one/half grill item the final 45 minutes of theevent.

    One Hot Dog, one 1/8 chicken, are grill items. 2 kebabs are a grill item for a non meat eater, or 1 kebab is a veg/side. Smoked bluefish, is maybe I'll try a taste for most adventuresome adults, but not chosen fare that detracts from the count.

    All in all, you need to know how many adults, how many kids, how many hours you are serving, and what other food--salads, corn, melon, etc are being served.

    If you think you would served x amount per person inside at a meal, multiply by 2x for a bbq. People are prone to waste. They start eating, put the plate down and are4 distracted by activity, knowing more is always available.

    For 50, I would have 75 hot dogs, 8 chickens cut in 1/8ths, 36 veg kebabs, the fish, PLUS tossed salad, salads (potato, macaroni, cole slaw), beans, kraut, rolls, corn (if in season where you are 1 ear per person), melon/dessert, beverages.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bagelman01

      To be on the safe side I probably would increase to 10 chickens but other than that I think you are spot on!

    2. Thanks for these replies. And now I'm a bit overwhelmed!