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I've never thrown a pot luck / BIG party before

So I'm throwing a pot-luck BBQ for Labour Day Monday... I will be cooking at least two whole pork shoulders (pulled pork, in the oven) and a few beer can chickens, but what is realistic for me to ask people to bring? Substantial sides? Veggies? Apps? (stuff that doesn't need cooking since I only have one stove?!) I've never done this before, I'm a virgo and it's hard for me to relinquish control ;) and at the same time, don't want to end up with a party with just chips and dip...

Ok so if I have time I would also like to make a couple of sour-cream peach pies if I can find the recipe from the Food that Really Schmecks cookbook, a bunch of rum & coke grilled pineapple, and if I have time, twice-baked potatoes or Vermont corn spoon bread... see above about relinquishing control. Oh, and buttertarts.

Could anyone post a good / simple recipe for coleslaw - perhaps one with dairy and one sans dairy, I have a good friend who is no dairy, no soy, no wheat.

MANY thanks!!!

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  1. Here's one with dairy, to me it's just the right amount tangy/sweet--
    http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/restaur...
    Of course you can just chop cabbage, carrot instead of using packaged coleslaw mix.
    This one without dairy
    http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/amish-s...
    is also very good--surprisingly good as I remember.

    1. Do an e-vite and have a "registry" of side dishes that folks can sign up to bring (be sure to include non-foodie items such as cups, plates, bottled soda, etc. , for the folks who dread cooking to bring).

      Also, take a deep breath and remember that control isn't all that it's cracked up to be. It might be the world's most perfect menu, but if you've exhausted yourself with prep and trying to get everything exactly right, you won't be able to enjoy your guests.

      1 Reply
      1. re: weezycom

        oh that's such a good idea! Nothing will be perfect about it but the bar WILL be stocked :) thanks!

      2. If it's a large enough party, which with 2 pork shoulders and some chickens sounds like it is, you don't have to tell anyone what to bring. By random chance, you'll end up with everything you need. Luck of the pot, and all that. Just tell your guests that you're providing meat, and to please bring something for the potluck. It's easier organizationally, and it allows more freedom for the other cooks.

        1. How many people? Probably quite a few since you're doing two pork shoulders.

          So you don't end up with just meat and desserts, you can ask people to bring certain things - veggie sides, salads, dessert, chips and dip, garlic bread, drinks... etc...

          Also, if you have a lot of people, I usually don't expect people to bring enough to everyone. I usually suggest 8-10 servings. There should be enough overlap where guest won't run out of food.

          As mentioned above, I like allrecipes.com, especially the feedback on recipes. I find it humorous that people post low ratings but admit they didn't follow the recipe, but that's another question. :-)

          1. I have found it easier to direct people in terms of what to bring; maybe you could create space for 3-4 different salads, side dishes, apps., and desserts and then just assign a category until all spots are filled. Doing this has spared me the curse of a meat-and-jello-salad extravaganza. This will allow you to have a modicum of control without asking for specific foods, and people can get creative while holding to a certain parameter. You may want to mention the lack of oven/stove to folks and ask them to bring dishes better served at room temperature, which is a good idea for a potluck where the food stays out for awhile. Most important; relax and enjoy your own shindig. Even if it did turn out to be meat-and-jello, y'all will have fun. Just stock the bar. : )