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Need help planning "BBQ" menu for a party

Hi all,

I've decided to have a "BBQ" type menu for a party coming up, about 25 people. I have "BBQ" in quotes because it will really only be BBQ-esque. I don't plan to do ribs or even break out the grill! I'm thinking things like pulled pork, beans, some chicken, cornbread, cole slaw, etc.

Would love to get your thoughts on what to serve and any recipes or cookbooks you might recommend.

TIA, Sara

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  1. You'll have to make Saveur's Texas Peach Cobbler for dessert.
    It's on their site.

    I make a bbq'd bean combo to take to BBQ parties. It's an old family

    1. i love slaws of all types, but for piling on a Q sandwich, i go to the KFC clone recipe for cole slaw.

      1. Sounds like you already have a decent plan. Plenty of recipes out there. And making a really good homemade BBQ sauce will help make up for the lack of smoke flavor.
        Dont forget the pickles!

        1. Potato Salad ~~~ I do Hush Puppies sometimes... they're always a hit! ~~~ ABT's


            1. While I am not a big fan of most of what the FoodNetwork pumps out these days, I have made Paula Deens cole slaw recipe countless times to rave reviews.
              I omit the green pepper and if I want color, do 1/2 green cabbage and 1/2 purple cabbage.
              What's nice is that it is flavorful but not overly dressed and soupy.


              I also suggest doctoring up you favorite canned baked beans with ingredients of your choice and I always make green chili cornbread mini muffins which i use regular cornbread with a can of diced green chiles or canned diced jalepenos mixed in and then baked in mini muffin pans with liners.

              Mac and cheese is one of my favorite accompaniments as well, as is sweet and sour cucumbers.

              Since I own a two tier Brinkmann smoker that''s been in use for a dozen years, I'm always looking for ways to change up sides during the summer.
              Good luck!


              BTW---From over on the BBQ Brethren forums here's Keri C's BBQ baked beans which I swear by:

              Keri's Hog-Apple Baked Beans

              3 or 4 slices bacon, diced
              2 (27 oz) cans Bush's Baked Beans
              1/2 c. Blues Hog BBQ Sauce (or other sweet-spicy favorite
              )1 lb. smoked leftover smoked pork or beef, more or less, or 1 lb crumbled cooked pork sausage (a maple fattie is good)
              1 can apple pie filling, pieces somewhat chopped up
              1 medium onion, chopped
              1/2 green pepper, chopped
              1/2 c. brown sugar
              2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
              2 Tbsp. Mustard (prepared)
              1 tsp chipotle or cayenne powder (optional, to taste*)
              1 tsp Blues Hog barbecue rub (or your favorite de jour)

              Brown bacon, and saute onion and green pepper in bacon grease. Mix in remaining ingredients. Bake at 325ยบ for 1 hour, or simmer on stovetop in large pot for 30 minutes if you don't have time to do them in the oven. Serves 12.

              This recipe began life as APPLE PIE BAKED BEANS from somewhere on the web, but I think I've made enough changes to it now to claim it as my own. This is my standard for baked beans anymore. Jack's Old South does something similar to this, but I understand that they use peach pie filling instead.

              *This is a rather spicy recipe due to the chipotle/cayenne powder. Feel free to leave it out if you'll be feeding those who prefer a less spicy taste.

              Keri C, smokin' on Tulsa Time

              1. Peach Cobbler sounds like a terrific idea. We also have an Apple Slaw that's a nice deviation from a traditional slaw, as well as Root Beer Baked Beans, which are a major hit. I'd be happy to send you the recipes, if you're interested!

                1. Not sure if you already have a pulled pork recipe you love, but I make pulled pork all the time for crowds of people and this recipe is very easy. Either get a couple of pork shoulders, or a large fresh ham (leg). Score the skin/fat layer with a sharp knife into cross hatches (diamond shape). Process 1 can of chipotles in adobo sauce, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and one head of garlic in the food processor, until it makes a thin paste. Rub that paste all over the pork, then put it in the oven, on a rack in a roasting pan fat side up, at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn the oven down to 225 degrees and leave it in for another 9 to 11 hours, until the meat pulls away from the bone. I generally put it in the oven before I go to bed at night. Let it cool a bit, discard the fat and skin, and pull the pork. Very simple, and delicious!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Niki in Dayton

                    cook's illustrated recently had a slow-roasted pork shoulder recipe that turned out fantastic when I made it, and it was super-easy. The only catch is that you have to rub the meat a day or so in advance.

                    Take your pork shoulder (butt), score with a knife as niki says, and cover it with a mix of salt and brown sugar (i used a bit more sugar than salt but I think they did equal parts, about 1/2 - 1 cup total depending on taste and how much meat you've got) plus thyme (savory, marjoram, etc). The day before you cook it, rub that on the pork and stick it in the fridge. Cook it at 300-325 for several hours (4-6), basting if you have the inclination.

                    It makes a beatiful, tasty crust on the outside, and a lovely porky flavor inside. It is very versatile: I used it in burritos, but you can easily pull it and add bbq sauce. Usually when I do 'bbq' pork shoulder in the oven, I do it at 225 or so like Niki says, and I was surprised to find that this temperature yielded such a moist and tender roast. Might be a tiny bit firm for pulling, and if this is a concern cook it lower and longer.

                    That's it, though: score, rub, wait, roast. just takes time.

                  2. Some southern favorites would be Pimento Cheese and Chow-Chow. They definately compliment the BBQ.

                    1. Best coleslaw recipe I've seen or made is a Steven Raichlen recipe from his BBQ USA, "Arkansas Slaw", with cabbage, apple, and celery, and a great tangy dressing. You could go traditional (KFC like, as one poster suggested), but why not try something a little different. I can't seem to cut and paste the recipe here, but if you google "steven raichlen coleslaw apple" (not using quote marks), you'll get a google books hit, and the recipe is there - pg 128 of his book.

                      For that matter, you could go with a traditional BBQ sauce - there are certainly some good ones to buy - or you could try making one of Raichlen's. He has some excellent sauces that are easy to make, including some using Dr. Pepper as a base, and one using a red wine as a base. I've made most of Raichlen's BBQ sauces, and they are excellent.

                      For a pulled pork, if you're not doing it on the BBQ, I'm assuming you're doing it in the oven. If that's the case, I would recommend that when your shoulder (assuming you're using a Boston Butt?) hits an internal temp of 195, pull it from your oven, taking care to keep it in one piece. Crank up your broiler, and then put your shoulder under the broiler for about 6-8 minutes. Watch it carefully so it doesn't burn, but the carmelization and little burnt ends you get on the top of the shoulder, once chopped with the rest of the meat, really makes pulled pork what it's supposed to be when done on the BBQ - that mix of tangy and succulence from the vinegar mop sauce and fat, and tender and crispy from the interior and exterior meats. NOTE: This is if, after cooking in the oven, you don't have a nice "bark" developed on the exterior. If you do, no broiler action is needed.

                      If you're looking for an interesting BBQ chicken, check out Cornell chicken - it's BBQ chicken, but served with a white sauce. There are several recipes for it, but it's pretty basic stuff. Raichlen has a recipe for it, here's another one: http://www.amazingribs.com/recipes/ch...

                      If you're doing both pulled pork and chicken, I'd resist the temptation to take the easy way and just serve both the pulled pork and the chicken with the same BBQ sauce. After a while, then the meat just becomes a vehicle for the sauce, especially if you're not doing them on the grill where the meats really pick up their own character. That's a nice thing about the Cornell chicken, the white sauce is different, yet can still be called "traditional" - for upstate NY. There are some other great "international" variations on BBQ sauces you can use on chicken that would separate out the chicken from the pork.

                      1. I miss Louisiana BBQs I guess, so I'm thinking spicy sausages split and broiled (if you're not grilling), and banana pudding for dessert. Of course, we'd have Cajun potato salad with green onions, celery and bacon, with a little bacon fat added to the mayo dressing. Here in Georgia a must-have for BBQ's is Brunswick stew, which I make from scratch, but most people just make with chopped rotisserie chicken, onion, bell pepper, vinegar, ketchup, creamed corn and Worcestershire sauce. It's an easy do-ahead crock pot dish, and better the second day, if you're interested.

                        1. Owen what type of BBQ do you have?.. hard to get the smokey flavor on the meat in an oven. It's just not the same.

                          Hard to beat slow cooked pork shoulder or brisket. Cooked many of them competitively on BBq teams.

                          You can also do a 2 step process, start in BBQ to get a smoke ring/flavors and finish in the oven.

                          If going with pork, use nothing but the Butt section of the shoulder as opposed to a Picnic cut.

                          For that size of a group buy 2 7-8 lb shoulders. Cut off most of the exterior fat, inject if you like (maybe apple juice). Rub with your favorite BBQ rub and cook at about 275 until it's done to your likeness which should be to about 160-170 for slicing or about 190+ for fall apart shreadable meat.

                          There's little correlation with time to completion, some say 2 hrs per lb but it all depends on how big of a piece of meat your cooking and how hot your cooking at. Better to be safe and start early though and maybe do a dry run before the big day.

                          If you have a meat thermometer that can work in your oven/smoker/BBQ.. finish the meat when it gets to your desired temp, otherwise begin checking in about 4 hours and every hour until it's done. It could take 8-12 hrs to get to 190+ degrees at 275.

                          When it's done let it rest for a while then slice or shred adding your desired sauce.

                          Pork shoulders can be stored in an ice chest wrapped in foil and towels (or newspaper) and remain hot for 2-3 hours or you can cook a day ahead and reheat on the big day.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: bbqJohn

                            to get smokey flavor in the oven, i think it's best to brine ahead of time with liquid smoke.

                          2. This baked bean recipe is great for make-ahead because it needs about an hour in the oven for the bacon to crisp up. I doctor it a lot now, with extra chili powder, a mix of beans, cayenne, bourbon, etc. You can even use whatever favorite recipe you have - just top with onions and bacon and bake the heck out of it: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                            1. You've got all the right ideas for a classic bbq throwdown. I'd do pulled pork, bbq chicken, sweet beans with bacon, onion and brown sugar, potato salad, and mac and cheese. Heavy on the carbs, yes......but this wasn't a diet meal anyway, right? Oh, and some good vinegar slaw!

                              1. One thing I always make with BBQ is a little cucumber salad: white vinegar, sugar, water, onion (sweet, or not). It's good to have something light and fresh-tasting with all that heavy (delicious) BBQ fare.

                                1. You guys are terrific. Thank you for helping me pull my menu together! I'm going to "finalize" and then start scoping out some recipes. The party isn't until March so I have a bit of time to plan.

                                  More as I think of it...Sara