Help for Beach Party Menu
I would love to get your thoughts on options for a beach party for probably up to 80 adults and 80 kids. In the past, it's been a mishmosh potluck, but is likely to turn into a "kick in some cash" for food party. There are firepits for cooking, reheating, or finishing par-cooked foods. And doing that, I think, is the funnest part of the party (v. taco cart, pizza or something like that.)
Dogs and smores, for sure. But it would be nice to have more meats and some nice sides for the adults. The drop off BBQ places I've looked at so far (per Chowhound recs) are Big Mistas, Park's Finest and Tres Gauchos (Argentinian). We wanted to keep costs to about $7 pp, so I am willing to do more leg work if required, but I can't imagine what I could do for that number of people other than preparing marinades or sauces. Maybe there's a place that makes good kabobs en masse?
I realize this is pretty open ended, but any other ideas are appreciated.
Thanks so much.
I don't know if you have ever cooked for 160, but it is quite an undertaking. Cooking over fire pits is going to be tough, since controlling the heat is always a challenge. Assuming you can get a good base of coals going, I would BBQ and set up stations for people to finish their own plates. Burgers and hot dogs are easy, but you can go more upscale with sausages instead of hot dogs and do briskets or tri-tips instead of burgers, along with chicken and/or pork. Give people an option of types of buns, traditional burger buns, smaller Hawaiian sweet rolls for sliders, and tortillas for tacos.
Do the meat in a variety of marinades, bbq, carne asada, korean and put it in trays for folks to help themselves. Have plenty of condiments to go with each choice, extra bbq sauce, onions and cilantro..., plus sides.
Thanks for those extensive thoughts. I love the idea of all that variety in marinades and condiments. At the potluck version of this party, kids pretty much stuck to roasting their own hot dogs. So maybe the more elaborate bbq would be for more like 80. I get what you're saying about actually cooking over a pit, maybe the meat was thin enough and on skewers, people could DYI, the cooking part. I'm liking the thought of kabobs more and more. But how to decrease the prep?
Why not stick with sausages (more for the adults) and franks/wieners (for the kids)? Simplify the offerings in general and make the offerings simple to prepare. Smoked/precooked sausages and franks just need to be warmed up over the fire pits, its fun for the kids and the parents will be doing same, sharing the experience and keeping an eye on the kids so they don't skewer each other or burn themselves. You can get maybe a couple of different types of buns/rolls, and condiments can range from chili and onions to shredded cheese, to mustard/ketchup/mayo/hot sauce/relish to peanut butter and any other "unique" but simple-to-source/dispense toppings. Add in maybe a couple of prepared bulk salads and chips and the food-portion is set. Costco is your friend when it comes to buying franks in bulk. Check out this current thread on sourcing sausages for the grill:
Drinks can be streamlined as well. Soda, water, and some juices. Dessert? Marshmallows have always been a hit with our kids and their friends - they love the flavor but also love the transformation of them from pillowy to slightly charred and gooey. If you want to go to the next level, s'mores are still pretty simple.