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Mar 16, 2013 10:42 AM

Braising for a crowd

I am having around 30 people for a birthday party. I am making a braised boneless short rib as one of my 2 entrees. My question is, how do I cook this for so many people?

Browning the meat is easy. I just do it in multiple pans in batches.

I have a lot of pots, but think I might have to go with those disposable aluminum pans for cooking in the oven. I saw they sell lids for them. The beef will be made 2-3 days in advance and reheated and served in a chafing stand in the same kind of aluminum pan. I think I shouldn't store the beef in those though. There is tomato in the recipe and I know aluminum can react negatively with acids over time.

I have a 48" stove with 2 ovens, so oven space shouldn't be a problem.

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  1. i'd suggest not using boneless. having the bone on adds so much more flavor, though i can see the appeal if cooking such a large volume.

    cooking it 3 days in advance is pushing it as far as freshness is concerned but will probably be fine.

    with that much quantity, you may be best off using like you said one of those disposable pan, you probably don't even need to buy lids, just cover them tightly with foil. of course you will need to be more diligent in the cooking process without the safenet of using real pots.

    2 Replies
    1. re: vonshu

      I used to be a skeptic regarding boneless short ribs. Then I tried the ones that Costco sells and I haven't looked back. Cooking for a crowd strengthens the case for using boneless ribs. Also, if the recipe calls for some quantity of beef or veal stock, make sure you use a rich, preferably homemade stock, making sure to roast the bones first. That way you won't lose out on the flavors imparted by the bones. A shortcut stock can work for you too. Roast your bones and veggies and add store-bought stock to cover. Add herbs (thyme, rosemary, etc.). Simmer for a couple of hours.

      1. re: vonshu

        I don't think 3 days is that much. I typically eat this kind of food (braised meats) up to 5 days after making them.

        I could do all this well in advance and freeze it, but not sure that will be any better.

        I am thinking I will braise the meat on Thur night for the Saturday party.

      2. If you have a turkey roasting pan why not use that?

        2 Replies
        1. re: letsindulge

          That would be my suggestion, too. Use the largest roasting pan you have. Cover it tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil.

          1. re: letsindulge

            I am thinking I am going to make at least 10 pounds of meat. I guess I thought it would never fit in a roasting pan, I don't think you want it too crowded. Maybe I could fit it in 2 large roasting pans.

            Since a lot of the fat melts away on a cut like this, I think I need around 1/3lb per person.

            I was actually also thinking of using boneless chuck (pot) roast cut into pieces. It is more easily available and cheaper and produces very similar results.

          2. We have a Corning pan that is approximately 10" by 12" inside measurements. We've had it for a long time and use it a lot. If you are gonna have such dinner events often, the investment may be worth it.

            Take a gander at the oblong one for example at the following website.


            1. I would definitely use the aluminum pan. First I sear as you said, then line up the ribs in the pan, then added beef stock, crushed tomatoes, red wine, onion, carrot, celery, etc., then braise for 2.5 hrs. THEN, remove the meat to a non reactive container for the fridge... same for the sauce in separate container. THEN on serving day, remove sauce, pull of the hardened fat on top, then heat it up and then get out the boat motor and blend to smooth. THEN put the meat in another foil pan, pour thickened beautiful sauce on top, heat for 30 minutes. Mmmmmmm.

              2 Replies
              1. re: woodburner

                That's exactly what I was thinking. My only concern was transferring the meat. I think I just need to let it completely cool so that it does not fall apart when transferred to a non-reactive container.

                1. re: michaeljc70

                  Most important, I find when I separate the meat from the sauce in the fridge, its much easier to remove the fat from the sauce. makes a huge difference.

              2. I've braised, stored and reheated in the disposable alum pans with no issues. Even entree's with red sauce.