Wednesday, September 05, 2007

First Catering Job

A couple of months ago, I was contacted by a woman named Kristy who lives in Hamden, CT about whether we would consider catering a party for her with our BBQ. I have worked on site catering jobs as a waiter in years past, but have never actually catered myself. Since the party was only expected to be around 50-60 people, I decided to give it a go.
The menu was something I could easily do, as it was basically the four BBQ meats we cook at competitions, chicken, ribs, pulled pork and beef brisket. One stipulation was that there be plenty of food left over after the party. I made sure of that....

I've talked to a lot of different BBQ teams about how they handle catering jobs. Most seem to prefer cooking the party food well in advance, then reheating for the event. I decided for a few reasons not to go that route. For one, we all know that BBQ is at its best when it is fresh. I'm not sure if anything is better when it is frozen and reheated, and for our first job I wanted to put our best food out there. Also, we do not have a whole lot of freezer space to store frozen Q.

The plan was to cook the pork butts and brisket overnight Friday into Saturday, then hold in foil, pull, slice and serve at the party. The only problem was that I was scheduled to work my part time bartending job Friday night, and there was no getting out of it. It was the annual margarita night at the club, and all bartenders were required on deck.

So Friday, I had to drive from Norwich to Hartford for my regular job, leave early, drive back to Norwich, start the fires and get the meat on at home, then drive to Hamden to bartend. Sheila manned the pits like a champ during the evening hours, sending me frequent text message updates so I could monitor the temperatures.
The party was slated to start at 3:00 PM, and I wanted to before 11:00 AM to start cooking the ribs and chicken. I got there at around 10:45 and got things started. Even though I have never cooked a BBQ catering job, I have done parties before for friends and family. So I had a pretty good plan going in.

The event went very well. The buffet was set up on the deck of the house, and that's where the chicken, pork and brisket were.

I set up a rib station at the bottom of the deck stairs near where and carved ribs to order for the guests.

The guests seemed to enjoy the food a lot. I cooked up a bunch of wings as a starter, and they were devoured by the guests. One woman complained that they were too spicy. There's always one in a crowd....

Unfortunately, I meant to take pictures of the food, but we were very busy and didn't take any. They really liked the brisket and the pork. There was a ton of chicken left over. I believe that was because we cooked thighs, drums and wings, with no white meat, and some people passed. Also, everyone cooks BBQ chicken, but how often do they get real, slow smoked brisket and pork? But the chicken came out really good, and I'm sure made great leftovers.

Overall, the experience was good. We made a nice profit, the customer was very happy, and we had a good time doing it. The guests were nice and made the event enjoyable.

We will definitely do other catering jobs in the future if they are offered. Small ones though, 100 people or less. A few jobs a year would help offset some competition costs for sure.


WhiteTrashBBQ said...

Congrats on the catering job. It sounds great.

Jade Graham said...

I've also tried individual servings of a peach cobbler that I found very disappointing. Best Food Truck In LA