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Cook Talk

BBQ wedding for 175 people
Kim Alexander
Hi Ellen, My husband and I have been asked to cater a friends wedding. She wants it to be backyard BBQ style. My husband has smoked pulled pork for vendor events and large crowds however, we have never done sides for a larger group. Here's what the bride was thinking but is open to suggestions.

Smoked Pulled Pork with rolls
Smoked Chicken Leg Quarters
Smoked Sausage?
Smoked Baked Beans
Was thinking maybe baked macaroni and cheese?
Corn on the cob
Tomato and Mozzarella slices with vinegar
Corn on the cob
Watermelon slices

Does that look like a good menu? Can you suggest anything else or be pulled? Open to any suggestions

This is a perfectly OK menu, but I strongly suggest 2 changes; plan an appetizer spread, and change the mac and cheese for either potato or pasta salad- that is too many ovens for mac and cheese for that many people.

Smoked Pulled Pork, 1 pound ready to serve per 6
rolls, 5 rolls or 12 slider buns per pound
sliced onions, 8 pounds per 100
pickles, 1 gallon per 100
Smoked Chicken Leg Quarters, no more than 80 and cut some of them into pieces after cooking for kids and light eaters
Smoked Sausage? If you do, allow only 1 pound per 6-8 guests with the other meat.
Please have a pack or two of frozen veggie burgers or sausages (Field Roast is a fine brand) for any non-meat eaters. There will be some.

Smoked Baked Beans, 3 gallons (8 pounds dry or 4 #10 cans per 100)

Corn on the cob, 1 small per person, plus 10%
4 pounds butter

Was thinking maybe baked macaroni and cheese? See note above, pasta salad, 6 pounds dry pasta per 100

Coleslaw, 2 1/2 gallons per 100

Tomato and Mozzarella slices with vinegar, use really good oil and good balsamic vinegar, not straight vinegar, and consider putting it on the tables for people to add to taste
80 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes (about 1 per person), sliced 1/4 inch thick
40 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4 inch thick
10-12 cup packed fresh basil or arugula leaves, washed well and spun dry
10 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled, if using arugula instead of basil
120 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
fine sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Watermelon slices, at least 1/2 pound per person

See the beverage planning page for beverages

To make a surer success of your effort, make an appetizer plan, especially if you are grilling, and here is why:

A self-catered buffet is a real challenge to the organizers, and things don't always come together as smoothly as hoped. By planning and setting up an appetizer area or "nibble table" which is ready when the guests begin to arrive, the cooks and servers have time to complete the arrangement of the dinner buffet. This is especially critical if there are children among the guests, or there is a wait before dinner, as at a wedding reception.

This does not have to be complicated. Three items, plus a punch, or two if one is alcoholic, are sufficient. Typically, include a fruit tray, a cheese tray and an attractive dip or spread; or you can go with a dinner theme such as TexMex with chips, salsas, Texas caviar and guacamole; Italian with bruschetta or antipasto; maybe shrimps or other cold seafood, if budget permits.

One appetizer service area serves about 100 guests.

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