Grilling for a Crowd

Grilling for a crowd

Myself and my fel­low Grillin Fools will be asked to cook for large groups quite often over the next few months. My fam­i­ly needs no more than word that the sun is going to rise as an excuse to get togeth­er for a fam­i­ly func­tion in the warm months. And with us that means grilling. With Memo­ri­al Day a few days away, grad­u­a­tion par­ties, pool par­ties, and 4th of July right around the cor­ner we find our­selves cook­ing for a crowd much more often than in the cool­er months.

Some­times we find our­selves seem­ing­ly strapped to the grills while the par­ty goes on around us, only able to min­gle with the peo­ple that wan­dered over to us to see how the food is com­ing along. We may be at a par­ty but some­times we feel more like hired help than par­ty atten­dees. This post is all about ways to cook for a crowd and still be able to join in the fes­tiv­i­ties. To be able to feed the group but also have fun with them at the same time. Click below to find a num­ber of pos­si­bil­i­ties for low main­te­nance high yield grilling recipes.

Go Whole Hog

I know this sounds nuts. That doing an entire pig does not seem like it’s low main­te­nance, but hon­est­ly, it’s real­ly easy to do. It’s pret­ty much a set it and for­get it deal. As long as you can rent a grill like the one it’s very sim­ple. I don’t have a grill this size. I rent it. One hour per 10 pounds so that 60 pound beau­ty was done in six hours. No get­ting up in the mid­dle of the night to start the cook. I put Mari­belle on at 10:40 am and we were pulling pork at 6:00 pm. You can find the full write up on exact­ly how to do it here.

Brats and Dogs

This is usu­al­ly the first thing that comes to minds of most peo­ple when it comes to feed­ing the mass­es at a cook­out is brats and dogs. Both cook fair­ly quick­ly over high heat. But cook­ing 30 brats and 15 dogs can take quite some time. This is where the beer bath comes in. Grill your brats and dogs pri­or to your guests arrival. Buy a high sid­ed dis­pos­able alu­minum pan, pour in your favorite beer, some slices of onion, may­be a gar­lic clove or two, place direct­ly on the grill, and put the brats and dogs in the new beer Jacuzzi you just made. Place the pan over enough of the coals to get a sim­mer going, or put it in the oven at about 200. Now, go get a show­er and when the par­ty starts the grilling is already done. If some­one does not want the beer drip­ping off their brat, just throw the brat back on the heat for a cou­ple min­utes to steam that off.

How about tak­ing those brats and dogs to the next lev­el? Throw a few Jalapeno brats on. May­be a gar­lic brat. Try some Ital­ian sausages or some oth­er eth­nic sausage like an Irish banger, Pol­ish Sausage, Chori­zo, Greek brat, Cajun brat, or Hun­gar­i­an brat. How about my favorite the apple brat? Nat­u­ral cas­ing hot dogs are amaz­ing. Spend a lit­tle extra and get the pre­mi­um dogs.


Next up, Burg­ers. Every­one makes burg­ers. Every­one knows how to make a burg­er. But does every­one know how to make a good burg­er? First, don’t thaw out any meat for this. Go buy it fresh. The morn­ing of the event would be best. Think of the ham­burg­er meat as the vehi­cle to get all the extra good­ies you can mix in with it to your mouth. Put the bulk burg­er in a large mix­ing bowl and make that bor­ing meat into much more than a bor­ing old burg­er. There are all sorts of things you can add:

Diced bell or jalapeno pep­pers
Grat­ed asiago/parm/romano
Blue cheese
Ground pork
Even bet­ter, ground chori­zo
Herbs like basil or oregano
Hot sauce
BBQ sauce
Worces­ter­shire sauce
Andri­as Steak Sauce

And of course salt and black pep­per to taste.

This is not an all inclu­sive list. Get creative.Just don’t spring a new com­bo of those ingre­di­ents on a group of peo­ple with­out try­ing it out first.

Check out the­se burg­ers that my Cous­in Tom and his Wife did recent­ly:

Beer Can Chicken with a Twist

If you have a rel­a­tive­ly sta­ble smok­er that holds the temps fair­ly con­stant there is no rea­son you couldn’t smoke ribs, brisket, chick­en, fat­ties or a com­bi­na­tion of the­se. If all it requires is adding more fuel or smoke wood every 30–60 min­utes and may­be a loca­tion adjust­ment of the meat then smok­ing the­se items is extreme­ly low main­te­nance. May­be go with a beer can chick­en. Or even bet­ter the Grillin Fools new and improved beer can chick­en — beer can chick­en stew:


Or may­be some brisket. How good does that smoke ring look?


One way to cut the cost of ribs for a crowd is to sup­ple­ment the ribs with a low­er cost alter­na­tive. Instead of mak­ing enough to feed every­one ribs make less ribs and throw on a few fat­ties. Gen­er­al­ly fat­ties take just as long as ribs to cook. As long as the space is there, go with a few fat­ties which are always a hit.

Rib Eye Steak Sandwiches

Some­thing that is not all that com­mon and will like­ly blow the minds of your guests – Rib eye steak sam­mich­es. Go to your butcher, have him/her thin­ly slice a rib eye into 1/3–1/4 inch thick sliced of rib eye. Mari­nade in Adria’s (Worces­ter­shire and emul­si­fied gar­lic for those not able to get Andria’s), coke, gar­lic and black pep­per. Grill over high heat for just a lit­tle bit and then throw then in an alu­minum pan with more of the mari­nade to keep the meat warm and moist. This is not a cheap alter­na­tive to cook for a crowd but def­i­nite­ly low main­te­nance.

Grillin the rib eye slices:

In the pan to sim­mer. The­se will get a tin foil cov­er and be thrown in the oven on low heat. They could be left on the grill but this was shot the day of the 2009 Super Bowl so it was a lit­tle chilly out­side:

After being in the oven a cou­ple of hours they are ready to serve:

A bun, some cheese, a lit­tle mayo for me and I had heav­en on a plate:

Pulled Pork

Some would argue that pulled pork is a cheap and easy way to feed a crowd. Total work is less than 90 min­utes but that is stretched out over 8–12 hours at 200–225. It can be start­ed the night before but if the smok­er has a hard time keep­ing a con­stant temp then it will require some main­te­nance in the mid­dle of the night or at the crack of dawn or both. But we can take the­se two four pound pork shoul­ders:

And turn them into this in less than six hours total cook time:

By using the high heat method, which is a bit of a mis­nomer as it’s more like medi­um heat at 300–325, but the results are just as good as doing them from 200–225 but in much short­er time. Click here to learn how to do it.

Pork Steaks

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