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Massive brisket cook

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So our local Knights of Columbus chapter always caters our towns Chamber of Commerce banquet. This year the powers that be decided to do brisket and yard bird for 550 people. Ordinarily not a problem, but the Knight who owns the BBQ catering business who spearheads this effort is not available this year. Found this out today, which is awesome. 🙄

So I win the pit master title by default. I know my way around my pit and put out good backyard brisket, but cooking and serving 25 briskets is a bit of a daunting task for me. I’ll have one other guy with me that knows what the hell he’s doing and that’s about it. 

Looking for advice on timing. Dinner serves at 6:00.  Specifically at what temp do you pull them and rest, and when do you slice them?   Slice too soon and it dries out. Too late and service is a cluster fuck. Me and my buddy are the only 2 guys who can properly slice a brisket. 

Any help would be greatly appreciated. it’s our biggest fundraiser of the year and if we F it up, it will go away. 

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Never made that many but with just one competent helper, you may want to invest in an 8-ball to keep you on your toes for the 24+ hours you'll be in go mode.

 

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I think you need an expert's advice.  I can tell you that my father frequently did these types of cooks for our parish and for his Knights of Columbus local in the 60's and 70's.  He cooked hotter than the current trend, had several helpers, and people weren't as picky as some might be now about their BBQ brisket.  When it was ready they sliced a bunch and served it buffet style with multiple lines.  They kept slicing as the trays were emptied.  Lunch was served from say 11:00 to 2:00 and it took that long for everyone to go through the line and eat.  If you went through the line at the wrong time you probably got dry brisket, but everything was sauced so it didn't really matter.  He didn't get many complaints.

edit:  and he drank beer all day and had a blast

Edited by HouTex

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1 minute ago, C-Man said:

Get a BBQ catering company to do it

This is the right answer. See if you can supply your own briskets to shave costs maybe. 

I have done functions up to about 150 and it is a lot to keep track of.  No way that I would scale that 3-4 fold unless I had the right equipment set up and some experience using it. 

What kind of equipment do you have access to?

 

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Do you have pit space for all 25 at the same time? Do you have cooler space to hold 25 briskets?

 

Plan to have all of your briskets done and in a cooler 2-3 hrs before serving time. This gives you a buffer, it gives them time to rest and it gives you time/room to cook chicken.

 

You need to teach more people how to cut brisket. Your hands will probably cramp up after the 1st brisket and you will slow way down.

 

You don’t need to cut everything in advance unless you are sure that everything will go quickly. If you think that there will be leftovers or if food will be served for a few hours then leave a bunch of briskets uncut and cut them when reserves run low.

 

Where is this event?

 

I’ve done events that big several times. Two people can easily handle the cooking part. The part where you need help is the slicing & serving. Help with prep would be good too.

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22 minutes ago, C-Man said:

Get a BBQ catering company to do it

It’s not an option. Small town in west Texas. Plus it’s a fundraiser so that would nullify any “profit”. Event is Saturday 

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Hold on.  Back up.  How many Weber Smokey Mountains do you have available?

Edited by dcbc

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17 minutes ago, luke duke said:

Do you have pit space for all 25 at the same time? Do you have cooler space to hold 25 briskets?

 

Plan to have all of your briskets done and in a cooler 2-3 hrs before serving time. This gives you a buffer, it gives them time to rest and it gives you time/room to cook chicken.

 

You need to teach more people how to cut brisket. Your hands will probably cramp up after the 1st brisket and you will slow way down.

 

You don’t need to cut everything in advance unless you are sure that everything will go quickly. If you think that there will be leftovers or if food will be served for a few hours then leave a bunch of briskets uncut and cut them when reserves run low.

 

Where is this event?

 

I’ve done events that big several times. Two people can easily handle the cooking part. The part where you need help is the slicing & serving. Help with prep would be good too.

Yes we have a pit that will fit them all. It’s an offset trailer pit. We also have access to a commercial kitchen with lots of oven space. We will have plenty of cooler space as well. 
 

looks like we will need to have Brisket slicing 101 class tomorrow. 
 

The problem with this event is that they run everyone through the serving line in about 30 mins. Then they start the banquet portion followed by Wade Bowen concert. So it’s slam bam thank you ma’am serve 550 people in 30-45 mins. 

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24 minutes ago, luke duke said:

Do you have pit space for all 25 at the same time? Do you have cooler space to hold 25 briskets?

 

Plan to have all of your briskets done and in a cooler 2-3 hrs before serving time. This gives you a buffer, it gives them time to rest and it gives you time/room to cook chicken.

 

You need to teach more people how to cut brisket. Your hands will probably cramp up after the 1st brisket and you will slow way down.

 

You don’t need to cut everything in advance unless you are sure that everything will go quickly. If you think that there will be leftovers or if food will be served for a few hours then leave a bunch of briskets uncut and cut them when reserves run low.

 

Where is this event?

 

I’ve done events that big several times. Two people can easily handle the cooking part. The part where you need help is the slicing & serving. Help with prep would be good too.

Andrews, TX

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Serving 550 people in 30 minutes or so has to be very difficult.  There must be multiple lines.  Yeah, you'll need several slicers and if not every brisket is sliced perfectly I would not sweat it.  They will not be expecting Franklin's level quality.

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7 minutes ago, 4HE said:

So it’s slam bam thank you ma’am serve 550 people in 30-45 mins. 

Unless you're throwing at them, there's no fucking way. They must hate you.

 

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10 minutes ago, 4HE said:

Andrews, TX

tenor.gif?itemid=3871479

 

What's the date?  I'll come out.  You supply whiskey.

 

ETA: If you are who I think you are.  

Edited by Anastasis

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12 minutes ago, HouTex said:

Serving 550 people in 30 minutes or so has to be very difficult.  There must be multiple lines.  Yeah, you'll need several slicers and if not every brisket is sliced perfectly I would not sweat it.  They will not be expecting Franklin's level quality.

Usually have 4 lines. It’s not self serve. We will be putting the plates together as they go through the line. 

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8 minutes ago, Anastasis said:

tenor.gif?itemid=3871479

 

What's the date?  I'll come out.  You supply whiskey.

 

ETA: If you are who I think you are.  

Probably not too many Catholic pharmacy owners in Andrews so you probably have the right guy. 

Gotta be pharmacy school together, right? And beyond? If so, then what’s up man?!

Would love to have your help, but the event is Saturday. Whiskey is on most certainly on me if you can make it. 

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1 minute ago, 4HE said:

Probably not too many Catholic pharmacy owners in Andrews so you probably have the right guy. 

Gotta be pharmacy school together, right? And beyond? If so, then what’s up man?!

Would love to have your help, but the event is Saturday. Whiskey is on most certainly on me if you can make it. 

Now you done goofed and gonna go broke. 

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6 minutes ago, deadshank said:

Now you done goofed and gonna go broke. 

I’m already well on my way. Not because of this, though.  It’s courtesy if Caremark, Express Scripts, and all the other PBM’s. Independent pharmacy isn’t long for this world. But that’s another thread for another time... 

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20 minutes ago, 4HE said:

Probably not too many Catholic pharmacy owners in Andrews so you probably have the right guy. 

Gotta be pharmacy school together, right? And beyond? If so, then what’s up man?!

Would love to have your help, but the event is Saturday. Whiskey is on most certainly on me if you can make it. 

This Saturday?  Sheet man, that's tough. Nothing like learning you are going to lead the cook for 500+ two days before the event. 

 

Luke's advice up thread is good, and what I have done for events previous. Use the coolers to rest and give yourself I good bit of cushion. I'd probably aim to pull between 1-2PM @ 200-205, let briskets drop a little temp before going to cooler to prevent overcooking, and then pivot to the birds.  Somebody else might be able to provide a target temp if you want to the brisket in to the cooler right off the pit and coast to final temp. Assume that you are halving the birds for easier/faster cooking? You are going to need a shit load more than 2 people to slice and serve. I'd try to have 5 cutting stations, at least 8 people making plates, and 2 runners. Just spit balling though as I haven't pulled off anything close to that big of an event with that sort of 30m service requirement. 

Edited by Anastasis

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8 minutes ago, Anastasis said:

This Saturday?  Sheet man, that's tough. Nothing like learning you are going to lead the cook for 500+ two days before the event. 

Kick in the nuts for sure. I don’t have high expectations to knock it out of the park. But I’m relatively confident it won’t be shoe leather. Relatively confident...

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14 minutes ago, 4HE said:

Kick in the nuts for sure. I don’t have high expectations to knock it out of the park. But I’m relatively confident it won’t be shoe leather. Relatively confident...

Service is the concerning part imo. Would be interested in a pic of this pit that holds 25 briskets though.  KoC don't fuck around with that shit.  They got the smokers stored out in the parking lot at the day care where the youngest goes.  Two pretty nice trailers.   

Edited by Anastasis

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23 minutes ago, Anastasis said:

This Saturday?  Sheet man, that's tough. Nothing like learning you are going to lead the cook for 500+ two days before the event. 

 

Luke's advice up thread is good, and what I have done for events previous. Use the coolers to rest and give yourself I good bit of cushion. I'd probably aim to pull between 1-2PM @ 200-205, let briskets drop a little temp before going to cooler to prevent overcooking, and then pivot to the birds.  Somebody else might be able to provide a target temp if you want to the brisket in to the cooler right off the pit and coast to final temp. Assume that you are halving the birds for easier/faster cooking? You are going to need a shit load more than 2 people to slice and serve. I'd try to have 5 cutting stations, at least 8 people making plates, and 2 runners. Just spit balling though as I haven't pulled off anything close to that big of an event with that sort of 30m service requirement. 

Solid advice. Thanks to both you and Luke. Wasn’t sure if it was best to cook all the way to 200 and pull it stop short and let it rise in the coolers. 
We will have plenty of servers and runners. It’s the slicing that I’m concerned about. 
and we are doing boneless chicken breasts. Brined the night before and smoked to try and keep it somewhat moist. 

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15 minutes ago, Anastasis said:

Service is the concerning part imo. Would be interested in a pic of this pit that holds 25 briskets though.  KoC don't fuck around with that shit.  They got the smokers stored out in the parking lot at the day care where L goes.  Two pretty nice trailers.   

The pit is a beast. It’s got a hydraulic lift because the doors are too damned heavy to lift by hand. I will try to get some pics of smoked and meat pron to share. Hopefully the meat pron will deliver. 

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Re: slicing - the only concern is the grain and thickness - separate the point and flat, and make the first cut on each. Then hand it to anyone to slice, they can continue to follow your slice direction and finish each brisket. Makes a lot less slicing work for you, and no worry about them fucking it up (other than thickness, and your customers generally won't care.)

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Thank you Sam Lin and Anastasis. I will deploy your suggestion Sam—thats fucking brilliant. and will show the video to cutters prior to starting. 

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If you have the cooler space, give yourself a six hour window.  With that much meat, you can hold it a while and it will be better for the warm wait.  Plus, typical time to smoke a brisket is skewed with two briskets.  25 is going to throw the timeline for a hell of a loop.

Also, you might want to check out this thread.  It started off with my piddly 50 person guest list, but there are some larger cooks in there as well.  Might have some good tips.

Good luck.  We're all counting on you. 

Picks of this huge WSM that holds 25 briskets. 

Edited by dcbc

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and we are doing boneless chicken breasts. Brined the night before and smoked to try and keep it somewhat moist. 


I highly recommend going with dark meat. It’s cheaper and harder to fuck up.

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40 minutes ago, luke duke said:

 


I highly recommend going with dark meat. It’s cheaper and harder to fuck up.

 

That was certainly my preference as well. But I didn’t get to buy the groceries so white meat it is... They were just going to do grilled chicken on an event grill. I nixed that and because we have white meat will be brining. 

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55 minutes ago, DalTxHornFan said:

That is a sad video.

The illustration is good but he completely fucked up the crust on that good looking brisket. WTF?!

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34 minutes ago, 4HE said:

The illustration is good but he completely fucked up the crust on that good looking brisket. WTF?!

So much wrong in that video.  Trim the outside fat.  Never separate the point. Read Franklin's Barbecue Manifesto for important details.

Edited by DalTxHornFan

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It's amazing how many bad brisket slicing videos there are on the internet.  I was really trying to find the OG terrible brisket slicing video where that guy is cutting and carves off like all the good shit and proceeds to throw piece after piece in the trash, but could not find it.  For the love of god please don't show anybody that video. 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, luke duke said:

 


I highly recommend going with dark meat. It’s cheaper and harder to fuck up.

 

You just summed my dating strategy for the past 40 years !

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24 minutes ago, blacklab said:

Luke you drunk?

Andrews?

Could you please teach your girls some golf etiquette? 

 

 

Yes sir, Andrews.  I forget how many state championships we’ve won in a row. 8 or 9 or some shit like that. I’m also not surprised if they showed poor etiquette. 

I blame it on the oil patch. 

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5 hours ago, 4HE said:

It’s not an option. Small town in west Texas. Plus it’s a fundraiser so that would nullify any “profit”. Event is Saturday 

Are you getting the meat donated?

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2 minutes ago, C-Man said:

Are you getting the meat donated?

discounted rate through a connection

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2 minutes ago, 4HE said:

Yes sir, Andrews.  I forget how many state championships we’ve won in a row. 8 or 9 or some shit like that. I’m also not surprised if they showed poor etiquette. 

I blame it on the oil patch. 

I think it's 10 now. The girls are plenty good to win without stooping to cheesy shit to annoy their opponents.

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2 minutes ago, blacklab said:

I think it's 10 now. The girls are plenty good to win without stooping to cheesy shit to annoy their opponents.

Has this been ongoing? Or within the last couple years?

Had a coaching change a couple years ago. Former coach allegedly was a repeat offender of texting while driving golf team to tournaments in school vehicles. Administration disciplined him a time or two. Guess he thought he was a legend and untouchable so he kept doing it.  He thought wrong...  Wouldn’t surprise me if the etiquette shenanigans were his doing. He strikes me as a guy who would promote that sort of thing. 

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4 hours ago, Underdog said:

Read thread title as Massive Brisket Cock and was about to drop him a PM.  

best huge cooks?

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We’ve done large cooks before, but we use Marrow’s to do them. We have 2 6 footers and have access to several 8 footers when we’re doing big cooks. Using them it’s pretty simple because they hold heat like a WSM, you just get them set and forget about it. Leave yourself a 3 hour or so cushion, that way you have leeway both directions. I would be prepared to wrap and put back on to help regulate the time if you need to.

For chickens, halves smoke better than anything else. They cook great on a smoker in bulk. We spray them with a beer based mix to keep them basted and they always turn out fine. If you’re doing boneless breasts, I would try to keep them sprayed or just sauce them at the end for moisture. Service in that time frame is going to be a bitch.

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My daughter has played against them at the state tournament 2 of the last 3 years. Each time she played a girl from Andrews they would do things like walk across the line of other players on the green, walk off the green and go to the next tee while others were still playing, and walk across the fairway between a player and the green just as they were about to hit. My mom would have beat my ass if I did that as a kid. When I mentioned it to her coach he said yep, welcome to Andrews golf. 

Last years Andrews team was pretty senior heavy so my daughter's team thinks if there is ever a year they could knock them off it's this year, now that her team has 5 girls capable of shooting in the 70's.

 

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