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Cooking Guide for Parties and Large Events

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Cooking Guide for Parties and Large Events

Need some BBQ food ideas for large groups?

Don’t Panic!

This is the cooking guide for parties and large events that will help you plan more efficiently . Cooking for a large event can be expensive, time consuming and is a lot of hard work.  Wedding food catering, bbq recipes for a crowd, large party food preparation and event catering are not like making simple party food. Its a whole different ball game.  However if you’re up to the challenge, here are some great tips, charts and side dish ideas for bbq to help you plan.

Lets Get Started

  • Unless you’re catering elegant events, you may be able to ask your guests to bring their favorite food for a bbq party. Side dishes, chips, dips for parties, bread, desserts, sodas etc. You could even ask someone to bring plastic ware, plates, sauces… you get the idea. Most of your guests will be happy to help out and bring something.
  • “Could you bring some of your famous… ?”  Even people that wont or don’t like to cook, always seem to have side dish ideas for a bbq party, or that special recipe they’ll be happy to bring and show off.  With diabetes and food allergies unfortunately on the rise, you could ask a guest to bring one of their favorite sugar free barbecue sauce recipes or a gluten free bbq sauce. This could help you and your guests by saving time and providing them a sugar free barbecue sauce or gluten free bbq sauce option.
  • Keep your menu simple! Rolls that don’t require heating, chips instead of hot sides are a couple of examples. Also keep in mind, some of the best party food recipes can be very simple to prepare.
  • Home or away? It’s a BIG part of your planning. Sit down and make a detailed list of everything you’ll need for a location other than your home. How are you going to get it all there? How to keep it hot or cold? Can I prepare/cook/warm/cool at the location? Catering restaurants typically have large vans or trucks that can safely transport their food and equipment to the event. Leftovers? Bring foil, plastic wrap and bags to take home in. All are questions you need to answer in advance to help you plan.
  • Make very popular dishes. Beans and potato salad will typically do better than broccoli and peas at a BBQ. People eat with there eyes too. An out of place side will get passed over even if the few that try it rave about it.
  • Refer to the charts below and take into consideration the time of day, the length of the event, and the age of your guests. 50 high school football players eat a lot more than 50 senior citizens…

Now lets calculate how much food you will need.

 

Large Event Planning Charts

  • Each chart is calculated for an approximately 3 hour party of 50 people with enough for seconds.
  • Use amounts for similar foods if item not found: 1 serving of baked beans = 1 serving of pinto beans
  • Note if amounts specify cooked or precooked foods.

 

Appetizers

Description Per Person For 50
Preceding a meal,
4 or more varieties
6 to 8 300 to 400 total
Appetizers only, no meal
6 or more varieties
12 to 15 600 to 750 total
Supplement with prepared dips and spreads, figuring 1 ounce = 1 appetizer.
Cheese: cubed, sliced, in logs or spreads 3 to 4 ounces 10 to 13 pounds
Crackers and/or Bread 4 pounds
Assorted Fruits or Crudités,
cut or trimmed
2 to 3 ounces 6 to 8 pounds

 

Entrees

Description Per Person For 50
Pre-cooked food quantities
Casseroles
13″ x 9″ x 2″ dishes
(12 servings)
5 to 6
Pasta with Sauce 1-1/2 cups 5 to 6 pounds pasta (dry weight)
and 2 to 2 1/2 gallons sauce
Thicker sauces may require greater amount.
Meat
Boneless Beef,
Pork, or Lamb
5 to 6 ounces 16 to 19 pounds
Ground Meats
for burgers, meatballs, meatloaf, etc.,
plus fillers
5 to 6 ounces 16 to 19 pounds
Hotdogs, Bratwurst, Sausages 1 to 2 75 to 100
(@ 16 pounds)
Ribs, bone-in
(baby back, spareribs, short ribs)
1 pound 50 pounds
Roasts, boneless
beef, pork, lamb, ham
8 ounces 25 pounds
Roasts, bone-in
beef, pork, lamb, ham
1 pound 50 pounds
Steak, Pork Chops, Leg of Lamb, bone-in 6 to 8 ounces 50 to 60
(6 to 8-ounce)
steaks or chops
Poultry
Chicken, Turkey or Duck Meat, boneless 8 ounces 25 pounds
Chicken Pieces, bone-in thighs and legs, wings whole 2 pieces 3 pieces 100 pieces
(40 to 45 pounds)150 pieces
(40 to 45 pounds)
Chicken Breasts, (halves)
boneless, skinless
1-1/3
(6 to 8-ounce) breasts
65
(6 to 8-ounce breasts)
Chicken, Turkey or Duck, whole 1 pound 50 pounds
Seafood
Shelled Crab, Lobster or Shrimp Meat, Scallops 5 ounces 16 pounds
Crab or Lobster, in shell
1-1/2 to 2 pounds each
1 50
Shrimp, large, in-shell 5 to 7 18 to 21 pounds
Clams and Oysters 6 300 pieces
Mussels 12 600 pieces
Fish Fillets or Steaks 6 to 8 ounces 50 (6 to 8-ounce
fillets or steaks)
Whole Fish, cleaned 8 to 10 ounces 25 to 30 pounds
Main Dish Soups and Salads
Chili or Stew 5 to 6 ounces 16 to 19 pounds
Soup 1-1/2 to 2 cups 5 gallons
Gumbo 1-1/2 cups 4 gallons +
3-1/2 pounds rice
(dry weight)
Salads (Chef, Seafood, etc.) 1-1/2 to 2 cups 5 gallons

 

Sides and Salads

Description Per Person For 50
Quantities below are for cooked or prepared foods.
Sides
Vegetables, cut, such as green beans, cauliflower, corn kernels carrots, asparagus spears) 3 to 4 ounces 10 pounds
Corn on the cob, broken in half 1 ear 45 ears
Potatoes and Yams 1 medium
or 3 to 4 ounces
12 pounds
Scalloped Potatoes 3 to 4 ounces 5 9″ x 13″ x 2″ dishes
Baked Beans 3 to 4 ounces 1-1/2 gallons
Pasta Dishes 2 to 3 ounces 7 to 9 pounds
Rice 1-1/2 to 2 ounces 5 to 6 pounds
Side Salads
Green Salad 3 ounces 7 to 8 heads of iceberg or romaine lettuce
or 12 heads of butter or red leaf lettuce
4 cups of croutons
8 cups of dressing
Caesar Salad 3 ounces 8 heads romaine lettuce
8 cups Caesar dressing
2 1/2 pounds shredded Parmesan cheese
5 cups croutons
Potato Salad or Macaroni Salad 4 to 5 ounces 14 to 16 pounds
or 2 gallons
Fruit Salad 3 ounces 1-1/2 gallons
Coleslaw 3 or 4 ounces 1-1/2 to 2 gallons
3 medium cabbages plus dressing and fixings

Self serve?

  • Use smaller serving spoons to discourage guests from piling it on.
  • Before the meal ask that your guests allow everyone to eat before going for seconds.

 

Breads

Description Per Person For 50
Dinner Rolls 1-1/2 75 / 7 dozen
French Bread 1-1/2 1″ slices 4 18″ loaves
Cornbread 1 3″ wedge or square 6 to 7 8″ rounds
or 5 13″ x 9″ x 2″ pans
Butter 2-1/2 pounds

 

Beverages

Description Per Person For 50
Coffee, 3-Hour-Party 3 5-ounce cups 3 pounds coffee (15 cups)
7 gallons filtered water
3 pints (6 cups) cream, half-and-half or milk
6 cups sugar
200 packets sugar substituteTea: @ 30 servings
Breakfast / Brunch Coffee
(1-1/2 to 2-hour party)
1 to 2 5-ounce cups 1-1/2 pounds coffee (7 1/2 cups)
3-1/2 gallons filtered water
3 cups cream, half-and-half or milk
3 cups sugar
100 packets sugar substituteTea: 15 to 20 servings>
After-Dinner Coffee 1 5-ounce cup 1 pound coffee (5 cups)
2 gallons plus 1 quart filtered water
2 cups cream, half-and-half or milk
2 cups sugar
75 packets sugar substituteTea: 10 to 15 servings
Juice
(1-1/2 to 2-hour party)
1 to 2 5-ounce servings 2 to 4 gallons
Punch 3 to 5 4-ounce servings 5 to 8 gallons
Lemonade, Iced Tea, etc. 2 to 3 8-ounce servings 6 to 9 gallons
Soft Drinks 2 to 3 8-ounce servings
or
2 to 3 12-ounce cans
12 to 18 2-liter bottles100 to 150 12-ounce cans (expect some waste)
Beer 3 to 5 12-ounce servings 150 to 250 bottles
or
6 to 10 cases
(24 bottles each)
A keg (half barrel) holds 15 1/2 gallons, 165 servings. A pony keg holds 7 1/2 gallons, 80 servings.
Champagne 3 to 5 4-ounce glasses 25 to 42 750 ml bottles
Wine 3 to 5 5-ounce glasses 30 to 50 750 ml bottles
Cocktails 4*, with 1-1/2 ounces spirits each 13 750 ml bottles or 9 liters hard liquor plus mixers
* Figure 2 drinks per person for the first hour and 1 drink per person per hour after that.
Ice 2 pounds 100 pounds
Less if everything is well chilled, more if making frozen drinks, filling coolers, or in hot weather.

 

Desserts

 

Description Per Person For 50
Cake, layered 1 slice 4 8″ or 9″ cakes
Sheet Cakes 1 2″ x 2″ piece 1/2 sheet cake or more*
  • Half sheet cake (11″ x 15″) is about 40 servings
  • Full sheet cake, (18″ x 24″) is over 100 servings

 

Brownies 1-1/2 pieces 6 to 7 dozen 2″ x 2″ brownies
Cookies 1 to 2 6 to 8 dozen
Pie 1 3″ wedge 5 to 6 9″ pies
Cobbler 1 cup 4 to 5 9″ x 9″ x 2″ pans
Cheesecake 1 2″ wedge 4 to 5 9″ cheesecakes
Pudding 1 cup 6 to 8 ounces
Ice Cream 1 cup 3 gallons

 

 

I recommend adding 10-15% to your amounts. Better a little too much than not enough!

Good Luck!

Cooking Guide for Parties and Large Events

Credits: Greatpartyrecipes.com, Do It for Less Parties, Cooking for Crowds for Dummies, Cooking for a Crowd, Perfect Parties, and www.EllensKitchen.com

 

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