View Full Version : Dueling 1400's (A catering Event)

11-25-2008, 01:33 PM
The catering job of 2006 in Old Town Alexandria Virginia

It all started the week before, April 14th, going over the menu and calculating food amounts and such. I wanted to be prepared for rain since I usually do the cooking outside in the courtyard and what I used before was a pink umbrella, this time I picked up an 8X8 EZ-UP canopy and had a rain fly for sidewalls.

Thursday the 20th I had the van loaded, it looked like I was going on a week long camping trip. I had my Camp Chef stove, a big box of spices, a 30 quart stainless steel pot, my Smokin Tex and a list of other things. I had to make sure I kept enough room to bring my wife, Donna and the kids (and dogs) back from Leesburg Va. once everything was done Sunday morning. So I had to pack carefully. Jana (my sister) was driving to my house Friday afternoon to spend the night and drive Donna and the kids and pets back to Leesburg.

I left work an hour early Thursday and drove to Leesburg (Dave’s house). Once there I unloaded and set up both of our Smokin-Tex’s in the garage. It looked like rain??

Jana came home from running errands, so she and I started rubbing the eight pork butts down with my rub. I made three large containers of rub the day before. Once that was done we put the butts back in the fridge and waited for Dave (my sister’s husband) to get home.

We finally put the 8 butts in the smoker at 8:30pm and set the temps at 225 degrees, we had three probes for monitoring. The fire boxes had apple wood for a mellow flavor.

We went inside and had a nice dinner…afterwards finally called it a night.

Friday morning I had to go with Jana to see how to feed the horses and administer some medicine to one horse, plus feed the cats….we wrote everything down.

We went to town (Leesburg) and had some breakfast in Jana’s new Lexus SUV and came back home to start cooking.

Dave started cutting up the onions and red peppers that were to be grilled and mixed with the Italian sausage at the play. I started frying up two pounds of Hickory smoked bacon for the smoked BBQ beans.

Dave and I started doing prep work at 9:00am Friday morning and didn’t stop until 6:00pm that evening…..we were both beat and exhausted. We removed the pork butts at noon on Friday and I stared pulling them. As I was filling up the half size hotel pans, Dave was foiling them and taking them to the freezer for a quick chill down. It took me about 45 minutes to pull all eight butts which filled six half size hotel pans.

At 3:00pm Friday I already made the three half size pans of BBQ beans and loaded them in the smoker. We removed them after three hours and let them cool a little before foiling them and placing them in the fridge.

We fed the horses and cats, then took a shower for dinner.

Saturday morning we got up at 6am to feed the horses and let them out, it was misting so we put their rain coats on them.

We got a phone call from Donna, Jana and the kids, they suggested we make a pot of chille for lunch. So Dave and I headed off to the store in the rain and picked up everything, plus the coleslaw for the catering job. We were expecting about 115 people.

Donna, Jana and the kids along with the dogs arrived, no one wanted the chili because they stopped at McDonalds on the way out.?

Dave and I started loading up the Tahoe for the event, it was packed pretty good and it was raining non-stop.

We left around 2:30-ish and drove to Washington….arrived at 4:06pm and started unloading in the rain.

After hauling in the three large coolers I set up my canopy….in the rain. I set up the three burner Camp Chef stove and a single burner fryer to be used for the stir fry green beans.

We only had 30 minutes from Intermission to serving. That means all the tables had to be set up with chafing dishes, sterno and hot food. We had both stoves in the Little Theater loaded with BBQ beans and pulled pork. We also had a HUGE electric roaster loaded with 15lbs of meatballs in a mushroom gravy sauce and another large roaster loaded with Italian Sausage warming. I constantly used my thermometer to check on the temps on all these items.

This time around Dave cooked outside and I stayed in. This is a first I think for the both of us. At 9:18pm Intermission was over and we were already cooking the pasta for the pasta pesto in the 30 qt. pot outside. The temps are perfect for the pulled pork and beans, so are the meatballs.

We had the tables set up and I poured hot water in the chafing pans, Mary lit the sterno and I began removing the pans from the oven to the serving tables. We had identical serving lines on either side of the room. I think I split 100 rolls prepping at the theater, so we had two large piles stacked high.

Dave was grilling the peppers and onions, I was spooning the sausage out while Pete was bringing in the stir-fry green beans with sundried tomatoes. By this time things are moving extremely fast and piping hot food items are being carried all over the place.

Dave is outside grilling the peppers and onions like Benny Hanna and stir-frying the green beans in the HUGE wok and also cooking the pasta.

Pans of food was coming in the kitchen from Dave as fast as I was loading them on the serving table.

Alan was at the double doors holding them shut asking the people to wait for another 5 minutes. It was almost like a mad mob scene from and old black and white movie carrying torches.
At 9:50pm the door opened and 100+ people started coming in and filling their plates.

We had squeeze bottles filled with BBQ sauce and I made a mustard based sauce from a recipe I got off of CookshackAmerica.Com from a guy called PrisonChef (Jack). There were only a few people willing to try it. There was a guy from North Carolina that like it a lot and also another couple. I thought it tasted great and would probably work excellent as a glaze for a ham.

Dave kept grilling (like I used to do outside) and we kept refilling the pans.
It’s still raining outside when all this is going on and the small kitchen area was hot as all get out.

After the first round of food served we just kept refilling the pans. I don’t remember what time it was. All I remember, all six of us of us cleaning up. Dave and I repacked the Tahoe…..no it wasn’t raining now, but my canopy was soaked.

Dave and I drove back to his place and arrived home around 1:30am. I crawled in bed and was out from exhaustion.

Woke up Sunday morning around 6:30am, I heard Jana downstairs taking Coty out and to feed the horses. Coty is an 8 month yellow Lab that weighs 100lbs and thinks he’s a kitten and likes to sit on your lap.

After Dave and I fix breakfast, I start loading up my van for the 100+ mile trip back to the Maryland’s Eastern Shore. I didn’t think I could fit everything in plus two dogs, two kids and Donna, but I got it all crammed back in somehow.

Everyone slept on the way home, we finally arrived and I unloaded the van and took a shower.
The sun finally came out with clear blue skies, so I cut the grass and then called it a day.
I had a few drinks and was falling asleep by 8pm…..I think it all finally caught up to me.

This was the first time I experienced all the prep work that Dave goes through, actually Dave had already done some prep the week before!! This was also the first for me to work inside while Dave took over my usual position outside. It was fun, but I’m glad it’s over and my last catering job for the Little Theater. Donna is going to frame all the group pictures from the catering jobs over the years and hang them in the kitchen.
This was tough, starting Thursday and not getting home until Sunday.
The two 1400 stainless steel Smokin Tex smokers did a perfect job in smoking the eight - 8lb butts……and the BBQ smoked beans too!!!!