Skip to main content

I'm hosting a party at my house next month and could use some advice from others with experience cooking for large groups. I'm making two of my wife's favorite entrees. One is a pork tenderloin with a pineapple salsa, the other is a caribbean style sauteed shrimp served over a bed of black bean and coconut rice. It's usually served with a mango salsa. I'm anticipating roughly thirty guests and at this point figuring about 1/3 lb. of pork and the same amount of shrimp per person. My question revolves around how to cook all of this ahead of time so I can clean up, but I'm very concerned about how to keep it warm/warm it back up without drying out the pork specifically. The tenderloins will be cooked completely on the grill(s) and I generally cook them to 140F then pull them off to rest before slicing. The shrimp sits in a marinade for a few hours before hand and then it's just a quick sautee in the pan and served over the rice.
Soo, with the setup above how would one go about pulling this off with the best results? I'm leaning toward using chafing dishes for service and heating, but it's just my best guess right now as I've never used one.
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Not sure your time frame between the cooking and the party. The key is to keep the food out of the 40-140 danger zone for food safety. If you cook the food hours earlier then you need to keep it above 140 or cool it below 40 and then reheat.

Chafers work good to hold heat, I usually do reheats in the oven and then move into the chafers for holding and service. If you can rent a Cambro or have some smaller ice chests available you can hold hot food for hours in them without getting into the 140 degree danger zone. We use cambro's for holding bbq for tailgaters, they claim that they hold within 4 degrees for up to 4 hours, our experience is that is probably pretty close. Using a cambro or ice chest keeps the food hot without drying it out since you are not putting more heat to it.
Chafers will continue to cook the food. I would suggest cooking the pork to 130 and let them carryover cook in the chafer for the remaining hour (I eat my pork medium -mw). If you can, don't slice the meat until right before service (pull out of chafer, slice, then serve in an effort to retain the natural juices). For the shrimp again I would cook them 90% of the way and let them continue cooking in the chafer. Add hot water to the chafer when you go to light them. If you don't carryover cooking won't happen as nicely (all the heat will be directed into heating up the water). The salsa could actually be made a day in advance and black beans work great in chafers. I would recommend not using a short grain rice because IMHO they don't hold up as well in a chafer and require more maintenance. Check the chafers about half way into cocktails, if the food looks like it is drying out too much or overcooking, then blow out the heat source and keep the lid on. Hope it helps.
I agree with cooking the pork and shrimp at 90% through. With pork, you can use a meat thermometer to determine the 90%. However with shrimp it's a little tricky, and you almost have to rely on visual clues. If you can't change your ingredient for shrimp, what I would do is flash saute the shrimp and the ingredients where the shrimp just starts to turn opaque; at which point you turn off the flame and transfer to the already heated chafing dish. Good luck. Large parties, shrimp, and having time to schmooze is a difficult combo.
snipes,
how much help do you have?
do you have a double oven?

the pork can be cooked to MR then finishes in your oven
the shrimp i would do just before serving!
the rest all can be done before hand!
even your garnish!
if your doing all the cooking good luck don't worry about time!
30 people are not going to walk in the door at 6
Cool
don't forget to have a glass of wine in your hand at 6!!!!!!
bez, yes I have a double oven and have recruited a sous chef to help me out. Are you thinking along the lines of searing the meat earlier in the day, put in the the fridge and then finish cooking it to temp in the ovens closer to six?


DD, I'm throwing this party for the Mrs. she'll do enough schmoozing for both of us. I'm sure of that.
Regarding chafing dishes, will the steam from the water help keep things from drying out and how much "cooking" would be done while sitting in them for ~30-60 minutes?
Please keep the suggestions coming and I'll bump the thread when the date gets closer with my plan.
snipes,

with the sous chef the two of you should be a piece of cake!
i have all the garnish, black beans in a double boiler on the stove top
the rice can be held in the bottom oven(warm)
top oven to finish the pork
@6:30 have him put garnish ,black bean , rice out(covered)finish pork in top oven 6:00 give the pork about 15 to rest!
@6:45 have him start the shirmp
and you may start to slice the pork!
then let him take over!
Cool
quote:
Originally posted by snipes:
I'm hosting a party at my house next month and could use some advice from others with experience cooking for large groups. I'm making two of my wife's favorite entrees. One is a pork tenderloin with a pineapple salsa, the other is a caribbean style sauteed shrimp served over a bed of black bean and coconut rice. It's usually served with a mango salsa. I'm anticipating roughly thirty guests and at this point figuring about 1/3 lb. of pork and the same amount of shrimp per person. My question revolves around how to cook all of this ahead of time so I can clean up, but I'm very concerned about how to keep it warm/warm it back up without drying out the pork specifically. The tenderloins will be cooked completely on the grill(s) and I generally cook them to 140F then pull them off to rest before slicing. The shrimp sits in a marinade for a few hours before hand and then it's just a quick sautee in the pan and served over the rice.
Soo, with the setup above how would one go about pulling this off with the best results? I'm leaning toward using chafing dishes for service and heating, but it's just my best guess right now as I've never used one.


you might run out of food, but depending on the appetites of your guests,

I like the 2/3 pounds of protein per person but i'd like to add another 2/3 pounds of veggies/sides per person. People also eat more when they start drinking =)

If you're worried about keeping it warm, turn your oven on the lowest you can and stick the sides in, esp since you picked 2 proteins that leave little room to be overcooked.

Rice should be first. Shrimp should be made last, as it's the fastest and easiest to cook.

The pork tenderloin is a stick it in and forget for a little dish, so you should have time to do sides, clean up and stick it in the oven to keep warm.
Cook the loins so that they are finished at 6:00 and wrap them in heavy foil. Stack them in a cooler (without ice, ovbiously). They will stay nice and hot while resting for well over an hour. If you have a thin savory sauce, put a little on before wrapping.

With shrimp you'll have to listen to advice from others. I'm a midwesterner. I know beef and pork - no clue on saltwater creatures.

Add Reply

Post
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×