Tips on Cooking for a Crowd (part 3)July 23rd, 2012
In the last two months I’ve shared some tips on cooking for a crowd. I’d like to wrap up this three part series today with a discussion on keeping records. I suspect that most people don’t keep records. (I am just trying to get into the habit myself.) But you need to try it and see how easy it really is. This one trick can dramatically boost your confidence for future events PLUS eliminate frustration when you’re trying to go by memory and can’t remember half of what you did three months ago.
Here are a few things you should be recording:
- Cooking notes.
- How many people you fed.
- How much food it took.
Cooking Notes: What you cooked and how you prepped and cooked it. My friend Jeff Phillips from www.smoking-meat.com has a handy smoking meat log you can download for free. His charts are specifically for smoking low and slow, but you could also use it for grilling notes.
One huge advantage of keeping notes is that you can reproduce success much easier. How many times have you stumbled across fantastic success, but had trouble doing it again? This could apply to rub and sauce recipes, methods in the cooker, and so on.
Crowd Size: Pretty simple. Just a head count of how many people ate.
Food Amounts: This includes the meat, sides, breads, supplies, etc. If you’ve done your planning well, you know what I mean. Once you have some experience under your belt and some accurate data from those past events, you’ll be able to quickly see how many people you fed and what it took to make the event successful.
There are other things you could record when you’re cooking for a crowd, but this is a great place to start. Download and print Jeff’s cooking log for your next event and go for it. A good old notebook works well for jotting down notes about each event you cook for.