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Charcoal grilling for a crowd

Douglas

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Looking for tips on a very specific problem I've encountered once before and don't wish to encounter when I try this again on Thursday:

Last year I did a cookout for ~50 employees as a small, simple gesture of appreciation. It was a big hit, but it did feature one major drawback: It took farking forever.

My grill simply didn't stay hot enough. I think I know why: I was using one of those rented grill tables and I had the whole bed full of coals. It was hot as a motherfucker. But when burgers, sausages, and other sides went on the grill, the temp dropped dramatically. Nothing cooked. I assume the simple lack of airflow was the problem. Those rent-a-grills don't have air baffles underneath...

Any tips, thoughts, or ideas? I guess I could grill less stuff at a time. Setting up a fan just would blow smoke and ash all over. Thoughts from the grillmasters?
 

FLMountainMan

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Originally Posted by Douglas
Looking for tips on a very specific problem I've encountered once before and don't wish to encounter when I try this again on Thursday:

Last year I did a cookout for ~50 employees as a small, simple gesture of appreciation. It was a big hit, but it did feature one major drawback: It took farking forever.

My grill simply didn't stay hot enough. I think I know why: I was using one of those rented grill tables and I had the whole bed full of coals. It was hot as a motherfucker. But when burgers, sausages, and other sides went on the grill, the temp dropped dramatically. Nothing cooked. I assume the simple lack of airflow was the problem. Those rent-a-grills don't have air baffles underneath...

Any tips, thoughts, or ideas? I guess I could grill less stuff at a time. Setting up a fan just would blow smoke and ash all over. Thoughts from the grillmasters?


You're not going to like it - but go propane.
 

Douglas

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Originally Posted by FLMountainMan
You're not going to like it - but go propane.

You're damned right I don't like it. Too late anyways - the equipment is already rented.
 

MrG

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Originally Posted by gladhands
You need a chimney starter and a grill with removable plates. You have to be able to add more coals as you go along.

This is exactly what I was thinking. You can have the chimney heating coals on the side while you cook. Then, when the grill starts to cool off, you can simply add more hot coals.

Also, don't overload the grill. If you've got so much food on the grill that it's choking the airflow, you've got too much on there.
 

thekunk07

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hire a couple of capable young guys to grill for you. i hired a kid from across the street last time i had a lot of people.
 

Rambo

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Originally Posted by edmorel
Smoke, son. Ribs, brats etc. Set it and forget it. Enjoy yourself with your employees (
), have some finger food as appetizers and don't slave over the grill. Either that or cater. Grilling for 50 people is a huge PITA.

+1
 

globetrotter

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I just grilled for 50 last month. here's what I did:

1. used a smoker - I did 10 pounds each brisket and pork shoulder, and got them cooking about 7 or 8 hours earlier

2. I used two grills - each with about 2 chimneys worth of charcoal.

between the above, I was able to feed 50 people - hot dogs, brats, pork shoulder, brisket, chicken kababs and lamb kababs, and chicken wings.

what would I do differently - I really needed a little shovel for moving the coals around - I would have kept the coals shallower in the grills. I would have had a chimney of coals going at all times - things were going well so I stoped heating new coals, then I needed them all at once, I would have always had new coals going.
I would have had a designated helper - somebody helped me, and I really needed it, but that was luck. I would have asked somebody up front to do it. also, I didn't really have any free time, I was grilling the whole time, and didn't get too much chance to talk to my friends. with some help I would have been able to.


good luck.
 

globetrotter

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Originally Posted by Douglas
I assume the simple lack of airflow was the problem. Those rent-a-grills don't have air baffles underneath...

Any tips, thoughts, or ideas? I guess I could grill less stuff at a time. Setting up a fan just would blow smoke and ash all over. Thoughts from the grillmasters?


oh, another thing for your specific problem - drill a dozen holes in the bottom of the grill. you have machinists around, right?
 

Douglas

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Not that anyone cares, but I just finished this and pulled the whole thing off without any major hiccups.

I made sure to start cooking much earlier so that I didn't ever have the grill totally blanketed. I cooked things 3/4 of the way then left them in foil pans, covered, to finish up in the minutes before serving. Used foil pans to keep a few sides hot also - peppers and onions for the sausages and a few pans of grilled vegetables.

Smoking is a good idea and I may try that next time - the problem is getting a smoker big enough to handle that many people.

Sorry, GT - couldn't put holes in the grill - it was a rental.
 

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