Having a 'BBQ' party for over 100 people is a quick and easy way to make sure everyone gets fed quickly, a wedding or birthday barbecue can be just the ticket. But there's no denying that there's quite a lot of work involved. Before you begin thinking about doing it all yourself, ask a couple of friends to lend a hand; having a few helpers to prepare side dishes, man the barbecue or marinade meat can be extremely helpful.
Meat is the natural chief of the barbecue party and should be on the menu. When deciding upon the meat you want to cook, always think about what your guests need to eat it with (do you supply cutlery or not?) as well as what your budget is as feeding meat to 100 people can get very expensive. If you don't have a massive budget and you're trying to feed everyone for the minimum amount possible, aim for burgers and sausages as they're cheap. Keep reading and we will give you tips on how you can estimate the amount of food you need to purchase for your party.
Short cooking cycle will certainly be top of the priority list with such a large amount of guests, ham burgers and sausages are some of the quickest things to cook and always taste great. If you're fortunate enough to have a larger budget, consider kebabs with cubes of your favourite meat. In comparison to other barbecue foods, kebabs are by far one of the simpler options. If cooking something quick saves your guests from waiting around hungry it can only be a bonus.
As a standard, simple stuff is the best when hosting something on this scale. However, on those extra special occasions you may want to do something a bit more grand.
Now you need to understand the factors that make a successful BBQ. Having some extra cold food to go along with the meat is a very good idea, cabbage salad and salads are quick and fill people up. Making your own sides isn't too hard, especially if you're equipped with a mighty food processor. Simply chop up a bit of crisp white cabbage, maybe some carrots and onions as well and mix it with mayo. Potato salad is another do it yourself job, boil, drain, mix with mayo and mustard, job done. If you really want to take the easy way out, supermarkets usually have huge party or catering packs that will contain pretty much everything you need to entertain your guests. If it tastes good, you still could pass it off as your own food!
If you want simple, make it simple; put burgers between buns and add sausage rolls - this will definitely be a winner at your BBQ. To satisfy your guests even more, get some extras out like cheese, pickles and any sauces. That's the basics, hopefully you understand. Should you follow this path, cleaning up will be a lot easier as most people will just eat from their hands and no care about tidying up after needs to be given.
If you don't want a basic barbecue and you actually want to make an effort, spread out 2-3 large tables (preferably long rather than square) and let guests help themselves to the side dishes. Try putting the tables in a line before the barbecue and you will get a train line system going on with people collecting their meat at the 'BBQ' station. A lot of the time, someone will bring their kids to a 'BBQ' and this can be hazardous due to the sizzling barbecue. So, either, serve food to your guests or position the barbeque far away and serve food to the long tables and let your guests collect.
If you don't have an abundance of meat at your disposal, fret not, simply put out a tonne of side dishes; salads, bread, rolls and that kind of food is ideal. This way, the amount of you have shouldn't be a concern as everyone will be already be too full to chow down on it!
Make sure you take into account the location that the barbecue will take place; if it's going to be held outside, the weather will play a crucial role on the guests and food. Keep the food tables and side dishes in the shade, failing this you will need to have someone keep ferrying out cold fresh stuff from your household fridge. Cabbage salad and other salads will be fine in the shade, but if you leave them in the sun for any length of time, they definitely won't be impressing your guests.
When it comes to deciding how much food you'll need, a rough estimate for chicken per person is 1 - 2 pieces, legs or wings and for ribs, you'll want roughly 0.5 lbs for 1 person. The burgers and sausages are similar, maybe account for one or two per person. Make sure you understand this is for total food quantity, not for each person; unless you expect each of your guests to shovel down chicken, burgers, sausages, steak and sides! The buffet theorem can come into effect if you are hosting a self serve barbecue as most people grab more than they need, if you are operating one probably best to add 20% onto the figures.
It's important not to go cheap on your side dishes, the last thing you want is to run out of salads and things. The more the better as it could lead to unhappy guests if you run out.
Now you're ready to get onto cooking this epic BBQ. Numerous barbecues are suggested for an event of around 100 people. Two barbecues are a good idea - one for meats such as sausages and burgers and another for slower cooking foods like chicken. For a 100+ people event, you definitely want a gas barbecue as it will be far easier to manage than a charcoal alternative. You won't have to worry about adding more coals to keep it going, and no wasted time pre-heating. Gas barbecues also allow for quick temperature regulation, meaning you can stop things cooking and keep them warm should you mis-judge any timings, or you can speed things along to stop guests having to wait for food.
You should plan for vegetarians by cooking their food separately from the meat. Ensure you cook their food on a well oiled barbecue or grill well away from anywhere it could be contaminated by meat juices. Remember it's possible to cook veggie burgers and sausages in a well-oiled pan - they'll taste just as good! If you have a certain vegetarian you're wanting to impress, make some veggie kebabs and add 'halloumi' cheese, or pull out some vegetables, slice and grill them; aubergines or courgettes cooked like this will taste superb.
Desserts are a brilliant way to round off a day of drinking and talking. If you have friends attending you may wish to ask them to bring desserts but make sure they don't all bring the same thing! You may wish to keep desserts simple and keep them well chilled if necessary. One of the best desserts for this type of occasion is tray baked flapjacks or brownies, the good thing about these is they don't take up tonnes of space on the table or fridge.
Preparation, planning, organisation and a few willing helpers are the keys to a fantastic barbecue
If you're taking the plunge and buying a brand new BBQ, consider buying a barbecue cover
as most barbecues tend not to come with one when bought new.