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ABTs in volume—need advice!

Charleston DaveCharleston Dave Posts: 571
edited 5:13PM in EggHead Forum
Looks like I'll be cooking about 120 ABTs as an appetizer for an pig-pickin' event in a few weeks. 60 guests, I'm figuring 2 per.

Anybody have any advice on the best configuration for my large BGE? I'm wondering about stacking racks or grill extenders, that sort of thing.

Are ABTs better cooked on their sides like little boats, or arranged vertically in a rack like test tubes? The boat style is much quicker and easier to prep. Vertical lets me fit more on the grill at once, and probably looks prettier (this is a High Society kind of pig pickin'). I'd have to figure out some sort of structure to hold them all vertical. Sounds sacreligious, but somehow I'm reminded of those trays for the miniature communion wine glasses at the Baptist church... :evil: :blush:

I'd like to get all 120 done in one cook if possible, certainly no more than two cooks, so that I can schmooze with the other guests. I envision prepping at home and cooking onsite. Precooking and reheating is a possibility but only if the quality is the same. I'm undecided about pulled-pork filling, as that's sort of the main event at the pig roast.

What are favorite ABT fillings?
Favorite smoking woods?
Other ABT recipe tips?
Can I make them without toothpicks somehow?


  • My favorite filling is shrimp. I'm doing around a 100 on a small Saturday. I'll precook to 90% done and refrigerate today. I don't use smoke - usually the bacon is already smoked. You can make them without the toothpicks and I have done it by wrapping real tight but I normally use toothpicks - little handles. Soak the toothpicks at least 30 minutes so they don't burn as easily.

    I have seen some use little smokies as well - just about anything you want to put on them will work (not liver :sick: )
  • ZippylipZippylip Posts: 4,368
    Dave, with a whole lot more skewers & a couple levels you could try something like this:

  • Others can say what to put in them let me help you with making them. If you want to make 120 or so, it would help to have an assembly line and some help. You can probably cut and seed them easily yourself. When I do them in bulk, I get cut the peppers ahead. Then when we put them together, I stuff with meat, heand of to a cream cheese persone and then the last one adds the bacon and picks.

    2 ABT's per guest is on the low side, if it is a a crowd of men and ladies, you may be OK, if it is guys only, I would say 3-4 per. They always seem to disappear.
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,387
    I like them direct, but to do 120 you could go indirect on two levels.

    I like the boat style, and I never use toothpicks. Stretch the bacon and wrap tight (thinner bacon is best). I like to mix some rub in with the cream cheese, and even a little cheddar. Any fillings would work. Pineapple and pulled pork, just pork, chicken, sausage, beef. Like Frank, I also don't use wood.

    Have fun! 120 will take you some time to prep, and they'll be gone in 2 minutes.

    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
  • ZippylipZippylip Posts: 4,368
    Chris, how'bout Scrapple & Cheddar:

  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 18,446
    boats are definatly quickest. leave thin bacon out a little while to warm up, cut in half and stretch it before wrapping, no toothpicks needed, some will unwind a little while cooking but most stay together. i like cooked italian sausage and some cheese like asiago added to the cream cheese plus some spice of choice.
    ive never cooked a hundred plus, might be tight even on two levels
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,387
    Can I have one now?
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
  • reelgemreelgem Posts: 4,256
    Do you use pre-cooked shrimp?
  • I'm sure Frank will respond, but I do them with raw shrimp all the's my favorite filling as well, with a little cream cheese!
  • Celtic WolfCeltic Wolf Posts: 9,769
    In my opinion you are a little low on your figure'n

    Believe it or not I had some ABT's at Texas Steakhouse that I likes. They were filled with Cream Cheese, Shredded Colby, Cheddar, cumin and onion powder. Wrapped in bacon and glazed with BBQ Sauce the last couple minutes of the cook. They were served with Ranch Dressing.


    Recipe Tip: GET HELP, and WEAR GLOVES

    The toothpick holds the bacon in place, but yes you can

    They can be cooked horizontal or vertical
  • JimWJimW Posts: 450
    You will need some sort of tray under the ABTs to catch the grease from the bacon. If the grease hits the fire, it will flame up and raise the temp in the egg quite a lot.
  • NilsNils Posts: 82
    Definitely low on the ABT's per person. My minimal catering experience is that you need to prepare at a minimum 15% more than you think you need. This covers fluctuating headcounts and "droppage".

    Also - appiteasers go very fast, and people always seem to want more, especially when they are grilled teasers!

    Most ABTs I've done thus far is 32 jalapeno halves (boat style) on a single layer on a large in one cook. They could heve been better arrianged to pack some more in. I'd say that even with a grill extender you're looking at two egg loads.
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    i think your number is about right if there are other appetizers. plus, not everyone will dive on these with equal vigor.

    a filling that i like is crabmeat mixed with cream cheese. is you use the smoother spreading kind, you can put the cream cheese and crab in a pastry bag, mix it up, and pipe it into the whole peppers with the end cut off.

    when i do ABTs with pulled pork, i make little boats. i also chill the cream cheese, and then slice it into french fry sized pieces (maybe less than a 1/4-inch square). i put the PP in, lay on a piece of the cheese, and tightly wrap the bacon around, as Nature Boy suggests. There is no need for toothpicks. when i use bacon, i will often cut each piece in half, then split each half. we don't get huge jalapenos up here. this will wrap around the boat a few times while leaving the filling and ends partly exposed (too brown, and for presentation).

    on the first wrap, cover the starting end of the bacon. at the other end, tuck the last bit under one of the wraps, and the bacon will hold.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • Many thanks to all for some awesome suggestions.

    Charleston has great local shrimp, so I'm leaning toward that direction. Maybe marinate the shrimp with some nice flavors, then load the chile boats with a whole shrimp, a strip of cream cheese cut from a chilled block and a squirt of BBQ sauce, then wrap with bacon. That would be fairly quick to prep in quantity.

    I totally agree with you, Stike, that crab and cream cheese would do well. I think for a smaller party I'd do the crab and cream cheese in a caulking gun (er, cookie press, I believe they call them in the baking world). I wonder how the cost for crab for 60 guests compares with smallish fresh shrimp...maybe for a party of 10 instead of 60!

    Obviously I got some 'sperimentin' to do. :)

    The consensus seems to be to avoid smoking wood, but with a tip of the Egg lid to CW I will try pecan and see what I like. Same on direct vs. indirect. And with this much bacon on the Egg, I'll have to see if a water pan or drip tray of some kind makes sense.

    Sounds like I have a couple of tasty weeks of tests ahead!

    I do promise pictures. :)
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