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Help! I have committed and I can't get out!

GigEmEggsGigEmEggs Posts: 23
edited 8:06AM in EggHead Forum
I will be catering my first wedding reception at the end of March. Yikes! Service for 80. I really have no idea how I got into this. It is a case of one little innocent "yes" turning into a whole lot more than I initially thought.

I know they want Ribs & chicken. I have done hundreds of ribs and spatchcocked chickens in the past, so I don't think that will be too much of a problem. I have 2 large eggs to use as well as a large homemade smoker that I was planning on using as an oversized warming oven.

Now the problem: Sides! I didn't know I had to do sides! I first thought I could just do standard bbq sides (potato salad, cole slaw, beans), but now I just found out that they don't want "bbq sides that they could pick up at any bbq joint". ohh no. any ideas for some side dishes that I might could do for this thing? It really seems to me that it is going to have to be something that I could pre-cook, because I am going to have my hands full of chicken and ribs leading up to the wedding.

Please feel free to submit any of your ideas. Thanks a ton guys.


  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,521
    Cole slaw, mac n cheese, and beans come to mind.
    Good luck!
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  • everyone seems to like grilled pierogies
  • JCinNVJCinNV Posts: 141
    Kerri's apple hog beans would work, Cook your butt ahead of time, and put it together the night before,then heat on stove or crock pot,the day of the event. did it for the super Bowl didn't have any left, hth ;)
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,880
    Perhaps you could convince them that any 'tater salad, slaw or beans would be lots better than what one would find in a standard BBQ. There are lots of great variations for all the above. I'm thinking beans with pie fruits added in. Or Texas caviar, essentially a black-eyed peas & black bean salad, usually with some vinegar and pepper, etc. Instead of a potato salad, make it a root vegetable salad. I like to roast potato wedges, quartered onions, garlic, maybe some bits of carrot and/or rutabaga in either olive oil or butter. Dress with fresh black pepper, or some red pepper flakes, some herbs, etc.

    Instead of corn bread, maybe an herbed flat bread or focaccia.

    It could be a lot of work, but various melon balls in hollowed out watermelons are quite good.
  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 22,890
    i would want some thing easy like some corn on a cob. how bout something like a marinated cold bean salad you could make the day before, never made one but they always look good
  • 80 is a lot of food but it can be done with what you have. Easy to do huge Caesar salad, Tabouli Salad, roasted root veggies, Rice Pilaf, Roasted tomato halves with Herbs and parmeson, wrapped Asparagus bundles.
  • MickeyMickey Posts: 18,703
    Real easy. Just come to Salado on March 26th and you will find all kinds of side dishes that you can try on the fly.......
    The blog site is listed under my name.
    Come see us or just send me a note.
    Salado TX Egg Family: 3 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    "I will be catering my first wedding reception at the end of March. Yikes! Service for 80. I really have no idea how I got into this. It is a case of one little innocent "yes" turning into a whole lot more than I initially thought".

    Does this mean you have catered other things? But just not a wedding, or something for 80 people?

    Some of the BBQ forums I visit have a dedicated section for folks that do vending, and catering. To be brutally honest, reading some of the posts indicate that weddings are one event that can be very challenging. Not just the logistics, the proper serving equipment and staff, but the atmosphere surrounding a wedding can be very tense... you know wanting everything to be just perfect and all. On top of that, there might be permits required and maybe a visit from the health department. In some cases you can't even thnk about using your home kitchen for preparation.

    Now, all that said, I've done some rehersal dinners and the like, but only provided the meats. They were responsible for all the labor, tables, chairs, utensils, drinks, sides, desserts and drinks. Also for the clean-up.

    Catered barbecue events I've attended that featured a whole hog or barbecued meats did have some of the standard sides like slaw and beans, but there were also other sides like baked potatoes, roasted baby potatoes, casserole dishes like scalloped potatoes and various rice casseroles. The same goes for veggies, it seems green beans are popular because of reheating.
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • thanks for the feedback. The wedding is in my father-in-law's backyard for one of his co-workers, so I am not thinking that I will need any business/health permits. I have never "catered" anything before, and I agree with everything you are saying about a wedding. I am already feeling the tension of making sure this is the perfect day.

    I really really like the idea of "dressing up" the normal bbq sides and maybe throw in a couple egged extras.
  • This is going to be a major, major deal. I've done food for 80 on my Large before, but it was just simple pulled pork. Sides were done potluck style. Trying to shuffle ribs, chicken and appetizers through even two LBGEs will be a real exercise in project management and logistics.

    I'd make some trial runs before then, seeing how many racks you can get on your Egg (I've gotten 8 spares on mine before, with the AR), not to mention how many chickens. Then put together a Gantt chart showing how you'll sequence everything through, including the appetizers, and how you'll keep it all warm and fresh.

  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    After thinking about this awhile, there are a number of things you can do with pasta that are easy, but can still be made in large pans... things like stuffed shells always look nice and are easy to make. There are even a number of cold pasta dishes that are easy to make.
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • I hope you will have lots of help. I would suggest the sides be made completely ahead of time (egged at home) and reheated at the site, maybe in the ovens in the house.

    Or maybe run some electricity out to your area and have some ovens brought out there to reheat stuff. You are going to need to be real creative to serve the sides as well.

    Get out there and recruit help from friends and family. Good luck to you. I think it is excellent that you are up for such a task.
    Happily egging on my original large BGE since 1996... now the owner of 6 eggs. Call me crazy, everyone else does!
    3 Large, 2 Smalls, 1 well-used Mini
  • Kari's Hog-Apple Baked Beans would be a good choice....baked beans with a twist. Twice-baked potatoes would be great for a wedding, but these do take some time. Might want to consider Broccoli Salad which could be made ahead of time.

    I know you said no coleslaw, but I do remember seeing a coleslaw recipe with bleu cheese and pineapples. Something a little different.

    Are you preparing the appetizers as well?
  • rsmdalersmdale Posts: 2,472
    Gigem I have catered two weddings up to 125 people and they are work!!! As for sides I have done seafood stuffed pasta shells(the filling can be made the day before) Bruschetta thse are your non bbq sides I have done 175 ABT's also.Feel free to E-mail me if you need any ideas.


  • been doin' some Spring Chicken like "cogitatin'" on your upcoming event :whistle:

    .....from a woman's perspective ;) ,
    how about offering some cold side salads, such as mixed bean, purple or ruby sweet potato, and Asian coleslaw?

    You could offer some grilled fruit on a stick and maybe a chocolate fondue for dipping B)

    The meats sound good; maybe a few "different" dipping sauces for people to choose....

    Desert Oasis "Thinking Like a Spring Chicken" Woman :evil:
  • This is why I come to the egghead forum when I am in my most desperate need! You guys are awesome! I can really tell that you all have been really thinking this through.

    I am supposed to meet with the family this weekend, so I will run all of these ideas by them and see what they think sounds good. Jeffersonian I am with you about the huge flowchart. I think I should have lots of help - basically my whole wife's side of the family, since it is not actually a family wedding.

    It is fun to get back on the forum and hear from all of you again. I know all of your faces from the last 3 OKC eggfests, but you probably don't remember mine.
  • I can remember the first time I made 50 ABTs -- and I cored them with my fingers and no protection....YOUCH!!!!!
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