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How to GRILL for a crowd

by Vaun Thygerson
Staff writer and mother of three

Football tailgating, family barbecues, and other Fall traditions have one thing in common – cooking over an open fire!   Tossing some steaks or vegetables on the grill for a family dinner is usually an easy undertaking, but even the craftiest grill cooks may need to apply some tricks of the trade when grilling food for the masses.

Local grill master Curtis Trigueiro, a member of the competitive BBQ Ridge Route Boys and promoter of Bakersfield’s Biggest, Baddest BBQ Competition, says cooking for a large group takes a lot of planning and organization beforehand.  If you are prepared, you’ll have enough food and time for all the guests to have fun.

Triguerio and his team rank in the top 50 overall teams nationally and have won many top 10’s and category wins on the barbecue circuit.   As members of the Kansas City BBQ Society and the California BBQ Association, he says when the cooking goes smoothly at an event, you feel great.  “[There is] nothing better than watching people enjoying what you have cooked,” he says.  

KCFM wanted to give you some grilling tips for you to use at your next big barbecue gathering to ensure a successful event where everyone, including the cook, enjoys themselves:

Cook a large piece of meat. Rather than individual burgers or chicken wings, think about barbecuing an entire pig or a roast. In many cases, the meat can be set up on the barbecue early in the morning. By the time evening arrives, the meat should be tender and cooked through. With just occasional checking, turning and basting, this may be the most low-maintenance option when feeding a crowd.

Rent or borrow a second grill. Unless you are working with industrial-sized or commercial equipment, a standard grill may not have enough surface area to cook a lot of food at once. Find a friend or family member who is willing to lend you his or her grill. Having twice the room means you can cook twice the amount of food. You also may be able to rent a larger grill for an event.

Precook the food. You can put bratwurst, hot dogs or burgers on the grill to partially cook them before the party, then store them in aluminum pans. When guests arrive, simply reheat the food to the right temperature and they’ll be hot and ready in no time.

Make steak sandwiches. The food goes further with less work by cooking ribeye steaks or flank steaks on the grill. Slice up the meat and serve it over garlic bread with melted jack or mozzarella cheese. The result will be savory, and sandwiches don’t take much time to create.

Opt for pulled pork. Start the basics of pulled pork in a slow cooker so that the meat cooks for several hours under low heat. If you have a smoker, you can opt to use that, but smokers may take longer to cook the meat and require more maintenance. If you opt for the slow cooker, transfer the meat to an aluminum pan when it is nearly done and put it on the grill to impart that smoky flavor. Add more seasonings to the meat and keep it warm until guests are ready to dine.

Go with hot dogs. Hot dogs are usually precooked and will heat up quickly on the grill. Their small size means they don’t take up much space, and several can fit on the grill at one time.

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Tags: Featured Story, Food & Home, Party and Entertainment

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