Well, you asked for it. Here, Smoky answers the most commonly asked questions. He is direct, honest and offers an insight into the time proven techniques to preparing great barbecue that is unavailable elsewhere. If you are unable to locate the exact answer you are seeking, feel free to contact him directly and ask!
He returns all questions . . . . . . .
Topic: I think my education arrived too late
From: Al Biglan,
Subject: Re: Skydiving and Barbecued Beef
I just spent an hour browsing your website! Magnificent!
I have a new appreciation for the art form of Barbecue. Unfortunately, I think my education arrived too late. My skydiving club is having a party on July 5th and I volunteered to supply the meat. I was planning on a pit style barbecue, but I think I find myself in over my head.
I was wondering if I could get your insight into my dilemma.
Turn the 190 lbd city boy who loves grilling into a BBQ man. At the same time feed 30 people some tasty beef.
The place we skydive at is a beef farm. The farmer has all sorts of equipment and tools and is willing to let me dig a pit if I need to. For the amount of people we want to feed he said a side of beef is way too much. And his calves are worth too much to let us butcher one of them.
Some questions I have and my (novice) thoughts...
So, how much meat? I am thinking two legs.
How to cook it? I was originally thinking something like a spit over an open fire. I must say that I am too cheap to buy a smoker that would do the trick.
How much time should I allow from start to finish? I have been to pig roasts where they say that you have to start cooking the day before for the next days dinner. I am figuring about 2-3 hours to get the wood into coals then maybe 2 hours for the meat. Is this about right?
As you can see I am hopeless. If there are any books you could recommend or pointers you could give I would much appreciate it! I do realize this is a tall order for help and your suggestion might be to buy a grate and grill burgers over the fire.
Thanks for your help and all the info on your web page!
Thank goodness you put a little planning, training, prep. into your skydiving! Otherwise, we'd be talking seriously long distance.
Don't even think about killing the guy's calves. They aren't fit to eat yet anyhow. They aren't ripe yet.
Cooking beef for 30 people is really no big deal. Fifteen lbs of boneless sirloin or rib eye steaks with a few trimmings would jerk their rip cords just right.
I'm recommending broiling, based on your skill level and planning abilities. If you are too tight to buy or unable to borrow a suitable grill, dig a hole about 1 ft deep 3' x 6'.
Start a good fire of oak and hickory and pile the wood about 1 ft above the ground. Let it burn to coals while you prepare a rack which will sit about 12" above the ground and be sturdy enough to hold up 15-20 lbs. of meat.
Have the steaks cut into 2" thick slabs, trim and bring to room temperature. Save the fat trimmings to rub on the meat grate. When the coals are glowing hot, place the steaks firmly on the grill and follow the instructions in the steak column.
You can't go wrong. Remind me never to let you pack my parachute.