Summer is the perfect time of year for entertaining. That
often means you will be grilling for a crowd. Here are our picks for the beat
meats that will satisfy your guests while you show off your cooking chops.
Easy Options: Burgers
If your guest list numbers over a dozen people in addition
to you and your family, you may want to go the easy route out and serve meats
that are easy to cook and practically fail safe. That means burgers and brats
(or other sausages).
In either case, start with the best quality meat you can
find. For burgers, use 80/20 ground beef. You could also opt for something more
exotic, such as buffalo or even the more expensive Wagyu beef. Plan on using a
half pound per person, unless you wish to provide really thick or stuffed
burgers for your guests. Just make the patties, sprinkle with salt and pepper, make
a thumbprint in the middle, then put them on the grill. Cook burgers for about
4 minutes per side and add cheese after they are flipped.
Check out this recipe for cheese-stuffed burgers, courtesy of The Food Network and Melissa D’Arabian.
When it comes to sausages, again, quality matters. Peruse
the offerings in the deli case at your local grocery store to find different
varieties. If serving hot dogs, opt for a major brand name for meaty, thick
dogs or visit a local butcher shop. Plan on serving one brat or sausage per
person. Since most of these meats are precooked, all you have to do when
grilling for a crowd is char them nicely and perhaps serve with an array of
condiments such as grilled onions, relish, different kinds of mustard and
When it comes to barbecuing, steaks are king. And if you
really want to impress your guests, visit your butcher to find the best quality
porterhouse, filet mignon, Wagyu or T-bone steaks. Barring that, opt for a ribeye
steak which is nicely marbled and quite flavorful.
Offering steaks when grilling for a crowd requires a bit of
skill and timing. Preparation is easy – just sprinkle steaks with salt and
pepper and let them rest at room temperature for up to half an hour before
placing them on a preheated barbecue. The most difficult part is cooking each
steak to your guests’ preferences and being ready for everyone to eat at the
same time – or as close as possible. Create different heat zones on your
barbecue in order to accomplish this. Finish each steak off with a pat of butter,
with or without herbs and garlic, for a steak that will taste as if it came
directly from a big-name steakhouse.
This recipe for Garlic Butter Steak from Taste of Home will get you started.
Other Meats: Low and
Another good option when grilling for a crowd is to choose
meats that cook low and slow, such as racks of ribs, tenderloin roasts or brisket.
For best results, marinate or rub the meat at least several hours ahead of time,
then allow it to get to room temperature before placing on the grill. We like
to place these meats on a hot barbecue to sear the surface and lock in juices,
then cook them the rest of the way off direct heat or wrapped in foil. These meats
work perfectly for feeding a big group; if your barbecue is large enough, you
can easily cook two or more cuts at the same time.
You may want to try your hand at this Barbecue Brisket recipe, courtesy of Epicurious.
When grilling for a crowd, make things simple on yourself
and your guests by preparing simple meats, then spending minimal time at the
barbecue so you can enjoy the party, too.