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Tips & Tricks

May 17, 2024

Party Provisions: Strategies for Feeding a Crowd

When you’re tasked with feeding a large group of people, there are a few tried-and-true strategies to follow. This way, you’ll plan the perfect event every time.

No matter if you’re hosting a pair of friends or a group of a dozen or more, you’re going to want everything to go as planned. From selecting easy dishes packed with flavor to staying on budget, there’s a lot to keep in mind.

Below are a few easy strategies to elevate your game when it comes to feeding a crowd. By following these strategies, you’ll host a memorable and fun party for your guests while cutting down on pre-party stress.

Always Plan Ahead

There’s a lot of truth to the saying, the early bird gets the worm. No matter what you do, getting an early start is crucial for success, and hosting a party is no exception.

Most people will eat about a pound, or 16 ounces of food, during a party or event. For children under 12, you can plan on them eating around a half-pound, or 8 ounces of food.

Out of 16 ounces, you’ll need up to 6 ounces worth of appetizers. People love grazing on simple and delicious finger foods when they’re socializing. With the right amount of tasty appetizers planned ahead of time, you’re on track to success.

As for sides, such as potato salad or roasted vegetables, plan for 4-6 ounces. And for the main course, choose 6-8 ounces of protein like beef brisket, baby back ribs, or marinated boneless chicken breast.

At the Flying Butcher, we can help you prepare your menu several days in advance. This way, you can have your high-quality meat cut, seasoned, and portioned ahead of time.

Choose Crowd-Pleasing Menus

Not everyone likes the same foods. That’s why it’s important to have a diverse menu at your party or event.

Prioritize dishes that almost everyone loves and choose flavor profiles that complement each other. Sticking to a theme or style of food also makes your job easier.

Consider having several protein options such as beef, chicken, pork, and vegetarian options. Having more to choose from makes even the pickiest eaters happy.

For a successful event, it’s crucial to have enough side dishes. The Flying Butcher has a huge range of side dishes, from pasta salads to roasted vegetable dishes prepared with fresh, local, and in-season ingredients.

Budget-Friendly Tips

When you’re responsible for feeding a group of people, there are some great strategies to keep in mind. These strategies will maximize your budget without sacrificing quality or flavor.

Cook in Bulk

Try to buy inexpensive bulk ingredients such as beans, rice, and quinoa and use them throughout your menu. This will save you a lot of time and money.

You can even buy meat, vegetables, and fruits in bulk. There are plenty of amazing dishes you can make with a few bulk ingredients.

Stay in Season

Seasonal ingredients not only taste better, they are usually less expensive. By buying what’s in season, you’ll be getting the highest-quality ingredients that are bursting with flavor. Plus, you’ll save a dime or two, making this strategy a must when feeding a crowd.

Use Affordable Ingredients

There’s no reason to go over budget with certain basic ingredients such as beans, rice, or pasta. Save your money for your proteins and vegetables. The higher-quality meats, vegetable proteins, and produce you use, the more flavorful and nutritious your meal will be.

Keep the Menu Simple

Some of the world’s most beloved dishes, such as beef bourguignon or ceviche, use very simple ingredients. Consider making dishes that turn a few simple ingredients into magic.

Choose the Right Serving Styles

Serving food to groups of hungry people can be stressful. From portioning to plating, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Thankfully, choosing a convenient serving style can make hosting a party a breeze.

Buffet Style

There’s a reason why so many restaurants set up a buffet in their business model. Buffets let your customers or guests choose their own portions and save you time and energy.

For larger groups, a buffet style works great. To keep a buffet hygienic, use food shields, gloves, and clean utensils to handle the food and monitor its temperature to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

PROS: Easy to set up and convenient.

CONS: possible hygiene concerns and food waste.

Family Style

When you have a smaller group, a family style setup is the way to go. With a family-style food setup, your guests can control their portions better and you may cut down on food waste.

Serving your food family-style also encourages your guests to mingle. There’s nothing more communal than sharing food over a table. For creating bonds and conversations, family-style takes the cake.

PROS: Encourages everyone to socialize, offers a variety, convenient for sharing.

CONS: Limited table space, potential mess, unequal distribution of food.

Preparation Shortcuts

Serving food can be time-consuming and stressful. However, by using a few preparation shortcuts, you can save time, money, and cut down on stress.

First, prepare your dishes a day or two in advance. This gives you time to organize your portions, types of dishes, and any additional sides or drinks well before the event. Don’t be afraid to freeze sauces, braises, or soups in the freezer beforehand.

Next, consider using ready-to-cook ingredients from your favorite local market. At The Flying Butcher’s butcher shop, you can find marinated meats, sausages, spice rubs, deli meats, and cheeses that are cut perfectly and ready to go.

You can also find local products such as milk, eggs, pasta, produce, and more at The Flying Butcher. There are many items that are already prepared by our culinary experts, so you can save time on food prep.

DIY Food Stations

Almost everyone loves to assemble their own dishes. Spark some creativity at your party by setting up DIY food stations. Your guests will not only love creating their perfect taco or burger, but you’ll save time and energy in the process.

Taco Bar

Who doesn’t love putting together the perfect taco? Select meats for classic taco fillings such as carne asada or try The Flying Butcher’s marinated Firemaster Steak Tips.

Next, choose your tortilla styles, either corn, wheat, or both. Choose a variety of toppings like chopped lettuce, Mexican-style pickled red onions, chopped cilantro and a wide variety of salsas.

Burger Station

Burgers are not only delicious but fun to assemble. First, you can order high-quality burger patties from The Flying Butcher and grill them at home. Next, set aside toasted buns, lettuce, and a variety of cheeses, smoked meats, and condiments. The more toppings you have, the happier your guests will be.

Salad Station

There’s nothing like assembling the perfect salad. Set aside a variety of lettuce varieties, chopped vegetables, meats, cheeses, fruits, and salad dressings.

At The Flying Butcher, we have everything you need for your food stations. Just ask us for ideas and inspiration for fun food creations that your guests will love.

Accommodating Special Diets

If you’re hosting a large group of people, chances are, you’re going to have to accommodate for special diets. Fortunately, by doing a little preparation beforehand, you can serve all of your guests equally.

Make sure to have plenty of vegetarian or vegan options to choose from. Include proteins such as tofu, lentils, beans, and vegetable dishes packed with flavor.

Consider having several gluten-free options as well. Some wonderful gluten-free carbohydrates include rice, potatoes, and corn. There are no limits to the recipes you can create with these affordable ingredients.

When you’re preparing your dishes, make labels listing each dish’s ingredients. This way, guests with food allergies can stay safe and enjoy their food without worrying.

Seasonal Planning for 4th of July BBQs

There’s no experience quite like hosting the perfect 4th of July BBQ. Although it can be incredibly fun, it can also be stressful if you don’t plan it ahead of time.

Mid-June is the perfect time to prepare for the big event. Order red, white, and blue-themed decorations before they sell out during the holiday rush. You’re also going to want to prepare a menu that you can serve easily outdoors.

Don’t forget the extras like placemats, utensils, and drinks. These items, especially the ones with patriotic decorations, will sell out quickly as you approach the big day.

Our food experts at The Flying Butcher know a thing or two about hosting an epic 4th of July party. We can help you choose the best meats, sides, and drinks so you can feed a crowd and make a special event even more spectacular.