We know it’s that time of year where weekends are full of summer picnics, pool parties, weddings in DC, and other Baltimore outdoor parties that have you running all over the place. Now with 4th of July right around the corner you may be searching for summer grilling ideas, or how to host the perfect summer cookout. If you’re next on the list of your friends to host an outdoor barbecue, or if you’re throwing a 4th of July party, we have some tips that will ensure that the only thing your guests are talking about is the delicious food.
So what goes into planning one of our summer catering events?
1. Refrigerated trucks: If we’re catering one of your outdoor summer events we utilize a refrigerated truck, so your food stays cold even if it’s blistering hot outside. This ensures that the food we serve to your guests is as fresh and satisfying as it would be if it were being served inside your house. All food stored in our refrigerated trucks are also served at a safe temperature at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Ice-filled Serving Dishes: We realize if you’re planning your own outdoor event you most likely do not have access to a refrigerated truck. A great tip to keep your side dishes looking good for your guests is to serve them in an ice-filled serving dish. All you need is a large serving dish that is deep enough to hold a layer of ice, and place your salad bowls (pasta salad, coleslaw, cucumber salad, etc.) right on top. This will keep your guests from feeling weary about trying one of your side dishes in the heat, and is easy to refill with ice if necessary.
3. Divert the Insects: If you’re concerned about having an outdoor event because of unwanted insects making your guests lose their appetites, then this tip is for you. Our Executive Chef Daniel Elardo recommends creating a diversion away from your food arrangement to keep those annoying insects away. A way to do this is to take remains of a watermelon or another type of fruit that you are not serving your guests and place it away from where your guests will be eating. This will draw the insects attention to that remote area, and not where your guests are plating their foods.
4. Follow the Temperature Guidelines for Cooking: Summertime is ideal for experimenting on the grill. We follow specific guidelines to ensure we know when our food is completely cooked. This handy graphic from the Federal Food Safety Information can help take the guessing out of wondering when your protein is completely cooked. Click here to save this for your cooking.
5. Keep Your Protein Moist: Serving hamburgers at your outdoor event? We love creating an onion bath to keep our hamburgers and other types of meats from drying out, while they are displayed out in the sun. We create a mouthwatering mix of beef broth and sliced onion rings that keep our burgers moist.
6. Use Separate Serving Tools: Whether you’re in charge of prepping the food, grilling the food (or both) make sure to use separate tongs. One tong should be designated for any raw meat that you are preparing, and an additional tong should be used while grilling the protein. This ensures that the food you’re making is safe for your guests to eat.
7. Keep it clean and sanitized: You may be hosting the event, but you should still find time to enjoy the event as much as your guests. Keeping is clean will help minimize your list of worries, or to-do’s throughout the party. Plan to have a sanitized solution to clean up any areas that you cooked on, and may now be utilizing as a place for your guests to eat. As Chef Dan says, “Clean is free of visible dirt, sanitized is free of bacteria and micro-organisms that you can’t see.” So how do you make sure that the surfaces you’re utilizing are clean AND sanitized? Create a warm solution of chlorine for two minutes. (Use two tablespoons of five and a quarter percent bleach per gallon of water.) Helpful Hint: The water should be 75 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Additional food safety guidelines can be found here.
We’d love to hear about your upcoming summer event, or if you have any questions please comment below. We’re available for questions via phone (410-944-4481) as well.