This is the third year that Willy has done this and the first year was hamburgers. For some reason Willy inserted his number 10 shoe in his mouth and has had to cook steaks the last couple of years to save his honor.
The meal consisted of ribeye steak, baked potatoe, salad, roll and cookies for about 110 people. The easiest part was nbuying the salad mix and the cookies. Cleaning the potatoes and wrapping them to be cooked was a little bit of a pain. The steaks are cut fresh by a local meat cutter and are really good cuts.
The hardest part is timing of the cooking. We have use of a nice facility that has two ovens in it. The baked potatoes are put in to come out 1 hour before serving. They are then put in a large thermos cooler. This keeps the potatoes steaming hot until serving. In fact they were still to hot to handle an hour later with the bare hand.
When the potatoes come out then the ovens can be used to heat rolls and have them warm at serving.
We began the steak cooking process about 3 hours before the meal is to be fed. The cooker that we use belongs to the company and in my opinion is less than ideal for cooking steaks. It's design does not allow well to keep the steaks far enough from the charcoal to keep it from flaming and it is difficult to cook on a large scale in a method as to not burn on the outside and have to rare on the inside.
The charcoals are started 3 hours before. These are allowed to burn down about 30 minutes. While they are burning down we lay out about half of the steaks and season them with the proper seasoning. 2.5 hours before feeding we began to cook the steaks. The grill allows us (2 people cooking) to handle about 8 steaks on each side so we are cooking about 15 - 16 steaks at a time. As stated the flare up is very hard to control and it is hard to keep from charring the outside and leaving the inside to rare for most.
Taking our time the entire 110 steaks that we cooked were finished about 1hour prior to eating. Many people would think that this is too soon to finish. However, again we use the thermos type cooler lined with foil to put the steaks in as they come off of the grill. The attempt is to take them off in a medium rare state. During the next hour that they are in the cooker they steam which makes them even more tender and moves most of them to just a nice done state.
We do not even make an attempt to have different levels of done, even though I am sure that there are differences in the doneness of most of the steaks. However, the attempt is to have a done steak just enough to not be called any state of rare but not overdone.
Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. However, when the steaks are put on the plate an hour later they are still piping hot.
In all the evening came off very successful. Willy even made a sales pitch for his company that was accepted well. What could they say -- they had just been fed an excellent meal for free.