Mike Tomkins Spring 2023
BBQ is a fantastic option when it comes to cooking for large groups of friends and family, but we’ve all been in that position where we’re stuck where flipping burgers and turning sausages not talking to our guests because we’re slaving away.
I want to show you my top 10 dishes for cooking for a crowd. Just a disclaimer before we dive into my list: while brisket, pulled pork and pork ribs are all great options for cooking for a crowd, I thought we’d go for something a little different this time…
Tthe ultimate Italian BBQ dish. Rolled pork loin or belly stuffed with fennel citrus and herbs. Traditionally cooked on a rotisserie, this delicious dish is a sure-fire way to impress your guests.
Another classic Mediterranean dish, the signature of this dish is the wonderfully flavourful potatoes that you're left with as the cooking liquor from the marinated lamb seeps through to your spuds, which means you've got at least one of your sides and main event covered.
Fish can be pretty intimidating to cook on the BBQ but it doesn’t need to be. Keeping a careful eye on temperature ensures that this doesn’t go wrong. A whole roasted salmon makes an amazing centre piece for a party and served on table with all your sides is sure to be a real talking point.
I love this option for a crowd because it’s so versatile, you can marinate your chicken thighs however you want-spicy, fruity or barbecue style-you decide. Serve your chicken with pittas, wraps and plenty of salads you give your guests the choice to make their own dinner.
Absolutely packed full of flavour, rump of beef is cost-effective way of serving beef as your showstopper at a party. Ramp can be cooked whole low and slow until it reaches your desired internal temperature before being charred and portioned up for your guests into big thick slices.
The official dish of Louisiana, New Orleans, gumbo, combines African, American Indian and European flavours to create a rich and punchy dish that is cooked differently by everyone. You can add pork, chicken, shellfish, whatever you’ve got lying around really. But the ‘holy trinity’ of flavour that makes a gumbo and gumbo is onions, peppers, and celery This dish cooks amazingly over fire, and it’s great served with rice.
What’s better than a paella at a party? I don’t think this list would be complete without this absolute classic. Paella is traditionally cooked over fire and it’s there for everyone to see. At parties people gather round to watch the dish cook; the smell of the saffron as delicate as it is welcoming. This is definitely one for a crowd.
Chilli con carne cooked low and slow, using whole cuts of brisket, coffee and ancho chilies is such a game changer. It will be one of those dishes that once you’ve cooked this way, you’ll never go back to regular chilli again and I guarantee everyone at your party will want your recipe.
A bit of a Sicilian classic this, but a fantastic party dish that can be prepared in advance and kept warm on the barbecue or in the oven. The aubergine is stuffed with a rich pork Ragu and is finished with pinenuts and parsley. If you’re catering for vegetarians, you could make a sauce packed full of chunky veg instead.
Last but not least on my list is a roast chicken, super easy to cook over fire and so versatile. You can roast a chicken before shredding and creating a stunning Caesar salad; you could douse your chicken in piri-piri before serving over rice; or you could even spatchcock your chicken and baste with plenty of sweet barbecue sauce. The best thing about a roast chicken cooked over fire though is that you can usually cater easily for large numbers.
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