Catholic Outreach Soup Kitchen Chicken Bar B Q
Well the third Saturday is here again, time to cook for the homeless.
We have discussed the need to feed those less fortunate in the past, and it was
good to hear from many of you with your stories of committing to stop every
month with food, committing to raising vegetables for the homeless project in
your area. We have even had one person go all the way to starting up a
soup kitchen in their area after they found it under served! I applaud
each and everyone of you who took it to heart and made the commitment.
So when I arrive it seems we have all kinds of cooked chicken that can be
used. A lot of which are whole rotisserie cook chickens. I like
these as I can do a simple break to eight and feed a lot of people. And
more important I can teach a volunteer to break to eight in about 15 minutes and
move on to other aspects that require more attention. So I get my first
young student volunteer to breaking chicken down.
Meanwhile there is a severe lack of bread for today. However there are a
couple steel cans of corn meal. And what goes better with a Bar B Q than
good cornbread? Noth-tin! So I set out to make three sheet pans of
cornbread. As one of the few chefs that volunteer they ask that I use up
stuff that the regular volunteers won't use. So I can turn a bunch of
cream corn into cornbread today!
In no time you can easily whip up a nice cornbread batter with the hobart.
For this one I am using 10 pounds of corn meal, 10 pounds of AP flour, 2
pounds of sugar, 1.5 cups of baking powder, 1.5 gallons of buttermilk, 3 pounds
of corn, 3 pounds of cream corn, salt, pepper and a little hint of chicken
bullion. Dry ingredients first, then add the wet. To get a nice
cornbread with black Iron I always heat the Lodge skillet first in a 350 F oven.
Sets a nice bottom and side. So I do the same for my sheet pans, grease
them and then heat them prior to adding the cornbread batter.
One of the problems I run into is how to make food so more people will like it.
Some like stuff pretty plain, some really like spice and flavors upfront.
To help with that at the soup kitchen I cooked the cornbread first plain, than I
chop Jalapenos and drain, toss them on top with some Colby Jack and bake the top
on to the cornbread. This allows the plain eaters to request no pepper and
cheese and the service line just scrapes off that top layer and instant plain
I need a plate starch for the feed. This time of the year we get a lot of
potatoes from the storage sheds as they begin the clean out for the new crops.
But taters are also fed a lot this time of the year, most will mash or roast.
We will do mustard potato salad.
So boil down 55 pounds of taters and get them cooled out, then set another
volunteer to dicing them up. This is a mixture of red skin and gold
So we all pull together a three bus tub batch of mustard tater salad. Salt
and pepper finished then into the cooler to meld for a couple hours prior to
Now I need to cook up about 90 pounds of chicken and I need to do it fast
enough that we can still put together the vegetable salad and the fruit salad.
Both I which I demand on the line to feed these people. They have enough
things to deal with, I want to know they received a balanced meal with the full
pyramid (upside down or right side up depending on your age) when I am onsite.
I have the answer in the back of one of our trailers. Meet my chicken,
beef, pork grilling friend. This thing can cook some meat and in a hurry.
Never mind the propane bottles, we are a catering in the field deal, so some
of our equipment takes a beating, especially propane bottles. Zane has no
caterings today requiring the grill so I request its presence at the soup
kitchen. No problem drag it over there and cook.
And in no time I am grilling chicken about 20 pounds at a time. Now
this is not going to look like you home grilling experience, I am interested in
grilling, finishing, and panning the things so I can get to work on the
vegetable which still needs to be done. Here I am in master grill mode!
All in all it went well today, we fed 186 people, and had a good time doing it.
I had talked Chef Al into making me the Bar B Q sauce in our own kitchen the day
prior so I did not have to sweat the sauce problem. Things at the kitchen
are interesting and grilling for 186 people requires a concentration and lots of
heat many can not fathom. But in the catering world it is pretty common.
We used up all but about 8 pieces of cornbread, and about a dozen chicken pieces
My service line of volunteers at the opening of the kitchen 12:00 noon exactly
on time as I expect of myself!
During clean up I have a little mission of my own. Trying to get the
grill loaded and such so I can begin the work on a dish for another blog.
These are my beef tongues! And in the very short future we will be
discussing the curing, smoking and recipes using this wonderful overlooked
They are in the smoker for a 12 hour course at this time. We will be
talking about these soon.
Lucky for me my wife has decided to make dinner tonight, and so I will be
having her signature white clams and linguini and hopefully she will make the
bruschetta! I have a great Pinot Noir from Australia to drink with this!
'Til we talk again, ask yourself how you can make someone less fortunate a
little better then they were the day before! You will find great peace in
acting on that idea!
Chef Bob Ballantyne
The Cowboy and The Rose Catering
Grand Junction, Colorado, USA