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Carving Station

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi, every one:

I just posted a message on the welcome site -- I'm a "newbie" here ("recovering" attorney turned Co-Owner/Partner of the first and only glatt Kosher business in the Berkshire Hills of Western MA; we opened our doors a little under a year ago), and have about a billion questions to ask y'alls!

Here's my first: has any one done an event with a carving station, and if so, how does this work? Can the meat be roasted in advance and reheated before being placed under the warming ,or would this completely dry it out? I always try to steer my clients toward dishes that can be made almost entirely in advance, and the thought of roasting the meat on site terrifies me -- what if it doesn't come out right, or takes longer to cook than planned? Also, at what point during the event do you put the meat under the warming lamps, and how warm does it stay? And what kind of meat do you normally prepare for carving (obviously, being a Kosher caterer, I'm somewhat limited in my options -- I can't do, or pork, or leg of anything (hindquarters of animals are VERY difficult to kasher), or filet mignon or triple tip)? Could I do a brisket in a sauce (which I COULD prepare in advance -- in fact, it usually tastes BETTER a few days later), or would this drip all over the place and look gross?

Any advice from those of you with a bit more experience under your belts would be much appreciated!


post #2 of 9
I have run many events with carving stations and the best fit for you would be either a beef (think tenderloin) or turkey. Best is to cook the meat right before you will be serving it, but you could probably "hold" the meat warm for several hours by cooking the meat to rare and then letting it go to medium rare/medium in the warmer.

Another thought I have always wanted to try but never had the opportunity is to do something like a seared tuna which could be seared ahead of time, chilled and then carved cold.
post #3 of 9
You need to get one of these if beef roasts are going to be on the menu. I used to work at a banquet hall/restaurant that ran roast beef for brunches and functions. Our altoshaam cook and hold oven saved our behinds by preserving the meats quality during holding. You can even set it to cook over night and have a roast that is beautifully pink all the way through! There are also models out there that can add wood smoke during the cooking process, if you are into that kind of thing. Look into getting an oven with steam capability as that can greatly reduce shrinkage.

As far as cuts of meats go, avoid anything with a bone in it for a carving station. This leads to waste of both meat and labor. The cut I have used most often was the "Beef Rib, Ribeye" which is boneless. Order it by the NAMP number, 112. To visualize, this cut is where ribeye steaks come from. You can also go with a 109 which is the same as a 112 but it has the bones attached. We used to buy the 109's when we got a good deal, then we cut the ribs off before cooking the roast, and saved the ribs for a special.

For cooking it, we put a seasoned it with a good deal of salt, black pepper, fresh garlic, and rosemary. We used low temp and long time cooking in an altoshaam oven. If you cook it in a regular oven you will need to let the meat rest for at least 1/2 hour, other wise it will lose all it juices at the carving station. However you cook your roast, the goal is the avoid reheats. Reheats are only good for people who like well-done beef.

For turkeys buy large breasts off the bone. It is difficult to get even slices and any good yield from a whole bird. Also less the 10-15% of the population like dark meat. You should also look into brining (or salting/seasoning 24-48 hrs in advance) your birds for added juiciness. If you are buying kosher birds this may have already have been done for you.

Equipment: Do not get the cutting board that has the light attached to it. We had those, and they are impossible to keep clean and sanitary. You'll need a setup that will capture the jus from the roast. The best setups are standalones that have an integrated jus well built in underneath the meat. You'll also need a cook that can keep his knife sharp, and has the skill to cut thin slices (this takes work). Nothing mangles turkey worse then a dull knife
post #4 of 9
brisket is better suited presliced and served from a chafer. tenders or about steamship rounds?
It matters what kind of equipment is at the site of your party, how many guests, how much time you have at the site.......since your cooking kosher I'd assume you'd use your own place or a synagoge that has 2 kitchens.

I've just cambros to maintain temp for roasts, pulling them out when needed.
Most events run 2 hours max for food, carving stations are generally only setup for 1.5 hours or so.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #5 of 9
At the place where I worked, I cooked the meat and did the carving station on the buffet line. We did mostly tenderloins, boneless prime ribs, and pork tenderloins (stuffed and unstuffed). We kept cambros under the table with additional pieces that were easy to get too.

Make sure your carver is personable, knowledgeable about the food and its preparation, sauces that are being served with the meat and what's in them. Some people really loved to chit-chat and ask questions when the line slowed down. I always greeted everyone, told them what cut of meat I was serving, and some guests will let you know if they wanted more well-done or rare pieces of the prime rib.

Also make sure you provide a sharp knife, I always brought my own. It's embarassing to have to hack away on a big piece of meat with dull knives in front of the guests.

post #6 of 9
alto-shaam cook and hold ovens are your answer. they do the job quite nice they run a little pricy but not that much. dont cook your meats in those newer alto-shaam combitherms they have the option of cooking in steam, convection, or combination of both steam and convection, personal opinion they ruin the texture of the meat making it really soft crust and sometimes on occasions poor coloring of meat crust, the pro is that it has even heating through out the whole oven, i could never explain it but when it did work right i could fill an oven with a couple of pork loins and they would all be evenly cooked.
post #7 of 9
I learned the finer points of a carving station at a young age(16). The meat has just a little to do with it. If you can talk up the guest you are golden. I have carved every thing from steamship to tenderloin. Your attitude is everything, if you are personable to the guest that is key no matter the cut of meat. I have served construction guys prime rib and bridesmaids tenderloin both with the same smile. If you are happy the guest(not customer) will be happy.
post #8 of 9


Me personally I look at the carvery as an extension of the kitchen, nothing changes except where you carve the meat.

Right the meat. Beef - whole sirloin, rib eye, rib of beef (all boned and rolled)
Poultry - turkey I personally bone out the whole bird and tie and roll ( takes 11 min)

Season well, sear the meat in a large pan, place in oven at 170 deg (20min cooking time per 500gr) rest the meat for 20 min before going onto the carvery.
I tend to space the loads in twenty min intervals so that when one finishes the next one comes out onto the carvery.

rare probe 45 deg tends to give the best result for carvery, by the time it has rested its at 52 deg.

Have fun
post #9 of 9
beef is easy, i do a beef striploin at work, all cooked the night before and kept warm i think, or was it the turkey we cook the night before.... either way its all cold until i warm it up in a bain marie set up and carv under a warming light if i cook extra during the day.... if i have to re-heat it, i carve first then re-heat the pieces
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