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affordable beef entree ideas

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
anyone have any ides for affordable beef entrees..served buffet style..i have very limited kitchen and oven space..this is a fall wedding for 100..other entree is a chicken with honey, figs and port,also roasted pattypan squashes, sweet potatoes, and root vegetables, all roasted..some sort of rice pilaf with craisins and sundried pears, some sort of salad...i suggested prime rib, carved at the table, which they say would be okay but bride would like more beef suggestions..i have never done tri tip for that many guests or london broil? would that work..could i do that on a grill or does it require oven space? i have done bison for that many, but not sure what will happen with prices..one problem i always find is that if you qoute a price 6 months out based on current market price, six months later you may be taking a hose, even if you incorporate a few more dollars a head into your price....so, in the long run, it may be easier to just find a more economical cut..i am known for 'nice food' so don't want do do anything like roast beef or flank steak, i don't think...any suggestions would be greatly appreciated..thanks
joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #2 of 15
How about short ribs braised and done in the oven in a giant hotel pan? Very easy, tasty, rich (good for fall), and obviously easily served for a buffet. I think tri tip and london broil are more difficult since they aren't particularly fat cuts.

If you want something drier than braised short ribs I do think tri tip/london broil (Are you referring to the round?)/flank is a decent alternative although I would certainly be concerned with overcooking it.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
thanks blueicus,
short ribs sound good, but do you think they are appropriate for a wedding? i was thinking along the lines of a beouf bourginonne or stroganoff, but the bride is thinking some sort of roasted something, plus, no mushrooms in anything, go figure..can't the 2 people who don't like them just pick them out, i ask..could i do the short ribs ahead of time, even a day and reheat or cook them off earlier in the day?..i agree they would be very fallish, especially with the chicken and roasted veggies etc...i have 2 commercial ovens with one rack in each, so as i said before, space is extremely limited..not very savvy about what meat cuts are better for what..thanks again
joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #4 of 15
Bourguignon is a great idea too (for which I'd use chuck or shank), (although I think good mushrooms are an important part of a bourguignon)... in fact, anything braised will hold and reheat well for large groups such as this.

To reheat something like short ribs you can just put the whole thing back in the oven and bring it up to serving temperature and it'll be just as tasty (and even tastier) than the day it was made. Just make sure you don't overcook it and make it dry out.

If you are afraid if short ribs being not fancy enough you can tailor the cut so that it looks better... separate the bone from the meat or pre-portion into 3 or 4 oz. squares (easier to do when it's cold) and separate the braising liquid from the meat and do a really nice reduction that can be plated underneath the meat (which you can glaze with the reduction).

Speaking of shank, Osso Bucco would be good as well, not too expensive, and something very easy to make look impressive.

If you were to use a cut like london broil or tri tip what would you make for it, serve it as a roast? IMO those cuts of meat should be cooked medium at the most and a good marinade will help infuse more flavour and make it juicier and more tender. I personally feel that grilling or searing (And finish in the oven) is a great way to cook tri tip and flank while a piece of round (not a cut of meat I eat often) would be best served roasted or broiled, although also good for quick cook stir fries (which I don't think is something you want).
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #5 of 15
bourgognon is a super dish, just leave out the shrooms and add extra pearl onions/lardons. Can be made several days in advance. I use top sirloin....but chuck works. Way easier on you the day of the wedding, nothing to slice, just scoopable food. :chef: I sell alot of Chicken Mirabelle too....

Honestly I stay away from the grill, adds another person...timing needs to be more exact, it's less forgiving......Unless it's a BBQ.

Prime Rib is a beautiful thing....I offer 5oz and charge more on the contract if they want larger cuts, 90% of the time they do.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
thanks shroom girl,
i do really like the idea of the bourguignonne as well as i know i can make it a day or two in advance..i like the idea of the short ribs as blueicus suggested , but of course as you know this entails lots more work...what is chicken marbella? and would you share your recipe, please? would this involve the thighs? i think they hold up better and actually taste better than the breast..i know as a caterer you know what works best for buffet serving..i do a fair amount of catering myself, but am looking for fresh tried and true ideas..my usual fare is getting too old hat for me...thanks for your input and recipe if you do
joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #7 of 15
check out Silver Palate for Chicken Mirabelle, and thighs are much better....
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #8 of 15
another idea instead of the bourguignonne and which does not entail mushrooms is a belgium beef and ale

braise whatever cut of meat your budget decides with imported ale - or a domestic belgium style ale. Makes for a rich gravy/sauce and a hearty lovely meal.

I too was going to suggest Silver Palate for the chicken marbella recipe - but see that shroom beat me to it. Boneless thighes work well and have so much more moistness than breasts do for this recipe. On the bone is great too but sometimes you don't want bones at a catered event.
Chef Tigerwoman

Stop Tofu Abuse...Eat Foie Gras...
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Chef Tigerwoman

Stop Tofu Abuse...Eat Foie Gras...
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post #9 of 15
Oh yes, carbonnade is a fantastic Belgian dish. Holds well and tastes great.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #10 of 15

Beef for fall wedding

I love chicken with figs, but port and honey , it sounds way too sweet, why not go for a nice dry spicy white. you have a lot of other sweet flavors in the roasted veg and the fruited pilaf.
I would not offer a second braised dish.

Tri tip is fantastic and easily grilled and kept warm or reheated. Wet marinade then dry rub and grill over high to sear and caramelize , then drop it way down...low and slow. Cook it rare. when you reheat it will come up. Add a nice caramelized onion and red wine sauce, or something spicey like pobalanos and dark beer.
post #11 of 15
Change the poultry dish and braise short ribs, for sure. They can take a number of flavors, but they are still trendy.
post #12 of 15
Yes, you can do tri-tip, but as to doing it for that many people ... They want to be cooked on site, and don't travel well, because they only run about 3 lbs apiece trimmed. They aren't exactly cheap anymore, either. Yes they can be roasted. They can even be slow-smoked, although it galls me to say it. They're best "Santa Maria" style -- cooked open pit or in covered grills over oak. If you're serious about this let me know and I'll get more specific. This is something I used to fairly frequently.

The term "London Broil" has a number of meanings, I'm not sure what yours is.

Like tri-tip, and often priced very attractively is top sirloin. It's a little more practical for weddings, because you can cook really large pieces roasted, lightly smoked, or "Santa Maria" style with a variety of service options. In fact, top block sirloin is the original "California Barbecue." Cooked rare, a large sirloin makes an outstanding "cold" roast beef and is also amenable to a variety of service options -- including a sandwich bar with a variety of breads, sauces and cheeses for buffet service. In fact, my recommendation would be to use a smoker and cook large roasts over oak smoke to about 130 internal, wrap in Saran, and hold in coolers prepped for warm-holding for up to four hours, then finally serve still warm from two carving stations set at each end of a sandwich and accompaniment bar. When the smoked meat is unwrapped and the oak hits those hungry noses, you're going to be one popular fellow.

Smoked tenderloin is a wonderful thing -- but not cheap. I catered my own reception thirty years ago with that as the meat choice.

Smoked brisket plays well with the right crowd. I do a truffled "barbecue bordelaise" inject that really ups the ante. But no matter how tweaked, it is barbecue and your client might think it too informal. Still, if you know how to cook brisket it's worth bringing up. If you've never catered smoked brisket, a wedding isn't the place to learn.

I like all the braise ideas, but would be hesitant about pushing them too hard since your client wanted something else. Brides are not known for tolerance. Nevertheless, I'd certainly present it as an option along with all the advantages. Mostly that they hold so well, and that there's no wedding.

Good luck,
BDL
post #13 of 15
I resisted responding in this pro thread, but dang it BDL, even though I just ate, reading that makes me hungry again:smiles:
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
thanks bdl for letting me pick your brain...as far as the tri tip, i do have a grill so i could grill off and send it off to be carved at the buffet( is that what you suggest?)..let me back up a bit and explain my restaurant to you as it is as far away from a professional one as you can get..i actually think i have more room in my home kitchen..our restaurant sits on a high mountain lake in the colorado rockies(8500 feet), and is only open in the summer months cuz its totally inaccesible in winter..its almost 100 years old, not winterized and only cooking things in the kitchen is a 6 burner gas stove with 2 ovens and a flatop..and we have a grill..that's about it..i have had this place for 15 years and am the sole chef..we do about 60 to 80 covers a night, because that's about my limit..its a rustic old place that has been a gathereing place for years..we don't serve alcohol, but guests bring their own and its more like when they come, they just plan on spending the evening with us..incredible views of mountains, eagles, bears,elk and other assorted wildlife, eclectic menu and laid back, non tourist guests(this place is a secret)..so, back to the meat, i have no smoker or grill to put oak chips in, or holding refrigeration(not even a walk in) we don't have huge banquet facilities with stations either..this is a bare bones kitchen and it will never change due to some historical hysterical society types..anyway, if i suggest the tri tip, would you recommend i marinate them first? i would not have to grill them off all at once with that many guests so i would be totally comfortable to grill off as needed..i do however want to make it easy on myself because as i said before..i am the only chef..i am leaning toward the chicken dish(preparation may vary and either the beouf bourguignonne, short ribs or tri tip..the prime rib is easy for me as well as i have done it so many times i could probably do it blind drunk(in fact, i probably have at one time or another), but its boring..this is a fall wedding so any of those would be a good choice i think, however, i don't want to recommend something that i have not done before..brides are fickle for sure..this one perhaps even more so because she is a recent cia grad and wants everything just so very perfect..i did point out to her that we shouldn't be mistaken for the country club that is located 4 miles down the road! c'est la guerre! so,as not to waste you time, i would simply like to know what should be the tri tip marinade? how long approximately do they take to cook? (do they cook more like a flank steak?)..i'm guessing they should be cooked to rare... and is this doable?..do the short ribs need to be cleaned up and browned first? even though i have never done the ribs,because they are braised, i have no fear...thanks for the advice and input

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #15 of 15
Your restaurant sounds idyllic.

Yes, you could do tri-tips like that. But I'd push top sirloin over tri-tip. You can cook larger pieces -- say 4-5 lbs at a time, rather than 2-3; and slicing is easier because there's no grain. You buy whole top sirloins and steak them at about 3" And, as I say, they'll run in the 4-5 lb region.

The whole thing is contingent on how you feel about handling steaks this thick on the grill. I find a medium temperature, or a hot grill start - oven finish works best.

Also, 3" steaks are thick enough to inject, should you want to go that route. As I said, I make a truffled barbecue bordelaise inject that does some very good things to beef. If you're seriously considering it, PM me and we'll talk. I don't want it all over the web.

You're going to love this beef marinade: Red wine / Worcestershire sauce 50/50. You can marinate anywhere from 20 minutes to overnight. The key is using the marinade sparingly. Use a little and it mixes with the meat's juices and makes a kind of syrup. The meat loves it. Anyway, once it forms a syrup, the syrup acts as a slather to hold the rub and lends a subtle taste. Naturally the longer the marinating period, the more assertive the marinade will be. And since both the flavors are extremely complimentary but neither overwhelms beef -- especially in controlled amounts, you can go for a fairly long marination.

My basic steak rub, which goes extremely well with the marinade is 12 parts Diamond Kosher salt; 6 parts smoked paprika; 4 parts coarse, freshly cracked best quality Tellicherry black pepper; 2 parts granulated garlic, 2 parts granulated onion; 1 part dried thyme; 1 part ground chipotle chile; 1/2 part dried mustard, and 1/2 part dried, rubbed sage. I imagine you've already got your own perfected rub, but you may want to try mine. Of course, the thicker the steak, the heavier the rub.

For my own group, I normally cook to 125F and allow a 10 minute coast -- which gives me another 7 deg internal. I think your party might be happier with 130F with 7 minutes going to 138F. You can finger test with tri very accurately but if you go with really thick sirloin, you're going to need your instant-read. Normally, I'm not much of a temp or timing freak, but this is an exception. I take a point and medium rare very seriously. Of course, you'll have to cook every fourth roast (or so) to medium-well for the trogs.

Slice thickness depends on presentation. With good tri or top you can go up to 3/4" per slice easily.

A variety of finishing sauces are possible. I'd lean towards a butter (as opposed to marrow) finish bordelaise (plus truffle oil), a bernaise, or a cognac/ cream/ mustard/ green pepper based on a stock reduction or a demi-glace. I remember you had something to say about demi-glace, but don't remember what it was.

I feel the same way about "Santa Maria" tri and top as you do about prime rib. Name the state of consciousness: been there, done that.

You could put a smoker in the back, but the hours are brutal. You'd need an overnight pitmaster.

BDL
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