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guillotinemf

Burgers for a party on the Big Joe

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I'm cooking burgers for a party of about 20 people for my daughter's 1st birthday party. I'm not doing smash burgers, just regular old grilled hamburger patties. I've done burgers a few times on my BJ, but I've never cooked them for this many people. What techniques do you recommend for a party this size? Should I just squeeze as many as I can on the grill at once and cook on direct heat the entire time? Should I set up a 2-zone cook for direct searing and indirect finishing? Use the grill expander? I'd like to hear your ideas or experiences cooking 20+ burgers.

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What's your service plan?

 

If you're supplying a buffet line with a defined service time, I'd plan two big cooks. You'll fit 16-20 1/3 lb. burgers on the 24" BJ, and a supply of hot food at the start of service will last long enough to cook the second round (> 10 min.). I'd also set up indirect at 350-400 F, so grease flare-up are less of an issue. 

 

If you're supplying an extended service period, I'd set up 2-zone with a divided fire bowl, grate over the fire (hot side) and a deflector on the other side under the other grate (cool side). Brown over the fire, finish off the fire, as needed. You can only fit 5-8 burgers at a time, but you can also lift the grate and add fuel, so you can cook all day. 

 

It's a flexible cooker...

 

Have fun,

Frank

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For this sort of cook I like to use 2 zones with a split fire basket.  Cook 5-8 burgers 85% done and move to the cool zone, start the next batch.  Start serving as soon as first batch is done, at that point the second batch is 50% done and will be done by the time guests work through the first batch.  You can keep this cycle going until all burgers are complete.  This method is easier to control than doing them all over direct heat at one time because burgers on the edges do not cook as fast as in the middle. 

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Why not smash burgers?  When I have to cook a lot of burgers, I use two of the cast iron griddles and smash away.

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I've done 20 in a single pass using an extension rack. However, working on the first rack was pretty tight. You most certainly could do 10–12 at a time however. Which, in hindsight, I would have preferred to do. Actually it was more than twenty burgers in the entire cook- total probably closer to forty done in two stages along with salmon burders and dogs and metts.

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