The Spoon Blog
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I love what we do.
I really do.
I particularly love all employee events like Force for Good Day and our recent Team Elite BBQ. It's a nice change from the usual. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the usual, but even doing something that you love can get mundane when you do it every day. So it's fun when HR hits me up to do an event for 1500 people. I also love a challenge, and let's be honest, cooking for 1500 people with a kitchen crew of 6 people can be challenging.
Take the Team Elite BBQ for example...
I was really excited when HR suggested pulled pork sandwiches. "A nice change from burgers and dogs", I thought. "I make pretty dang good pulled pork", I thought. Then I started crunching numbers. Sidenote: To my Junior High math teachers who told me I'd be using all the geometry and algebra later in life so it was important to know it? Baloney. Ain't nobody needs no Pythagorean Theorem to math out PIG!! But I digress...
Did you know that the yield (finished product) on a pork shoulder butt (the best cut IMO for pulled pork) is only 60%? Which means you LOSE 40% of the starting weight in the cooking process?? Which means you have to cook MORE PIG to get to the numbers you actually need??? So here's our math: 1500 x 5 oz pulled pork = 468 lbs of FINISHED PORK, divided by .60 (yield) makes 780 lbs of raw pork shoulder butt needed to feed y'all!
I'm not gonna lie, I got a little faint when I started thinking through the logistics. The cases of pork that we bring in are, on average, 72 lbs each, and they're roughly 36"x24"x18" each. And I need 11 of them. My fridge is NO WHERE NEAR big enough. That's 1. I have Oven Space to cook 9 butts at a time... I have 44 butts to cook. That's 2, and oh, by the way, they have to cook for 7 hours so that's a total of 35 hours active cooking time, That's 2.5. But I am BOUND AND DETERMINED to cook this pork so Da** the Torpedos! Full-Steam ahead!! It takes 2 people 3 hours to shred pork for 300 people (discovered when we did the BYU function) 6 man hours x 5 is 30 man hours of shredding pork. And That's 3. I'm out. I'm done. There is no way that I can pull this off. I am beaten. After a little self-comfort in the form of a chocolate chip cookie and a milk chug, I resolved to look at my alternatives. I can bring in pre-cooked and shredded pulled pork and then I can heat it up and sauce it myself, thereby creating the illusion (delusion) of cooking it from scratch. That takes #3, #2.5, and #2 out of the equation...this is good, we're making progress. But those pre-cooked pork cases are only 10 lbs each and I need 47 of them. Ah! Number 1 rears his ugly head and sticks his tongue out at me! I will NOT be beaten by a lousy logistic, I am WAY too stubborn for that! Hauling out my rolodex, I made a couple of phone calls et VOILA! I have a refrigerated truck parked on the loading dock, loaded with meat and all the needed accoutrement!
After I spent the morning up to my elbows (metaphorically speaking of course) in saucy-piggy-goodness, I walked out to Karie on the back deck to check on set up. She looked at the front of my chef coat and said "ya got a little something on ya there". Covered, I was, in bbq sauce. I sighed, walked away to change my chef coat, and made my self a sandwich.
I love days like that.