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03/22/2015 07:53AM  
I am helping plan a large group trip for this summer. We are heading to Colorado and will be camping at a forest service group site. We will have about 40 young men in our group.

Any recipe ideas, equipment/supply lists or other tips to think about as we plan? Prior to this, the largest group I have planned for is 9 in the BWCA. Thanks!



 
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NotLight
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03/22/2015 07:46PM  
I spent most of last summer in CO. I really needed the SPF50 or better at the higher elevation, plus a sun hat. I even got sunglasses - which I never wear. And lots of water - but not the crazy amount of water that some people were suggesting. The big suprise for me was the lightning. I don't know if it is normal or statewide. But it really seemed like we had to get up really really early and be off the mountain every day before noon.

But I've never cooked for 40. If I had to cook for 40 young men, they'd be eating nothing but power bars and water for two weeks and liking it or going without. But, that actually might not be a bad idea. It may be that you don't have any time at all to waste in the morning, and you may be out on a trail for lunch, so going simple for those two daily meals with power bars, dried fruit, nuts, beef jerky, etc might actually be a good idea.

 
Nozzelnut
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03/23/2015 12:10AM  
A couple different ideas...

Depending on the number of nights, break up the group by X number of guys/ the number of nights and make each group responsible for a lunch and/or dinner for that day. Prep and cooking and clean up with a rotating schedule.

Make all meals DIY or a combination. Dinners provided; breakfast, snacks, and lunch you're on your own; or hand them some Mountain House packs and have a pot of boiling water on the fire. MRE's might be an option; I think they're 12 meals in a case so you'd need 4 cases...

Designate a camp chef or 2 for the time you're there. Cooking for 40 would be a full time job. Meals would probably take 2-3 hours to make and another hour to clean up.

The shear volume needed for the cookware and the burner space could be an issue too. I'm guessing 6-8+ gallons if you wanted to do something like chili for dinner. Something like PB&J for lunch would require 7 loaves of bread, 3-4 jars of peanut butter and 3 jars of jelly. That's just an educated guess on those amounts. Burgers and hot dogs becomes a challenge for 40 people expecting to eat around the same time. Spaghetti would be 8-10 pounds of pasta and the water to cook it. 30 lbs of pork shoulder if you wanted to do pulled pork. 12 lbs of bacon. I wouldn't be surprised if a meal cost $200 for everyone.

I'm not sure what type of cooking gear, refrigeration, or stove options you'll have so those things are something to take into consideration when planning a menu if you get that far. It's going to need some decent planning to make sure it goes well.

ETA Portion size is really going to depend on age, gender, and activity level. The younger kids won't eat as much and the older guys won't either. You'll have to get the demographics of your group and adjust amounts accordingly.

 
NotLight
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03/23/2015 06:30AM  
It's pretty common for groups to bring full size gas grills to those campgrounds, so I can see where you might get 40 burgers or hot dogs done that way. You could also cook beans, chili, etc ahead of time on the grill in those big disposable aluminum roasting trays. And then just chuck them when done so no dishes to wash.

With a group size of 40, I can see someone driving 80 miles each way once/day to walmart. If you kept your trash to a minimum - like 40 paper plates stacked neatly, you could probably sneak all you trash into the walmart and gas station garbage cans every day too.

 
OldFingers57
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03/23/2015 10:07AM  
With that many I would look at breaking the group down into groups or patrols like the Boy Scouts do. IF you have 8 to a group then cooking is a lot easier. Check out a lot of the Boy Scout websites for recipe and food ideas.
 
03/23/2015 10:21AM  
For a group this large, sounds like a full time persons job. If you do not break it up into groups I would suggest the following, menu wise.

One group = big equipment sizes to hold enough grub. More groups = lots more individual equipment overall to make food, more stuff needed overall.

Breakfast Hot water, instant add water stuff, oatmeal, cocao, etc. Cold rest of meal, power bars, etc. Bannanas/oj.

Lunch, sandwiches, maybe soup/chili, chips/crackers/cheese, fruits you can carry, cookies.

Dinner, one big pot meals, like stews, chili, noodles and stroganoff, that sort of thing, where the person in charge/cook makes a big pile of something, then add sides/veggies/carbs as needed.

If one group cook, you will need to size up the pots/pans/utensils accordingly, to hold enough.

Also, to me, doing dishes and not using disposables is the way to go.
Depending on length of trip, could be huge amount of disposables, mess, not eco friendly.

 
billconner
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03/23/2015 05:05PM  
Our Scout Troop does a super camp aka family camp every June - has ranged from 20 to over 100 - and it's group meals. Takes planning but basically a couple of families are assigned to prep and clean up for each meal, and the planner does as little as possible, but it is their job. I've done it - not so bad.

A couple of large three burner propane stoves would help, though since I last did it I've thought about a bunch of the really big dutch ovens as well - I think they are 14 quart (and our troop now has 15 or 20).

Breakfasts have been eggs and bacon, or pancakes and (brown and serve) sausage, and french toast, all with juice and coffee and usually - for families - cereal and milk to try to please all.

Lunches are cold cuts and bread and cheese with fixings for sandwiches with chips, pickles, juice boxes, cookies, fruit, etc. Often prepare your own after breakfast for day trips so always brown bags.

Dinner varies - dogs and burglars for first night as arrival is staggered. Grilled chicken and foil wrapped baked potatoes for one meal. (With salad - always tossed salad.) tacos - with chicken and ground beef mixes pre-prepared. I'd consider chili or stews with dutch ovens. Add bread and salad.

Desserts vary but one night is usually dutch oven cobbler.

The secret is having a lot of the heavy foil pans and half pans - with lids - for serving and keeping everything. Get to know GFS (big institutional food service supply house in midwest area at least.) Even for serving potato chips it keeps things organized. And we use paper and plastic and don't clean that sort of stuff. Washing 75 plates, forks, knives, spoons, and cups is not desirable. Once a year - as the patrols certainly use and wash regular camp ware the other 10 months (we don't camp in December - but do every other month.)

 
inspector13
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03/23/2015 05:39PM  
quote billconner: "Dinner varies - dogs and burglars for first night as arrival is staggered..."

I’m assuming burglars are similar to thieves, but perhaps a tougher cut? : )

 
03/23/2015 06:11PM  
mmmm hamburglars.
 
OldFingers57
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03/23/2015 07:07PM  
quote inspector13: "
quote billconner: "Dinner varies - dogs and burglars for first night as arrival is staggered..."

I’m assuming burglars are similar to thieves, but perhaps a tougher cut? : ) "

Usually dogs and burglars don't match up real well. In the end the former usually bites the latter one and it's in the end.
 
DrBobDg
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04/08/2015 07:59PM  
consider making up sloppy Jo recipe and freezing it. Then you just reheat and serve... Usually 2 per person.
Dehydrate some hamburger at home and get some packages of Darn Good Chili to go with it...with large elbow macaroni on it or on the side.
French bread to go with it.
 
DrBobDg
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04/09/2015 06:44AM  
Being from Wisconsin...consider brats and beans.
easier than hamburgers.

dr bob
 
CrookedPaddler1
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04/09/2015 08:48AM  
I would break them up into some smaller groups, would be easier to get everything to come out at the same time. For breakfasts I would keep it simple, oatmeal, granola, etc., maybe one meal of pancakes or something similar but only if cooking in small groups.

lunches -- again I would make it simple, vehicles and riders! In other words, vehicles (crackers, bread, pita's, torts, etc.) and riders (peanut butter, jelly, cheese, summer sausage, hummus, etc.). Again if doing summer sausage and cheese, might break them up into groups of 4-6 so that they can open one chub of sausage and one block of cheese to share among the group). Then supplement with granola bars, gorp, or other snack foods.

Dinner -- one pot wonders! Again, provide some type of carbs in large portion (pasta, rice, potoato's, etc.) meat (chicken, beef, tuna, etc.), and sauce (gravy, cheese, spaghetti sauce, etc.). Using canned or dried meat will make the meal prep a bit easier. Also, through some simple bannock or bread to go with the meal.

Snacks -- popcorn, granola bars, trail mix, etc.

 
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