Barbecue at a Wedding? It’s Nothing to Get Your End Burnt About.
Traditionalist once expected barbecue to be served at a wedding ONLY if it was a picnic-themed affair complete with Gingham and hay bales.
Today, that’s all changed. Barbecue can be clean and presented plated, family style, casual or elegant.
And, it doesn’t mean the meat is slathered in sauce and dripping down the bride’s face onto her once-in-a lifetime gown. Instead, Barbecue’s growing popularity comes from the explosion of BBQ Competitions and BBQ’s “Championship Quality” for rich, tender meats and creative sides.
As a barbecue restaurant and catering company in Kansas City (the BBQ capital of the U.S.) we know our barbecue and weddings. We cater about 30-40 weddings, every year in just about every venue throughout the metro, and we’ve been doing it for the past five years. Thankfully, just as BBQ is evolving, the perception of barbecue is changing, says Bruce Lemay, our catering manager.
Here’s what we’ve discovered:
Rustically elegant or rustic chic has been and will continue to be a trend for weddings in the near future (according to all the best bridal guide magazines).
- Growing popularity in quality barbecue is translating into the choice of engaged couples who select extravagant indoor affairs, elegant rustic barn weddings and elegant reception halls are looking for the perfect match in menu.
- Dispelling perceptions about BBQ, when the family committee weighs in? This is the perfect opportunity to introduce a sampling of our clean, Championship BBQ, and they will be believers. Partner this great food with creativity, communication and presentation on how BBQ fits with the wedding vision, from cocktail hour appetizers to dinner.
Bruce’s “The “Q” Reality of Weddings”:
- Great BBQ is not swimming in BBQ Sauce. Great smoked meat stands on its own without sauce! The richness of the smoke on the most moist, tender meat, from low and slow cooking, makes BBQ a serious upgrade to the “rubber chicken” or overcooked beef.
- Great BBQ is not fatty or greasy. The slow cooking process achieves the perfect balance of moisture and flavor in the meat, while sweating fat out. Appropriate trimming will removes excess fat and provides a lean, moist, tender meat.
- What? You have guests that don’t eat meat and you’re still inviting them? BBQ can satisfy them with big flavors like our smoked portabella mushroom stuffed with grilled vegetables. Everyone will want some.
- The food is plated or buffet style. The fork tender pulled pork, cubed burnt ends, sliced brisket, turkey breast, ham, etc. with creative sides, offers more options, which is more satisfying, when trying to please groups of friends and families, young and old.
- Salads and Sides. Examples of sides that pair well with barbecue at weddings include: Greens, mandarin oranges, crushed walnuts, feta cheese; Loaded Potato Casserole (loaded baked potato in a casserole); Burnt End BBQ Beans; Grilled Vegetables; Mac and Cheese; etc. Offer light and hearty options.
- So you want ribs? While we discourage food that requires “hands on,” providing steamed towels for cleaning hands is a solution. Weddings with plated surf-and-turf serving half lobster with shells cracked is considered an elegant offering, yet it has the same, and more challenges.
- Every couple wants to serve food they are proud of. Bruce often gets this comment after a wedding reception: “This was the best wedding food we’ve ever had.” Why? Bruce suggests barbecue is underestimated for its mouth-watering taste and tenderness. In reality, it’s more flavorful and just as “clean” as roast chicken and roast beef, and the response is overwhelmingly more positive.
- BBQ is also a great choice for rehearsal dinners and for the day after gatherings. Many times, the feedback we get in our follow up is The BBQ was the best food we had all weekend!” and “We wish we served it at the wedding.”