Grilling chicken for 250

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Grilling chicken for 250
I am serving 250 people chicken legs on the 29. Is 3/4 lb. a person a good amount, mostly adult males and on the hungry side.  I want to brine them but when I do the calculations I come up with 40 gal. brine. 2 gallons per 10 lbs. I know its a lot of chicken to brine but I was wandering if you end up needing less brine when you have such a large amount of chicken.  So far I'm planning on marking them on a charcoal grill and finishing them in ovens. Any one know about what temp to cook them to. I will be putting them in hot boxes and transporting them to the event.  Thanks for any help. 
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Hi Gary,

I would up the salt in your brine to 8%, pack the chicken thighs in large cambros, cover with brine, and brine for at least 24 hours, with 48 being even better. The more concentrated brine will take care of the salt to chicken ratio, allowing you to use less brine, again, just enough to cover.

If you have time, let the thighs air dry in your fridge overnight after you remove them from the brine and rinse.

Also, have a squirt bottle full of water next to your grill to tame flare ups which are sure to happen when cooking this many chicken thighs in rapid succession, even if you are just marking. I think marking and then oven baking, like you mentioned, is the best way to do this. Cook thighs to an internal temperature of 160F and place directly into your hotel pans, cover with foil and then into the hot box.

Good luck with the event.
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Wisconsin Limey
Sounds like a lot of work!  Here's what I would do and have done hundreds of times:

The amount to purchase is dependent on what other protein is being served.  If it is just chicken I would figure 1 Lb per hungry man and since I buy chicken in 100 Lb boxes, I would get 300 Lb  Each Lb of chicken will net about 8-10 oz of meat after moisture and bone/gristle loss.

You could do away with brining, that could lead a lot of very salty chicken legs.  These are legs after all, they will be juicy due to the large amount of fat in them.

Lay them out on a sheet pan head-to-tail side by side in rows until the pan is full.  Baste with melted margarine and season with salt n pepper and paprika.  (Keep the seasonings simple for a crowd, you'll please the most people that way.)

Put two sheet pans in in each 350' oven and cook for two hours.  Test a leg in the middle of the pan, as they cook slowest.

Transfer to hot boxes.

Save the pan juices (there will be a lot,) defat to make the base for an excellent gravy!

Good luck!
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I am thinking of trying a brine by Thomas Keller.  He uses lemons and thyme.  So it takes about 2 hours to bake them, I have 3 ovens 2 racks each. I think your right about needing a lb. each. The people I'm feeding are for the most part shelter people so they will eat a lot.  Thanks for coming up with some more options I appreciate the help WL & JB
Wisconsin Limey
Don't brine!  Sprinkle with powdered thyme instead of paprika and apply lemon juice after cooking.  IMHO
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When cooking for this number of people, execution is always key. I'll always brine my chicken, whether it's for dinner service or a large banquet, but I've done it many times and me and the crew have our system that works for us.

If you've never brined and cooked this amount of chicken before, then Limey makes a very valid point. If cooked properly, thighs don't need to be brined, not to mention the time it takes to brine, rinse and rack 300lbs of chicken can quickly put you in the weeds if you don't have a good system.

With 3 ovens and two racks, that limits you to cooking 6 full sheet trays of chicken at a time (assuming you have commercial sized ovens). You will not be able to fit all your chicken thighs on 6 sheet trays, which means you'll have to cook in batches. You might be able to pull it off if you purchase more racks and fill you ovens, but you'll still be cutting it close.

Unless you're completely stuck on grilling and finishing in an oven, I would go with braising. You can stack the thighs in deep hotel pans and cook them all at once. Just a though.
Wisconsin Limey
Braising would be fine for thighs but the original call was for legs, which would be much better roasted.
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I have nothing to contribute to this thread, but I am enjoying the banter between two pros.  You're in good hands Gary.

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@ Limey,

Ahh hell! I was thinking thighs...I'm definitely a "thigh guy."

@ Gary,

You have a definite space issue on your hands when it comes to executing this meal. Even with buying 250 pounds instead of 300, there's no way you're going to be able to put 41 pounds of any chicken cut on a full sheet tray and expect it to roast properly. That's 80-100 pounds of chicken per oven, which will effectively turn it into a steam chamber (assuming you can even get it to fit in the first place).

Again, it could be done in batches, but then you have execution issue of how you're going to make sure all the food is hot, especially when it takes 1-2 hours to cook each batch. Unless you have a high end Alto-Shaam at your disposal, I think braised thighs are the only way to go. The braised thighs require no brining, you can cook them all at once and the moisture makes the process more forgiving.

Also, how big is your grill? Have you done this in the past for a large group of people? If so, how many people was it and how do you think it turned out? If you tell us a little more about you, your experience level and your kitchen, I think we could better help.
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This now begs the question of the actual piece of meat we're dealing with. Are we talking just the leg, or leg with thigh on? It will make a considerable difference to the discussion.

Aside from the chicken legs what else will you be serving. There may be some other logistical things everyone can help out on.
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I will cook the leg & thigh together. I counted the ovens wrong. I have 4. I think I will do it in 2 bacthes, I have Cambro hot boxes to keep the chicken warm. If I decided to braise them it would probably take a long time to sear them on the outside so I don't know if that's an option? if I just bake him what would be something I could season them with? I kind of like Limey's idea of the dried thyme and lemon juice that's what I'm leaning towards at this point. as far as my experience I've been head cook or chef at my church for the last 3+ years and I do about 3 to 5 fairly good size meals a year most of the time with three different entrées Buffet style. Since our food service company Facciola was swallowed up by Sysco I have had a lot less interaction with chefs so this is very helpful for me thanks for all your help.