Any suggestions for keeping meat moist for large parties? I'm an off-site caterer and really need a workable solution.

Unfortunately, like in most things culinary, there is no perfect formula for moist meat-the mass of the meat, type of transport container, cooking method, holding time and many other factors must be considered. Once you understand how these things work together, however, you'll be a pro.

Culinary Arts

Would You Like Red or White?

For catering and very large events I would suggest to use white meat such as pork, chicken, or veal. These are not as sensitive for overcooking and much easier to work with when it is difficult to control the temperature of the meat. If you need to work with red meat, try to keep it in whole pieces and cut on site, as close to serving as possible. The larger event the larger the challenge!

Transporting Your Meat

Make sure you know your transport containers well. There are electrical heating cabinets on wheels or carry boxes. These can be plugged in prior your transportation and brought to a holding temperature of about 80-90 degree Celsius, or 176-194 F. When you arrive to the catering site you can plug it in again. There are also insulated boxes that work like a Thermos, which are more commonly used. The electrical cabinets are very good, but depending on the time for holding, your meats will continue to cook slowly. In an insulated container, without any heat source, other than the meat itself, your meats will keep longer, but will still continue to cook.

Whatever transport container you choose, do not wrap your meat in aluminium foil as it will maintain too much heat and speed up the cooking process that continues after you take it from the oven. Instead, use wax paper, it is the absolute best. Wax paper keeps the meat moist and not reflect heat back to it. It keeps your meat warm just as long as aluminum-foil, but without the unpleasant side effect of the meat over cooking.

For Moister Meat, Turn Down the Oven!

The moisture of your meat is also determined by how you cook it, particularly what temperature you set. If you slow cook your meat it will not continue to cook as much as if you blast your meat at 400 F (200 C). Slow cooking for long period is the best method as it will prevent "bleeding" of the meat juices and it will give you a very nice and even color, inside and out. This method is best obtained in a rather precise convection oven. I would set my oven on 250 F (120 C) and cook the meat with a thermometer in the center.

There are modern convection ovens such as Rational or Electrolux. These fantastic "cooking computers" can be set to maintain exact temperature and moisture, and will even shut off and cool your meat automatically. Still, they can never replace your knowledge on how meat reacts to heat!

"Sous Vide" - Cooking in a Vacuum!

A more advanced method, superior to any method above, is called "sous vide" (meaning "cooked in vacuum"). With this method you will not lose ANY moisture as the meat is cooked in low temperature sealed in a bag. With this method you can also practice cook and chill. The meat is sterile in the bag, keeps well, and is very safe for transportation. On reheating you can put it in boiling water or a convection oven set to 220-250 F (105-120 C) and warm to medium rare or rare without risking ANY bacteria. Use a regular thermometer when you re-heat, but try to not let any liquid come in or go out in the hole you make in the bag.

With "Sous vide" you can easily use portion cut meat. If the portion size is the same on all cuts (and it should be!!), all pieces should be ready at the same time. Remember to be fast when you serve the portion pieces as they cool down much, much faster than a large piece of meat.

Practice Makes Perfect (And Builds Loyal Customers!)

If you master these techniques, your customers will love you, believe me! Ok, not every one will understand the extraordinary skills required to serve red meat medium for a 2000 person banquet, in a tent, in the middle of no where, but all will appreciate the fabulous meal you've provided for them.

Chef Bobo Bergstrom
The Edge Restaurant Bar & Sushi
Eurobbean™ Cuisine
St. Lucia West Indies

Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            4 Program(s) Found
            • Explore the Online Programs Offered at VC. Request More Info Today!
            • Online Courses
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
            Show more [+]
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            1 Program(s) Found

            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.

            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
            Show more [+]
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
            • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
            • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
            • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits