We go to a cottage every year with about 30 folks. (Half of which are teens.) We split into groups and cook for the others one night. We do the main dish, the sides and the dessert. Everyone brings an appetizer to share over the 3 days. Grilling is our main method of cooking.
I was thinking of grilling salmon this year as it is tasty, reasonably priced and fast cooking. However, not everyone likes fish so I need some complimentary or other ideas. I could get shot down on the fish thing. Maybe a a whole beef tenderloin that we can slice up?
Or we could grill some tasty sausages? Pork tenderloins (teriyaki) maybe? Last year we did flank steak but the host pre-sliced it before cooking and it wasn't an ideal situation...for one thing, it took forever. It also got a bit dry. (Not the way I would have approached it of course. Cook it whole and slice it afterwards is the way to do it. Just trying to be a gracious guest here...)
Although ribs seem ideal to me, there is some problem disposing of the bones in this very rural area. Perhaps they attract bears? Burgers are out. We don't want to be making 60 burgers before hand. (I don't like those pre-made hockey pucks you get at warehouse stores either.) Last year we made fajitas: chicken and beef and I made a yummy tomatillo/guacamole salsa and a Mexican-style cocktail camarones (shrimp cocktail).
I have considered making a pot of jambalaya-ish something or other. I could do this ahead and make rice on the kitchen stove. Serve corn muffins etc on the side.
I sometimes try to think up a theme (Greek etc.) and build on that idea. I will have team members but they aren't all foodies or that experienced in the kitchen.
In the past I have made a fresh corn salad with green beans, grape tomatoes and basil (Fine Cooking). Possibly reprise a tortellini-feta-sun dried toms salad too. I'm all about fresh and light but am not opposed to comfort food.
The other thing we do is bring an appetizer for a meandering-sunset-pontoon-cocktail cruise. I might do shrimp with a Thai dipping sauce also from Fine Cooking. I have done the buffalo chicken dip before and it was well-loved.
I know I've thrown out a lot of thoughts here. I've said enough and would love to hear your thoughts.
So, if you had 30 hungry souls to cook for what would you make? It's a fun weekend and we want to feed everyone well.