Discover more from 1782Farm.com - Living an Herbal Lifestyle with You!
Intro to Track #6; Outrageous Outdoor Eating Events
Building Memories and Traditions While Having a Blast!
Copyright © 2023 Phil Wilson
All rights reserved.
This educational series is dedicated to my wife, Beth, who has been my OOEE co-pilot from the get-go. It is her outstanding leadership, personality and endless well of energy which have been our core foundation for our bodacious OOEEs!
I want to thank all our friends and neighbors who helped us get started on our journey to explore the world of Outrageous Outdoor Eating Events.
You know who you are!
Many of the recipes provided in this series have been developed by chefs, restaurants and culinary professionals. They are thought to be optimal for use in the creation of large-scale Outrageous Outdoor Eating Events (OOEE’s), but not all of them have been tested for home use, nor with varying quantities.
The world of Outrageous Outdoor Eating Events brings together friends who share the three primary passions of entertaining, cooking and festive eating. But the real joy comes from the comradery of jointly tackling a new food cooking challenge which, while not overly complex, may still require some careful planning and attention to detail to get it right. Obviously, the web provides us with a huge treasure trove of food and recipe possibilities as does YouTube which provides another visual, how-to-make-it, resource. This educational series takes a different tack. It compiles a variety of OOEE’s that I have enjoyed over the years and some that I am still working to refine. Although this series are not a cookbook per se, they do contain a number of outstanding barbecue and other OOEE recipes that I think you’ll enjoy.
The goal of the OOEE is to produce a significant, memorable occasion which, in turn, is centered on very exciting food experiences and very tasty food dishes. The side benefits of learning a new cooking technique, exploring a new food culture and enhancing your party-giving skills add frosting to the already great cake. So, if you like to entertain and want to try out some new cooking techniques while enjoying yourself with your friends and family, then you will find that the idea of leading, or co-hosting an OOEE, to be fun and very much within your bailiwick of party / entertaining capabilities.
Let the OOEE journey begin!
The knowledge and, in many instances, the “lost art lore” that surrounds a specific OOEE which I will introduce you to, is often quite surprising. This aspect is what initially captured my own interest. Many, if not most, OOEE’s have arisen from a number of different countries, regions or cultures. Many good examples come to us right from America’s rich and varied regional cultures and heritages. For instance, America has its very own chuck wagon food heritage.
The chuck wagon, and cowboy cook, accompanied the cowboys that drove their cattle to market across the open range. This western heritage ties to the camp cooking culture of the American West and even with some western styles of barbecue. I recall having read about how cowboy cooks handled the tough meat that they’d harvest from the American Bison. They would take a block of freshly cut Buffalo meat and bury it in the embers of a dying campfire after dinner. They would then dig the blackened meat out of the fire pit in the morning, after breakfast was over. Next, they would cut off the inedible black charcoal exterior. The long cooking process took care of the breakdown of the fibrous meat without any marinades. That’s really the only way that the western cook could make the tough Bison meat edible. Plus, they could take the cooked Buffalo meal on the trail for their lunch and dinner.
Another great example of a regional food culture is the New England clambake. The many indigenous Indian tribes across the northeast harvested soft and hard shell clams, crabs and lobsters every summer. They would cook these foods in stone-lined pits using kelp to insulate the top of the shellfish cache and to produce steam and flavor. They did this for generations along the shores of salt water bays and estuaries. The extensive clamshell middens can be found even today.
The middens explain why the modern clambake has such a strong connection to American Indian heritage. Clambakes fit the OOEE concept extremely well as do the Salmon bakes of the northwestern Indian tribes on the Pacific. The cooking techniques for both of these cultural traditions have been handed down to us as a regional, lost art lore. Thus, the heritage of American Indians provides some additional historical color, and charm, which makes today’s modern clambakes and Salmon bakes that much more interesting.
A third example of a country’s cultural tradition is the outdoor paella party. This type of OOEE and the food dish itself, are two cultural gems which come to us from Spain. The paella combines new types of ingredients such as Saffron, specialized equipment such as the classic paella pan and the specific cooking techniques such as how to create the all-important “socarrat”. In addition, the traditional paella even introduces us to the importance of food artistry where we can learn how to cut and arrange the shrimp and mussels across the surface of the paella pan and the lemons that hang along the edge of the paella pan as a flamboyant way to present and serve the finished dish.
What most people don’t realize is that an outdoor paella party produces not only an interesting and good-tasting, cultural dish, it’s an ideal method to approach large-scale collaborative and festive get-togethers, important occasions, reunions, professional catered events, etc. For instance, the art of giving an outdoor paella party rises to the level of theatrical food-making showmanship, if handled right. The collaborative nature of the Spanish paella party tradition clearly sets it apart and the collaborative aspects make it stand out as one of the very best OOEE’s to consider.
My objective is to educate you in the OOEE party concept and show you just how inspiring an OOEE can be. The benefit to you includes the joy of entertaining friends, family, friends of friends and, yes, deriving revenue from paying customers, too! This series homes in on tips and techniques that I could not find in any book. So, I have crafted a methodology and varying OOEE party types which may even astound you. I know they will astound your quests because I have tried all of these large-scale cooking approaches and continue to the present day to explore others.
No matter whether you prefer pioneer, or cowboy-inspired outdoor camp cooking, the New England clambake or the Spanish paella party, they all fit within our multi-dimensional definition of an OOEE. There are many others. Ultimately, I believe that you’ll find at least a couple of OOEE types which generate significant interest and which match your personality and cooking and entertaining styles!
I will help you to tackle, and hopefully master, a number of stand-out OOEE party types. Each one can be tailored to your own needs and requirements such as the number of participants, availability of (or lack of) certain resources, such as seafood, identifying your ideal target venue, dealing with the challenges of various cooking-related heat sources and, of course, dealing with budgetary constraints and other obstacles. The goal of this book is to suggest an array of OOEE ideas while saving you as much time and money as possible. Ultimately, I want you to be able to take advantage of an array of the most exciting OOEE’s that I have come in contact with and which you can share with your family, friends, neighbors and work colleagues to produce outstanding memories and possibly even life-long traditions.
While I won’t be educating you on how to handle paying customers, or how to open a catering business, I do want to get you grounded as an OOEE party-giving leader and aficionado. I also want to suggest some skills and acumen that can serve you well, while also giving you an advantage toward achieving success. What you will learn is certainly transferrable to catering, but the complex food health and safety regulations and other commercial requirements that surround today’s modern catering businesses are not the focus.
Building a repertoire of new entertaining ideas, food cooking skills and an understanding of the right types of equipment to consider, are all primary objectives of this educational series. We will tackle one OOEE event type at a time. We’ll get started by reviewing or learning the basics of camp cooking. Later, we’ll address a number of more advanced OOEE types.
 I have tried to be consistent when the spelling the word “barbecue”. However, some recipes and restaurants may use other spellings such as barbeque, BBQ, Bar-B-Q, etc.
 Wikipedia - A “midden” is an archeological term meaning an old dump consisting of domestic waste. Middens might contain animal bones, human excrement, botanical material, mollusk shells, sherds, lithics, and other artifacts and ecofacts associated with past human occupation. Clamshell middens are prevalent in the northeast of the United States where Indians settled during warm summer weather to harvest and cook a variety of seafood along the shore of salt water bays and estuaries.
 A paella “socarrat” is the crispy layer of rice that becomes caramelized and toasted on the bottom of the paella pan. Spanish cooks educate us on the importance of creating a flavorful socarrat as an important aspect to the overall success of the finished dish.
Using This Educational Series
The knowledge that I have assembled in this series will be of significant help to 1.) the professional caterer and 2.) the home cooks, hobby party cooks and barbeque enthusiasts who are interested in a major injection of advanced cooking techniques and exotic approaches to outdoor entertaining.
The first target audience, i.e. professional caterers, can use this series as a basic reference source and an incredibly quick way to jump-start new services and entertaining approaches.
The second target audience, the home cooks, hobby party cooks, entertainers and barbeque enthusiasts will find that they become enthralled with some, if not most of the OOEE ideas. I certainly have! I also would like to offer these “hobby-oriented” individuals just the right type of “kick-in-the pants” to inspire them to get into the world of professional catering, under the employ of a professional, if their career aspirations fall into the food services arena or, if they want to change their career or, bring in additional pay for part-time catering work.
No matter which group you’re in, you will find a lot of new terms and ideas from North America as well as from a bunch of foreign countries. Some recipes are presented, but the real “meat of the content” is NOT recipes! It is centered on the “packaged party package” concepts that will surprise and delight the customer.
My assumption is that most cooks who read this series will want to leverage their own recipes, “into the mix”, and arrive at their own packaged OOEE creations. I also give the professional caterer numerous ideas and opportunities to significantly enhance their corporate brand. By using this series, the caterer can select, and offer, their current customers and prospects a totally new a la carte listing of unusual party offerings which will carry the caterer’s brand, far and wide, into the marketplace.
This educational series will also serve as a resource for new ideas which the caterer’s team needs for running their own internal brainstorming workshop. The objective here would be for the team to 1.) be presented with a range of OOEE core concepts and 2.) then create their own off-shoot OOEE ideas. They can then proceed from the workshop into the follow-on testing and roll-out of their new (and branded) “packaged party offerings” in record time. The team can then contact friends and family who want to raise their hands to try out each new party type before they are fully baked and commercialized. They will love being your, collective, Guinea Pigs!
The important take-away, here, is the significance of the caterer’s corporate brand. By adding their very own OOEEs to their catering portfolio, these now become a part of their firm’s intellectual property (IP). The goal is to draw major customers from a much wider distance and to offer a unique portfolio of events with much greater profitability because they will be totally new and unique, in most markets.
Overall, the OOEE concepts provide you with the rocket fuel for that extra boost that a caterer needs to not only survive, but accel, in a tough competitive food services marketplace. Better yet, I want to help you master of one, or more, of the OOEE party types in order to help you to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.
This series is not going to address the core practices needed to form and run a catering business, nor the advertising of the OOEE solutions. But, it will do a great job at helping the caterer to branch out and develop a unique professional catering brand which turns heads and draws the media! These benefits will build additional business opportunities by drawing new prospect interest and volume “Requests-For Quote” (RFQ) opportunities.
The “hobby group” will also appreciate the core concepts provided for aligning multiple people into a collaborative team in order to share the expenses, workload and the fun of being a part of a truly great and memorable OOEE. Many of my own events were collaborative efforts. They proved to me that friends can, and should, get together to defray expenses and optimize their limited spare time in order to “pull off” any of the most challenging OOEE types that they have put their collective minds together, to pursue.
The competitive advantage that hobbyists and professionals, alike, will gain, will get you the attention that your entertaining mastery deserves. This will help pro’s to pump up their corporate brand as well as the chefs’ personal branding.
Lastly, the sub-title; “Building Memories and Traditions, While Having a Blast” comes right from my heart. At the end of the day, this is what inspired me to bring this series forward. Fair warning; the OOEE ideas presented here will draw you, deeper and deeper, into all the best OOEE cuisines from America and around the globe no matter whether you’re a professional or a hobbyist.
The bold new outdoor cooking entertainment market niches which are presented in this educational series will, hopefully, come as a significant surprise. That’s my intention and its why I wanted to bring these unique experiences to you. I also hope that some of the ideas presented are exciting due to their exotic authenticity.
The food and cooking techniques that you’ll be introduced to are all designed to produce an awakening as well as a very positive reaction for all those newcomers that learn about them. That’s why the ideas behind my Outrageous Outdoor Eating Event phrase and OOEE acronym have been born. We now have a recognizable brand and I want to encourage you to hop on the OOEE train and help us to add additional ideas, recommendations and guidance to our body of knowledge. The bottom line is that we’re all learning about, and sharing, OOEE related ideas, foods, themes and other related information from around the world.
Many of us are long time aficionados of grilling over wood, charcoal and gas fires. Plus, most of us have been exposed to the art of real barbecue where long cooking durations and low heat temperatures are the rule. But, what comes next? If you’re like many of my friends, we often feel that we’re running out of new ideas. We’d like to try some new approaches or new cooking techniques that offer new challenges and fun.
Many of us have also had a long love affair with the Italian concept of eating “al fresco”  (outdoors) during warm summer weather, or even all year around if you are lucky enough to live in a mild, or temperate, climate. If you have had exposure to camping and camp cooking techniques as a youngster, then I don’t have to sell you on the benefits of the al fresco eating experience. But, have you been exposed to any of the more exotic outdoor cooking and eating experiences that are not often encountered in North America? Here’s some great examples that I want to tell you about in this series:
Asado “Gaucho style” grilling from countries like Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, etc.
Parrilla / Patagonian roasting crosses for cooking lambs, pigs and goats over hot coals also related to the countries mentioned above.
Braai Grilling of South Africa
Fogo de Chão roasting and Churrasco skewer cooking of Brazil
Paella of Spain
Steckerlfisch (fish) grilling of Bavaria, Germany
American Indian Salmon bakes over Alder wood fires
Mexican / Caribbean Events, and more!
Many of the above techniques can only be fully appreciated first hand when you see how the expert cooks rake and shovel hot coals from Brasero-type burning wood pyres. The embers are carefully placed onto fire tables, or into shallow pits. Large multi-pound blocks of tender beef, huge racks of beef ribs, hanging chickens, and coiled rings of sausages are then placed on iron spits, Patagonian roasting crosses and angled V-shaped grates. As the meats hiss and crackle over the heat, the wafting aromas from dripping fat and juices hitting the fire are an unbelievable sensory experience. Ultimately, the taste of crisp skin and perfectly cooked meats brings the sensory experience full circle. If you have been to a restaurant that provides diners with this Gaucho style or western chuck wagon style of open hearth cooking, you understand just how powerful the sensory experience is. That’s what an OOEE is all about.
So, where do we need to travel to experience these types of sensations? That’s where this series comes into play. I want to open an entirely new world of cooking entertainment for you. You can get started in your own back yard, a near-by neighbor’s property, a forest, park or beach. Once you are hooked, then you can plan some awesome trips to experience OOEE’s first-hand in other regions or countries. So, let’s get started!
One of the most important OOEE concepts to think about, before we go any further, is the definition of “success”. For many of us, success means that we have been able to…
1. Host a memorable Outrageous Outdoor Eating Event. The OOEE experience makes us feel like we have been on a wonderful trip, perhaps even to a foreign land. Positive memories abound and the full set of sensory experiences that we feel, when we attend an OOEE, are “off the charts”!
2. Taking a Meal to a New Level - Surprise and delight our guests with an exciting meal which is not ordinary. We’ve made sure that everyone had had enough to eat. When we’re satiated, we are fully satisfied.
3. Collaborative Planning - Include everybody in the OOEE planning and event management processes. By doing so, we help everyone to feel that they had a part in driving a successful outcome for all. This, in turn, produces the good feelings of association and joint collaboration.
4. Educate - Educate participants on a new food type, a new outdoor cooking technique or even a food-related “lost art”. That’s where OOEE participants walk away with something that they did not have before. That “something” may be a first-hand experience or exposure to an historical or a cultural tradition that they had not been exposed to before. This benefit makes us appreciate the OOEE experience that much more.
5. The Concept of Holistic Entertaining - Take a meal into a new level of entertaining by incorporating a theme, music, etc.
6. Ensure that everyone left the event wondering how the time flew so fast! This feeling comes from having been totally engaged during the OOEE.
In essence, these 6 aspects generate great memories and that is, at the very least, one sure sign of success.
But where the OOEE really differs from most other outdoor events is the level of surprise and delight that is associated with the theme of the OOEE, itself. It’s the notion that your OOEE theme connotes something that was unexpected and well beyond what might be considered usual. So surprise and unexpected delight are the objectives of your OOEE.
The natural question that people often think about, or ask, AFTER they wonder “how the time flew by so fast” is whether the event could be held next year? That’s how traditions are established! The bottom line is that OOEE’s are not only memorable, but they also have the potential to become traditions. They’re very special; pure and simple!
 The phrase al fresco is borrowed from the Italian language meaning "in the cool [air]", although it is not in current use in that language to refer to dining outside. Instead, Italians use the phrases fuori or all'aperto. In Italian, the expression al fresco usually refers to spending time in jail.
 An “Asado” can refer to a barbecue (the event), or beef ribs.
 “Parrilla” means grill, and refers to the actual open-fire hearth and grates where meat is cooked. It also translates to “steakhouse,” or more fittingly, any establishment — from fine dining to street cart — that specializes in grilled meats. (The double l makes a “sh” or “j” sounds, so “parrilla” is pronounced “pa-ree-sha” or “pa-ree-ja.")
 The word braai comes from the word braaivleis, which is Afrikaans for roasted meat. Braai means "barbecue" and vleis means "meat." The word is pronounced “bry” and although it originated with the Afrikaans, the word and social custom has been adopted by many ethnic cultures within Southern Africa.
 An asador or asadora is the grill master.
 A Brasero is a fire basket which produces high flames and bright orange and red embers which are needed for controlled cooking. Braseros are mounted to the left, right or behind the waist-high Gaucho or Asado grills used in South American countries and are often referred to as “fire tables”.
 Patagonian or Asado roasting crosses are made from short lengths of flat iron strips. They are used to secure dressed meats such as a whole lamb, suckling pig, or goat in a splayed open position for grilling over hot embers.