Barbecue is hot right now—not just coming off the grill, but on catering menu at events around the country. New Orleans is at the epicenter of this trend, fueled by its history and penchant for spicy, regional foods and plethora of fresh, locally sourced ingredients. It’s now quite common to see caterers roll in everything from Tuscan ovens to drum-style smokers at even the most elegant events. The reason? Barbecue is full of flavor, moist and tender, and a great way to stretch more economical cuts of meats (like pork butt roasts and beef briskets) that require a “low and slow” cook to bring out their brilliance. Plus barbeque is comfort food!
According to the 2017 Center of the Plate: Beef and Pork Consumer Trend Report from Technomic, barbecue ranked second for the perennial favorites of the 700 professional chefs surveyed for the National Restaurant Association’s What’s Hot Culinary Forecast. More than a quarter of these chefs (27 percent) even labeled barbecue a hot trend.
New Orleans caterers like Messina’s Catering & Events have been wowing event guests for decades with fire. Early on in their 59-year history they enthusiastically adopted the use of fire, local ingredients, Cajun and Creole spices, and inventive presentations into catering menus for events ranging from corporate retreats to weddings. Messina’s signature dishes like barbecued shrimp, BBQ chicken kabobs, and beef short rib sliders are perfect examples of how traditional New Orleans flavors that come from the savory and spicy blends like Cajun seasoning—a tantalizing blend of smoked paprika, garlic, cayenne pepper, and other spices. Together, they can add a distinctive Crescent City twist to virtually any fire-inspired catering menu item.
How can you harness the power of fire at your next catered event? From quickly seared fresh fish to slow-smoked pulled pork, a chef-attended fire station at your event not only brings the flavor—it brings with it the drama, the wonderful aromas, and the kind of essence that can only be released over an open flame or glowing hickory chips. Some of the foods that are classics in the Big Easy, including Andouille sausage, boudin, crawfish, crab, shrimp, gator, and more all benefit from the way fire locks in flavor.
What are some of the regional trends affecting New Orleans catering menu? Probably the hottest is the addition of white barbecue sauces, which originated in northern Alabama. White barbecue sauces begin with a mayonnaise rather than a tomato base and is a more delicate finishing sauce for chicken and seafood. Asian and Korean barbecue dishes are also on fire right now on catering menu throughout the country, and bring a sweet-sour note to both meats and fire-roasted vegetables.
For your next New Orleans catering event, be sure to bring the heat—and we’re not just talking about peppers. Include fire-roasted and fire-seared catering menu items sure to please every guest on your list. Top rated caterers like Messina’s Catering have a plethora of specialties that harness the power of fire for the most memorable event. Check out their ala carte menu at https://messinascatering.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Messinas-a-La-Carte-Menu-2017.pdf.