Spring Round Up

 Over the years, I  have planned along with my family members, many cattle round up barbecues. In case you're unfamiliar ( like I was when we first started ) a roundup is a gathering of cattle where every spring, you vaccinate and tag them. 
When we first began holding our round ups, we either underestimated or overestimated the amount of food we needed. Sometimes we’d end up with fruit salad for a week! Since this is a fairly large event, serving up to 180 people, pre planning 6 weeks out and being super organized is essential and key to a successful round up.
Here is how we tackle it-
We first pick a date usually late spring, early summer, draw up a menu ( ours is generally the same, as many cowboys, family and friends have their favorites and insist we make them every year.
We hold a family meeting ( 5 brothers and 1 family friend) decide on  a day, pass out different assignments, either bring a salad, order vaccination medicine and tags, make several Costco runs, set up tables, chairs, BBQ grills, organize the BBQ pit crew ( usually 9-12 guys each barbecuing a different protein, or tending to the garlic bread and/or chili beans. 
When planning our menu, we do our best to offer a variety of proteins, salads, starches, desserts and plenty of beverage for a slew of cowboys, family and friends. We do all our own cooking on a large scale and use our own homegrown garden vegetables and herbs as much as possible. We also make several runs to our local Farmer’s market for fresh produce and flowers for our tables. 
Typically we set up all our tables/chairs next to the old brown barn under our large Willow tree. The tree provides a nice breeze and lots of shade. Kids run around, jump on bales of hay, play cornhole and try their hand at roping a  dummy steer head. We always have a generous amount of food, setup with BBQ, grills, smokers, tables and chairs; everything you need to feed a hungry hard working group.  
                            BBQ Round Up Planning Schedule
6 weeks out - Meet as a family and decide on a date and menu
4 weeks out- Pass out assignments, who is responsible for what, email invites, order medicine and tags for the cattle 
3 weeks out- Decide on a centerpiece (usually decorative mason jars with sunflowers or daisies) prepare our red checkered table covers and hand wrap our cutlery sets.
2 weeks out- Order fuel for the squeeze shoots, make a long grocery list
Week of the barbeque
Sunday- Get a final head count 
Monday- Do most of the grocery shopping 
Tuesday - Grocery shopping continued
Wednesday- Prepare several types of cookie dough for dessert
Thursday- Marinate for 48 hrs. two of the four types of protein, usually it's chicken and beef and bake cookies
Friday- Prepare the chili beans( they cook on low heat for 8 hours) bake more cookies. The brothers clean and set up all the tables, chairs, grills, BBQ etc.  They gather up all the cattle and place them in several large holding pens.
 Begin cutting and preparing the fruit for the fruit salad. Prep the garlic bread and ears of corn for the grill.
Day of the Event- Make the tortellini salad first thing in the morning along with assembling the fruit salad. Place all cookies on serving trays.
Here is our recipe for our crowd pleaser salad
 Pesto Tortellini Salad Recipe
 1 double packet of refrigerated cheese tortellini (Costco)
 1 jar of refrigerated pesto sauce ( or I make my own from
  my garden if I have enough basil)
 1 pints of cheery tomatoes each sliced in half
 1 each of yellow, red and orange bell peppers Julienne sliced 
 1 large bag of washed  fresh baby spinach 
 1 pint of fresh mushrooms sliced thin
 Fresh parmesan cheese add to your taste
 Cook the tortellini as directed in slight salted boiling water,
 do not overcook.
 Rinse tortellini and place on a plate with olive oil.                         
 Set aside until cool, then refrigerate.
 In a very large serving bowl:
add the julienned bell peppers,                                 
sliced mushrooms,
sliced tomatoes,
washed spinach leaves and tortellini.
 Mix together all ingredients then gradually add the pesto sauce.
 Mix well but with a light hand.
 Lastly, add the parmesan cheese and mix again. 
 Serves 20- 30  ( I double everything for the Round Up)

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