When grilling and cooking for a large crowd is not an option, serving cold cuts is the next best thing. You can't go wrong serving sandwiches and wraps, and as long as you have enough food available to fill their bellies, the crowd will thank you. The more people you invite, the more cold cuts you will need, and if you are expecting a group of 65, figuring out how much meat each person requires will take some careful calculations.
The Basic Calculation
When calculating the amount of cold cuts you need for your party tray, work from an average per-person portion of three ounces. Multiply this by the number of expected guests, which in this case is 65, and the total amount of cold cuts that you require for your guests is about 12 pounds, which you can divide among several different types of luncheon meats displayed on the tray.
Add Some Cheeses
Cheeses, such as Swiss, provolone and American, are the perfect complement to a meat cold cut tray. In addition to the 3 ounces of cold cuts per person, consider adding another ounce of cheese for each. For 65 people, this amounts to approximately 4 pounds of cheese, which when added to the meats on the tray will equal a total weight of 16 pounds of food for the crowd of 65 people.
Just in Case
It is always wise to take into account a few uninvited guests when determining food totals. Purchasing an extra pound or two of cold cuts ensures that there is enough food to go around. Any leftover cold cuts can be wrapped in plastic or heavy-duty aluminum foil and stored in the refrigerator for up to five days. For longer storage, transfer the wrapped cold cuts to the freezer, where they will keep for two months.
The Two-Hour Rule
Monitor how long the cold cut tray is sitting out during your gathering. Cold cuts that remain unrefrigerated for too long may become laced with bacteria that is responsible for food poisoning. In temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, cold cuts keep for only two hours. If the temperatures are in the 90s or above, the cold cuts only keep for one hour before they need to be thrown away.