Feeding a large crowd can seem overwhelming, but choosing the right recipe can make it simpler. Tacos are a meal that can feed 85 people without a huge amount of extra work. A written plan that outlines each step you need to take to finish the tacos on time is a good way to be sure everything is done and you haven't forgotten a major part of the meal. Having some help will also make the process go smoothly and prevent anything from being left undone.
Buy ground beef to accommodate 85 people. Seven pounds of ground beef will serve about 25 people, which equates to just under 28 lbs. for a crowd of 85. A little extra is always good for people with large appetites and you can eat leftovers the following day.
Gather your toppings to serve 85 people. You will need about 2 tbsp. of shredded cheese per person, which is 170 oz., or about 21 cups. Buying cheese already shredded cuts down on your preparation time. You will also need about 2 tbsp. of sliced olives per person, which is about 28 6-oz. cans, but you may be able to find larger cans of olives at bulk grocery stores. A tablespoon of sour cream per person is about five 16-oz. cartons and 2 tbsp. of salsa, guacamole or taco sauce is about the same.
Provide two taco shells or tortillas per guest. This equates to 170 of either. A combination of both is a good idea for different taste preferences. If desired, you can include some extras since some people may not be full after only two tacos.
Brown the ground beef in batches. This allows it cook more evenly and quickly. Be sure to refrigerate raw meat until you are ready to cook it and keep the prepared ground beef warmed or refrigerated until it is time to eat. This will reduce the chances of bacterial growth that could cause illness.
Prepare the taco fillings. As the ground beef cooks, chop lettuce, tomatoes, olives and onions for topping the meat with. Warm up the beans and shred the cheese, if needed as well. Mix the guacamole. Place each ingredient in a bowl and keep refrigerated until mealtime. Pour salsa and taco sauce into a bowl as well.
Warm the tortillas. You will be able to warm many at a time in the oven, but watch to be sure they don't get crispy because that will make them harder to fold. Warm taco shells in the oven as well to make them crunchy.
Set up the tacos for serving. Place everything in an assembly line type setup on a long table. This allows people to prepare their own tacos according to their preferences and prevents you from having to fill each taco on your own.
Things You Will Need
Ground beef and beans
Tortillas or taco shells
Lettuce, tomato, cheese, olives, onions
Salsa, guacamole and sour cream
Keep meat and beans separate for vegetarians.
Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.