Milk Can Dinner – Food for 40 – BarbequeLovers.com
We attended an extended family reunion in Mount Pleasant, Utah. It is about 2 hours south of Salt Lake City in a very small farming community.
There were about 40-50 people there, including aunts, uncles and cousins we didn’t even know we had. Two of the popular events at the meeting were the Chinese auction (ping me if you want to learn more about it) and the other was dinner. It was a milk tin dinner!
Milk cans (or cream cans) come in various sizes, the largest being 10 1/2 gallons. That can is about 3 1/2 feet tall and about a foot in diameter.
There was enough room for grandma to put ~25 pounds of potatoes, carrots, onions, peppers, and various roasts. They seasoned everything well, added some water and put it on a propane burner with the lid slightly cracked to allow the steam to escape, and cooked it slowly for several hours. You could smell it all over the yard and garden. When it was over, the roasts were so tender that they crumbled with the fork and the vegetables were made, but not soft.
It was so good! You should try a can of milk dinner for your next big gathering. Sorry, I don’t have a source of used milk cans… Let me know if you do. However, I found a source of new cream cans.
I had a great contact from a lady in California who offered to provide Milk Can Dinner tips and tricks. She provided amazing information that she wanted to include in the post.
Please continue to post comments and suggestions on how to make the latest “Milk Tin Dinner”.
I am what is known as a “garbage cook.” My mother always said that I would be my best cook for a punching team and she was right. I heard about Milk Can Dinners years ago and had my first opportunity in April ’09 to make my dream come true.
Our small club built a float for the Petaluma Butter and Eggs Days parade. We built the float on one of our member ranches, so I jumped at the chance to cook this dinner for everyone. IT WAS A GREAT SUCCESS!
I first had a can of milk dinner
(I prefer to call it dinner since it goes more towards the “Okie trend”) at a motorcycle race in Kings County, California, several years ago
Before that trip, I had bought a 10-gallon can of milk at a surplus store just to smile. It was aluminum and new and cost me a total of $10.00. I still had the documentation from the Norwegian manufacturers.
The group that organized the “Dinner” at that motorcycle race turned out to be all children of the dust bowl travelers and let me tell you, the dinner was great!
I have cooked it twice and I learn every time. I cooked this dinner both times on a portable propane burner.
This is such a fun meal, good food and men just stick with the aromas and ask questions. It’s fun to see the kids get so involved, it’s almost primary. This last time, I served 50 and the cost was $102.00.
Here are a few things you probably already know, but I’ve been writing articles as I go.
- This should be done when the corn is in season
- for a 10-gallon can: 2″ of liquid to start = 1 1/2 gallon. I started with 4 cans of beer and then the rest of the 1 1/2 gallon liquid was water. The cabbage at the bottom of the can takes any “burns” that may occur. My guests wanted more cabbage and I had a total of 6 heads… quartered, four at the bottom and two at the top. Next time I’ll add more cabbage, I guess!!! 🙂 see below
- Break corn cobs into halves for easy handling when leaving and for guests to use as well
- If you use pre-peeled pre-packaged small carrots, they cook too quickly and decompose. I used 5 pounds of carrots in bulk and could have used more. They were cut into lengths of approx. 5-6″
- Pour all the liquid (retain something) before turning your prepared food into bowls. Not only do you avoid splashing hot liquid, but it is easier to separate the individual product into containers, all corn, all brats, all potatoes, etc. Also, food does not continue to cook when it is out of the hot liquid
- Try to buy potatoes of the same size to cook evenly
- I put in 50 brats and 2 large pieces of ham (cut into quarters). The pieces of ham were a lot of seasonings, so I didn’t have to salt and pepper. Some people salt and pepper even before tasting food anyway. I thought I’d let them do that, but it didn’t seem like many would. The pieces of ham were in demand and I can use more of them at a later time. Since the brats are near the top, I could throw one after 1 1/2 hours of cooking on the propane burner and determine if everything was done and ready, I
used a portable propane burner to cook my dinner. I had all the items at room temperature when I put them in the liquid in layers and I had already turned on the burner at medium high. My first one burned some of the cabbage, so I didn’t turn up the burner completely. I started at 5:00 and turned off the food around 6:45 when I was satisfied that the brats were cooked.
My first dinner was supported by salads made in wooden cubes… I have inventive and precious friends.
My friend in Grand Prairie, Texas, wanted information on where to get a can of milk, so I found something on e-bay and sent her that information. I am saving my information in a folder, as I know this is going to come up again.
Let me know if you need a cook to help you with your next shindig! Strangers are just friends we haven’t met! My apron is washed and ready to go…………. Ag