9. The Roast Dinner

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a) Ingredients List 

b) Transporting the Cold Supplies from Sydney to Wiruna on Friday

c) Baking and Serving Supplies

d) Preparing the Meal (with run sheet)

e) Handling the Ovens

f) Preparing the Servery and Tables

g) Serving the Food

h) Sunday Morning Wash-Up in the Bush Kitchen


a) Ingredients List

Supplies regularly bought for previous star parties are as follows, to feed up to 200 people for ONE meal on the Saturday night. Registrations cut off at 180 dinners and the margin is for guest speakers and families, neighbours, and any other non-registered guests.
People with special dietary requirements should make their own decision about the food served and self-cater if in any doubt about its appropriateness.
The Scouts also provide alternative meals on the night of the roast dinner.

Food Items Qty (or qty x pack size) Usual Supplier
Beef - whole rump 50 kg approximately 3 boxes from Beef Producers Australia at Madeline St, South Strathfield (wholesaler)
Carrots 20 kg Vegmasters Silverwater
Sliced potatoes 20 kg Vegmasters Silverwater
Sliced onions 10 kg Vegmasters Silverwater
Maggi Rich Meat Sauce Gluten Free 1 x 2kg Padstow Food Services or Knorr brand from Bidfoods Kariong
Table salt 1 x 1kg Padstow Food Services
IXL Plum Jam 1 x 2.5kg Padstow Food Services
Nescafe 1 x 500g tin Padstow Food Services
Tea bags 1 x Bulk box Padstow Food Services
Sugar Bulk box 500 portions Padstow Food Services
Frozen Peas 10 kg Padstow Food Services or supermarket
Thickened cream 6 x 600ml Supermarket
Butter (blocks, not tubs) 5 x 250g blocks Supermarket
Bega Tasty Shredded Cheese 2 x 2kg Padstow Food Services or supermarket
Horseradish (condiment) 2 x 175g jars Supermarket
Massel Chicken Stock Powder Gluten Free  2 x 168g tins Supermarket
Cooking oil 2 x 150g spray cans plus one small bottle Supermarket
Garlic 1 bunch Supermarket or grocer
Rosemary 1 bunch Supermarket, grocer or garden
Parsley 6 bunches Supermarket or grocer


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b) Transporting the Cold Supplies from Sydney to Wiruna on Friday

Non-perishable supplies can be taken to Wiruna in April, assuming the stocktake can be done in March or earlier.

Cold supplies must be collected from suppliers on Friday morning and taken to Wiruna. Plan to collect the meat at approximately <insert time for first collection here>

Buy Large Heavy Bin Liner Bags and Ice: These are for cold-packing the meat. Ice bags are available from Coles supermarkets for about $5 each.

Pick up the Meat: This will be three cartons (about 55kg total) of Whole Rump from United Meat supplies at Sydney Meat Market in Madeline Street, South Strathfield. Payment must be made on collection, as it depends on the exact weight of the meat. 
The meat is kept in a coolroom by United Meat and, on pick-up, can be packed in a large bin liner of the heavy type, one carton next to the other, with ice bags surrounding it.
In the cold of winter, the meat will make it to Wiruna with little of the ice melted, and the meat kept cold.

Pick up the Vegetables: These are peeled and cut are ordered and paid for in advance from Vegmaster, Silverwater: 20kgs of carrots, 20kgs of potatoes and 10kgs of sliced onions. 

Other cold supplies: Cream, cheese, butter and frozen peas, per table above, may be purchased beforehand and kept at home until Friday morning. They may be transported in a regular esky with ice, or a camp fridge.

The Cool Room: On arrival at Wiruna, the meat and other cold supplies go straight into the Scouts' cool room.

c) Baking and Serving Supplies

This is the list of all the foil trays, lids, etc. Note that there are usually some left-over supplies already at Wiruna, so it is seldom necessary to purchase a full complement of supplies for 200 dinners.
Note that we do not supply dessert, so spoons are not required (other than for the tea & coffee station).
Cooking and serving cutlery, pots and pans are kept in one of the cupboards in the Meeting Hall.

Item Qty (or qty x pack size) Usual Supplier
Disposable knives 200 (4 x 50) Padstow Food Services, or all-in-one cutlery packs if available
Disposable forks 200 (4 x 50)
Serviettes 200 (2 x 100) Padstow Food Services
Large aluminium trays 6237 10 rectangular Padstow Food Services or online supplier (box of 50)
485 Aluminium trays 20 rectangular Padstow Food Services
485 Aluminium lids 20 to suit trays Padstow Food Services
Box foam eskies 4 x 530 x 340 Padstow Food Services
Tongs 4 pair Padstow Food Services
Cold drink cups 2 x 50 Padstow Food Services
Disposable plates 4 x 50 Padstow Food Services
Stainless steel scourers 2 Cleaners Warehouse
Scourer/sponges 6 Cleaners Warehouse
Bottles washing up liquid 1 Woolworths
Disposable coffee cups 1 carton Padstow Food Services
Cling wrap    
Caterer's Foil    
Chux (roll)    
Food handling gloves Medium and Large sizes  


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d) Preparing the Meal

For timing, refer run sheet below. Required cooking time is about 4 hours for the meat and about 1.5 hours for the potatoes. The gas burners for the ovens should have been checked the previous month at the working bee. If any burners don't work, check for mud from mud wasps. Check what trays have been supplied for the meat and verify that these trays will fit into the meat oven before putting the meat into them. The broad timeline is as follows, with further details below.

Roast Dinner and Ovens Run Sheet

Time Prep in Kitchen Ovens Stoves and Breezeway
9:00am Review instructions.
Sharpen knives.
Chop ingredients.
Lay cardboard on floor in front of ovens.
Check oven shelves will accommodate meat.
Check how many meat trays will fit in oven.
Clean the breezeway.
10:00am Prepare potato bake.    
11:15am Prepare the meat.    
11:45am Clean up the Kitchen. Turn on the meat ovens.  
12:30pm   Check ovens.  
12:45pm Start gravy - fry onions.    
1:00pm   Check oven temperature with IR thermometer.
TURN DOWN THE OVENS even if oven temp seems low.
Mix the gravy in the biggest pot on the stove.
1:15pm   Rotate meat top and bottom.  
1:30pm   Check the ovens.  
2:00pm   Check the ovens.
Ladle off excess liquid.
2:30pm   Check the ovens.  
3:00pm   Check the ovens.
TEST MEAT with meat thermometers.
Rotate meat if required.
3:30pm   Check the meat ovens.
TEST THE MEAT again if required.
Put 5 pots on to boil (half-filled) for veggies.
3:45pm     Test heat of gravy and turn plate on if reheating is required, stirring occasionally.
Rotate potatoes top and bottom.
Put all carrots on (3 pots) as soon as water boils.
4:15pm     Put 8kg peas on (2 pots).
4:30pm     Get servery ready.
5:00pm     Announce and Serve.

Make the Potato Bake - pre-prepare early, and assemble volunteers by 10:30am

  1. Begin early (9 or 9.30am): 
    1. chop the parsley;
    2. cut the rosemary into short sprigs (for the meat);
    3. peel and cut the garlic into slivers (also for the meat);
    4. slice the blocks of butter into thin pats about 1.5cm to 2cm square(dipping knife in water helps to stop the butter sticking), or cut into strips that can be easily broken into pieces. The butter should be cold to begin with, as it will soften and become sticky as it warms up. The butter pats can be returned to the cool room if there is ample time before starting the potato bake.
  2. Assemble all the necessary equipment and ingredients for the potato bake. The cold ingredients and potatoes will have been put in the Scouts' cool room on Friday afternoon. The non-perishable ingredients will be in the bunkhouse storage area or recently delivered. The measuring jug is kept in the cupboard in the Meeting Hall with the SPSP pots. There is usually a suitable pot on the shelves in the Kitchen.
    1. 20 trays and lids
    2. measuring jug with handle
    3. large pot for the soup
    4. butter pats
    5. chopped parsley
    6. potatoes
    7. grated cheese
    8. 5 x cream
    9. pepper
    10. 2 x tins of Massel GF Chicken Stock
    11. 1 x spray can of cooking oil (but have the other one handy in case needed).
  3. Start assembling no later than 11am, but less stressful if begun by 10.30am. Requires a minimum of four volunteers, less stressful with six. 
  4. Spray the trays with one of the cans of oil to prevent food sticking to trays. It may take a whole spay can to do the 20 trays. 
  5. Set out the foil trays. 20 trays will do 200 meals, providing 10 servings per tray.
  6. The butter should earlier have been diced into pats, as above. 
  7. Drop about 6 to 10 dollops of butter into the bottom of each foil tray.
  8. Build layers of potatoes (they come sliced) and grated cheese, adding sprinkles of pepper, parsley and extra butter to each layer. Make sure that the first layer of potatoes covers the bottom of the tray. The quickest technique is to toss in a handful of potatoes and smoosh them to spread them out before adding the next ingredient.
  9. For the final layer (there may be only two layers), add more handfuls of potatoes and press down firmly all over the tray.
  10. Finish the top with cheese and parsley, reserving some parsley for the soup.
  11. Prepare the soup in a large pot on the stove: Mix 4 litres of water, 2 tins of Massel GF chicken stock, 2.5 litres (or 5 of the 600ml pots) of cream and some chopped parsley.
  12. Heat the soup and stir so that it is smooth. It doesn't need to come to the boil, but doesn't hurt if it does. 
  13. Pour about 1 to 1.5 cups of soup into each of the trays of potatoes using the measuring jug. This may wash down the last layer of cheese, so sprinkle more cheese on top if needed.
  14. Cover the trays with the lids, squash down firmly and close the edges.
  15. If using metal trays as extras, cover with foil.

Load potato trays into ovens in the Breezeway

Load the potato trays onto chopping boards, no more than three high, to carry them over to the breezeway. They get loaded straight into the potato ovens, but those ovens don't get turned on till 3pm.

Prepare the Meat

  1. Assemble all the necessary equipment and ingredients for the meat:
    1. foil and/or metal trays
    2. boxes of whole rumps
    3. rosemary sprigs
    4. garlic slivers
    5. plum jam
    6. salt
    7. pepper
    8. cooking oil (1 x spray can)
    9. caterer's foil
    10. a large, sharp knife from the Kitchen.
  2. Spray the trays with cooking oil and lay out the trays. If the regular 6237 trays are used, only 8 will fit easily into the ovens. Lamington trays should be used for extra support under the foil trays or the full-size metal trays may be used with or without the foil trays inserted. 
  3. Cut open the bags of meat and drain the bags into a large spare tray or pot. 
  4. Cut the whole rumps in half and place into the trays. Large trays will hold three half-rumps. (There may be a whole rump left over. If it can't be made to fit, return it to the cool room and donate it to the Scouts.)
  5. Cut slits into the top of the meat pieces and insert slivers of garlic. Be quite generous. More garlic may be tossed into the trays, but keep some garlic for the gravy.
  6. Take a large dollop of plum jam for each piece of meat and massage well over the meat. Keep any leftover plum jam for the gravy. 
  7. Sprinkle sprigs of rosemary over the top (but not sticking up because it breaks the foil).
  8. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top.
  9. Cover with double layers of foil and seal up as well as possible.

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Load Out, Clean Up and Cook - 11:45am

Turn on the meat oven at around 11.45am, checking that all burners are working (a mirror will make it easier to inspect, as burners are under bottom of oven). Carry the meat trays over to the Breezeway. Each meat tray will weigh over 6kg (i.e. they are heavy), so ensure the base is supported with chopping boards, the lamington trays or the large metal trays. By 11.45am, it should be time to clean up the Kitchen. At midday (12.00 noon), load the meat into the oven, using the long, heavy welder's gloves, as the door handles may be hot. The temperature should be high at first but can be turned down during cooking. Check the ovens every half-hour.

Make the Gravy - start at 12:45pm

Start at around 12.45pm.

Equipment: You will need one large pot in the Breezeway (from the pots and pans cupboard in the Meeting Hall) as well as two large frying pans from the Kitchen and the large whisk (also from the pots and pans cupboard).


  1. 1 x 2kg Maggi Rich Meat Sauce Mix Gluten Free or equivalent
  2. Any plum jam left over from the meat
  3. Chopped onions from the Scouts cool room to fill two large frypans
  4. Garlic slivers left over from the meat
  5. Generous dash of cream (from the last container)
  6. Cooking oil from a bottle


  1. Half-fill the large pot with water and bring to the boil on the stove in the Breezeway (may take an hour).
  2. Saute the onions and garlic in the frying pans with cooking oil (may be done in the Kitchen, as these stoves are quicker and hotter). When ready, carry the frying pans to the Breezeway. 
  3. Deglaze the frying pans with a little water.
  4. Mix half of the gravy mix into the pot with the boiling water (go by directions on pack to verify quantity). Allow for 200 serves, but it's better if it is a bit thicker rather than runny.
  5. Whisk until smooth.
  6. Add the base of onion and garlic.
  7. Bring to the boil.
  8. Turn down to simmer and keep it ticking over for 15 minutes.
  9. Test for consistency (not too thick or too runny). Add more gravy powder as needed, up to about 3/4 of the bucket. 
  10. Remove from heat.
  11. Stir in the cream.
  12. At 4pm, test the heat of the gravy. If it needs to be reheated before serving, put onto a low heat and stir occasionally with a whisk. Do not leave unattended whilst on the stove plate. 

Heat The Vegetables - start at 3:30pm

  1. Half-fill four large pots with water and bring to the boil. It takes about an hour to boil the water, so start by 3.30pm.
  2. Turn on the potato ovens.
  3. Tip 8kg peas into two pots and the carrots into the other three, saving some peas for the leftover night on Sunday.
  4. Add a bit of salt to the carrots.
  5. Bring back to the boil and turn down to simmer if ready before serving begins.
  6. To drain, there are large plastic colanders with handles that can be used to scoop out quantities of hot vegetables and stainless steel bowls to sit the colanders in. The veggies can continue to drain, and the drained water will help keep the veggies hot. 

Finish the Potato Bake - uncover at 4:00pm

At about 4pm, take the lids off the potato trays to crisp up the potatoes a bit. 

Carving the Meat - start at 4:00pm

Two carvers are needed plus someone to take the trays out of the ovens. The carvers and oven manager do not wear disposable gloves. The oven manager will be taking the welding gloves on and off as needed, and the carvers will need good grip. 
Strong tongs and forks must be used to get the meat out of the trays.
The meat trays will have liquid in them after cooking. Use a spare metal dish or foil tray to empty the liquid into. This will be disposed of later. 

The meat must be sliced thinly to produce enough so that each diner can have two slices and still have enough to feed everyone with tickets. The big cutting board more-or-less covers the stainless steel bench in front of the battery cabinet. Two people will be needed to carve, and it will take about 45 minutes to an hour to carve the 50 kg of meat. Ensure the knives are adequately sharpened. Carve across the grain.

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e) Handling the Ovens

If the burners have been removed to prevent mud-wasp infestation, they will need to be reinserted as follows.

Reinstalling The Burners in the Potato Ovens

When putting the burners back into the potato ovens, put the back end in first at an angle and then guide the hole in the front end onto the gas jet which should locate centrally in the burner opening between two tabs. The back of the burner should then be moved to square it up and a lug on the burner should drop into the back frame locating the burner securely.

Lighting the Potato Ovens

When lighting the potato ovens, start at the burner furthest from the gas inlet to the oven. It takes a while for the gas to displace the air in the pipes if it's the first lighting time. Use a good gas match. If it burns with a whistle, the flame has jumped to the gas nozzle, so turn it off and start again.

Lighting the Big Ovens and Stoves

For the big ovens, first flush the air out by lighting the gas rings which can then be turned off.

There are 2 gas taps to the large ovens. One at the left-hand side and one towards the middle of the back. It's basically two ovens bolted together.

Have the oven door open and get down to ground level to view the pilot light. 

To light the oven, turn the oven setting to the spark. Press and hold the button with the spark and then use a gas match to light the pilot light.
Once the pilot light is burning, the button must be held for 30 seconds for the safety valve to warm up. If the pilot light stays lit when the button is released, the oven gas setting can be set as required and the burners will light.

To light the hotplate, turn on the gas and hold the gas match at the back of the hotplate at what look like square tubes, one for each burner. It can light with a bit of a pop.

Preventing Blow-Outs

There are two white metal panels that sit vertically on the floor, taped to the base of either side of the big oven. These are there to prevent wind through the breezeway from blowing out the burners.  

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f) Preparing the Servery and Tables - from 4:30pm

  1. Check with the registration desk to see how many meals are being served.
  2. Cover the big table in the breezeway with a clean drop-sheet. This is where the plates, serviettes and cutlery are organised.
  3. Put on latex gloves for all preparation and serving tasks.
  4. Separate the plates with serviettes and leave them in stacks so that they are easy to distribute. It takes about 30 minutes to do about 200 with two people. If there are enough volunteers and time permits, wrap knives and forks in serviettes for easier distribution/carrying (not required if all-in-one cutlery packs have been supplied).
  5. Lay out two plates on each table, in both the Meeting Hall and the Pavilion, with salt sachets on one plate and pepper sachets on the other. Save the bags that the sachets are supplied in so that they can be put away afterwards.
  6. Reserve a table in the Meeting Hall for the serving volunteers.

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g) Serving the Food - 7 volunteers needed from 4:50pm

  1. Arrive at serving area 10 minutes prior to serving time.
  2. One volunteer will collect the meal tickets and keep count in batches of 25 (one batch per tray of meat) and update the serving team after each 25 diners have arrived at the servery.
  3. Put on latex food-serving gloves for handling plates, cutlery and food.
  4. Two or more volunteers hand out plates and cutlery as people come through (if short of volunteers, the ticket counter can supervise self-service).
  5. Check with chefs for the serving size at your allocated food station - four servers offer the food - one for meat, one for carrots and peas, one for potato bake, one for gravy.
    1. Meat - two slices served with tongs
    2. Carrots - one flat large holey serving spoon
    3. Peas - one flat slotted serving scoop/ladle
    4. Potato - one serving spoon (easier to measure as ten serves per tray)
    5. Gravy - one small ladle with pouring spout
  6. Open two jars of horseradish and place near the gravy pot with teaspoons for self-service.
  7. Stand at the station for the duration of the dinner serving period, offering each diner the food at your station.
  8. Smile and be friendly for the duration (no matter how often your carrots are rejected!).
  9. If diners ask for extra helpings, explain that if there is surplus, it will be announced when they can return for second helpings.
  10. Assist chefs with any clean-up immediately after serving.
  11. Finally, serve your own meals and dine at your reserved table.

h) Sunday Morning Wash-Up in the Bush Kitchen

Wash up all the pots, pans and utensils from the dinner. Dry all the dishes and return them to their places in the cupboards.

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