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Bar-B-Qum Laude

Expert Tips for an “A+” Graduation Party from Old Carolina Barbecue Company

Article by Brian Bailey

Photography by Supplied

Originally published in Canton Lifestyle

It seems like yesterday you put your child on the bus for the first day of kindergarten. And now, you're planning a graduation party!

Old Carolina Barbecue Company has helped thousands celebrate their memorable event since the local chain’s first outpost opened in Massillon in 2006. Barbecue is the perfect food to serve at open house-style gatherings as it holds well in chafing dishes. Most importantly, just about everyone loves really great barbecue!

A new spin on barbecue catering this year is a buffet featuring barbecue tacos. Tortillas are a great canvas for the flavors of pulled pork, chopped brisket and smoked chicken. Guests can fill their own shell and add authentic “street-style” toppings such as onion, cilantro and salsa.

Whatever you decide to serve, here are some professional tips to make your day of celebration stress-free.


Not every guest you invite will come to the party. Save money by not over-ordering on food. May and June weekends are busy for everyone. As such, many guests will just stop by and not eat because they have other dinner plans. Have enough of the main menu for the close family and friends you know will be attending. Stragglers that come late will not complain if you only have snack foods available toward the end of the party.


Guests are often party hopping on graduation weekends. Some local schools graduate more than 500 seniors! Serve smaller portions instead of whole meals so guests can nibble. Slider buns are great for mini-barbecue sandwiches and 4” tortillas are perfect for barbecue-style street tacos. A hungry guest can always choose two!


Baked Beans, Green Beans, and Coleslaw go a long way. You many get almost 80 servings out of one full-size pan. On the other hand, starches like Mashed Potatoes and Mac & Cheese tend to be scooped in larger portions. Depending on your guests, you might only get less 50 servings from the same size full pan.

For more graduation party planning tips, visit or connect directly with Brooke Guiley, Catering Consultant, at (330) 581-5835. Old Carolina Barbecue Company was co-founded in Massillon, OH by Brian Bailey, a former traveling salesman with a passion for great barbecue and Tim Hug, his high school buddy and restaurant operating partner. There are currently 10 restaurant locations, including three in Stark County. Catering delivery is available.