Where can I get thirty kilos of chopped onions in Sydney?
August 31, 2011 4:28 AM   Subscribe

I need about twenty five to thirty kilos of chopped onions for a very large barbecue. Is there anywhere in Sydney where someone will sell me large amounts of chopped onion?
posted by Fiasco da Gama to Food & Drink (27 answers total)
Our school canteen buys frozen chopped onions in bulk for barbies. The supervisor goes to bed early, so I'll ask her in the morning and post her response here. (Damn, if only you'd asked last night, I could have asked her today when I was working in the canteen.)
posted by malibustacey9999 at 4:35 AM on August 31, 2011

Do they have to be fresh? Coles and Woolworths sell bags of chopped frozen onions, and I would assume you'd be able to buy something similar in bulk from a cash and carry type place.
posted by lovedbymarylane at 4:35 AM on August 31, 2011

I"ve done the frozen ones for public barbies and they're great.
posted by taff at 4:38 AM on August 31, 2011

Response by poster: I've seen them in half-kilo bags at Coles, and I've seen them in one- or two-onion quantities which I assume is for people with arthritis or movement disability, but I'm after a big bag of onions.

That'd be very kind, malibustacey, I think that's the kind of onion bag I'm after.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:38 AM on August 31, 2011

I wonder if Costco has them. I'm a member if they do. And if it's a leftie event, am happy to help.
posted by taff at 4:52 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: if it's a leftie event

Not by any sensible definition of the word.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:02 AM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Then no organic locavore onions for them! Otherwise, I would've suggested picking some up at Addison Road markets, then just popping them into a cement mixer & slicing them up with a poked-in whippersnipper.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:07 AM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]

Honestly? Just drop by your local supermarket and talk to the produce manager. A lot of stores, in the US anyway, chop up things like carrots, celery, and melon every day. If they're doing that already, they can always do more. They're like to charge you a bit, perhaps, but they'd almost certainly be willing to take your money. Onions in the US frequently run less than $1 a pound if you buy 'em loose. Even adding $0.50 a pound would probably worth it, considering the amount of time you'd save.

I mean, the meat counter does special orders, and even most produce departments will work with you for things like a bunch of fruit and veggie trays. Why not a chopped onions?

You might have to make some prior arrangements though. Thirty kilos of onions is one hell of a lot of onions, and it would not surprise me in the slightest if your typical supermarket actually sells less than that on a daily basis.
posted by valkyryn at 5:30 AM on August 31, 2011

How soon do you need them? I'm headed out to Costco on Friday; I can have a look for you there.
posted by web-goddess at 6:03 AM on August 31, 2011

In my student union days we bought 10kg bags of pre-sliced onions for barbies from Campbells cash and carry - a similar wholesaler or Costco will be your best bet, if you can access one.
posted by goo at 6:30 AM on August 31, 2011

Believe it or not, one of the best places for stuff like this: Craigslist. Put it up as a request. Betchya someone will want to chop some onions for cash.
posted by Kololo at 6:47 AM on August 31, 2011

Sorry, I know this doesn't answer the question, but the curiosity is killing me - what kind of thing are you barbecuing that requires so many onions?
posted by cilantro at 8:17 AM on August 31, 2011 [2 favorites]

Kebab shops. Ask to buy the pre-chopped onions they have all ready to go for kebabs.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:34 AM on August 31, 2011

cilantro - Australian barbecues involve grilling, not what Americans know as barbecue, so the kilos of onions will essentially end up fried. They're an integral part of any barbie!
posted by goo at 11:23 AM on August 31, 2011

Yeah, I figured that barbecue involved grilling outdoors (I live in the UK, same deal here) but I still don't get 30 kilos of onions. And chopped? Won't they fall through the grate on to the charcoal or wood or whatever? Or is it a flat griddle-style thing?

Anyway, still confused. I've been to many barbecues (not in Australia obvs) and I've seen the occasional onion slice threaded on to a kebab skewer between the chunks of meat, or whole vidalia onions (in the states) wrapped in foil and grilled over the coals until soft and caramelised, but I just can't get my head around what place 30 kilos of chopped onions have being cooked outdoors. Even if there were a hundred people, they'd be having like... half a cup of onions each!
posted by cilantro at 12:02 PM on August 31, 2011

Sorry cilantro, I saw Baltimore as one if your tags in your profile and just assumed you were American. Think a flat griddle-type thing on which the food is cooked, and the onions are sliced into rings and go on everything.
posted by goo at 12:53 PM on August 31, 2011

Best answer: Fiasco, our canteen buys from Foodservice Central... but here's the bad news. They apparently only service rural NSW, believe it or not. They do 5kg bags of fresh chopped onions if we give them a weeks notice, or they stock 2kg bags of frozen (which, in our supervisors opinion, seem to go further than fresh).

Idle googling threw this supplier up. I've dealt with PFD in previous jobs and they were pretty good. According to that page, you can order 10kg bags of diced brown onions.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 2:50 PM on August 31, 2011

Note that the PFD shopfront is in Silverwater, and they advertise free delivery but the fine print states that's only for orders over $100.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 2:52 PM on August 31, 2011

We use the 1kg frozen bag for our work BBQs. Unfortunately they are "chopped" into ~1.5cm squares rather than rings.

If you dump the frozen bag straight onto the grill, they really cool the plate down and take AGES to cook - it's way better to defrost overnight first.

30kg is heaps though! I think we did ~4kg for about 200 people?
posted by trialex at 2:59 PM on August 31, 2011

Response by poster: To answer some of the questions; it's a football club fundraiser being held outside a major chain hardware shop on a weekend morning, so we're looking to sell a very large number of sausages. Thirty kilos of onion, apparently, is the standard quantity. After I posted this I was told one of the players has a mate who has a mate who knows a supplier, so if they come through I'll post the details.

An Australian "barbecue" doesn't resemble an American one in any sense. There's a flat plate the size of a table, there are fatty sausages that get burned crisp, there are onions in rings that get fried in sausage grease until they're caramelised. Every customer gets one or two sausages, chopped lengthwise, on a slice of white bread with a circle of tomato or barbecue (read: similar to UK brown/HP) sauce. Onions or no onions is according to taste. At very fancy ones there are bacon and eggs, or steak. Vegetarians have the option of fucking off somewhere else.

Not my country's finest culinary tradition.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 3:59 PM on August 31, 2011 [6 favorites]

The Australian culinary tradition you describe, Fiasco de Gama my friend, is the sausage sizzle rather than the barbecue. Please don't knock the sausage sizzle - polling booths, school fetes, and fundraisers outside massive hardware barns would not be the same without the sausage sizzle. I get that you're trying to make your question more suitable for the broader mefi audience, but the sausage sizzle fundraiser is a purely Australian thing, and quite different to a bbq.
posted by goo at 5:38 PM on August 31, 2011

There's a meat wholesaler in Pendle Hill that also sells catering-size bags of veg - I've seen 5 kilo bags of ready-sliced onion in the freezer, but I couldn't tell you the price. You don't have to be a member or any such thing - they sell to the public but you have to get out there. That said, it's 5 minutes from the M4 via Cumberland Highway exit. Where's the event? I *might* be able to deliver for you.
posted by ninazer0 at 11:29 PM on August 31, 2011

Actually, I think the bags are smaller than 5kg but they're closed now and I can't ring them to double check.
posted by ninazer0 at 11:31 PM on August 31, 2011

Best answer: the sausage sizzle fundraiser is a purely Australian thing


Start calling butchers. For example, my local butcher does then for $4.95/kg for more than 10kg. If they don't do it, it won't take long to find one who knows another butcher who does.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:05 AM on September 1, 2011

I checked Costco today but didn't see any there...
posted by web-goddess at 8:16 PM on September 1, 2011

Were the queues better than a weekend? How bad was a Friday?
posted by taff at 8:39 PM on September 1, 2011

Both times I've been (Friday and Sunday) I got there just about the time it opened. Friday was MUCH better. We still had to queue up to get in (before they opened the doors), but I'd estimate it was only 50% as crowded as Sunday. There were still plenty of people, but you could actually move relatively freely.
posted by web-goddess at 1:06 AM on September 3, 2011

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