Knowing how much BBQ per person can be more challenging than people think. Don’t get enough meat per person and your guests will go hungry. Too much meat per person and you’ve wasted money.
The ideal amount of meat per person is 1/2 – 3/4 of a pound of raw meat per person. Of course, this depends a lot on what type of meat you’re serving. However, based on all our research, this is a good rule of thumb to follow for how much meat per person.
So, whether you’re planning a big Thanksgiving dinner, or just having a few friends over for some BBQ, this guide will tell you exactly how much meat you’ll need to buy and cook for the occasion.
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How Much BBQ Per Person
There are so many factors when planning a perfect menu for a BBQ party. Things like appetizers, side dishes, drinks, main dishes, and desserts affect the proportion of meat people consume in a dinner or lunch.
For instance, if you are serving potato salad and deviled eggs as appetizers, your guests may not eat as much meat.
However, if there are light side dishes such as baked beans and mashed potatoes, the guests will happily eat lots of cooked meat (provided they are hungry).
Similarly, if you aren’t preparing any side dish and are only serving cooked meat with bbq sauce, your guests will eat more than expected.
You can see that how much BBQ per person will depends on a lot of different factors. Let’s explore a few of those below.
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How much meat per person
The amount of meat you prepare per person depends on the type of meat and the cut of meat. For example, some cuts of meat have bones and yield a lot of edible meat. While other meats have no bones and tend to reduce in size during the cooking process.
To know how much bbq meat per person, you need to know what type of meat and cut of meat that you’re cooking first (You also need to know what side dishes will be going with the meal). If you do know this information, scroll down to find out just how much meat per person.
How many pounds of meat per person
As a general rule of thumb, you can plan for 1/2 pound to 3/4 of a pound of meat per person. This typically holds true for less fatty meats like beef.
For fattier meats like pork, you may want to go closer to 1 or 2 pounds of meat per person. When making pulled pork, this is definitely the case!
How many ounces in a pound of meat
There are 16 ounces in a pound of meat. When planning a BBQ meal, plan on cooking a minimum of 8 ounces (or 1/2 pound) of meat per person.
The Role of the Meat in your Meal
In a BBQ lunch or dinner, cooked meat is often the main dish, and there are drinks and several appetizers with it. However, the quantity of raw meat that you should purchase depends on the dish you plan to serve as the main course. And for that, you need to plan your menu way before you head out to shop.
Meat IS the main part of the meal
If you plan to serve cooked brisket or steak or any other meat entree, make sure to buy enough meat for each guest. This is essential to make your entree the star of the show.
So, how many pounds of meat do professional chefs serve with one meat entree? Generally, the recommended serving for every guest is 1/2 pound of meat. This means that if there are 20 guests at your party, you should arrange at least 10 pounds of cooked meat.
However, if you plan to make at least two meat entrees, then keep in mind that most guests will consume an equal portion of each dish. So, for instance, there are chicken wings and pulled pork as an entree; serve at least 1/4 pound of each meat type for every person. In simple words, for a guest list of 20 people, arrange 5 pounds of chicken wings and 5 pounds of pork.
But you won’t be measuring cooked meat before serving your guests. So, how would you know that how much meat per person should eat?
An easy way to measure the portions is by using your palm. The thickness and size of your palm are equal to 4 to 6 ounces of meat servings. It means that two small palms will make 8 ounces of meat which is equal to 1/2 pound.
Meat IS NOT the main part of the meal
Now let’s talk about a different scenario. If your guests love curry or stew, you might not require as much meat as mentioned above. In a curry, meat is just one of the ingredients and not the main part of the meal.
So, in that case, how much raw meat should you arrange for every guest? The answer is simple: every person should get between 1/4 and 1/3 pounds of meat. This means that for 20 guests, you should have 5 pounds to 6.66 pounds of well-cooked meat ready to serve.
Kids meat portions vs. adult meat portions
How much meat should you serve if all your guests are kids? Kids do not have the same appetite as adults or teenagers, so you might not have to arrange a lot of meat for an all-kids bbq party.
Moreover, even if the guest list has a mix of adults and kids, there is no point in calculating kids separately as they are usually light eaters. But if you have enthusiastic teenagers who are also starving ballplayers, you need to count them in as they might eat more than an average adult.
In a nutshell, arrange at least a pound of meat for every person. This means that for 20 people, you should have a total of 20 pounds of just meat.
Boneless meat or bone-in meat
Hopefully, the above information has helped you figure out the quantity of cooking meat for your guests. But what about meat with lots of inedible parts and bones? Shouldn’t you include these factors in your meal considerations?
One best option is to go for boneless meat. In that case, you will enjoy a more than average yield. But that doesn’t mean that you should ignore bone-in meat. Meat with bones is a lot moist and rich in flavor than one without.
So, if you are considering bone-in meat such as whole chicken or pork butt, increase the portion size a bit. For instance, you can serve 3/4 pound as a base portion for every person. You can then increase or decrease the meat quantity as per different appetites.
Meat loses weight while cooking
Here is an interesting fact: meat loses moisture and fat while you prepare it. So if you purchase a 5-pound roast from a butcher shop, you won’t get the same quantity of food for your guests. In his case, you should determine the yield of the specific meat cut that you are cooking.
The difference between the amount of cooked food and the weight of raw meat is called yield. It is the amount of meat left after losing weight through boning and trimming. For example, ground beef has a 70% yield, but this percentage might change for different cooking methods.
Similarly, a brisket has 50% yield, pulled pork has 65%, and spare ribs have 75%.
Calculating exact yield can be tricky. So, the easiest way is to surf the internet to find the cooking yield of any specific meat and then add in a few extra pounds of meat to compensate for any loss.
How Much Turkey Per Person
When cooking a whole turkey, plan for 1–1½ pounds of turkey per person. For example, if you’re feeding 4 adults and 3-4 children, getting yourself a 10 pound turkey would be the perfect amount of turkey.
If you feel as though 1–1½ pounds of turkey per person is too much turkey, remember that there’s a lot of that weight that is bone and or meat that you won’t actually be eating. In the end, a person would probably only eat ½ –1 pound of turkey. The rest of the weight of the turkey won’t be edible.
How many pounds of turkey per person
- 4 people = 5 pound turkey
- 6 people = 8 pound turkey
- 8 people = 10 pound turkey
- 10 people = 13 pound turkey
- 12 people = 15 pound turkey
- 15 people = 20 pound turkey
- 20 people = 25 pound turkey
- 12 people = 15 pound turkey
- 25 people = 32 pound turkey
How Much Prime Rib Per Person
When making prime rib for small group of people who will be eating buffet style, it’s best to plan for a 1/2 pound of prime rib per person. If the roast is the main course (ex. Thanksgiving Dinner), you’re probably better off planning for 3/4 pound of roast per person.
Prime Rib is a great alternative to Turkey for holiday meals. If you’re thinking about trying Smoked Prime Rib, give our recipe a try. I promise you it’ll blow the tastebuds off your guests!
How Much Ham Per Person?
As a rule of thumb, preparing half a pound (8oz) of ham per person is a good amount of ham per person. This would give every 2-3 slices of ham per guest. This amount will ensure that you don’t run out, and might even give you a few leftovers!
How many pounds of ham per person:
- 4 people – 2 pounds (320z) ham
- 6 people – 3 pounds (48oz) ham
- 8 people – 4 pounds (64oz) ham
- 10 people – 6 pounds (960z) ham
- 12 people – 8 pounds (128oz) ham
- 14 people – 10 pounds (160oz) ham
- 16 people – 12 pounds (192oz) ham
- 18 people – 14 pounds (224oz) ham
- 20 people – 16 pounds (256oz) ham
- 22 people – 18 pounds (288oz) ham
How Much Pulled Pork Per Person?
How much pork butt per person depends on how big your pork butt is. An average pork butt has a maximum of 65% yield. It means that bone-in pork butt can give you almost 5.5 pounds of meat. But with a boneless butt, you may get 6.5 pounds.
Serve 1/3 pounds of pulled pork per person if you are using it as a slider. But if you want to use it as an entree, arrange 1/2 pound of this meat for every person
How many pounds of pulled pork per person
When making pulled pork, plan for 1/3 – 1/2 pounds of pulled pork meat per person. If this seems like a lot, it’s because pork shoulder loses about 40% of it’s overall weight during the cooking process.
For example, if you planned on cooking a pork butt for 12-18 people, you could easily get away with cooking a single 10 pound pork butt.
How much pulled pork for 20 people
You’ll need about 1/3 – 1/2 pounds of pulled pork meat per person. So, if you’re planning a meal for 20 people, you’ll need to cook the equivalent of 10 – 15 pounds of pork shoulder. You may need to buy multiple smaller pieces to make up the total weight as finding a 15 pound pork shoulder is pretty hard.
How much pulled pork for 50 people
Based on our calculations of 1/3 – 1/2 pounds of pulled pork meat per person, to feed 50 people you’ll need between 20 – 25 pounds of pork shoulder. That’s a lot of meat!
If you’re looking to make enough pork shoulder for 50 people, try out our Smoked Pulled Pork recipe! It’s very easy follow and can be done on a charcoal grill or any smoker that you have. And trust us, it will have your guests coming back for seconds and thirds!
How Much Brisket Per Person?
Plan for about 1/2 – 3/4 pound of uncooked brisket meat per person. Like pork shoulder, brisket reduces in size during the cooking process, so we need to account for that.
Also, not everyone will like the brisket point as it’s a little softer than the brisket flat. So, plan accordingly and follow the chart below to see how much brisket per person.
If you’re hoping for leftovers, you’re better off to plan for 2 pounds of uncooked brisket per person. That will give you enough brisket for everyone to fill their belly’s and take some home. If you haven’t had second day smoked brisket, you are missing out!
- 4 people = 6-8 pound brisket
- 6 people = 10-12 pound brisket
- 8 people = 14-16 pound brisket
- 10 people = 18-20 pound brisket
How much chicken per person
When serving chicken, you should consider its yield. For instance, a whole bird has a 65% yield while boneless chicken has 75%.
You can serve two chicken pieces to every guest, which makes up 1/4 of the whole bird. But if you have drumsticks on the menu, three pieces per person would do.
A single piece of chicken breast will yield a minimum of 6 ounces of meat. This amount is enough for an average eater.
How many chicken wings per person
How many chicken wings you choose to make depends on what else is being served with the meal. Chicken wings are a great finger food for social occasions.
If you’re having chicken wings as part of a family sit down meal, you should plan for 6-7 chicken wings per person. This is a bit lower as there is normally other parts of the meal that will fill your guests up.
However, if you’re having some friends over to watch the game and keeping the meal fairly simple, plan for 12-16 wings per person. Of course, you should also consider their appetite, how much beer is going to be consumed during the game and whether or not your team is winning (people eat and drink more when they are distracted by something like the tv).
How Many Burgers and Hot Dogs Per Person?
Who doesn’t love hot dogs and burgers at a BBQ party? We all do, but how many pounds of each should you serve?
The yield of beef dogs is almost 85%, but that can vary according to the size. We would recommend you to buy footlong hot dogs and serve them with bun and sides.
In that case, two dogs for every person would be enough. But with small hot dogs, arrange three portions for every person.
With 70% yield, 1 pound of ground meat will be enough to prepare 3/4 pounds of burgers. This means you can easily prepare four hamburgers from one pound of beef. Moreover, with sides and buns, two hamburgers might contain a maximum of 1/2 pounds of meat.
How Much Steak Per Person?
There is no exact answer to how many steaks to serve to per person. Some people love steak and will easily eat 16 ounces of steak if they can. While others may stick to a smaller and more manageable portions like 8 ounces of steak.
When planning to cook a big steak meal, it’s best to plan for a minum of 1 palm sized steak per person (usually about 8-12 ounces). If you have steaks that are a little bigger, don’t worry too much as some people will have no problem eating a bigger steak .
How Much Beef Tenderloin Per Person
When serving beef tenderloin, it’s best to stick to a 8 ounces or 1/2 pound of uncooked meat per person. Beef tenderloin is an expensive cut of beef and you should do your best to only buy what you need for the meal.
How Much Skirt Steak Per Person
Since skirt steak is usually and ingredient in a larger meal (like tacos, salads or stir-fry) you only need to plan for 4 ounces of uncooked meat per person. If you really love skirt steak and are having it as the main part of the meal, plan for 6 ounces of uncooked meat per person.
How Much Flank Steak Per Person
The average flank steak is about 1.75 pounds which is a lot more than one person can eat. When preparing flank steak, plan for 6-8 ounces of flank steak per person. This means that you’ll be cooking one flank steak for 2 people.
How Much Ribeye Steak Per Person
If you’re making ribeye steak for diner, plan for about 8-10 ounces or 1/2 pound of raw meat per person. This will make sure you have enough meat for every person at the table. Because ribeye steak is a fattier cut of beef, you don’t need as large of a cut.
How Much Sirloin Steak Per Person
Sirloin steak is a very popular cut of beef. If you’re going to be feeding your friends or family sirloin steak, plan for about 8-10 ounces or 1/2 to 3/4 pound of sirloin steak per guest.
How Much Strip Steak Per Person
Strip steak is a great steak for any BBQ event. It’s easy to cook and your guests will love it. Plan for about 10-12 ounces of strip steak per guest and you’ll be in great shape to have everyone happy and fed.
How Much Porterhouse Steak Per Person
Porterhouse steak can be a great treat if you’re used to cooking sirloin steak or strip steak. However, you’ll need to plan accordingly as it does include the T bone in the cut of meat.
Plan for 8-10 ounces of porterhous steak per plate. Since porterhouse steak includes the bone, you’re really only getting 8 ounces of meat in a 10 ounce steak.
How Much Ground Beef Per Person?
If you want ground beef for tacos, we suggest you get meat with 20% fat. This meat usually has a 60% yield.
So, if you are having a taco party, arrange 1/3 beef meat for every person. To compensate for the weight loss, you can always buy extra meat and use it as required.
How Many Pork Ribs Per Person?
You can get pork ribs (baby back ribs, side ribs or spare ribs) as complete and half a rack. The weight varies between 1.5 and 3 pounds for every rack.
As the main dish, you can serve spare ribs of 1/3 rack. This will be 3 to 4 ribs for every guest.
But if you have other meats on your menu, too, decrease the number of spare ribs to two for every person.
How Much Fish Per Person
There are many different kinds of fish that you can serve to your family and friends. One of our favorite is Smoked Salmon!
When serving fish, plan for about 1 pound of fish per person. Fish is very light and easy to eat, so people will tend to eat more fish than they would beef or pork.
How Much BBQ Per Person FAQs
How much protein does steak have?
In an 8 ounce steak (1/2 pound), there is about 56 grams of protein. This will change depending on the cut of steak but on average, you’ll get a healthy dose of protein with any good cut of steak.
How much BBQ per person for sandwiches?
When using BBQ in sandwiches, always plan for a bit less meat (4-5 ounces) than you would if it were part of the main dish. Because you’re also including bread, lettuce and sandwich fixings, these will all help fill you up.
How much bbq to order per person?
When ordering BBQ from a restaurant, always tell the restaurant how many people you’re serving. They’ll know best how much bbq to order per person.
However, as a general rule of thumb, follow the amounts of bbq per person from the above content.
How much bbq per person for catering?
When catering a large event, you’ll need to multiply the BBQ per person by the number of guests you’re serving. The amount of meat per person will stay the same as though you had less people.
How much bbq sauce per person?
Plan for about 1 ounce of BBQ sauce per person at a maximum. If you’re putting your BBQ sauce directly onto the meat, just put a light coating. Too much BBQ sauce on your meat can take over the flavor of the meat.
Summary of How Much BBQ Per Person
Finally, we have reached the end of this article. We hope the eye-opening information above will help you productively prepare for your party.
Calculating yield and portion size may seem daunting, but they surely help you prepare generous meat portions for every guest.