How Much Pulled Pork to Allow Per Person?

Pulled pork sandwich with barbecue sauce and french fries
Pulled pork sandwich with barbecue sauce and french fries (Image: bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images)

Pulled pork is a good source of protein, iron and zinc, and serving it is a convenient way to feed a large number of people. Do a bit of math to make sure that you have plenty of meat to go around, and also consider who is coming to the gathering, what type of meal you plan to serve and what other foods will be available. Once you've made all of these decisions, it's a simple process to determine how much pork you'll need per person.

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Mathematical Formula

A woman doing math on her iPhone
A woman doing math on her iPhone (Image: adrian825/iStock/Getty Images)

To determine how much pork to buy, start by figuring that each person will consume about 6 ounces of finished meat weight, according to Julie Reinhardt, co-owner of a barbecue restaurant in Seattle and author of "She-Smoke: A Backyard Barbecue Book." Nutritionally speaking, this is about two servings of meat. Finished meat weight is how much the actual serving of cooked meat weighs and not the weight before cooking it. For example, if you plan to invite 25 people, multiply that number by 6 to get 150 ounces. Then divide that by 16 ounces to determine how many pounds of finished meat you need, which in this case is about 9.5 pounds.

Consider Your Guests

Friends at a dinner party
Friends at a dinner party (Image: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images)

Your formula can change depending on who you've invited to your party. Men tend to eat more than women. If your party is a males-only tailgate party or a get-together for a high school football team, bump up the standard 6-ounce measure to 10 ounces. If your party consists primarily of women, older adults or people watching their weight, figure on less meat per person. Children also tend to eat less.

Choose a Style of Meal

Group of friends snacking on appetizers
Group of friends snacking on appetizers (Image: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images)

Determine what type of meal you'll serve. If you are serving appetizers, figure on slightly less pulled pork, because people who eat pre-meal snacks tend to eat a bit less food for their main course. Plan for more pulled pork if you're setting up a buffet meal. This is because you can't predict exactly how much meat each person will eat, according to Mindy Weiss and Lisbeth Levine, authors of "The Wedding Book: The Big Book for Your Big Day."

Choose Other Foods

Friends enjoying a meal together
Friends enjoying a meal together (Image: monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images)

The final amount of pork you need also depends on what other foods you'll be serving. Alongside three or four side dishes, you might not need as much meat as if you only served one or two sides. Your guests will likely eat a larger quantity of side dishes when there are several to choose from, which means each guest won't need as much meat to get full. As you're planning side dishes, focus on nutrition. Corn on the cob, tossed green salads, steamed vegetables and whole grain rolls all complement pulled pork, while ensuring that your guests are getting a tasty, nutritious and filling meal.


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