How much meat for 15-18 people?

Discussion in 'Catering & Large Group Gatherings' started by hickorybutt, Apr 25, 2014.

  1. hickorybutt

    hickorybutt Smoking Fanatic

    We're already starting to plan out our big Memorial Day cookout with all of our close friends, and of course we'll be hosting and center everything on BBQ.  For the meat, I'm wanting to do both brisket and pulled pork.  I'm planning on 15-18 people showing up, so I was thinking I would do 1 brisket (10-12 lb. range) and 2 pork Boston Butts (~7lbs. each).  I'm afraid that won't be enough brisket.  I would just do 2 briskets and have left overs, but I'm really wanting to do a top-of-the-line brisket for the cookout (Wagyu or Prime).  I could maybe justify buying one of these expensive packers, but two would be $200+ in just brisket alone.

    Do you guys think 1 brisket would be enough along with 2 butts?  Or would I run the risk of not having enough brisket to go around?

    Trying to decide if I want to do 2 choice briskets or 1 prime brisket...
  2. smokerjim

    smokerjim Meat Mopper

    I think 1 would be enough, figure 1/2 to 3/4 pound per person, some will eat more some will eat less but it should be enough along with the butts,it may sound weird but just don't put it all out at once,most people won't take as much if it looks like there isn't enough to go around so that might stretch it out so everyone gets some.I'm sure i'll get grief over that!!!
  3. I agree with smokerjim you will have plenty  with the sides  especially if kids are attending. If this is going to be a party that could run late into the night I might would put on another butt just for snacking later, but don't put it out with the rest of the food.
  4. dandl93

    dandl93 Smoking Fanatic

    If your cookouts are like mine? My friends come early and stay late we eat all during the time they are there.So 1/2 to 3/4 lb of meat is when you figure on a one time serving meal.Cookout parties are more like 2 meals and snacking. With a well seasoned and smoked brisket 99% of your quests will never know if you served them Prime or Choice.I would go with 2 choice briskets and 2 butts and not have that worry of not having enough food over my head all day.Left overs are good

    As for the Wagyu brisket I would save that for a sit down meal when I could savor every bite and enjoy it over a more controlled setting.

    Just another way of thinking...

  5. hickorybutt

    hickorybutt Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks for the input guys. I'm thinking 1 will work as well. A few attendees will be kids. People will probably get a little of everything. If everyone gets 1/2 lb of brisket and 1/2 lb of pork that will be fine.

    Dan -
    I was kind of thinking that as well about the Wagyu actually... Most people who are coming don't really know BBQ that well (that's what you get in Cincinnati). I would have a fit if I smoked a wagyu brisket and someone slathered BBQ sauce all over it and put it in a sandwich.
  6. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    One 12lb Brisket alone will yield about 8 pound of meat or 16+ servings. Not to mention most won't take 8 ounces because there are 2 meats, So there will be plenty with one. Two Butts, total 16lbs, will give 8 to 10 lbs finished weight, If you have Buns most will take no more than 5 ounces on a sandwich. So two butts, about 9 lb finished wt, will yield 29 5oz sandwiches.  Basically you are talking a big portion of Brisket for each person plus 2 PP Sandwiches. That is 2 full meals per person. You are fine with what you got, just buy the largest pieces of meat you can find. 

    I also agree that unless your guests are Foodies and have eaten in the best restaurants, save the Wagyu for a select group, say 6 of your closest friends, and have a special meal...JJ
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2014
  7. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Your friends, they're not NFL linebackers or NBA centers, are they?  Or competitive swimmers.  Holy moly swimmers can put away food!  If any of those apply, take out a loan and start buying more meat! 
  8. hickorybutt

    hickorybutt Smoking Fanatic

    Good perspective.

    I always get over-zealous and, as a host, want to make sure that we have plenty of food to go around. 

    Thanks again!
  9. demosthenes9

    demosthenes9 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I'm with Chef Jimmy on this one, 1 nice brisket and 2 butts should be more than enough.  You'll probably even have leftovers.

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