How much meat per person?

Discussion in 'Catering & Large Group Gatherings' started by keny, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. keny

    keny Fire Starter

    This has most likely been covered here, but I'm thinking (as of now, just thinking...) about smoking some pulled pork for a local dinner type thing, and so far the details are a little foggy as for how many people they expect to show up. They're saying anywhere from 100 to 400. That's helpful... I've never done anything like this before, but I was asked if I would be interested. I can only do maybe 6 butts at a time, and this event is not til Sept., so I would have to cook in advance, freeze it, and reheat that day. I have no idea how much meat to calculate per person, even it I knew how many people to expect. What am I looking at here as far as how much meat to prepare? I would only be doing the pork, nothing else. Is freezing and reheating ok? That was what they suggested when my wife told them I can't cook that much at one time...What's the best reheating method? Any info. would be greatly appreciated! Thank you all for your time!
  2. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    OK... first off you definately need to get them to peg the amount of people for you.

    The basic formula is 1/4-1/3 lb. of meat per person, but that is finished weight. When you cook a pork butt you loosed approx. 40% of the uncooked weight, so if you start with a 10 lb. butt you only get approx. 6 lbs. of finished product. So for 100 people at 1/3 lb. each you need 30 lbs. of finished meat, so that means you have to start with 75 lbs. of raw meat.

    Instead of freezing the meat vacuum pack it and put it in the fridge. Just start your cooking 3-4 days ahead of time and vacuum seal it. To reheat it if it is whole just wrap them in foil and put them in a 250° oven for 3 or 4 hrs. If they are pulled dump the pulled pork into a deep hotel pan with a cup or so of apple juice, cover tightly with foil and put them in the oven.
  3. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Sounds like Johnny's got you covered.
  4. lexoutlaw

    lexoutlaw Smoke Blower

    i agree......i figure a third per person as well when i do big events.
  5. keny

    keny Fire Starter

    Thanks guys! Any more helpful hints or info. would be great! I can use all the help I can get!
  6. smokey mo

    smokey mo Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Johnny is the MAN! Right on again.
  7. cdmsatisfied

    cdmsatisfied Newbie

    " So for 100 people at 1/3 lb. each you need 30 lbs. of finished meat, so that means you have to start with 75 lbs. of raw meat." 

    noticed that you got the math wrong.  Working with a 40% weight loss, 75lbs raw meat would yeild 40lbs cooked meat.
  8. smokey mo

    smokey mo Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    75# with 40% loss is 45# yeild.
    confederateknowhow likes this.
  9. jstone

    jstone Newbie

    I was no math major by any means, but doesn't the following equal a 30 pound yield?

    75 lbs *.40% = 30 lb yield
  10. No, 75 lbs. start weight with a 40% loss equals 30 lbs. lost (75 x .4 = 30).  Take that 30 lbs. lost from original 75 lbs. and you end up with 45 lbs. (75 - 30 = 45).
  11. joopster

    joopster Smoking Fanatic

    Or you could say you get 60% of total.

    75 * .6 = 45
  12. eggybear

    eggybear Newbie

    I may be wrong here, but here is how I see it...

    100 people to feed
    1/3 lbs of cooked pork per person
    Yield = 60% of uncooked weight (40% loss)
    10 lbs uncooked = 6 lbs cooked
    100 people at 1/3 lb per person = 33.3 lbs cooked meat
    60% yield or 40% loss means
    .6x = 33.3
    X = 33.3/.6
    X = 55.5 lbs uncooked meat
    Last edited: May 9, 2015
  13. I posted this over in the General Discussion, but then found this thread.
    So, I think I have at least half of my answer from the calcs above, but the piece I'm missing now is the cooked meat yield:raw weight for whole chickens.
  14. eggybear

    eggybear Newbie

    Whole Roaster Chickens run about 4-7 pounds. Your yield of servable meat after cooking will be about 35% of the weight on the packaging. 65% may sound like a lot, but when you consider packaging, liquid, trimming (fat/skin) and deboning, it is reasonable. Let's say you have a 5 pound chicken, you should get about 1.75 pounds of meat.

    It sounds like you have an even mix of people. Perhaps a 1/2 pound of meat per person would be sufficient. Ladies eat less. Men and teenagers eat more. Using this assumption and since the pork calculation has been shown at a 60% yield for the chicken, I would say the following for the chicken assuming a 35% yield or a 65% loss:

    60 people at 1/2 pound each = 30 pound of cooked meat
    60/40 split = 18 pounds of pork and 12 pounds of chicken
    12 pounds of cooked chicken = 34.3 pounds of uncooked chicken
    .35x = 12
    x = 12/.35
    x = 34.285

    My earlier calculation for pulled pork showed a 40% loss for pork. I would consider upping that to a 50% loss for a 50% yield. Having said that, here is the calculation for pulled pork based on a 50% yield or a 50% loss:

    60 people at 1/2 pound each = 30 pound of cooked meat
    60/40 split = 18 pounds of pork and 12 pounds of chicken
    18 pounds of pork = 36 pounds of uncooked pork
    .5x = 18
    x = 18/.5
    x = 36

    Now, add a little to it for leftovers and to make sure you do not run out, say 10%. If I were smoking meat for 60 people using a 60/40 pork to chicken split, I would go for the following in uncooked weights:

    34.3 * 1.1 = 37.7 pounds of chicken, call it 38 pounds of whole chicken.
    36 *1.1 = 39.6 pounds of pork, call it 40 pounds of Boston Butt.

    I hope this is helpful...and accurate!
  15. Thanks for your input EggyBear -- I think you've helped put me on the right track.

    I'll try to remember to post some qview. I've also got an experiment I plan on doing this weekend -- if it turns out well I'll share.
  16. eggybear

    eggybear Newbie

    Sounds great! Have a blessed cook good sir!
  17. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Honestly 1/2 lb. per person is a LOT of meat for each type of meat.... unless your feeding a lot of really big guys. Most every caterer I've ever worked with/for figures 1/4 lb. as a helping, and I usually up it to 1/3 lb. for my own cooks and have never ran short.

    The biggest thing is to try to instill portion control if it is a self serve line, put all the sides and what not at the front of the line, meats at the end - that way they fill a lot of the plate with sides first. Also if you are serving them on buns don't buy big hamburger buns, instead buy potato roll buns and slice them in half - even if they make two sandwiches they are only totaling about 1/4 lb. of meat. Last big feed I did was for 75-80 people, it was a group of construction workers and their families - I cooked four 10 lb. pork butts and three 15 lb. briskets, had enough extra to send folks home with some extra meat if they wanted.

    Also for serving your sides get the portioned scoops (they look like ice cream scoops), that helps portion the sides as well.

    Best of luck!
    intelops likes this.
  18. JIRodriguez - the "meat last" pointer is a great one! Of course, thanks also for portion size suggestions.
  19. eggybear

    eggybear Newbie

    I can't disagree with JIRodriguez. 1/2 per person is on the heavy side.

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