How Much Pork Butt to Buy

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Original poster
Apr 20, 2007
HI all,
Could really use your expertise here. Got a couple of questions.
Planning on a graduation party and and will have about 50- 60 people.
Pulled pork on the menu along with chicken skewers, baked penne, vinegar slaw, and BEER.

1. Not sure how much pork to buy. Planning on smoking this week-end then freezing it til the party in 2 weeks. do you think 30-35 lbs will feed 50 or do i need to do more?

2. Using a propane smoker, vault type. My rack's are 16x14, and i have 4 racks. Should I put each butt on seperate racks or go with 2 butts on 2 racks, and should I rotate the racks during the cook?

Appreciate your help!
That should be more than plenty for the pork. Leftovers are a good thing!
Get good slightly chewy/crusty buns that are filling.
As far as rotating the racks I think would depend on temperature differences from the higher to lower sections of your smoker.
I haven't had the pleasure or money to do more than one at a time.
Don't forget to post pics afterward.
The general rule of thumb is 4-5 oz for a (NICE) pulled pork sandwich. I would say you will need about 5 oz per person, 3 sandwiches per lb of cooked meat. 50% shrinkage of 45 lb uncooked = 22.5 lb of cooked. 22.5 X 3 =67 sandwiches for 50 people. I think that should be about right providing not everyone eats more than one sandwich. So I think 4 -5 butts depending on uncooked weight should do you fine.
It all depends:

1) are you going to just put the pans of meat out for everyone to make their own
2) are you going to make the sandwiches

I would recommend you making the sandwiches. If you have a smaller person, you can get by with less meat, a larger person will want more. You can fill as needed or wanted by the person.

I make them as I give them out. I take a pair of tongs and get a nice "pinch", abt 3-4 ozs. and put on a bun. Then if you get that funny look, just grab a little more and put it on.... and don't forget to ask if they want slaw on that sandwich as well....

I think thats enough pork. Remember, you're gonna have all those sides too.
Thanks all for the insight. Went to the meat packer and ended up with 6 buttts, 57lbs. They came 2 to a pack, then I statred thinking maybe i better get more, want to be sure and not run out. Now that I got them home i see that i wont be able to cook them all at once, probably do 3 at a time. Good thing I have tomorrow off going to get started about 5 AM
I let you know how it goes and post some pics.

I thought I'd let them make their own, so I can enjoy the party!
Sounds good Denvran, with 6 butts you should probably even have some leftovers for yourself
Take some pics if you can.
and good luck!!
I've always used 1/2 lb per person as a rule of thumb. It seems to work out well, as some folks will go back for seconds, and some not.

You should be in good shape with that amount of meat...

Good luck!
Wanted to give ya an update.
Started 30 lbs. of Butt on Friday Morning @ 6:30, my temp probably should have been a little higher, took until 10:30 last night.
Rubbed them down Thursday night and after about 4 hrs of cook sprayed em down with apple juice and apple jack brandy.
God they came out good though, ended up with 2 gal freezer bag full, (would had more the puller kept eatin) splashed some finishing sauce on. I didn't put a lot on, I'll use more when I go to reheat. Put the other 27lbs on this morning at 5 this morning.
Ive attached some pics.
1st one - ready to go
2nd and 3rd show my set up.
4th - after 6 hrs
5th - gettin ready to pull.

Thanks again for all of your sage advice!




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