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Quantity advice.

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Joined Jan 27, 2021
I am smoking for a 50th birthday party, 13 people, 2 of which will likely not eat (small children). I plan to smoke a 12lb brisket and 1 or 2 5.5lb pork butts. That's my question, 1 or 2 pork butts? The brisket will likely be 10-11lbs by the time I'm done trimming it, and the pork butts are skin on so there is some more trimming. I'm thinking 1 pork butt will be enough for pulled pork sliders, but if I were to make 2, how well will the second one hold up if I don't shred it right away? Will it retain its moisture so I can reheat it later? Thanks in advance.
 

K9BIGDOG

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I think you'd be ok with just one considering/assuming that you're going to have other food like appetizers, salads sides, desserts, etc. in addition to about 1lb per son of brisket. But if you decided to do 2 pork buts you can always shred the second one a freeze it or refrigerate it for later. I would shred/pull it first though.
 

SmokinGame

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I think you'd be ok with just one considering/assuming that you're going to have other food like appetizers, salads sides, desserts, etc. in addition to about 1lb per son of brisket. But if you decided to do 2 pork buts you can always shred the second one a freeze it or refrigerate it for later. I would shred/pull it first though.
Ditto ...
 

rc4u

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i make 2 some times for freezing. but i do not shred, i cut into few portions and put a cup or two of juice in bag and vac seal. easy to heat up n shred n just like fresh..
 

sandyut

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I would do both butts and vac seal and freeze left overs - if there are any. I always make 2 butts at a time that are about 18-20 lb total precook combined weight. the end product once cooked, pulled and all is about half the starting weight give a take a little.
 
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Joined Jan 27, 2021
Thank you guys. I'm leaning toward only making one butt, but my thought process was that if I were to make another, I would treat it like a brisket, which I wouldn't dare cut before referigerating. I just wouldn't want it to dry out too much. That's a good point about the volume reducing after cooking. I do not have a vacuum sealer though, so that is out of the question.
 

krj

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For small gatherings like this I always figure 8 oz cooked meat per person. And for my sanity and ease of math I just assume a 50% loss in weight from raw to cooked. This was I know I will always have more than what I need. So with this in mind, your trimmed 10lb brisket will yield 10 8oz portions. People's appetites are funny though, so while a few might eat 8oz of meat, some will eat more and some will eat less, in my experience it all seems to even out in the end. Personally, I agree with the above posters. Smoke a 9-10lb butt up as well, this gives you plenty of meat and it also allows people a choice between proteins.

To add to the people's appetite thing, it's funny because for larger catered events I actually decrease my portion sizes to 4oz per person. I've found that when you serve more than 25 people, they tend to eat less. I think it's a combination of not wanting to take all the food and appear like a pig, and not wanting to stuff themselves and be miserable during the event. That's not to say that their won't be those big eaters that I put in a food coma by the time it's said and done...but most eat smaller portions around larger crowds.

Good luck!
 

tallbm

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I am smoking for a 50th birthday party, 13 people, 2 of which will likely not eat (small children). I plan to smoke a 12lb brisket and 1 or 2 5.5lb pork butts. That's my question, 1 or 2 pork butts? The brisket will likely be 10-11lbs by the time I'm done trimming it, and the pork butts are skin on so there is some more trimming. I'm thinking 1 pork butt will be enough for pulled pork sliders, but if I were to make 2, how well will the second one hold up if I don't shred it right away? Will it retain its moisture so I can reheat it later? Thanks in advance.
Hi there and welcome!

As mentioned above I whole heartedly agree that it is good to estimate 50% weight loss of whatever you put into the smoker. So if you trimmed to 10 pounds, expect to get 5 pounds out.
Also a healthy estimate per person is 8oz of meat.

So for 13 people you would only need 6 pounds 8oz of meat. The brisket just covers this.
I personally would smoke both of those 5.5lbs of pork butts because they would give you a total of 5.5 lbs of meat once smoked.

If you don't shred the 2nd one right away it will hold up fine if you tightly double wrap in foil and tightly wrap in 3 bath towels and it will be piping hot and ready to pull and eat 3 hours later.

So this easily feeds 13 people for the meal. Is there any expectation of people taking food home? If so then definitely cook both pork butts. All our family and friend gatherings lots of food is cooked and people are encouraged to take some home... they would anyway if it was left over :P

If worried about having too much meat left over and not having a vac sealer... don't worry.
If you put sliced brisket or pulled pork into gallon bags and hand squeeze the air out it will freeze and reheat with no issues.

I've stored both smoked briskets and pork butts in whole form (vac sealed) and in sliced and shredded form (also vac sealed). The whole are a bit more to deal with in reheating.
The sliced and shredded come out amazing reheated. I reheat in the vac seal bag in the microwave, many boil in water while in the bag but I dont mess with that due to boiling water taking like 12 min to boil :D
 
Last edited:
3
1
Joined Jan 27, 2021
Thanks for that advice! I typically refrigerate leftover brisket whole (not that there is ever much left) and slice it as I go, gently reheating it in the toaster oven. Nice to know it stores well sliced up also. My biggest fear was the pulled pork drying out too much, but it sounds like that won't be an issue either. A couple people will take some home, but I will end up with most of the leftovers (not that I mind).

I started smoking meat 7 years ago, but just recently (last summer) started using wood logs in my offset smoker as opposed to charcoal and chips/chunks. I didn't understand how much better it would taste with a real wood fire until then. I will never go back. Looking forward to learning even more on this forum!
 

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