How Many Pounds of Barbecue Per Person?

Prepare sufficient amount of bbq food.

When it comes to figuring out how much barbecue each of your guests can consume, it is not superfluous to say that it depends on how hungry your guests are. For example, if it’s already 2 pm and the usual lunchtime of your guests is 1 pm, I’m pretty sure your guests would be starving to death and would eat more barbecue than they would usually do. Similarly, if your guests are mostly 21 years of age who had just recently played basketball, I think they would consume more BBQ than the average consumption of guests.

However, the general rule when serving barbecue is to provide a total of one-third to half-a-pound meat for every guest. This rule applies best and is a good approach for calculating how much barbecue your guests would consume. You can adjust your barbecue supply depending on the number of guests who would come. Besides, you can also ask your BBQ supplier for suggestions on how much you should prepare for each guest. In this way, you will have a ballpark figure of how much meat you need to prepare.

Essential Factors to Consider

Having known the general rule on how much meat you need to prepare for each guest, it will also help if you know the following essential factors to consider when preparing barbecue for your guests:

Age Range of Your Guests

As a host of a party, you will need to figure out the expected age range of your guests. The age bracket of your guests will factor in the amount of meat they can consume. If your guests are already in their fifties, you can’t expect them to eat much barbecue. But if your guests are primarily in their early twenties, you can expect a voracious group of guys who are willing to gobble up as much barbecue as they could. 

Children below 12 years of age will not eat much meat likewise. So, you need to calibrate your preparations depending on the age bracket of your guests. 

However, if you would cater to many teens, you might get taken aback by their insatiable appetites. Each teen can consume more than a pound of meat. As such, you need to prepare more barbecues if you are catering to teens. I would suggest, however, that you supply them with side dishes and beverages to distract them from eating barbecues.  

Side Dishes and Other Dishes in the Menu

Each person has his/her eating capacity, and some have more appetite than others. Nevertheless, the trick to lessen the barbecue consumption of your guests is to complement the barbecue with other dishes. Of course, not all your guests would be hard-core BBQ addicts. So, it will be best to serve some side dishes and appetizers to alternate between servings of grilled meat. In this way, you won’t be forced to serve all your barbecues in one serving. 

Moreover, these extra dishes and appetizers can help mitigate the voracious appetites of your meat-loving guests. For example, you can serve egg or potato salads along with vegetable and fruit salads. 

Furthermore, you can expect your guests to eat up to 3/4 pound of meat. That amount of meat is too much, of course, but if you got side dishes and appetizers, you could indeed reduce the longing of your guests for barbecue and meat.

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Timing of BBQ Servings

The timing of serving BBQ may also help reduce the amount of meat your guests will consume. Hence, the amount of meat they eat will also depend on whether you’ve invited them for lunch or dinner. It is surprising that during lunchtime, people have a low appetite for meat. Thus, you can get by with half a serving of meat. However, if you invited them for dinner, you could expect your guest to have their optimum meat consumption capacity. 

Moreover, the duration of your celebration will also matter most when it comes to the amount of meat they can consume. If it is an all-day activity without serving meals during intervals, I guess you can expect your guests to consume a pound of meat each. Nevertheless, you can spruce your menus with additional burgers, hotdogs, or appetizers to reduce your guests’ consumption of meat.

Boneless or Bone-in

Another factor that plays well in the consumption of meat of your guests is whether you are serving boneless or bone-in BBQ. When calculating the amount of bone-in meat each guest will consume, you should increase the prepared meat. You can use the 3/4-pound measurement per person as your basis. Then, adjust down or up depending on your estimation of your guests’ appetites. 

If you are going to order boneless meat, however, you can get a better yield. Nevertheless, the additional bones can provide extra flavor to your BBQ. The bones can also enable the meat to retain moisture while you grill. So, it would be best to choose bone-in cuts in most instances.

Event and Crowd Type

The type of crowd and the event you are hosting will likewise factor in the amount of meat you need to prepare for each guest. If your guests are hard-working guests who are engaged in a hefty workload, I guess you better prepare more meat. Moreover, if you cater to a crowd who had recently engaged in a sporting activity, you will surely need a pound or more of meat for each of these guests. 

If your guests are more conservative and you are holding a very formal celebration, I think your guests will be eating less voraciously and may end up consuming as little as 1/3 pounder of meat.

Calculating the Meat Consumption of Each Guest for Your Next Party

Since you already know the average meat consumption and the factors to consider when preparing BBQs for your guests, it will also help if you know how to calculate the meat consumption of your guests. It isn’t delightful if you run out of BBQ supply early on in the party while your guests are still enjoying gobbling up BBQs. So, it will be best to calculate well how much meat you must prepare for your party.

Calculating the amount of meat you need to buy can be a bit confusing. So, it will be best to base your calculation on the abovementioned factors to consider. Always remember that with proper planning, you can avoid embarrassment or overbuying meat. So, you can base your guesswork on the abovementioned succinct factors. 

Also Read:  Types of Barbecue Sauce

Experts, however, would suggest that you plan your entire menu and be more detailed with your plan. In this way, you can better understand how much meat you must prepare and serve. Figure out beforehand the side dishes you want to serve. Moreover, figure out the type of crowd you will invite as guests. Besides, it will help to determine the exact time you will serve your guests. 

Once you’ve figured out the abovementioned factors, you can then figure out the amount of meat you need to prepare and serve to each of your guests. The rule of thumb, of course, is to serve 1/2 pound of meat per person if your main dish is meat. This calculation is just for raw meat. 

The BBQ will lose moisture likewise. So, you will end up with 24-40% meat after grilling your meat which is the average yield for meat. This yield also depends on what type of meat you will cook and the cut choice. Your method of cooking will also factor well in this case. If your meat has high-fat content, you’ll also get a lower yield.  

How Many Ounces of Chicken Does Each Person Usually Consume?

You can peg the amount of chicken each person consumes at four to five ounces. It will be best to note that if you have 10 ounces (uncooked chicken), the yield will be 6-1/2 ounces (cooked chicken). The 10-ounce (raw) boneless thighs will yield you 5-1/2 ounces of cooked meat afterward. You can also calculate chicken by pieces likewise. If chicken isn’t your main dish, you can provide each guest with 1.5 pieces of chicken.

Moreover, if you are serving chicken thighs, you should prepare two pieces per person. If you’re serving drumsticks, you can prepare two drumsticks per person for big eaters. It will be best to prepare one drumstick for every kid. 

If you would serve chicken wings as the main dish, it will be best to prepare four to six pieces for each guest. If you serve whole chicken, you can consider that an entire chicken is suitable for four to six persons.

How Many Steaks Should You Prepare for Each Person?

It is always tricky to cook steak, and you know that steaks are always the crowd’s favorite. You can follow this rule of thumb when calculating the amount of steak you should prepare for each person—8 ounces of steak per person. Yet, this calculation would also depend on the steak type you will cook. If the steak yields 70% or is bone-in steaks, you should prepare at least one pound per person, especially if your guests are adults with an average appetite. If it is boneless, you can prepare at least 14 ounces of steak for each person.

How Much Pork Should You Prepare?

Pork, especially pulled pork, is a crowd favorite as well. You will need at least six ounces of cooked pork for every guest. When cooking pork, the yield is about 35 percent to 50 percent after grilling. So, you need to buy twice the amount of raw meat that you would serve. 

Also Read:  Pork Shoulder Vs. Pork Butt 

How you would serve the pork will also play a significant role in the amount of meat your guests eat. If you serve in tiny buns, each guest may consume four ounces. If you serve it in slider form, each of your guests may consume up to six ounces of meat.

How Much Turkey Would You Serve?

You will more often serve turkey with dressings, gravy, and sides, but never alone. You can assume that each guest, on average, will eat around a pound. So, if you have twelve guests, you can prepare at least 12 pounds of turkey. If you intend to have some leftovers, you can at least set 1.5 pounds of turkey for each guest.

How Many Briskets for Each Person?

If you serve brisket that sheds lots of moisture and fat when cooked, you can at least prepare twice the amount your guests would eat. Each guest may consume around two pounds. Hence, if you have 12 guests, you can prepare about 24 pounds of brisket. You can use a few leftovers for your next day’s breakfast and sandwiches. 

How Many Ribs Roast for Each Person?

If you are serving rib roast, it will be good to note that for every 2 pounds you cook, the yield is around one pound or fifty percent. So, you need to calculate this based on the expected consumption of each guest.


When hosting a party, you got tons of things to think about, ranging from preparing the venue and menus for your guests. Of course, calculating the meat for each guest will be one of your concerns, and if you calculate well, you will never have to worry about running out of BBQs. If it’s your first time hosting a party, you may end up scratching your head as to how much meat you will prepare.

The abovementioned guidelines on how much meat you should prepare and the factors to consider will greatly help you make a reasonable calculation of the amount of meat you need to prepare. Hence, it will help if you are cognizant of the abovementioned factors and tips to ensure that you got enough for your guests without having too much meat afterward.

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