Complete Guide for Planning! How Much Meat per Person?

It is fun to cater a dinner party at home. But it becomes rocket science when you do not know how much meat you need to grill. Why? Because the last thing you want is running out of meat while there are still greedy heads revolving around the dining table.

Suppose you are a seasoned chef or a pro caterer or more prone to host parties; kudos to you. But if you throw a dinner party once a year for some reason, this guide is all geared up for you. Here you will get how much meat per person you need to dine with your friends and family.

Elements to Consider Before Hosting a Party


While thinking of hosting a dinner or lunch, there are a few questions that you must bear in mind. These questions will let you know how to organize the party perfectly without running out of food at the last moment.

How Much Heads You Will Serve?

Whether it is a small dinner party or you got help from event organizers for a big party, the number of people is the foremost question that pops up in mind. Be mindful that kids and teenagers will also be considered in the headcount. Also, it would be best if you made an accurate ratio of who you invite and who would join you as that way you can get the perfect amount of meat.

What Will Be the Role of Meat?

Will the meat be the main course or side dish? The role of the meat matters a lot since it determines how much meat you need. More often, meat goes to be the main course, so you need to get half a pound for each individual.

On the flip side, if the meat will serve as an appetizer or side dish, you will need a quarter pound of the meat for each. This also applies to meat in curries, sandwiches and kinds of pasta etc.

Related: best meat injectors

What Type of Meat You Will be Grilling?

The meat type is another factor that matters a lot for serving size. There mainly three types of meat:

  • Meat from livestock (Red meat)
  • Meat from poultry (white meat)
  • Meat from water animals (seafood)

Are You Hosting a Dinner or Lunch or Brunch?

The time of the day is yet another aspect as people tend to eat more in lunches than dinners. So be mindful of what time of the day they will be dining.

How Much Meat per Person do You Need to Buy?

Know where will the meat goes, whether it is as a main course, side dish, or appetizer, then purchase it accordingly. The number of dishes can influence the amount of meat.

How Much Meat per Yield?

You know that meat contains fats and when you cook, it shrinks as the fat melts. Well, this shrinking level depends on meat type and the level of fat in it. Some meat cuts like brisket, baby rib racks and turkey can shrink up to 50 percent after cooking. In contrast, the steak will shrink up to 84 percent.

So before buying the meat, you must consider how much meat you will be getting after cooking it. Below I’m providing an insight into how much meat you need. But remember, it is estimated numbers not calculated, so buy a little bit more than mentioned.

How Much Meat Per Person For Pulled Pork?

Pulled pork usually refers to pork shoulders and butt, which can either be boned or not. The pork can lose up to 50 percent of mass after deboning, trimming or cooking. So chances are from a four-pounder Boston butt, you might get only 2-2.5 pounds pork.

Depending on your menu, you can go for serving half a pound for each person. Moreover, depending on the sides and appetizers, you can increase or decrease the serving size.

How Much Turkey to Buy per Person?

Turkey is something that goes up on the table with different side dishes and gravies etc. So you can consider 1-1.5 pound of turkey for each person. If 12 people are joining you for dinner, then a 12-pounder turkey will serve right, but for a wiser option, you can go for a 14 or 16 pounder turkey.

How Much Beef Brisket to Buy per Person?

Beef brisket tends to have fat marbling, which only after trimming reduces the brisket size to 15 percent. Moreover, after cooking or grilling the brisket, you will only get the half of original brisket. So if you were thinking to serve a 12 pounder brisket to 12 peeps, then you are wrong.

For a sandwich, you can consider ¼ pound of brisket per person. Moreover, serve half a pound of brisket to big eaters.

How Much Chicken to Buy per Person?

Chicken is somewhat easier to plan on serving size than other meat cuts. Since you can count its pieces in spite of weighing, it gives you a clear idea of the serving size. A good practice is to consider one and a half portion of chicken per person if you have some other dishes on the menu.

On the other hand, if you want to know how much meat per person for a roast, you can go like ¼ of whole chicken for each. So, with one chicken, you can host four people.

How Much Steak to Buy Per Person?

When it gets to parties and dinners, the steak is the topmost item that rings the bell. But just as smoking brisket or bavette steak is not a piece of cake, the same goes for getting the steak’s perfect serving. Considering that steak comes boned-in and with fat marbling, you have to consider buying steak.

Steaks with bone and fat marbling like brisket and rib eyes will yield 77 percent of the meat. So for that, you need 1-1.5 pound of meat per person for a BBQ. On the flip side, if you go for pre-trimmed steaks, consider getting half or three-quarter pound per person. For beef stews, you can go for 12 ounces of meat per person.

How Much Lamb to Buy Per Person?

The yield of lamb meat is somewhat different from other meats as it relies heavily on your choice of lamb cut. If you go for lamb leg, then 8 ounces will yield 5 ounces, which is perfect for one person. Although for more boned mat cuts like lamb chops, you need to get more raw ounces, which is 10-11 ounces which will yield 5 ounces after cooking.

How Much Seafood To Buy Per Person?

Although seafood is not much of the party thing, you can go for it to host a themed party. Moreover, the fish and other seafood measuring are pretty straightforward. You can consider getting 6-8 ounces of fish per person. If you are planning on fillets, then 2-3 fillets per person will serve perfectly.

Final Thoughts

Getting the estimate of how much meat per person is not that difficult. Just a little thought, and you are good to go. Moreover, it might sound not very easy for the first time, but after a party or two, you will get the hang of it. Also, for hosting the first time, you can get help from the butcher too.

Remember that it is an excellent practice to get a little more than the recommended serving size. This way, you will not worry even if a guest or two more come at yours. Also, if you are catering to big eaters, then getting more meat will help.

Another important point is that, if you plan to cater to a one-dish party, consider a pound of meat per person. But if you get more than one meat type on the menu, divide the meat portion equally to each dish. Also, for side dishes and appetizers, the meat serving size will reduce even more.



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