How much should I cook?
23 April, 2014
As your BBQ Skills increase, so will the number of neighbors asking you to cook for their event. Figuring out how much to make for 6 or 8 is an easy proposition, but knowing quantities for 40 or 50 can be a different task. Below are some notes to help ensure you don’t finish an event with a room full of people hungry.
As you know, the cooking process reduces the meat's total weight. Ten pounds of raw meat does not produce ten pounds of editable meat. The reduction factor, or YIELD, is especially important when cooking brisket and pulled pork. These two cuts yield between 55% and 60% of their raw weights. However, to simplify the math, and to be conservative, I use a 50% factor.
For example, 10 lbs of raw brisket will produce 5 lbs of cooked meat. (10 lbs x .5 = 5 lbs)
Now that we know the yield, how much of these meats should we serve?
Amounts per person will range depending on the crew. A team of football players will eat more than a crowd full of kids. Here are some basic metrics.
1/2 lb per person – Football team
1/3 lb per person - Adults and teens
1/4 lb per person - Kids
I generally prepare 1/2 lb of cooked meat per person, regardless of the crowd. As I stated above, I like to play it conservative. I’d much rather send folks home with leftovers than run out of food.
Chicken, Sausage and Ribs
Chicken, Sausage and Ribs have a yield factor as well. However, the quantity is easily identifiable with these meats so I typically use a “piece per person” approach.
Chicken Breast – 1 per person
Chicken Thighs – 2 per person
Chicken Legs - 2 per person
Sausage Links – 1 per person
St. Louis Style Ribs - 1/3 rack per person
Baby Back Ribs – 1/2 rack per person
When serving 2 meats, it’s important that your guests get to try each option. While you can reduce the servings per meat, you will ultimately end up cooking more than with a single meat serving. For example, in a one meat setting, I would factor 1/2 pounds per person. In a two meat scenario, I’m actually preparing 2/3 pounds per person.
Here are some examples:
1/3 lb of brisket and 1/3 lb pulled pork
1/3 lb of brisket and 1/2 sausage link
1 chicken thigh and 1/3 lb of pulled pork
1/4 rack of St. Louis style ribs and 1/2 chicken breast
SIDES, SAUCE, AND SUCH
1 lb of raw PINTO BEANS per every 10 people
Click here for RTR’s Shiner Bock Bean recipe
1/3 lb of raw potatoes per person when making POTATO SALAD
Click here for RTR’s Jalapeno Ranch Potato Salad recipe
4 ounces of CREAM CORN per person
5 ounce of COLD SLAW per person
1/2 cob of WHOLE CORN per person
1 gallon of BBQ SAUCE per 50 people
1.2 ROLLS per person