How Much Meat Per Person? BBQ Planning Guide

Jason Webster
Written by
Last update:

Meat planning guidelines

How much meat do I need for my party? It’s a common question for those who host a backyard BBQ.

As a rule of thumb, allow about 8 ounces of trimmed meat per person. But depending on how hungry your crowd is and the type of meat you are serving it is not a bad idea to allow up to 10 ounces of meat per person.

Remember that there will be a bit of shrinkage once the meat is cooked, so you need to factor that in.

For larger crowds, break up the meat servings into several smaller portions to serve since passing large roasts around a table may be tricky.

Factors to consider

The perfect barbecue is all about getting a variety of meat and grill flavors into one meal. And being able to please your guests.

So how do you decide on the right amount of meat to order? There are a lot of factors that will determine how much meat to order for your BBQ. Here are some pointers that will help with the planning stage of your next barbecue.

The quality of the meat: The cheapest sausages are not always the most value for money and you can ruin a wonderful barbecue by getting the wrong sausages. Never buy anything over-processed; the meat needs to have taste and texture.

The personal preferences of your guests: If your guests are vegetarian, you should consider a vegetarian option.

The cooking method: Most vegetables and rice can be cooked on any temperature, however, almost all barbecues are charcoal. And there is a difference in cooking with charcoal, compared to gas or electric.

If you are unsure about how to approach the whole BBQ planning thing, these tips will give you a good indication of what you will need to plan your BBQ nicely.

How much brisket per person?

Barbequed brisket is one of the best BBQ cuts of meat. The juicy, melt-in-your-mouth meat always adds an extra zing to your barbeque party.

When planning the brisket for your group, remember that one pound of meat is perfectly sufficient for a small meal served without the excess gravy. But when planning for a big BBQ party, you should aim for around 2 pounds of brisket per person.

If you have a BBQ expert helping you at the party, they may be able to tell you the exact amount for your particular grill and meat. It can also work well as a surprise for the guests if you serve the meat, uncut, on a platter at the table, and let them cut their own portions.

If you’re going to serve the meat with the standard BBQ sauce, a pound of meat should be sufficient. But if you are planning to serve the meat plain or you are expecting a more sophisticated set of guests, then you should double the amount.

Again, if you are getting ready for a big party, be sure to set aside a couple of more slices per person and add extra meat along with some dishes as a side snack.

How many ribs per person?

In my guide, I outlined two ways to do this. Either a) you can do a rough calculation of how much meat you want to serve throughout the day, or b) you can purchase the ribs and calculate how many slabs you need based on your final weight of meat.

Calculating how much meat to get at first is something we all need to do when we’re prepping for an event.

It’s often confusing to calculate how many guests you’ll have, how much meat it’s worth ordering and how many pounds each guest will consume.

Here’s my number-crunching calculator to help you calculate how many servings you want to serve per person, how much food you’ll need for the day and how many pounds you need to get.

Once you’re done with the math, you can either order a lot of meat now, get it just the day prior, or do a combination of both.

How much pulled pork per person?

How much meat does a person need? We will take pulled pork for example.There are so so many variables such as how hungry are you are, how hungry is the group you are entertaining and how many types of sides will you be serving.

When I do the planning for a BBQ, I always go for on the raw side. The way I see it, if I have enough, there will be plenty for everyone. There are always not always enough, but I have been there before and I always end up with a ton of leftovers so it’s really just my personal preference.

If you are serving pulled pork sandwiches, the idea is to top the sandwich with the perfect amount.

How do I do that? Basically, I offer a quarter pound per person for the first time, see how much everyone can eat.

Afterwards, I would offer another half pound per person. This should be enough for anyone.

This way I ensure that everyone will have some leftovers which I then prepare for lunch the next day.

Barbecue planning tips

Most people have to reckon with cooking for a group of people on a BBQ. There is a very simple formula you can use to calculate how much meat you will need.

Use the following steps to figure out how much meat you will need for your BBQ party:

Step 1:

Divide the number of guests by 8. That will give you the number of kilos of meat per person that your BBQ should be able to meet. If you have people who eat meat and people who do not, you can plan for the meat eaters per person and still make a vegetarian meal for those who don’t eat meat.

Step 2:

Multiply the number of kilos per person by 1.5 to allow for some guest’s not getting the right amount of meat.

The trick to making sure everything is ready at the right time

When you are grilling for a crowd is to plan out your menu ahead of time.

The meat is naturally the first thing people think about when it comes to an outdoor barbecue, but there are many different meats and seafoods you can serve. This makes the process of grilling for a crowd simpler if you plan ahead and choose the right kind of meat.

Another thing you should think about when planning is the amount of meat per person. You need to plan out how much meat you want to buy and how much each person will get to make sure everything is ready at the right time. This way you do not have to rush the cooking process; you can enjoy the barbecue without worrying that you will run out of meat before your guests have finished eating.

When buying the meat, think about how differently different cuts of meat cook. For instance, some cuts of steak like skirt steak, eye of round or hanger steak cook very quickly. They are thin cuts of meat and they cook quickly over high heat.

This means that you will need to grill a lot more of these cuts to make sure that everyone gets their fair share. These cuts of meat are also great for slicing into kebabs because they are so thin.

Cuts of meat like burgers, ribs and chicken take longer to cook. Rather than having to buy a lot of them, you can make sure that each person gets their share by having fewer, larger pieces of meat.

ThermoWorks Thermopop Review

Ever brought extra meat to a BBQ and didn’t get to finish it? It’s usually an awkward thing to happen. You feel bad for wasting food and yet you’re afraid it might go to waste.

Or you’re the kind of person who likes to avoid bringing too much meat out in fear that you will offend the other people or not be able to finish it.

As we all know, leftovers rarely get consumed. And as such, they often end up in the trash. This is a huge waste of a nutritious product and also a problem for the environment.

To help solve this, a Dutch startup came up with ThermoWorks Thermopop. With this gadget, you will know exactly how much meat you need to bring.


ThermoWorks Thermopop has a built-in thermometer and an app on your smartphone that you use to measure the temperature of the meat.


You would need to have a look at the chart below to know exactly how much meat per person; regardless of whether you’re cooking outdoors or in the kitchen, and whether you’re dealing with poultry meat or red meat.