So your pulled pork has become somewhat legendary at work. That’s a good thing, you’ve worked hard to develop your recipes and techniques. The problem is, now the boss wants you to cook for the company picnic. Or maybe Aunt Sally wants you to cook for Jr’s graduation. Whatever it is, your facing feeding a lot of people a lot of meat. It’s a great opportunity to make a lot of people happy. The only problem is how much meat do you buy? Too much and you’re over budget, to little and people go home hungry. So the need to get it at least close is critical. Getting it close is really more science than art. My first big cooks I spent DAYS scouring the internet. My goal here is to give you a one stop resource to answer those questions.
Here’s the basic math I use for pulled pork.
1/4lb per person X .3 (the amount of weight the meat will lose during cooking)
Ex: For 100 people it will take 25lbs of COOKED pork to feed them.
100 X .25 = 25lbs
25lbs X .3 = 7.5
25 + 7.5 = 32.5lbs of RAW pork will yeild you about 25lbs of cooked pork to feed 100 people.
Pulled Chicken Breast
I only give you chicken breast because that’s primarily what we work with seeing as everybody likes white meat and a lot of people don’t care for dark.
Bone in breast
1/4lb per person X .25
Ex: For 100 people you will need 25lbs of COOKED chicken to feed everybody.
100 people X .25 = 25lbs of raw chicken
25lbs X .25 (the amount of weight it will lose when you remove the bones and skin)
25lbs + 6.25 = 32.25 of RAW bone in chicken will yeild you about 25lbs to feed 100 people.
Not enough loss in cooking to make a difference here. Simply figure 1/4 per person.
Simply figure 2 dogs per person and add 5%.
100 people X 2 dogs = 200 dogs
200 dogs X 5% (.05) = 210 hot dogs.
Be a good person and figure 1/3lb per burger and about 1.25 per person (no one will eat 1/4 a burger but some will eat 2 while others will eat only 1)
100 people X 1.25 = 125 burgers
125 burgers X .333 = 42lbs raw 80/20 ground beef.
If there are plenty of sides figure 1/4 rack per person, if it’s going to be ribs and a lite side figure 1/2 a rack per person. This is the reason most people serve baked potatoes with ribs.
BBQ Sauce (as a side, the ONLY way we serve it)
How much sauce does on need to feed a crowd?
Figure about 2 Tlbs per serving.
100 servings = 200Tlbs of sauce
16Tlbs = 1 cup
200Tlbs/16 = 12.5 cups of BBQ sauce.
Beans and Sides
You can figure about 1/2 a cup per person for most sides.
Corn on the cob should be 11/4 per person.
1) It’s better to have it and not need it, than to not have it and need it. So err on the side of having too much.
2) The entire guest list NEVER shows up. If 100 people have been invited, you’ll probably get 75-80 at best, but cook for the whole 100. (see above)
3) Always round UP. Again see #1.
4) Consider your crowd. Kids as a rule don’t eat nearly as much as adults. Teen don’t quit eating. Truckers much more than ballerinas. In other words a 5 yr old is good for 1 hot dog, a trucker 4, and a teen…. well nobody has found out yet.
5) If you do run out blame it on the guy that filled his entire plate with nothing but pulled pork. There’s just no way to account for these things. Everybody else knows where it all went, so you’re in the clear.
6) Consider empty trays and bottles a compliment. (if everybody got served at least once)
7) I’ve been doing this for years and have never came up short. Sweated out a few but never short.
Remember what you cook isn’t nearly as important as who you cook it with. Have fun.