Pulled pork is an all-American BBQ favorite for summertime or any time gatherings large and small. But how can you determine how much pulled pork per person? We know that having huge portions of leftovers are not always beneficial and running short is embarrassing when entertaining guests.
In this post we’ll help you know how to calculate how much pulled pork is needed for your family dinner or huge catering event.
About Pulled Pork
What is pulled pork? Pulled pork is known as an American BBQ dish and summertime favorite. Pulled pork is traditionally made with pork shoulder that’s cooked to perfection and then pulled apart or shredded. BBQ sauce or rub can be added for enhanced flavoring.
Which Cut of Pork to Use for Pulled Pork?
Pork shoulder is traditionally used for pulled pork. However, you can use pork butt, pork roast, pork ribs, or whatever pork you’d like that comes in a decent quantity and can be easily pulled after it’s cooked.
Boneless pork works well if you don’t want to pay for the bone when you’re paying by the pound, and boneless pork doesn’t have to be de-boned after it’s cooked. In essence there’s no fuss, other than removing the fat before pulling the pork.
One of the benefits of using a bone-in cut of pork is that it provides better flavor. That is our sole reason for always wanting to choose a pork butt with the bone in.
Even though a bone-in cut of pork takes longer to cook compared to a boneless cut of pork, it’s totally worth it.
Sliders or Buns?
Will you be serving your pulled pork on sliders or buns? Sliders are a smaller sized roll style that would be considered somewhat of an appetizer or snack.
Pulled pork served on a bun would be considered a full meal and would require a larger quantity of pulled pork per person compared to a slider.
Tips on Buying Pork for the Smoker
For the best flavored and textured pulled pork, buy it from your local butcher or meat house as it typically has fat marbled through and will give you the best quality.
We recommend staying away from big box supermarkets as their pork has less fat and often creates a tougher meat outcome.
Pulled Pork Calculator Table
The chart below shows how much meat you should prepare to serve 1/2 pound, 1/3 pound, and ¼ pound of cooked pulled pork. You can use this as your BBQ per person calculator.
|Pork Butt in Pounds|
|Pork Butt in Pounds|
|Number of Servings|
(1/2 pound serving)
|Number of Servings |
(1/3 pound serving)
|Number of Servings (1/4 pound serving)|
BBQ Tip: How Much Pulled Pork Do You Need Per Person?
You’ll want to keep in mind that cooked pork will weigh half as much as raw pork. And we’ve created a brief table above to assist you with your calculations.
At a Glance — Table of Amount of Pulled Pork for Different Size Groups
If the size group that you anticipate needing pulled pork for is not listed in our brief table above, we’ve created a more comprehensive table that you can use as a PDF download.
How Much Pulled Pork Per Person Calculator
The following guidelines will give you a good solid baseline for how to determine how much per person.
1/3 lb of cooked pulled pork per adult
Since we estimate that each adult person eats about 1/3 lb of cooked pulled pork, you’ll need about 1 pound for every 3 people.
1/2 lb of cooked pulled pork per hearty eater
And if you’re serving teenage boys that have big appetites, you might consider boosting your serving size to ½ lb of cooked pulled pork per person.
1/4 lb of cooked pulled pork per child
And we estimate that each child eats about 1/4 lb of cooked pulled pork, you’ll need about 1 pound for every 4 people.
A Simple Formula for Buying Raw Pork
When buying raw pork, you can expect that the weight will decrease by half after the pork is cooked.
For example, if you know that you need to end up with about 2 pounds of pulled pork to feed roughly 6 people, then you’ll want to buy at least 4 pounds of raw meat to cook.
After the pork has cooked, the fat has been removed, and the pork shredded, you’ll end up with an estimated ½ the original weight of the raw pork at the point it was purchased.
There are other considerations to think about as far as how to figure out how much pulled pork per person. Here are some of our thoughts.
1. Time of Event
What time of day will the event be? Is it planned for a mealtime and what will the guests expect? If the event is at a mealtime, guests will likely make the assumption that a meal will be served unless otherwise stated.
What is the setting of the event? Will it be held inside, outside, or elsewhere? The setting can sometime set the tone as for the portion or the type of food that will be served.
3. The Rest of the Menu
What do you have planned for the rest of the menu? Will there be more than one choice of meat? If yes, then likely not as much will be needed per person.
If you have a good list of sides prepared, this could be another reason that not as much pork will be needed.
But on the contrary, if there’s not much on the rest of the menu, you should plan on needing extra pulled pork.
4. Bun Size
If you’re serving it on a bun, you’ll want to take the bun size into consideration. A larger bun will require more meat. And likewise, a smaller bun will require a smaller portion of meat.
5. Age of the Guests
Consider the age of the guests at your event. Young adults, for example, will have larger appetites than retired folks.
If you’re planning to entertain young adults and teenagers, we recommend scaling up the quantity a bit just to be sure you’ll have enough to go around.
The final consideration is whether you’re okay with leftovers. If you don’t want any leftovers, you can calculate the amount needed exactly, using 1/3 pound per person.
But if you’re okay with potential leftovers, we recommend adding a bit extra as a safeguard.
How to Store Leftover Pulled Pork
Leftover pulled pork can be stored either in the refrigerator or freezer, depending on when it will be used.If it will be used in just a few days, store it in the refrigerator, for longer storage, you’ll want to use the freezer.
Refrigerator. The best way to store leftover pulled pork for use in a few days is to keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To do this, place it in an airtight container, add the juices that it was cooked in to keep it nice and moist, and seal it with a lid.
Freezer. Storing leftover BBQ pulled pork in the freezer is a good way to prolong its shelf life for up to two months.
To store pulled pork in the freezer, place the desired amount in a freezer safe zipped bag, remove any excess air, date and label the bag, then freeze it for up to 2 months.
Ideas for Leftover Pulled Pork
Whenever there is leftover pulled pork, there’s always the question of what to do with it. Here are a few simple ideas for leftover pulled pork.
Freeze it. If you’ve had enough pulled pork for now and would benefit putting it away until later, freezing it might be the best option. We’ve listed step by step instructions above for storing your pulled pork in the freezer.
Vegetable soup. Believe it or not, pulled pork can be quite delicious in vegetable soup. Personally, we think it’s best with little to no BBQ sauce when adding it to soup, but that’s a matter of personal preference.
Just sauté your vegetables first, add the broth and save the cooked pulled pork for the last ingredient to be added.
Tacos. Pulled pork tacos can be a delicious dish. Just use it in place of traditional ground beef and add all your normally favorite taco toppings to change things up.
Loaded nachos. Loaded nachos are another delicious and easy way to use leftover pulled pork. Just layer nachos on a baking sheet.
Add cheese, black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, onion, pepper, avocado, or guacamole, olives, Pico de Gallo, sour cream, green onions, cilantro, jalapeños, and of course leftover pork.
Frequently Asked Questions
Following are frequently asked questions that relate to how much pulled pork per person. If you have a question that’s not answered here, please drop it to us in the comments box below and we’ll be happy to answer it.
How much pulled pork for 20 people?
13.5 lbs is the recommended amount of raw pork to make pulled pork for 20 people at a cooked 1/3 lb serving.
How much pulled pork for 25 people?
We recommend 16.5 lbs of raw pulled pork for 25 people, at a cooked 1/3 lb serving.
How much pulled pork for 30 people?
20 lbs of pulled BBQ pork is the recommended amount of raw pork to buy to serve 30 people at 1/3 lb servings.
How much pulled pork for 40 people?
26.5 lbs of pulled pork before it’s cooked is recommended to serve 40 people each 1/3 lb servings.
How much pulled pork per person for sliders? You can use the same calculation and 26.5 lbs would be adequate for 40 people.
How much pulled pork for 50 people?
Some folks like to use leftovers to make tacos. How much pulled pork per person for tacos for 50 people? We suggest 33.5 lbs of raw pork.
And 33.5 lbs of raw pork will work generally speaking to serve pulled pork for 50 people at 1/3 lb servings each.
How much pulled pork for 100 people?
You’ll need to buy approximately 67 lbs of raw pulled pork to cook and serve 100 people at 1/3 lb servings each.
How much pulled pork for 150 People?
If you’re planning a large party, and you want to know how much pulled pork per person for a party of 150 people? We recommend 100 lbs of raw pork which will create 1/3 lb servings for each individual.
How much pulled pork for 200 people?
How much will you need per person for catering an event for 200 people? We recommend buying 133.5 lbs of raw pork for 1/3 lb servings for each person.
RULE #1: One pound of cooked pulled pork is enough to feed three people. We recommend serving one-third of a pound per person.
RULE #2: Raw pork usually results in half of its weight in cooked pulled pork. For every one pound of raw pork, expect about half a pound of resulting pulled pork after it’s cooked.