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How Much Meat Per Person for Pulled Pork

If you want to know how much meat per person for pulled pork it is best to use a little bit of simple math. Pork sliders are a favorite at any cookout, and it’s easy to calculate how many pounds of meat you need for your next tailgate or family gathering.

How Much Meat Per Person for Pulled Pork?

Most BBQ experts recommend 1/3 pound of cooked pulled pork (or Boston butt) per person to assure you have enough food. However, no matter what cooking process is used, cooking the meat causes it to shrink and lose up to 40-50% of its weight in moisture and fat.

Since the meat loses up to half of its weight during the cooking process, the pounds of raw pork needs to be reduced in half before dividing it between the number of servings needed.

So, how do you calculate a serving of pulled pork? The best way to calculate how much food you need to plan for is to do a quick calculation, consider the guest list, and determine if the pork will be the main course or one of many food choices for the meal.

How Much Meat Per Person for Pulled Pork

Here is the simple formula.

How Much Meat Per Person for Pulled Pork

If you are serving lots of other dishes with the pork, and plan on each person eating 1/3 of a pound use this formula.

Multiply the number of guests by 1/3, then multiply this number by 2. This is the weight of raw pork that is needed to feed your guests.

[Guests x 1/3] x 2 = Raw Pork Needed

If you are relying on pork being the center stage, and plan on each person eating 1/2 of a pound, use this formula.

Multiply the number of guests by 1/2, then multiply this number by 2. This is the weight of raw pork that is needed to feed your guests.

[Guests x 1/2] x 2 = Raw Pork Needed

Here is a handy chart to help you determine the amount of Pulled Pork Servings Per Person.  

Pulled Pork Servings Per Person Chart

Variations to Calculating Pork Meat for a Crowd

If there will be a lot of children in attendance, they will not consume as much as an adult. Therefore, using the 1/3 of a pound per person will most likely leave you with leftovers.

Conversely, if your guest list is all adults or people with bigger appetites, you may want to increase the portion size to 1/2 pound per person.

If you have a lot of side dishes and other another meat choice for your guests, then the 1/3 pound per person will most likely be plenty.

Bun Size. Serving the meat in a smaller slider bun will save on the serving size as well. In general, a hamburger bun will hold 5 to 6 ounces of meat. Whereas a smaller slider bun holds approximately 2.5 to 3 ounces of meat. More often, guest will take just one sandwich at a time. Therefore, smaller portions may fill them up before they come back for a second slider. Which means lest waste too.

Lastly, if you host large gatherings, it is a good practice to make an extra pound of meat to make sure that there is enough meat to feed everyone. Even if you have leftovers, that is not a problem as this is a great choice for freezing and refrigerating.

Pulled Pork Sliders

What is Pulled Pork?

Pulled pork is just pork that has been shredded. Due to the slow cook methods used paired with simple seasonings, it is a soft textured meat that is delicious served on its own, or on a bun with some BBQ sauce or coleslaw.

Pulled pork is perfect for summer cookouts, weeknight meals, holiday parties, game day snacks, or just about any time you want something hearty and filling. Pork leftovers are perfect for freezing and serving for leftovers too, which makes for a great make ahead meal option.

Smoked Pork Butt

The Best Cut of Pork for Pulled Pork

When pork is made just right, I could eat pulled pork every day for a week and never get tired of it. When you make the perfect version, there’s nothing like taking that first bite into tender meat with a hint of smokiness, a bit of saltiness, and a suggestion of sweetness from the sauce or rub.

The best recipes are the delicious combinations of tender pork and spices that has me reaching for more.  Let’s find out what the best cuts of pork are for pulled pork.

If you listen to the professional Barbeque Pit Masters, you will most often see them cooking up a pork butt. After careful research, Pork Butt is the best choice for the most tender, texture, and flavor.

The second best cut of meat for pulled pork is the Picnic Shoulder. The shoulder is generally a cut of meat with a fat cap on one side. Generally, that is trimmed off before cooking. However, a good balance between fat and the meat gives a tender meat when cooked properly.

Restaurant Style Slider

Should You Brine the Pork Shoulder?

If you have the time, brining prevents dehydration while cooking which means a much moister piece of meat.

In general, a basic brine recipe is made of salt, sugar, and some aromatics. For this pork shoulder brine, we are using some onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, paprika, cayenne, and garlic. However, feel free to add whatever flavor profile you like.

Ingredients for a Simple Brine Recipe

  • 10 Cups of Water
  • 3/4 Cup Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Black Peppercorns
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1/2 Onion Coarsely Chopped
  • 6 Cloves Garlic, Cracked
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne

How Long to Brine Pork?

In a large bowl or large plastic container, add the ingredients and stir until the salt and sugar. Add the pork shoulder or pork butt and keep submerged in the brine for up to 12 hours. For food safety, make sure to refrigerate the meat and the brine. Pro Tip. If you have a plastic bag large enough, you can add the brine and the meat to the bag and seal it. This helps assure that the meat stays fully submerged in the brine. If using a plastic bag, we place it in a large roasting pan or large bowl to catch any liquid just in case the bag happens to leak.

Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry with paper towels.

Continue with the recipe adding the outside rub and your preferred cooking method.

Pork and Coleslaw Sandwich

Do you Have to Let Pulled Pork Rest to Retain Juices?

In general, it is a best practice to let meat rest to keep the moisture in. That is the best strategy if you do not plan on eating the meat right away.

However, if you plan on eating the meat right away, go ahead and shred it with two forks making sure to catch the juices. Just pour those juices over the pulled pork to have a same juicy affect without having to wait 30 minutes.

When Cooking for a Large Group, How Do you keep Pulled Pork Warm?

I often make my pork butt in the slow cooker, it is the perfect way to keep it warm too. Keep it in its own juices on warm. However, if you make your pork in the smoker or oven, here is a great tip to keep it warm for 3-4 hours. Just place the meat on top of a towel that is in the bottom of a cooler. Place another clean towel on top of the meat. Keep the lid closed to seal in the heat and your meat will stay warm for 3-4 hours.

Barbeque Pork Sandwich

What are the Best Ways to Store Pork Once Cooked?

Frozen pork will last in the freezer up to four months. Just place in a plastic freezer bag or freezer safe airtight container. I like to separate into smaller containers in portions that feed four people at a time. That way, it is easy to quickly feed my family without thawing a large quantity. When you are ready to eat the pork, just thaw and reheat. Pro Tip. Once thawed, you should not refreeze the meat.

Refrigerate the meat.  Pork will last in the refrigerator when stored in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag for up to 4 days.

What are the Best Ways to Reheat Pulled Pork?

There are a lot of different ways to reheat your leftover pulled pork, so choose the method that best suits your needs. Let’s explore each one.

Reheating in the Oven. It is easy to reheat the meat in the oven. Just preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 30-45 minutes in an oven-safe dish. This is a great way to reheat when feeding a large crowd.

Reheating on the Stovetop. In a large skillet or kettle, add a bit of oil to keep the pork from sticking and add the meat. Cover and reheat over medium heat stirring occasionally until the meat is cooked all the way through. This method will take about 20-30 minutes.

Reheat in the Microwave. Place the pork in a microwave-safe dish, cover, and cook on high for 2 to 3 minutes at a time until heated through. While this is a fast method, be careful not to overcook as it can become dry and rubbery using this reheating method.

Reheat in the Slow Cooker. If you have time, a slow cooker is a great way to reheat the pork. Just place the meat in the slow cooker and cook on low for 2 to 4 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours. This will yield the most tender and juicy pork. This is a great option for feeding a crowd, however, due to the time, you must plan ahead.

Picnic Food to Serve with Sliders

What to Serve with Pulled Pork?

Once you have How Much Meat Per Person for Pulled Pork figured out, it is time to add all of the other delicious dishes and round out the whole meal.

For me, BBQ pork sandwiches are a summer picnic staple. We serve lots of side dishes to compliment the delicious pulled pork. Here are a few of our favorites.

Southern Potato Salad

Fresh Mango Salsa

Broccoli Cheddar Pasta Salad

Party Baked Beans

Fresh Strawberry Pie

Asian Ramen Salad

How Much Meat Per Person for Pulled Pork
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How to Make Pulled Pork

Pulled pork is just pork that has been shredded. Due to the slow cook methods used paired with simple seasonings, it is a soft textured meat that is delicious served on its own, or on a bun with some BBQ sauce or coleslaw. Here is the simple recipe that I use for making my pork.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time6 hrs
Total Time6 hrs 10 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dinner recipe, Gameday food, leftover pork recipe, summer party, summer recipe
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 7kcal

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Ingredients

  • 1 4 pounds Pork Shoulder 4-5 pounds, can use Pork Butt
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Instructions

  • Mix the seasonings, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Trim any excess fat from the pork. Season all sides with the seasoning mix.

Slow Cooker for Pork.

  • Place the seasoned pork in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours, high for 6 hours, or until tender.

Smoking the Pork.

  • Prepare the smoker and preheat it to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Smoke the pork for 6-8 hours until tender. When the fat “bark” starts splitting and letting out some of the juices, it’s time to wrap it in aluminum foil. This will trap those delicious liquids and baste the meat in them for the next few hours.

Oven Method of Baking Pork.

  • Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the seasoned pork in a baking pan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 6-8 hours until tender.
  • Once the pork is cooked, use two forks to shred it into small pieces.
  • It is ready to serve.

Your Own Private Notes

Notes

Cooking time per pound of meat.

Plan 90 minutes of cooking time per pound of meat as a good rule of thumb. Therefore, depending on the size of your pork roast, the cooking time could vary.

Brine Pork Before Cooking

If you have the time, brining prevents dehydration while cooking which means a much moister piece of meat.
Ingredients for a Simple Brine Recipe
• 10 Cups of Water
• 3/4 Cup Kosher Salt
• 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
• 2 Tablespoons Black Peppercorns
• 2 Bay Leaves
• 1/2 Onion Coarsely Chopped
• 6 Cloves Garlic, Cracked
• 1 Tablespoon Paprika
• 1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne
In a large bowl or large plastic container, add the ingredients and stir until the salt and sugar. Add the pork shoulder or pork butt and keep submerged in the brine for up to 12 hours. For food safety, make sure to refrigerate the meat and the brine. Pro Tip. If you have a plastic bag large enough, you can add the brine and the meat to the bag and seal it. This helps assure that the meat stays fully submerged in the brine. If using a plastic bag, we place it in a large roasting pan or large bowl to catch any liquid just in case the bag happens to leak.
Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry with paper towels.
Continue with the recipe adding the outside rub and your preferred cooking method.

How Much Meat Per Person for Pulled Pork

Most BBQ experts recommend 1/3 pound of cooked pulled pork (or Boston butt) per person to assure you have enough food. However, no matter what cooking process is used, cooking the meat causes it to shrink and lose up to 40-50% of its weight in moisture and fat.
Since the meat loses up to half of its weight during the cooking process, the pounds of raw pork needs to be reduced in half before dividing it between the number of servings needed.

Nutrition

Calories: 7kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 389mg | Potassium: 26mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 28IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg

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