Barbecue Guides

BBQ guide: How much meat per person

The rays of sunshine are hitting your sweet spot, it’s summertime! Summers are all about enjoying the outdoors. A reason to head-out for all? Barbeques. Not to forget, it is also a reason to celebrate, as the long winters are finally over. For you, a barbeque is about spending time with family and friends, a privilege we all look forward to. Even if you are hosting your quarantine crew or a socially distant party with friends, the following guide has got you covered. So, all geared up to enjoy the sunshine? Then let’s get rolling.

All barbeques are ranked by their food and our pitmasters have devised a legendary guide that has all the tips and tricks you’ll ever need! This is your guide to throw that ultimate Barbeque bash with a touch of class. 

Meat planning 

First things first ask yourself is meat going to make up the whole meal or is it just a part of the many other items you plan to put up? In order to make your work a whole lot easier try looking at your barbeque. This will provide you with a better understanding of how much meat you need per guest. 

  • If you have around three side dishes, then aim for 1/3 pound of meat per person as main.
  • If the guest is under 12 years of age, consider them eating half the amount of an adult.

Talking about side dishes, you need to ask yourself how fulfilling they are actually?

Will you be keeping salads and grilled veggies as the main side dish or is it going to be potato or cheese or any other type of pasta. You can even consider serving some dark or light meat such as brisket or chicken wings. This is helpful as the guests get to try a huge variety of dishes.

Just in case if it’s just a close family get together then you can easily serve individual portions of meat.

Brisket per person?

Here a good thumb rule is to count on about 1/3 pound of cooked meat for each guest. 

Now, this amount might vary anywhere between ½ to ¼ depending on the appetite of your guests and the number of side dishes you are serving.

It is of utmost importance to remember that the amount of uncooked meat you bought will never be equal to the amount of cooked meat.

Ribs per person?

A complete rack of ribs consists of 12 pieces. Although this number might vary depending upon the type of ribs. For instance, spareribs are bigger than baby back ribs, beef back ribs being the biggest of all.

If ribs are your main meal, then have a look at the following guide- 

  • Half a rack or around six ribs per person if baby back ribs are on the menu.
  • Try serving four or five ribs per person if you are serving spareribs.
  • If it’s beef back ribs, then consider serving two or three ribs per person

Pulled pork per person?

If you intend to serve sandwiches stuffed with pulled pork in that case roughly ¼ pound per guest would be more than enough.

When we talk about pulled pork, a third to half a pound is a good amount to be served per guest as the main dish.

Apart from a 1/3 pound of well-cooked meat per guest, you must pay attention to a few other things in order to be in a better position to answer, “How much meat per person?”

The number of guests you have on the list. The number of dishes you plan to offer. Demographics of the guests. At what time of the day do you plan to keep the party at? These are some of the most essential questions that you must keep in mind in order to decide how much quantity will be needed by you.

Legendary BBQ Tips

To ensure your BBQ is remembered by one and all, you first need to be well prepared. We as seasoned pitmasters, strongly suggest you plan your barbecue beforehand. In order to host that jaw-dropping and eye-popping barbeque party, all you really need is a grill, a lightning source; charcoal and loads of scrumptious food and beverages to serve to your guests. From the simplest of hamburger to the fanciest of lobster, anything can be kept for the menu.

Well equipped with the right amount of food, BBQ sauce, side dishes, drinks and creativity you are bound to be called a pitmaster yourself! 

Tip #1: Choose the Perfect Day

Want a day filled with fun and laughter? A barbeque party provides all that, but it must be hosted outside on a sunny day. Always check the weather forecast to avoid hosting your barbeque on a rainy, chilly or windy day. By doing this, you will ensure at the very least your party will be rocking! 

Tip #2: Solid Preparations

Though barbeque parties are fun, they can be equally stressful as well if not planned properly. Until and unless it’s not an ordinary get together, make no mistake and plan well. It’s recommended to make a list of everything needed in order to reduce the last-minute chaos. Make a list of things needed, the things you already have and things your guest can provide you with. 

Tip #3: Planning of the Menu

OK, so one thing that is for sure on the menu is barbeque. Now what you need to decide is what kind Ribs, Pork ribs and wings? Our tip would be to keep it simple and don’t try anything you are not comfortable with. Do throw in burgers and hotdogs but don’t forget the sides. Consider corn, salads, coleslaw, baked beans and the list goes on and on. No matter what all you choose, always keep a little extra for the last-minute guests!

Tip #4: Who’s on the Guest List?

The very essence of hosting a successful BBQ party is planning your guest list. A well-planned guest list is a difference between happiness and despair!

Tip #6: Disposables to Rescue

We are more than sure you mustn’t be willing to serve your guests in your finest china plates. For occasions like a backyard BBQ, paper plates and cutleries are a lifesaver. So, make sure you acquire ample amounts of plates, napkins, cups etc. Since these are not the most attractive things on earth, try picking up bright colors to add to the summer vibe. Also do make the bin easily accessible to the guests so that there is no litter around.

Tip #6: Party with Themes & Decorations

Getting creative around the house will help both you and your family in these torrid times. As an added incentive even, your little angels will be occupied for a couple of hours! Here’s a list of themes for you to ponder-

  • Black and White Ball theme: Black and white ball theme is the most classic theme of all time. It is a lethal combination wherein we have black & white glitter stars, white masks, black chandeliers and so on.
  • Decades – 70s, 80s and 90s are crowd-pleasers: We all just love to dress up in the most spectacular dresses possible. So, let’s get all your guests dressed in the most fashionable dress from the 1970 & 1980s era. Be it the most followed trend of some beloved movie star or some famous personality of that time. Just bring it on.
  • Arabian Nights: Who doesn’t love Arabian nights? Probably one of the very few party themes that is celebrated worldwide. Talking of the current generation, it remains the most popular theme. Bringing the flavor of Morocco to the party combined with some scrumptious catering options will surely make your event extremely memorable. 
  • Alice in Wonderland: This one is a sheer classic and a crowd favorite at the same time. This theme is all about bows and drapes and roses and trees.

Tip #7: Seating area

While the focus of everyone would be the main meal, that doesn’t mean that they will be fine standing all this while! So, make sure there is an ample number of chairs and tables available for all the guests to sit around and eat comfortably.

Tip #8: Play Music

Consider playing some nice soothing tunes over outdoor speakers. Absolutely anything southern blues to jazz works like a charm with the barbeque setup. You can even go creative and give the charge to your guests.

Tip #9: Lights and Action

And as the sun goes down the fun part begins. Some nice lighting can bring a new life to your party and set the mood. Be it twinkle lights strung overhead or the old-fashioned bonfire anything you feel adequate can add a touch of elegance and uplift the mood of every guest present.

Tip #10: Let’s Play

While sometimes a great barbeque party is all about the conversations with our near and dear ones around the table over a beer while other times it’s about the fun games. Now having games in the party brings energy and life to the party, when we have kids on board.

Tip #11: Enough of Meat

Is it just a meat party? Or a main dish to the sides of appetizers, desserts, and drinks? It’s of utmost importance to answer these questions beforehand. As a rule of thumb, you can prepare about one-third of a pound of meat for an adult while roughly the half for kids under the age of 10 provided there are at least three side dishes. Using this rough guideline will save from the angst of misery. If you are cooking for a familiar crowd, then preparing individual portions isn’t a chore. Of course, there are a lot of factors that need to be considered for your menu to be fine-tuned.

Tip #12: Be Safe and Fun

Honestly, it’s all about having a good time over good food with good people while enjoying 

your sunshine. Don’t hesitate to ask your friends to chip in, so that you can get a much-needed break on the grill. Just grab a beer, enjoy the games, don’t stress and have fun. But amidst all the relaxing and fun don’t forget to stay safe.

Consider It

Here’s a list of factors that need to be considered when it comes to preparing food for your BBQ:

– The number of side dishes: The number of side dishes served is inversely proportional to the amount of meat required to satisfy an individual’s appetite. You will have to decide the right combination of sides by answering questions like will there be appetizers, desserts or drinks to accompany the meal?

– Lunch or dinner? If your event lasts throughout the evening, then your guests are bound to be hungrier for dinner.

– Will there be vegetarians? If there are vegans or vegetarians, then alter your menu accordingly to accommodate all your guests.

– Is there alcohol? Alcohol generally leads to increased food consumption. 

Concluding Thoughts

Barbeques for most of us is a summer ritual that we eagerly look forward to. It’s that time of the year where we get the opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends. So next time you plan a backyard BBQ with your near and dear ones, be sure to use the tips and tricks mentioned in this guide. Rest assured, yours will be a BBQ to remember. It’s always better to be prepared than sorry! Keeping this guide handy the next time you host a BBQ event is the only way you can avoid absolute chaos!


James is the editor at Best Barbecue Wood, he loves BBQ wood and spends his free time cooking outside on his grill. He's always trying the different types of wood to perfect the perfect ribs.

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