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How Much Pulled Pork Per Person — A Simple to Use Calculator and Serving Sizes Guide

I’m not saying that cooking meat outdoors is stressful. But there’s more than enough occupying your mind between prepping the meat, getting your cooker to temperature, and monitoring the whole show. You don’t also want to worry if you cooked enough meat! Keep reading as I share with you the secrets to having enough pulled pork for everyone.

Jim Wright profile picture
Written by:
| Reviewed by: Mark Jenner

Last Updated: April 28, 2024

Overhead shot of pulled pork being shredded with forks.

Below is an incredibly simple and user-friendly calculator to help you determine precisely how much pulled pork you need per person for your next gathering, and how much raw pork butt or pork shoulder you need to buy.

Following the calculator, you’ll find a set of easy-to-read tables. These tables serve as a quick reference guide, allowing you to gauge quantities based on the number of guests you expect. They are perfect for those who prefer a more visual approach to planning.

The last part of the article thoroughly explains the logic behind the numbers in our calculator and tables, ensuring you understand the ‘why’ and the ‘how.’ This way, you’ll be equipped with the tools and the knowledge to make informed decisions for any future pulled-pork-centric events.

Calculator for How Much Pulled Pork per Person

Here is the simple to use calculator that will tell you how much pulled pork you need per person and the entire party as a whole. Instructions are below the calculator.

To use the calculator, simply:

  1. Decide if you wish to know how many pounds of pulled pork per person, or how many grams and kilograms, then click the red button to select the units.
  2. Enter the number of adults you are feeding.
  3. Enter the portion size of cooked pulled pork per adult, (default is our recommendation of 1/3 lb.)
  4. Enter the number of children you are feeding.
  5. Enter the portion size of cooked pulled pork per child, (default is our recommendation of 1/4 lb.)
  6. Enter your expected yield, (default 50% remaining, taken from my experience.)
  7. Read off the ‘Meat to Buy’ value as the weight of pork butt or shoulder you need to buy and cook.

At a Glance Tables of Pulled Pork for Different Size Groups

Here are two tables for how much pulled pork per person with predetermined quantities for specific numbers of adults and children.

To help make it fit onto a smartphone mobile screen, I had to make it two tables, one for adults and another for children.

How Much You Need for the Adults

Number of AdultsCooked Pork Required (lbs)Raw Pork to Buy
(lbs)
Cooked pork required (kg)Raw pork to buy (kg)
10.330.670.150.3
20.671.330.300.6
51.673.330.761.5
103.676.671.663.0
206.6713.333.026.1
3010.0020.004.549.1
5016.6733.337.5615.1
10033.3366.6715.1230.2

How Much You Need for the Children

Number of ChildrenCooked Pork Required (lbs)Raw Pork to Buy
(lbs)
Cooked pork required (kg)Raw pork to buy (kg)
10.250.500.110.23
20.501.000.230.45
51.252.500.571.13
102.505.001.132.3
205.0010.002.274.5
307.5015.003.406.8
5012.5025.005.6711.3
10025.0050.0011.3422.6

You can figure out the pork you need to buy for any number of guests by adding what you need from different rows in these charts. If you have 18 adults, add the pork for 1, 2, 5, and 10 adults because 1 + 2 + 5 + 10 = 18. Simple.

Oh, but heaven help you if 100 kids are coming to your place for pulled pork.

Explanations and a Bit of Math

From here, I explain the logic behind the numbers in our calculator and tables and go into the simple math used.

You enjoy sharing your culinary creations with those who appreciate them, right? Naturally — it’s not just for our own satisfaction!

As generous hosts, we always aim to ensure our guests are well-fed, even if it means we get a bit less. (This doesn’t include those ‘test’ bites or the accidental morsels that fall off the platter – those bits we couldn’t possibly serve but also can’t let go to waste.)

If you’re fed up with skimping on servings or shortchanging yourself, the following math and explanations are your solution. By the end, you’ll understand exactly how much raw pork is needed and why, to ensure everyone enjoys a hearty serving of cooked pulled pork.

Let’s begin with a key fact…

Cooked Pork Weighs Half as Much as Raw Pork

My pulled pork in a silver tray, partially pulled and with a deep black bbq bark.

If you’ve ever cooked meat (or watched Seinfeld), you’re familiar with the concept of shrinkage.

You’ve no doubt noticed that those hamburger patties that look like they’ll crush your buns come off the grill much smaller than they went on. That’s because meat loses moisture from the pressure of contracting fibers, squeezing it out.

It’s the same story with raw pork, and pork shoulder or pork butt, in particular, which is the source of pulled pork. The shoulder is quite fatty before it’s cooked, which is part of why it’s so dang delicious. Fat = flavor! With all that fat, there is a lot of moisture — and weight — to lose.

Amazingly, you can lose over 40% of the initial mass of your raw pork when you cook it. Admittedly you do add some weight back when you add sauce during pulling your pork. But this is minimal compared to the loss.

So for the sake of simplicity in our calculations, we’ll round it to an even 50% loss. The worst that can happen is you have a little extra, and that’s never a bad thing.

So the deal is: You need to buy double the amount of raw pork, that you’ll need to serve cooked due to trimming, bone removal and shrinkage during cooking.

And hey, always buy more than you need because leftover pulled pork has so many uses. And we’ve a guide on how to reheat pulled pork the best way that you can check out.

Pulled Pork Single Portion Size to Serve Adults and Children

shredded pulled pork on a dark platter, with two meat cl.

Of course, this is rather a matter of opinion. There will always be those who want more and those who want less.

Based on personal experience and the consensus among pitmasters and pork fans, you should plan on serving:

  • 1/3 lb., or 5 oz., or 150 grams of cooked pulled pork per adult.
  • 1/4 lb., or 4 oz., or 110 grams of cooked pulled pork per child.

Remember, that’s the cooked weight, not the raw weight. That means, per person, you’ll need 2/3 lb of raw pork per adult and 1/2 lb per child.

Now, let’s make simple work of figuring out how much pork to buy per person when company is coming, by using some simple math.

A Simple Formula for How Much Raw Pork to Buy

A raw pork Boston butt on a dark surf.

Math? Dammit. Well, it’s meat math, so I guess I don’t mind so much. Here is the formula you need to calculate the quantity of raw pork you’ll need to purchase to feed any combination of kids and adults.

You will work out the sum of the number of adults times a third of a pound and the number of children times a quarter of a pound. Then, multiply that total by two, and that’s the weight in pounds of the raw pork you’ll want to buy.

The formula looks like this, with A representing no. of Adults and C representing no. of Children:

((A × 1/3) + (C × 1/4)) × 2 = Pounds of Raw Pork Needed

Let’s try an example. Imagine you’ve invited five couples over, and they have six kids between them. So that’s 10 adults (A = 10) and 6 children (C = 6). Subbing these values into our formula, we get:

((10 × 1/3) + (6 × 1/4)) x 2 = Pounds of Raw Pork Needed

Which becomes

(3.3 + 1.5) × 2 = Pounds of Raw Pork Needed

And that turns into

4.8 × 2 = 9.6 pounds of raw pork.

Easy-peasy.

Other Things to Consider

A pulled pork roll next to some French fries on parchment pa.

There are no set rules to anything about barbecue, outside of safe cooking temperatures. That being the case, there are a few variables to keep in mind before you go buy your raw pork.

What Meal are You Serving?

Portion size for pulled pork will vary depending on the meal you are serving. Lunch servings tend to be more moderate, while a supper portion might tip the scales a bit.

What’s the Occasion?

If your guests are walking around, maybe eating off paper plates, expect more reserved portions than you’ll need for a sit-down meal.

If you’re cooking for a festival where people are sampling from multiple vendors, again, a smaller helping is in order. But, if you’ve specifically invited friends and family over to sample your wares, they’ll expect a hearty pile of pulled pork!

What Else is on the Menu?

Are you serving side dishes or other grilled or smoked meats? Then serve a bit less pulled pork than you might otherwise so everyone has room to try a bit of everything.

How Much Pulled Pork For:

The following is based on a 1/3 lb., or 150 gram serving size for each person.

5 People

For a small gathering of 5 people, you’ll need about 1.7 pounds (or approximately 750 grams) of pulled pork. This amount is calculated by multiplying 5 people by 1/3 pound per person.


10 People

For a small gathering of 5 people, you’ll need about 1.7 pounds (or approximately 750 grams) of pulled pork. This amount is calculated by multiplying 5 people by 1/3 pound per person.


15 People

When serving 15 people, prepare around 5 pounds (or 2,250 grams) of pulled pork. This amount is derived from multiplying 15 people by 1/3 pound each.


20 People

A gathering of 20 people calls for roughly 6.7 pounds (or 3,000 grams) of pulled pork. The calculation is 20 x 1/3 pounds per person.


25 People

To satisfy 25 people, plan for approximately 8.3 pounds (or 3,750 grams) of pulled pork. This is based on 25 people, each needing 1/3 pound.


30 People

For a group of 30, you should have about 10 pounds (or 4,500 grams) of pulled pork on hand. This total comes from 30 people times 1/3 pound each.


35 People

If you’re feeding 35 people, aim for around 11.7 pounds (or 5,250 grams) of pulled pork. The math here is 35 x 1/3 pounds per person.


40 People

For a party of 40, you’ll need roughly 13.3 pounds (or 6,000 grams) of pulled pork. This quantity is arrived at by multiplying 40 people by 1/3 pound.


50 People

Catering for 50 people? Prepare about 16.7 pounds (or 7,500 grams) of pulled pork. This amount is the result of 50 people, each requiring 1/3 pound.


75 People

A large event with 75 people requires around 25 pounds (or 11,250 grams) of pulled pork. This is calculated as 75 people x 1/3 pound per person.


100 People

For an impressive gathering of 100 people, you’ll need approximately 33.3 pounds (or 15,000 grams) of pulled pork. This total comes from multiplying 100 people by 1/3 pound each.


Conclusion

When you’ve really got your pulled pork game down, you want everyone to get enough to satisfy their craving — including yourself. With a bit of prior planning and understanding of what happens to meat when it cooks, you can cross at least this one worry off your list and focus on cooking the perfect batch.

I hope this information helps you out at your next porkfest, or at least lets you tell someone, “Well, you know, if you want to be sure you have enough pork for everyone…”. If they challenge you, send them here!

Thanks for bearing with me through the math of how much pulled pork to serve per person. And remember, it’s absolutely ok to serve yourself first at your own cookout — provided no one is looking.

Cheers, everyone!

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Jim Wright profile picture

Written By: Jim Wright

Hi, I’m Jim! I’ve been grilling for over 20 years over charcoal, wood, and gas. Now I’m happy to share my experience and discoveries with you.

When I’m not writing about barbecue, I’m usually writing about food anyway, at a food marketing agency: nourish.marketing. Aside from my family and the perfect steak, my passions include travel and all things Disney.

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8 Comments

  1. This article is very helpful. I do have a question. I am assuming that the raw pork is boneless, correct? What if I can’t find boneless? Can you tell me how much weight to add for bone in?

    Thank you

    1. Avatar for Mark Jenner Mark Jenner says:

      Hi, Christy.

      Thanks for brining this up. I need to update this article to make it cover all cases, add a section to the article for rules for bone in pork.

      Anyway…

      Generally speaking you lose about 40% of the raw weight of a pork butt or shoulder once it is cooked and the bone removed. So to get what you need in raw weight, you need to divide by 0.6.

      For example:

      If I want 8 lbs of cooked pulled pork to serve, I will need 8 / 0.6 = 13.33 lbs of a raw bone in pork butt. When cooked and bone removed, I will then have approximately 8 lbs to serve.

      I hope that helps!

  2. Thoughts on how to calculate if you were only doing samples of pulled pork? Thanks!

    1. Avatar for Mark Jenner Mark Jenner says:

      You would follow the same maths, but starting at your desired ‘sample size’ and working backwards.

  3. Thanks for the well written article. It’s a life saver when I need to figure out how much to cook!

  4. Thank you for this helpful information, I see you answered the question about bone-in pork but wanted to make sure I understood and did the math right if I need pulled pork sandwich for 50 people I would need roughly 29 pounds of bone-in pork? Also do you have any recommendations or articles on the best way to cook pulled pork for large gatherings? Thank you again

    1. Avatar for Mark Jenner Mark Jenner says:

      Hi Lauren. For 50 people, you need approx. 33 lbs of pork as per the chart above. And of course, be strict about portion control!

      As for a recipe, I’ve not actually got one on here. I need to get one written up. In the mean time, just google ‘pulled pork recipe’, and there are literally hundreds out there. Read a few and see which one best suits your tastes, as they will all use different rubs, sauces, etc.

      1. Thank you for that information.

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