How Much BBQ Should I Order Per Person?
- 3 Min Read
No one really needs an excuse to order mouthwatering BBQ. But if you want one, not only is the month of May National BBQ Month, but National BBQ Day falls on May 16 this year, which is why a lot of our catering customers are treating their teams to a celebratory barbecue meal. Of course, this naturally leads to the question, “How much BBQ should I order per person?”
The question is more complicated than it may seem at first glance, so we decided to take it to the experts. We asked some of our top barbeque catering partners for guidance on how much barbeque per person you should plan for when ordering for a group.
BBQ Meats: How Much and How Many?
First off, let’s start with the star of the barbeque show: the meats! While a lot of your decision will depend on how hungry your eaters are and your desire for leftovers, the general rule is to plan on a third to a half pound of total meat per person. Meredith Dean, the catering manager over at Deep Run Roadhouse, has found that typically 1 pound of meat will feed about 3 people.
According to VooDoo BBQ & Grill, 9 pounds of meat will feed a group of 20-22 people, and 12 pounds will feed a group of 30-35. If you’re ordering ribs, you’ll want to aim for 3 ribs per person.
The experts agree that 3 varieties of meat is a good target to aim for. “People love variety when it comes to barbecue,” said Smokey Bones’ Chief F&B Innovation Officer, Peter Farrand. “The important thing is to make sure you mix the order up a bit, so you have a little something for everyone.”
Smokey Bones recommends that your order should include a white meat (either chicken or turkey), at least one pork item (pulled pork and/or ribs), and then you can round out the meats with other items such as sausage or brisket. Over at R&R BBQ, their most popular catering package is the “Founder’s Buffet” which features 3 meats: smoked Certified Angus Beef brisket, slow-smoked pulled pork, and seasoned & smoked boneless chicken thighs.
Half the fun of BBQ lies in pairing it with your favorite sides. A dollop of mashed potatoes, a cob of sweet corn, mac & cheese, coleslaw, cornbread, beans… the possibilities are endless. But again, the question you have to ask is how much and how many?
According to Laura Rea Dickey, CEO of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, 3 different sides makes for a great spread. To make sure everyone gets enough, she recommends 4-5 ounces of sides per person.
“Our XL size sides are a gallon and feed 20 – 25 people and large sides will feed 10 – 12 people, she added. “When catering an event with kids, keep in mind that one adult meal portion will feed two children under the age of 12.”
Planning for All Group Sizes and Appetites
If you’re serving buffet-style and the majority of the attendees are big eaters, you can add on meats or sides as needed, but BBQ restaurants know their craft, and catering packages typically feed most groups with leftovers to spare.
The great thing about BBQ is its versatility; it can expand to fit whatever size group you’re looking to feed. For example, Smokey Bones has created a BBQ Party Pack for 10 on ezCater that includes three meats, two sides and your choice of barbecue sauce – with optional add-ons like garlic bread or buns. Many of our BBQ caterers also have BBQ boxed lunches for smaller teams or for those who prefer individually packaged options.
Of course, on the other end of the spectrum, there is no group too large for a good barbecue meal, as R&R BBQ can attest. “In December of 2019, we fed a group of over 2,300 people at a company’s holiday lunch. Their event included an upscale menu with large cuts of smoked prime rib. We used three large smokers that we brought on site, and had pit masters tending the fires from the early morning hours. It was a LOT of fun!”
Lastly, don’t forget to keep in mind dietary restrictions, Meredith Dean of Deep Run Roadhouse said, including vegetarian and vegan options.
Whatever your needs are, barbecue can likely meet them. And our top notch barbecue catering partners can guide you every step of the way. The only hard part will be deciding who gets to take home the leftovers!