Pulled pork is one of those classic All-American barbeque dishes that people love. Cooking up a whole pork shoulder or pork butt can go a long way when feeding a crowd.
The question at hand is how to know how much pulled pork you need to cook up per person in order to make sure you have plenty of it to go around.
The short answer is that you want about 1/3lb person. Let’s break it down and get into how to figure out just how big of a pork butt you’ll need to feed your guests.
Determine how much pulled pork you need
Whether you are planning a family reunion or just a family dinner, you will want to figure out how much pork you need in order to feed everyone.
There is nothing worse than not having enough food!
If you are serving pulled pork sliders no matter the size of the bun, the amount of meat that you will cook will come out to be the same.
Typically when you serve small sliders your guest will each have 2-3 sliders with each slider having about 1-1.5oz of pulled pork on it equaling 2-3oz per person.
Large sliders tend to have about 3-4oz or 1/3lb of pulled pork per sandwich. So as you can see it still comes out to be about 1/3lb per person either way.
Yield of raw pork vs. cooked pork
It is important to know that the weight of your raw pork is going to change once it is cooked. Not only will the fat melt away but it will dehydrate and have some evaporation as well.
Take into consideration the weight of the bone if you choose to go with a bone-in pork shoulder.
You can expect to yield about 30-50% of your pork once it is cooked. This means that if you cook up a 10lb pork butt, once it is done cooking you expect that it will only be about 5-6 pounds of pulled pork to serve.
Age range of guests
A few factors to look at when deciding how many pounds of pork you need will not only be how many people but how many adults vs kids.
If your guest list is all adults then you will want to cook up more food than if you were having a kid’s birthday party.
You will want to cook about 1/3lb of pulled pork per adult and about 1/4lb per child.
If you have a mixed group of age ranges then you would want to cook 1/2lb per person and it will even itself out.
What are you serving with it?
If you plan to serve pulled pork as your main course you want to cook more than if you were having it as an appetizer or with many side options to go with it.
For example, if you are serving it as a main course with 2-3 side dishes then you will need more pulled pork than if you were offering it along with 4-5 sides.
Cooking up a little extra never hurts. Not only does this allow for people to have seconds but you will also be more likely to end up with leftovers.
It is also important to pick the best bun for pulled pork.
How many pounds per person
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Best cut for pulled pork
When smoking or slow cooking pork for pulled pork the best cut to buy is a pork shoulder.
This cut comes from the front leg of a pig including the “shoulder” hence its name.
There are two parts to a pork shoulder which are both marbled with fat layers. The two parts are the butt and the picnic shoulder.
Most grocery stores sell the shoulder parts separately but if you go to a butcher you can sometimes buy the whole shoulder.
Although the name of the cut implies that it comes from the rear of the pig, it actually is the upper part of the shoulder from the pig’s front leg.
This meat is marbled with fat which gives you mouth-watering tender pork. The fat breaks down as it is slowly cooked and gives you moist tender pork that you can’t deny.
The picnic cut of a pig’s shoulder is located right under the pork butt portion of the shoulder.
It has less fat marbling than a butt has but it still offers the tender meat that makes for great pulled pork.
It tends to be slightly tougher than a pork butt as it is more muscle to it but it still won’t disappoint.
How to store pulled pork leftovers
Leftover pulled pork is something I have never heard anyone complain about having. You will want to make sure that you store it correctly so that it doesn’t go to waste and so that no one gets sick.
The USDA says that you should never leave cooked foods out for more than 2 hours before storing them in the refrigerator. Anything longer than two hours should be thrown away.
You will want to take into consideration the environment that you have your pulled pork sitting out in also.
If it is 90°F or hotter then you want to get your pulled pork put away within one hour of cooking it.
Refrigerate pulled pork
When stored properly pulled pork can last in the fridge for 3-4 days. Allow for it to cool down and store it in an air-tight container as soon as possible and get it into the refrigerator.
Freeze pulled pork
Once you have cooled your pulled pork you want to store it in an airtight container or a freezer-safe Ziploc bag.
Removing as much air as you can prevents freezer burn on your pulled pork.
It will last you in the freezer for about 6 six months and thaws out nicely to make another meal at a later time.
I recommend freezing it without any sauce of it if possible as it will be easier to reheat later.
Two pounds of cooked pulled pork will feed about 6 people. Generally, you want to cook about 1/3lb per person as it will reduce in size once it has cooked.
The fats will melt and it will dehydrate shrinking in size leaving the rule of thumb to 1 pound of raw pork for every 3 people you intend to feed.
About 3 sandwiches. Depending on the size of bun you plan to use will depend on how many you can get out of one pound of pork.
Typically you want about 1/3lb per person.
The best cut of pork for pulled pork is going to be a Boston butt. It offers lots of marbled fat which breaks down and melts away into the meat giving you the moistest and most tender meat.