How Much Pulled Pork Should I Serve Per Person?

how much pulled pork per person

So, you have a barbecue and cookout coming up and you finally have the chance to show off your pulled pork skills.

But one question remains – how much pulled pork should I prepare per person?

While rubbing, smoking, and resting the meat is a whole lot of fun, figuring out how much pork to cook can be troubling.

On top of everyone having different definitions of serving size, pulled pork also loses a significant amount of weight when cooked, so you need to apply all your estimating skills.

With that said, there is a way to calculate how much pulled pork per person is the appropriate amount. That way, you can rest assured that every single person at the party or event gets their fill.

That’s why we’ve created this in-depth guide to serving pulled pork and the appropriate amount per person.

Read on to learn more.

A Guide to Pulled Pork Serving Sizes

The general rule of thumb when preparing pulled pork is to prep at least a ⅓ pound of pulled pork per person. If you have a hard time with fractions, you can keep in mind that 1 pound of pulled pork is supposed to be enough to feed three people. By following this method, all of the guests at the party will be well-fed, and there is still a bit of wiggle room for people getting seconds.

With that said, there’s one extra concept to consider when prepping pulled pork, and that is that cooked pork is lighter than raw pork. This is because the smoking and cooking process removes a lot of moisture from the meat, which results in the pork losing weight in the smoker.

When you cook pulled pork, the yield weight will be around half of the raw weight of the pork. So, if you’re preparing pulled pork for 12 people, you will be good at buying an 8-pound cut of pork shoulder. That way, after cooking you will have at elast 1 pound of meat for every three people.

Again, some people eat more and some people eat less, so 1 pound for three people is a very rough estimate. But from our experience, this is a great baseline to follow when preparing pulled pork.

Serving Calculator

If you have a hard time figuring out how much pulled pork to serve per person, check out this simple reference table;

Pounds of CookedNumber of Adult ServingsNumber of Kids ServingsPounds of Raw Pork Needed
1 pound3 adults4 children2 pounds
4 pounds12 adults16 children8 pounds
6 pounds18 adults24 children12 pounds
8 pounds24 adults32 children16 pounds

Again, take all of these numbers with a grain of salt. Everyone has a different appetite, so you can use this table as a base value. From there, you can make necessary adjustments depending on the appetite of your guests and how much they eat on a regular basis.

Things To Keep In Mind When Serving Pulled Pork

Pulled pork on a wooden board

So, now that we’ve given you a rough estimate of how much pulled pork you need to serve certain amounts of people, you’re about ready to start prepping for your cookout. But as we mentioned earlier, there are other factors at play when you’re serving pulled pork at a party or cookout.

Here are some other things to consider:

Time of the Day

First of all, you have to consider the time of the day. Remember, people generally eat more during dinner than at lunch. So, if the cookout is scheduled at noon, then you can prepare less pork since people aren’t going to eat that much. On the flip side, if you have a dinner barbecue with friends and family, you may have to prepare a bit more pulled pork for the occasion.

Additionally, you also need to take into account how long the cookout is going to be. If you plan on hosting people the whole afternoon into the evening, it won’t hurt to have some extra pulled pork if people want to grab seconds or a snack in the middle of the party. But if you’re only hosting people for lunch and expect everyone to leave before 5 PM, you don’t have to prepare as much meat.

The Cookout Itself

The next thing to consider is the type of event you’re hosting. If you’re hosting a 4th of July barbecue or having everyone sit down for dinner, then you might want to prepare extra food. This is because these events are the type where people are looking forward to the food, so they will probably eat more. However, if you’re hosting something like a casual pool party, then you won’t need as much food since people will be busy doing other things.

On top of that, you need to consider the types of guests arriving, how much they are going to eat, and whether they have large or small appetites. That way, you prepare just the right amount of food for the party.

Other Items

Aside from the guests, occasion, and time of the day, another important consideration is the other items on the menu. Remember, you don’t want guests to feel too full and you don’t want them leaving the party hungry.

If you’re also grilling burgers on the side and smoking other meat to go with the pork, you won’t need to cook that much. Instead, you can prep smaller amounts of every menu item so that guests have enough to try out each and every piece on the menu.

However, if you want the pulled pork to be the star of the dinner, you need to prepare a lot. If there aren’t any other meats or menu items filling up the guest’s stomachs, you need enough pulled pork to satisfy their tastebuds and appetites.

Leftovers Aren’t a Bad Thing

If all else fails, it’s always best to prepare too much food than too little. That way, you have leftovers for the coming days. Having too much pulled pork is never a bad thing. You can always use the extra meat for sandwiches, tacos, or even on barbecue pizza.

The reason pulled pork is such a popular option for people getting into meat smoking is that it’s fairly cheap meat. But despite the low price, it contains a bunch of flavors and high-quality textures. So, it won’t hurt to prepare a little bit of extra for the party.

You never know when people are going to get seconds, thirds, and even fourths at the party. So, even if you have to deal with pulled pork leftovers the next day, at least you know everyone was happy and satisfied with their meal.

How To Store Pulled Pork Leftovers

If you have leftovers after the party, you’re in luck. Leftover pulled pork is great for a bunch of different dishes, and you can even reheat it in the morning and have it for an indulgent breakfast! However, you need to make sure to store the leftovers properly, or else they will spoil quickly and result in you wasting a lot of meat.

So, make sure you store the pulled pork leftovers in an air-tight container or resealable bag. That way, bacteria can’t enter the pork and cause it to spoil. Additionally, make sure to include all the leftover juices in the bag so that it won’t lose any flavor or texture during reheating.

If you put it in the refrigerator, you can keep it there for up to 48 hours. However, if you freeze it, the pork can last much longer, but after three months, it will start to have freezer burn, which is far from ideal.


The ideal serving size for pulled pork is a ⅓ pound per adult. For kids, a quarter pound is an ideal size. However, make sure that you consider the eating habits, occasion, and the time of your cookout and party. That way, you can customize the amount of meat you cook for the event, ensuring that everyone leaves the party full and satisfied!


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