How Much Pulled Pork Per Person? (People serving calculator)

Pulled pork is one of those party favorites. Everyone loves it, and it’s easy to prepare and keep warm. But when planning your shopping, how much pulled pork per person?

The recommended amount of pulled pork per person is 2/3 lb of raw pork per adult and 1/2 lb per child for boneless cuts and 10% more for bone-in cuts. These estimates consider the cooked weight and can vary based on appetites and preferences. Adjust quantities accordingly.

We have the ultimate guide to help you calculate the perfect serving size of pulled pork, taking into account various factors and even providing a handy calculator to make the process a breeze.

Let’s dive into the world of pulled pork and ensure everyone leaves your event satisfied and impressed by knowing “how much pulled pork per person” you should prepare!

Short Summary

  • Calculate the amount of raw pork needed per person based on factors such as the number of guests, desired serving size, and type of pork.
  • Slow cooking techniques are essential for achieving tender pulled pork while preserving moisture.
  • Offer a selection of sauces and toppings to customize the experience & use creative recipes with leftovers.

Determining the Right Amount of Pulled Pork Per Person

When planning a meal, one common question is how much pulled pork should be prepared. As a general rule of thumb, it’s wise to plan for about 1/2 lb of cooked pulled pork per person.

This may vary depending on factors such as the time of the event, setting, and other dishes on the menu (which we’ll discuss shortly). Keep in mind that raw pork will lose weight during the cooking process, so you’ll need to purchase more raw pork to account for this reduction.

For example, if you’re making pulled pork sandwiches for a casual gathering, you might serve slightly less pork per person if there are other meats or side dishes available. Adjust the amount of raw pork you purchase accordingly.

A good rule to follow is to buy 2/3 pounds of meat per adult and 1/2 lb per child, which should provide an appropriate amount of cooked pork for each person.

Factors Affecting Serving Sizes

Several factors come into play when determining the ideal serving size of pulled pork.

These include the time of the event, setting, other items on the menu and whether pulled pork is the main dish, bun size, age of guests, and potential leftovers.

For instance, lunchtime servings may be smaller than dinner portions, while a formal event may require a larger portion size per person than a casual gathering. Pork slides and hot dogs will obviously have a different requirement than if pulled pork is the main dish.

The age of the guests also plays a role in the serving size.

Young adults generally have larger appetites than older individuals. But a lot of children will mean smaller portions, so plan accordingly. Similarly, the size of the bun is directly proportional to the amount of meat required; a larger bun necessitates a larger portion of meat, while a smaller bun requires a reduced amount.

These factors can help you determine how much raw pork is needed for your event.

Adjusting for Bone-In and Boneless Cuts When Buying

When purchasing pork for your pulled pork dish, consider whether you prefer bone-in or boneless cuts. Bone-in pork requires a longer cooking time, but it yields a more savory flavor. On the other hand, boneless cuts are easier to prepare and can be used for sliders or pulled pork tacos.

If you opt for bone-in cuts, it’s recommended to increase your estimate by about 10%.

For instance, if you’re serving 1/2 lb of cooked pulled pork per person, you’ll need to purchase around 2/3 pound of raw pork of raw bone-in pork for each adult and 1/2 lb per child. This accounts for the additional weight of the bone and ensures you’ll have enough tender, delicious meat for everyone to enjoy.

Cooking Process and Weight Loss for Pulled Pork

During the cooking process, pulled pork loses a significant amount of weight due to moisture and fat loss. This reduction can be as much as 40-50%, so it’s crucial to take this into account when purchasing raw pork.

Calculate the amount of raw pork required for your event using this formula. [Number of Guests x 1/3] x 2 = pounds of raw pork needed. For example, if you’re planning to serve pulled pork to 20 people, you’ll need to purchase 13.3 lbs of raw pork to account for the weight loss during cooking.

Slow Cooking Techniques

The key to tender, juicy pulled pork is slow cooking.

Techniques such as smoking, roasting, braising, and stewing are ideal for cooking pork at low temperatures for an extended period, allowing the meat to become tender and easy to shred. The slow cooker method is the most commonly used and yields excellent results.

When using slow cooking techniques, it’s essential to retain as much moisture as possible to prevent the cooked meat from becoming dry and unpleasantly chewy. This can be achieved by using a marinade, incorporating liquid into the cooking vessel, and employing a cooking method that seals in moisture, such as braising or stewing.

But really, most people just use a Crock-Pot to cook their pulled pork.

But when you cook it in a Crock-Pot. How long can you let it sit in there? And if you want to get a jump on the party food, can you leave the pulled pork in the Crock-Pot overnight on warm??

Just click that link to get my full article that answers that question.

Moisture Retention Tips

Keeping your pulled pork moist is crucial for a delectable, tender dish. One way to achieve this is by incorporating liquid smoke into the process when you cook pulled pork, which enhances the flavor and adds moisture to the pork.

Another technique is to use a mop sauce during cooking. Mop sauces not only add flavor but also help maintain the pork’s tenderness and juiciness. Wrapping the pork in foil during the cooking process can also help prevent dehydration and retain moisture, resulting in a mouthwatering pulled pork dish that your guests will love.

Choosing the Best Cut for Pulled Pork

Selecting the right cut of pork is essential for a successful pulled pork dish.

The best cuts for pulled pork are the pork butt and pork shoulder. The pork butt, also known as the Boston butt, contains more fat than the lower part of the shoulder, resulting in a more tender and flavorful meat.

The Boston butt has an advantage due to its distinct bone. This makes it easier to take out after the cooking process is done. Furthermore, it is also more convenient to handle.

If the desired cuts, such as raw boneless pork shoulder, are not available, you can opt for a pork loin or pork tenderloin as an alternative. While these cuts may not yield the same level of tenderness and flavor as the pork butt or raw pork shoulder, they can still provide a delicious pulled pork dish when prepared correctly.

Serving Pulled Pork Creatively

Don’t limit yourself to just serving pulled pork as a sandwich! Get creative and serve it in a variety of dishes such as tacos, nachos, or even on top of loaded baked potatoes. You can also experiment with different types of bread or buns to add variety and interest to your pulled pork offerings.

By serving much pulled pork in unique and inventive ways, you’ll keep your guests excited and eager to try each delicious dish.

Enhancing with Sauces and Toppings

To elevate the flavor of your pulled pork even further, consider offering a selection of sauces and toppings for your guests to choose from. Barbecue sauce, hot sauce, honey mustard, coleslaw, pickles, and onions are all excellent choices that can add depth and complexity to the taste of your pulled pork.

By providing a variety of options, your guests can customize their pulled pork experience and enjoy every bite to the fullest.

Planning for Leftovers and Storage of Pulled Pork

Chances are, you’ll end up with some leftover pulled pork after your event. To store it safely, refrigerate leftovers immediately and consume the pulled pork within four days.

Leftover pulled pork can be stored in the freezer for up to three months in heavy-duty freezer bags or shallow airtight containers. Thaw frozen pulled pork in the refrigerator overnight before reheating and serving.

When reheating, ensure the pork reaches a safe internal temperature (165° F) before serving. If you have a large amount of leftover pulled pork, consider freezing it for later use.

Freezing and Reheating

When freezing leftover pulled pork, the best way to store pulled pork leftovers is in a heavy-duty freezer bag or a shallow airtight container to avoid freezer burn. Label the containers with the date to ensure you consume the pulled pork within the recommended time frame of three months.

To reheat frozen pulled pork, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. Reheat the pulled pork on a low setting for approximately two hours, ensuring it reaches a safe internal temperature before serving. This method helps to retain the moisture and tenderness of the meat, ensuring a delicious meal even after freezing.

Recipe Ideas for Leftover Pulled Pork

There are countless ways to use leftover pulled pork in creative and delicious recipes.

Consider making tacos, sandwiches, nachos, pizza, quesadillas, burritos, mac, and cheese, or chili with your leftover pork. These dishes not only make use of the leftover meat but also add variety to your meals, preventing pulled pork fatigue.

Another great idea is to repurpose your leftovers into entirely new dishes, such as shepherd’s pie or pulled pork egg rolls. By thinking outside the box and experimenting with different recipes, you can enjoy the delicious taste of pulled pork in a myriad of ways, making the most of every last morsel.

Pulled Pork Serving Calculator

To make calculating the perfect serving size of pulled pork even easier, we’ve created a handy pulled pork serving chart. This chart takes into account factors such as the number of guests, the desired serving size, and whether you’re using bone-in or boneless cuts of pork.

Amount of Raw Pork to Buy Boneless Bone-In
4 Adults 3 lbs 3.3 lbs
6 Adults 4.5 lbs 5 lbs
8 Adults 6 lbs 6.6 lbs
10 Adults 7.5 lbs 8.25 lbs
15 Adults 11.25 lbs 12.4 lbs
20 Adults 15 lbs 16.5 lbs


Amount of Raw Pork to Buy Boneless Bone-In
2 Kids  1 lb 1.1 lbs
4 Kids 2 lbs 2.2 lbs
5 Kids 2.5 lbs 2.75 lbs
8 Kids 4 lbs 4.4 lbs
10 Kids 5 lbs 5.5 lbs
15 Kids 7.5 lbs 8.25 lbs

Side Dishes to Complement Pulled Pork

To round out your enough pulled pork feast, consider offering a variety of side dishes that complement the rich, savory flavors of the pork. Classic options include:

  • coleslaw
  • baked beans
  • onion rings
  • mac and cheese
  • cornbread
  • potato salad

However, don’t be afraid to get creative and offer unique side dishes such as corn on the cob, sweet corn fritters, honey butter biscuits, spicy collard greens, or grilled pineapple salsa.

By providing a diverse array of sides, you’ll ensure a memorable and satisfying meal for all your guests.


In conclusion, calculating the perfect amount of pork for large gatherings doesn’t have to be a daunting task.

By considering various factors, employing slow cooking techniques, and using our handy calculator, you’ll be well-equipped to serve a mouthwatering pulled pork dish that leaves your guests raving.

Don’t forget to get creative with your serving ideas and side dishes, and make the most of any leftovers by incorporating them into delicious new recipes. With these tips and tricks under your belt, you’ll be the pulled pork maestro at your next gathering!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much will 10 lbs of pulled pork feed?

10 lbs of pulled pork should be enough to comfortably feed 10-15 people, making it a great option for larger gatherings.

It’s a great way to feed a crowd without breaking the bank. It’s also easy to prepare and can be cooked in advance, making it a great option for busy hosts.

How much pulled pork do I need for 20 people?

Based on the table, it is recommended that you purchase 8-10 pounds of pulled pork in order to feed 20 people. This should provide everyone with a generous helping and ample leftovers.

What factors should I consider when determining the serving size of pulled pork?

When determining the serving size of pulled pork, it is important to consider the event’s timing, the setting, other items on the menu, bun size (hamburger buns vs slider buns), the age of the guests, and potential leftovers. Doing so will help ensure that you serve the right amount of food for your occasion.

What is the best cut of pork for pulled pork?

For the most succulent, melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork, the best cut of pork is either the pork butt or picnic shoulder. Both cuts are full of flavor and have the right amount of fat to give you the desired tenderness.

How can I keep my pulled pork moist during the cooking process?

By utilizing slow cooking techniques such as smoking, roasting, braising, and stewing, and ensuring your pulled pork has adequate liquid content through the addition of mop sauces or liquid smoke, you can ensure that your pulled pork remains moist during the cooking process.

This will help to ensure that your pulled pork is tender and juicy and that it has a great flavor.

Jeff Campbell

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