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How much meat do I need?

A question we often get is “How much meat do I need?” The starting rule of thumb is:

  • Boneless RAW Meat:

    • 1/2 lb - 1 lb per person for adults / teenagers

    • 1/4 lb. per person for children / seniors

  • Bone-In RAW Meat:

    • 1 lb. - 1 and 1/2 lb person for adults / teenagers

    • 1/2 lb. per person for children / seniors

Then adjust for your situation.

  • Are you feeding any seniors or kids (cut back) or are you feeding teenagers (add)?

  • Do you want leftovers?

  • Do you have any other main dish items?

  • Do you have heavier side dishes like potatoes or pasta - or are the side dishes light like salads or roasted veggies?

  • What time of day is the meal?

Does age matter that much?

  • With kids, they will eat about half of what an adult eats.

  • For seniors who typically only take small bites - cut back even further since this method takes longer and might lead them not finishing their meal.

  • Teenagers can usually go up by about 25% from lunch portions which makes sense because teens tend to have higher metabolisms than adults do.

Does gender matter that much?

  • With teenagers, teenage boys will definitely often eat more than teenage girls.

  • Generally across adults and seniors - assume slightly more food for males vs females.


Different Yield Estimates After Cooking - this will be what is on your plate

Meat reduces in size after cooking, this from shrinkage that happens when cooking because the meat is losing moisture and melting the fat layers. Other things that will influence the reduction in size are trimmings and bones.


The yields show the percentage of what is left afterwards. Let's break down the numbers:

  • Whole chicken - 70% (for the whole bird minus skin and bones)

  • Full turkey- 60% (same as above but for a turkey, which has bigger bones than any other type of meat)

  • Beef Chuck Steak / Carne Asada – 74%

  • Flank steaks - 80-85 %

  • Cubed roast beef – 85%

  • Filet mignon, top sirloin and boneless pork chops have the lowest yields which make sense since they are leaner cuts. The average is around 75%. These types of meat are also more expensive.

  • Beef roast/chuck eye steak or beef ribs – 70-75%

  • Whole beef tenderloin - 85%

  • Sirloin steak or T-bone steaks – 75%

  • Brisket (both point and flat) – 43%

  • Brisket (only flat) – 52%

  • Beef (ground) – 85%

  • Lamb chops/roast leg of lamb - 55 to 60 %

  • Pork ribs (baby back ribs) – 50%

  • Pork Loin – 65%

  • Pork Shoulder- 62%

  • Fish – 80% (Fish has the highest yield. This is because it contains bones and trimmings which are removed before cooking, so you get more meat leftovers than with other types of meat.)

Estimate credit: https://smokeguys.com/how-much-meat-per-person/



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