How Much Pulled Pork Per Person? Serving Size Guide & Calculator

How Much Pulled Pork Per Person? (Detailed Instructions)

How much pulled pork per person? This is an important question for any professional caterer or event planner.

There are many variables that will affect how much pulled pork you need, but this blog post has the answers to help you best determine your needs. Take a look at our instructions below and let us know what you think! 

The amount of pulled pork per person can vary depending on the occasion. We’ve created a guide to help you determine the best serving size for your event and included an easy-to-use pulled pork calculator that will tell you how much food to cook! 

The average pulled pork serving size is 1/3 pounds, but this varies based on factors like whether it’s served as a meal or appetizer.

There are also ways to stretch out your supply by adding extra ingredients, so read through our blog post for more information about how much pulled pork per person & all these things!

How Much Pulled Pork Per Person? Quick Answer

When figured as main dishes, most servings of pulled pork are around 1/3 pound per person. However, the amount of mass needed varies depending on whether pulled pork is being served as an appetizer or side dish.

Here are some general guidelines to help you figure out how much food you need for any size event:

For a main course in an all-day occasion like a picnic, plan on 1/3 pound per person . This is the amount that’s considered traditional when serving pulled pork at BBQs and cookouts.


If it’s an appetizing or side dish, aim for 1 pound per person . Most people enjoy having pulled pork served this way as part of their meal.

If you’re catering your next dinner party, consider making it a smaller part of the menu so everyone can try other dishes too. The pulled pork will be just as delicious either way!

Pull Pork Calculator 

Use our pulled pork calculator below to help you figure out how much pulled pork per person, how much food you’ll need for your next event, including a pulled pork party!

For Pulled Pork as the Main Course:

Enter Your Head Count: Enter Number of People Served

Serving Size (grams): 1/2 Pound per Person

Approximate Portion (grams): 1 Pound per Person

For Pulled Pork as an Appetizer or Side Dish:

Enter Your Head Count: Enter Number of People Served

Serving Size (grams): 1 Pound per Person

Approximate Portion (grams): 2 Pounds per Person

8 Things To Consider when calculate how much pulled pork for your party

Age Group and Gender of the Party

This is a big factor and will determine how much servings one should be serving at their party. If you have mostly male guests that are young, then they probably can eat more than your female guests or older men.

Style of Serving Tray or Bowls.

Self Serve or Buffet Style? For self serve style, there needs to be a good ratio of meat to buns/rolls for ease of eating. And if it’s buffet style, consider how well your side dishes hold up when sitting out without getting soggy.

This is one of the most factor you should pay attention when calculate how much pulled pork per person for your party.

Amount of Side Dishes served

This may seem like a no brainier, but sometimes people make the mistake of putting too many side dishes and not enough pork or vice versa.

If your party runs long enough to eat two courses, then you need a good ratio between meat and side dishes to prevent from running out of food. And if it’s buffet style, consider how well your side dishes hold up when sitting out without getting soggy.

Temperature of Pork

In some areas that have warm weather year round, you might want to serve your guests hot food because it’s uncomfortable eating really cold foods in hot weather for most people.

Think about this before throwing a summer barbecue because the temperature drops below 65 degrees at night and uncomfortable eating really cold foods.

There is a general guide for how much pulled pork per person that you should serve as a starting point, but do the math to see if more or less servings might be required. This will help with future parties so you can use it as an equation to figure out your total needed amount of food servings.

Amount Per Person

There is no exact rule on how much each person should eat during a party, and it’s all based on the situation and people attending.

As a guide, there needs to at least be two-three ounces of meat per person which equals out to about 1/4 pound of raw meat per serving. If doing self-serve then consider allowing them to take as much as they want to eat, within reason of course.

The total amount of meat needed for a party is about 1/2 pound per person, which equals out to 4-6 servings per person of 1/4 pounds.

Some might think that this is not enough meat but it’s all relative to the side dishes that you’re serving and if there are other meats or protein available at your party such as chicken, ribs, hot dogs or hamburgers then people will eat less pulled pork.

Type Of Occasion

Some people might think that if they are having a large party that it doesn’t matter how much meat is cooked, but then end up running out of food.

This can happen when the guests are expecting buffet style servings and you ran out of food early because you didn’t figure in for 1/2 pounds per person x number of guests = total pounds needed to cook.

If your spread will be served buffet style or you know some people eat more than others at your party, adjust the amount by multiplying the number of pounds needed for each person by how many additional servings are expected before adding them together.

Number Of Guests X Amount Per Person = Total Meat Needed

Example: If I have 50 guests attending my barbecue and each one eats 1/4 pound of meat, then I need to cook 12 pounds of pulled pork. If I’m doing buffet style servings then about half the people are eating second helpings.

50 guests x 1/4 pound = 12 pounds of meat 50 guests + 25 additional guests x 1/2 pound = 13.5 pounds of meat

12 pounds of cooked pork + 2.5 pounds needed for 25 additional guests = 14.5 total pounds

14.5 lbs of raw pork is needed to feed roughly 75 people self serve style or 38 people if you do buffet style with an average amount per person.

And remember that this is just a starting point and you might need more depending on the situation, but now you know how much to start with.

Time Of The Day

The time of day will affect how much you serve at a party because lunch is usually less than dinner. People tend to eat more during buffet style meals versus making plates of food themselves.

Also, if the party starts late in the afternoon then people might think that they can fill up on appetizers and other hors d’oeuvres before the meal.

The longer your party runs, the more servings you need to make because some people eat slowly and others might not even show up but you’re still feeding them.

End Time Of Party

If your party ends at 8pm or 9pm then you need to consider that some people might be too full for dessert and others might still want more portions after the cake is served.

A good thing to do is to pre-portion out servings of meat beforehand instead of letting them pick what they want because this takes away from waste due to over-serving yourself or others.

Recipes to Serve with Your Pulled Pork, Such as Coleslaw and Potato Salad 

If you’re setting up a buffet spread at your event, consider serving these delicious recipes with your pulled pork:

Coleslaw is a perfect summer dish that’s quick and easy to put together. Make sure to dress it with some tangy vinaigrette or creamy salad dressing to give your coleslaw extra flavor.

Potato salad is a classic side dish that pairs perfectly with pulled pork, especially for outdoor events! Add a bit of sweet relish and yellow mustard for a bright finish.

A pulled pork party can be the perfect way to gather your family and friends together. But make sure you know enough about serving sizes and recipes so everyone has plenty to eat!

Tips on Buying Pork for the Smoker

Always opt for a “packer cut” of pork shoulder. This is the entire shoulder with both the upper and lower part of the arm still attached, which gives you more meat to work with.

The easiest way to know if you’re getting this cut is by looking at how your pork shoulder is packaged. If it’s not labeled as “packer cut” or if it doesn’t have two parts attached, then just ask for that specific type of pork from the deli counter when you place your order!


You can also have them grind it up into ground pork using their grinder machine so it’s convenient to use later on.

Another good option would be to special order a whole fresh ham instead . It might cost a bit more, but it will be easier to slice into pulled pork. All you have to do is carve away the skin, fat and tissue between the upper and lower parts of the leg.

Storing Leftover Pulled Pork

Leftover pulled pork can last anywhere from 3-5 days in the refrigerator. However, if you’re making it for a party, you’ll probably have leftovers that will spoil by then.

Freezing your leftover pulled pork is an excellent way to avoid wasting food and also make sure it’s still delicious when you serve it at another time!

If your event is potluck-style where guests bring their own dishes, consider freezing your prepped pulled pork before putting it into containers .

You can label these clearly with the date and contents so guests know what they’re grabbing (and don’t double up on meats).

You can also freeze individual portions of cooked pulled pork rather than freeze the whole batch together.

Doing this lets you pull out only the quantity of pork you need for guests, and prevents it from drying out or getting freezer burn by being stored with other meats.

Tips for planning the perfect pulled pork party

Planning for a party the size of an office lunch or dinner? A picnic with friends and family? Or catering your wedding reception?

No matter what, it’s important to have enough food! You don’t want your guests going hungry. And you definitely don’t want tons of leftovers that will just go to waste after all that work.

That’s why our first advice is to keep people in mind when planning how much food you’ll need.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you plan:

Figure out who’s coming so you can do an accurate headcount . It helps if you have people RSVP so you know exactly how many guests are attending.

This way, no one will be surprised at the door and you’ll have a good idea of how much food to prepare.

Include kids in your calculations since they eat less than adults, but don’t forget about them either! In general, plan on an average of 2 pounds per person for pulled pork as a main dish.

If you’re serving it as an appetizer or side dish, 1 pound per person is usually appropriate.

Think about who’s coming and what else will be served . For example, if the menu consists only of bread and butter alongside the pulled pork sandwiches, then everyone can expect to get a lot more food than if you’re serving a variety of dishes including coleslaw and potato salad.

If any guests are vegetarian or vegan, make sure there’s enough non-pork food to accommodate them.

Some helpful tips:

1. Aim for a minimum of 1/2 pound per person (and remember leftover pulled pork is always welcome!) and 1-2 pounds per person if it’s the star dish on the menu.

2. You can stretch your supply by adding extra ingredients like coleslaw or potato salad to bulk up each serving so you don’t have leftovers, but be sure to adjust the quantities in the calculator below!

3. Check out our complete guide to servings sizes so you can really get an idea how much pulled pork per person you’ll need! 

Include beverages in your calculations . Having enough beverage options at your event goes hand-in-hand with having enough food options!

You don’t want thirsty guests without anything to drink, or you might have people fighting over the last cups of water.

Figure out how many drinks each person will need . Some people enjoy a glass of wine with their dinner, while others prefer an ice-cold beer instead. So it’s important to include both beverage options when planning for your party!

We recommend 1 drink per person for an all-day event like a picnic, and 2 drinks per person if it’s a shorter occasion like an office lunch.

Serving Ideas for a Party of 10 or More People

When planning your table, consider the following serving suggestions to help you make sure everyone gets plenty of pulled pork!

Fill up baskets with buns and place them around the buffet table . Guests can just grab a bun, pile on some pulled pork, and go back for second (and third!) servings if they’re still hungry.

Add one or two other options that compliment pulled pork , such as coleslaw or potato salad. You want guests to be able to fill up on more than just meat at this event!

Serve sauces like BBQ sauce , honey mustard, or hot sauce right beside the pulled pork. Again, you don’t want anyone having to get up from their seat for another helping of BBQ sauce!

Alternate the serving utensils you place, such as tongs or large forks, so guests can easily grab some pulled pork without having to fight over them.

Condiment caddies with a variety of sauces for even more variety . Guests can choose from a range of flavors and types of BBQ sauce depending on their preferences. This is a great way to make sure everyone is satisfied with their food choices and make sure you have an exact answer for your predict about how much pulled pork per person!

Perfect BBQ Sauce Recipe

If you’re going all out by making your own BBQ sauce, then it’s vital that it taste perfect for your event! Here are some tips to help you create that tasty barbecue flavor:  Add 1 teaspoon per pound of meat to your pulled pork .

But make sure to mix it into the meat, not just brush on top of it, or you won’t get as much flavor.

Add brown sugar for a hint of sweetness and molasses for depth and body to give your sauce more fullness as well as sweetness.

Mix in some ground black pepper , cayenne pepper , onion powder , and garlic powder for even more amazing flavor!

Tips To Make Your Pulled Pork Better than the Rest

There’s more than one way to cook pulled pork, and each method creates different results. If you’ve ever had dry or tough pulled pork before, then it might be because you didn’t use the right cooking method!

So here are our two main cooking methods for making tender pulled pork: Smoked Pulled Pork & Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork .

Smoked BBQ Pork

The most important tip for smoked pulled pork is that you don’t want dry heat ! It’s essential to keep the meat moist while it cooks on the smoker. The best way to do this? Add a source of moisture in your smoker box.

A popular option is apple juice , but beer works well too! Keep an eye on your smoker to make sure the liquid doesn’t run dry – you want a nice balance between meat and liquid.

Smoked pulled pork doesn’t require any BBQ sauce because it’s already got that signature smoked taste! If you do want to add some additional flavors, try doing so in the last half hour of cooking with either fresh squeezed orange juice or honey .

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

Most people use slow cookers for braised dishes that require longer cooking times, but it can actually be used for speedy summer parties too!

You just need to keep an eye on the temperature during your event , especially if there are storms in the forecast. Make sure all guests are inside before turning on this appliance or bad weather might put a damper on your celebration.

Slow cooker pulled pork has a milder and less smoky flavor than smoked pulled pork, so it’s perfect for those guests who don’t like the taste of wood smoke. Plus, it’s still got that slow-cooked taste everyone loves!

To make sure your pork is ready to go , you should have all ingredients prepped beforehand .

Trim off any excess fat or silver skin from the meat before adding it to the slow cooker so there are no chewy pieces in your meal. Also slice up your onions and garlic before throwing them in with the meat for even cooking.

You can use an entire cut-up hog roast if you have enough people coming over . Then just place it into the slow cooker and let it go until it’s fork tender and falls apart.

Follow the same steps as slow-cooked pulled pork but just cook for half the time , and you’ll have tender pulled pork ready in a jiffy!

Tips to Serve and Eat Pulled Pork

So now that we’ve covered all those great tips on cooking this summer staple, let’s take a look at how to serve your guests!

You can definitely serve pulled pork with an exact pulled pork serving size without any accompaniments, since there’s already plenty of flavor inside.

But if you’d like some more options, try serving it with: coleslaw, onions, cucumbers,  bread rolls, bread buns, corn tortillas

And don’t forget the drinks! If you want to make your own summer-themed beverage , try mixing together cream soda or root beer with cola, or any other combination of your favorite flavors.

Now that we’ve got the how down let’s move on to the what ! What kind of meat should you use? What are some side dishes that go well with pulled pork?

How much pulled pork per person should you serve? All these questions and more will be answered below!

Bottom line – Pulled Pork Serving Size Guide

There are multiple sizes of pulled pork that you might serve at your event:

1/3 pound per person : This is the amount that’s traditionally served when catering BBQs, picnics, and other community gatherings, like carnivals and block parties. It also works well for at-home events with large groups of friends or family members.

1 pound per person : This serving size is perfect for an intimate dinner party with just your closest friends or relatives.

2 pounds per person : Prepare this much pulled pork if you’re hosting a casual sit down dinner, rather than a buffet spread. It’s easily enough to fill up even the hungriest guests!

4 pounds per person: For extremely large gatherings, it might be better to serve half slabs of ribs instead or whole hogs ! To use this amount of meat as an appetizer, simply cut it into individual strips before arranging on the table.


How much pulled pork do I need for 20?

For 20 people, you’ll need 1/3 of a pound of meat per person. So to feed 20 average people, you’ll need 15 pounds of raw pork from the butcher’s shop of grocery store.

How much pulled pork do I need for 30?

For 30 people, you’ll want to prepare at least 40 pounds of pulled pork. If this is too much food for your guests, consider preparing 2 pounds of meat per person instead. This way they’ll have more variety on the table with sliders or buns.

How much pulled pork do I need for 40?

You should at least serve 2 pounds of meat per person for this many guests if serving as an appetizer course. Otherwise, simply calculate with 1 pound per person and adjust accordingly if there are leftovers! 

How many pounds of pork Do I need to feed 60 people?

To feed 60 people, you will need at least 40 pounds of raw meat. At this size, most stores will sell the meat precooked for convenience!

What cut of pork do you use for pulled pork?

For the best pulled pork, you’ll need a boneless shoulder cut of meat! This is what makes it so easy to shred and pull apart.

Final thoughts

When asking about how much pulled pork per person? The answer is A pulled pork serving size of 1/3 to one-half pound of meat per person is the perfect amount for most people.

This will help you plan your menu and avoid over-serving or under-serving guests at your next event. Feel free to use this article as a guide, but if you need any further information about how much pulled pork per person, feel free to contact us!

Our team of consultants are ready and waiting to help with all aspects of catering an event including food prep, supplies ordering, delivery logistics, set up & break down times. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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