Say ‘pulled pork’ to any BBQ meat fan and you’ll be met with a drooling crowd. While it’s fun to make, it’s easy to go overboard and have too much excess. Here’s how to reduce waste while keeping everyone happy
If you’re wanting to look beyond just burgers and hot dogs for your next BBQ, then pulled pork has long been a crowd pleaser at my grilling parties.
When done right, pulled pork comes out as beautiful melt-in-your-mouth pile of tender and succulent meat. For meat eaters, it’s up there as one of the best dishes you can have.
And when you offer it up to guests, it doesn’t stay around for long. Trust me.
One problem people often face with pulled pork though is that they don’t know how much to make. You don’t want to run out before everyone has had their fill, and nor do you want to be left with mountains of the stuff after everyone has left.
Pulled Pork Calculator
Fortunately, BBQ Nuts has provided a set of rules to help guide you to cooking the perfect amount of pulled pork.
It essentially boils down to two simple rules:
RULE #1: One pound of cooked pulled pork is enough to feed three people. So try to work go by serving one-third of a pound per head.
RULE #2: Raw pork usually results in half of its weight in cooked pulled pork. So for every one pound of raw pork, expect about half a pound of resulting pulled pork.
So how do we work this out as a formula?
The two rules above mean that the calculation breaks down to first multiplying your anticipated number of guests by 0.3lbs of pork.
After this you then multiply it by 50% yield. This essentially means doubling it, as cooked pull pork tends to reduce by half.
if you are expecting 10 guests
10 guests x ⅓ pounds of meat = 3.33lbs meat
3.33lbs/50% (or 0.5) yield = 6 ⅔ pounds of uncooked pork needed
While it’s great to have a simple formula to follow, and the one above is incredibly useful, there are a few extra factors you need to keep in mind when working out how much you need.
Kids: Despite what they say, children are unlikely to be able to eat as much as adult guests. As a rule, I try to make between ½ and ⅔ of what I normally would per head for any children. If you are feeding a group of kids or seniors adjust the equation to 4 people per pound. If you are feeding big eaters like athletes, teenagers, or fireman adjust to 2 people per pound.
The Event: I tend to find that sit down meals require more food than stand-up socials or parties.
Time of day: People tend to eat more at dinner than they do for lunch.
Style of dish: The amount you need shouldn’t be as much for sandwiches as it would be if the pork is served on the side of, say, a salad. If you’re making a buffet then I always say to be a bit more liberal with servings. Sandwich buns that is. Smaller buns will hold 4 ounces of pulled pork. Medium size will hold 5 ounces and larger buns will hold 6 ounces. Adjust your calculation appropriately.
The menu: If you’re serving up a feast of burgers and hot dogs, then also creating a massive mountain of pulled pork doesn’t really make sense. Try to pull back a bit if the pulled pork is part of a larger feast. If you are serving other main dishes in addition to the pulled pork you can reduce your amount to cook by 1/3.
How to store pulled pork leftovers
Despite the most thorough of calculations, you might find that you have leftovers to deal with. But hey, there are worse things to have to deal with than a big mountain of delicious pulled pork!
Here’s how to take care of it safely and in a way that ensures that you are retaining as much of its quality as possible.
Serve the pulled pork mix into an airtight container (you might need more than one). Be sure to also pour in any excess sauce to help it retain its flavor.
Store in the refrigerator if you’re planning on having it within the next two days. If you want to keep it long term then transfer it to the freezer. Pulled pork can keep frozen for about 4 months (check this).
Meat can lose a lot of quality when reheated from frozen, but sometimes circumstances dictate a longer term solution!