Party planning, how much to buy?

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Joined Jan 25, 2013
Had party Saturday.  Slow cooked pork BBQ, coleslaw, baked beans, and boiled red potatoes.  50 people invited, 35 showed up.  Man who helped cook the BBQ said 2 lb raw per person.  I thought 8 oz raw per person.  I compromised and bought about 50 lb of bone in shoulder.  I have 15 pounds of cooked BBQ in the freezer even after taking 5 pounds to Father's Day supper.    The pork was cooked for about 4 hours, I didn't weigh after cooking, but I know we did not have 50% shrinkage some sites say you get.  What is best rule of thumb when buying meat and veg for a crowd?

 
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Joined Apr 3, 2008
Looks good, Scott... but how the heck did you do pulled pork in 4 hours?
No way you can smoke a pork butt and get it to pull in 4 hours.  But you can braise it in the oven and it will pull at 4hrs.  It's much much much better when you let it go really slow and low but it can be done in a hurry.
 
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Joined Feb 17, 2010
10-12 hours depending on size. It will shrink approx 50% One pound raw per person will give you a very generous portion.
 
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
Koukouvagia...I still don't know how that works. I occasionally do shoulder in oven - 225 degF and it takes overnight to 12 hours to pulling temp. Dry rub and roasted open.

I suppose if you crank the heat it would take less time, or maybe if foil wrapped...
 
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Yea you can get a pork butt, cut it in half, rub it, stick it in a deep pan and cover it with foil.  Start it in a 400 oven to get it going and drop the temp to 350.  Keep it covered the whole time. At 4hrs it's not going to be great but it will pass and it will pull. It's really not the best way to do it but it can be done.
 
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Joined Jan 25, 2013
might have misjudged time a bit.  might have been 5 hours, room temperature shoulders on to fire about 1130, being chopped at 415.  7 shoulders that averaged about 7 1/2 pounds.  the grill with wood was kinda hot, measured inside the grill temperature of 450F for about the first 2 1/2 hours to 3 hours.  before chopping, the bone pulled out clean with little effort.

question is how much raw to buy?
 
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
The hot temp explains the short cook time. Thanks.

1 lb per person is what I plan for bone-in butt or shoulder.

I rarely complain about leftovers. We are big eaters so a lot gets eaten. But 15 lb is a lot of leftovers.

So your 35 diners ate 30 lb (raw weight) of meat. Sounds about right.
 
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The amount of meat you decide to portion for each person can be varied pretty heavily depending on whether you are doing pulled pork sandwiches vs. just the meat. Also, having a lot of side dishes would allow you to go with smaller meat portions.
 
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The amount of meat you decide to portion for each person can be varied pretty heavily depending on whether you are doing pulled pork sandwiches vs. just the meat. Also, having a lot of side dishes would allow you to go with smaller meat portions.
I don't cater, but I do host large parties at my house.  When there are a great deal of people coming from my husband's side of the family they basically eat only meat and ignore sides.  I think this may be a regional thing, because people from my region of greece don't eat much meat at all.
 
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I agree with @eastshores and @Koukouvagia:

It totally depends on who is coming and how many sides.

For batchelors parties, we count on  500 - 750 gr per person, when doing lamb or pig on spit (that includes bones and all). Mostly the guys eat very little of the sides and whatever is left over tends to disappear slowly during the evening.

Generally, I would go for 250-300 gr per person when there is more of a mixed group and more sides (or for that matter, when doing a full rijsttafel). I do not particularly mind left-overs, I just hate to be short.
 
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Joined Sep 21, 2001
I had a party of 40 last week. Served buffet style.  For my proteins I bought 20 lbs of boneless pork loin and 40 5-oz chicken breasts. For leftover I ended up with 13 breasts. Everything else got put out and eaten.

The thing I find is I always make too much of 1 or 2 of my sides. The staff will being having roasted veggie pasta salad until it becomes an era......
 

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