How Much Pulled Pork Per Person


Many people love pork. It is a good source of protein and also comes with minerals and vitamins. Apart from delicious, pork is relatively cheap and ideal for barbecues and parties. A BBQ day is one of the best things to do during the summer.

Although hotdogs and hamburgers make a tasty BBQ, pulled pork has now become a delicacy too. Pulled pork is a crowd pleaser and an ideal avenue that allows you to showcase your BBQ skills.

When you get pulled pork smoked the right way, you will not find any other food that will match its taste and beauty. It has an incredible flavor that makes it a top choice.

There is a small problem when it comes to the quantity that will be sufficient for a party. Working out on how much food is needed for an event can be quite a challenge.

You would not want to waste or run out of food whatsoever. This article will guide you in deciding the right quantity of pork to buy.

What Is Pulled Pork?

Pulled pork is a tender, flavorful, fatty meat usually made with a pork shoulder, also known as picnic shoulder, Boston shoulder, or pork butt.

A pork shoulder is an inexpensive cut that weighs from 8 to 20 pounds providing sufficient meat for barbecuing.

Making tasty pulled pork requires you to smoke the pork shoulder over low heat for an extended period. The process slowly softens the connective tissues, allowing them to be so tender. It will practically fall apart before requiring you to pull it out.

Tips On Buying Pork For The Smoker

To begin with, try and stay away from big-box supermarkets. Pork bred for industrial purposes typically has less fat. This results in a reduction of flavor than it should have.

You need to enquire with your butcher and make sure that the pork you are buying has been humanely raised.

For those obsessed with grilling, the term heritage breed is not new to them. When discussing pork, a few breeds stand out. They include Tamworth, which is naturally leaner and produces some amazing bacon.

There is the Red Wattle commonly found from the South Pacific and offers sweet bacon that has a flavor similar to that of beef. There is also Kurobuta or Berkshire that has a rich flavor and is well-marbled bacon.

Another thing to note is that you do not need to buy heritage pork to get great results with your smoker.

However, if you can get it, go ahead and try it out. Observe the difference in quality and flavor.

How Much Pork For Per Person?

This is a question that is intriguing to many grillers. On average, three people take a pound of pork. Cooked pork loses half of its raw weight.

It means a raw pork shoulder weighing eight pounds will produce four pounds of cooked pork. That should feed around twelve people.

How To Calculate?

Knowing the ideal amount of pulled pork per person goes down to two simple rules:

  1. Rule number one is that three people take one pound of cooked pulled pork. Therefore, you should go ahead begin serving one-third of a pound per person.
  2. The weight of raw pork goes down by half when cooked to pulled pork. Therefore, for every one pound of raw pork, a half-pound of pulled pork should be expected.

The rules discussed above mean that the calculations go down to multiplying your expected number of guests by a third-pound of pork. Having done that, you need to consider that cooked pork weighs half the weight of uncooked pork.

For instance, if you are expecting ten guests, the calculations will be as follows:

10 guests x 1/3 pounds of pork = 3.33

Therefore, 3.33 pounds x 2 = 6.66 pounds

Though it is good to have a direct formula, there are some additional factors you need to keep in mind when working on the amount you need.

Consideration To Be Mindful Of

Style Of Dish You Are Serving

How much pulled pork you use in your sandwiches will differ from those served as an additional side plate.

For those opting for a buffet, you should add a little more pulled pork to it. The reason behind this is that buffets can be a little tricky. You may not know how much meat each guest will enjoy.

Age Of The Guests

If there will be children under the age of ten coming to the BBQ party, you may find that there will be plenty of leftovers left.

This is especially true if you have used the 1/3 pound per-person formula. If you realize that there will be plenty of kids attending the party, you can use an alternative formula of a quarter-pound per person.


People will tend to eat more at a formal sit-down compared to a casual backyard gathering. Therefore, if you host a casual backyard gathering, you can plan on scaling back the portions a little bit.

You should also take note that if the guests are milling about in an active environment, they are less likely to focus on the food. If that is the case, you can alter the formula per pound to avoid a lot of leftovers.

Time Of Event

Are you smoking a BBQ feast for lunch or dinner? People tend to eat more during dinner than at lunch.

If you are serving at lunch, you may consider dropping the cooked pulled pork per person to a quarter-pound rather than a third.

How To Store Leftover Pork?

If you end up with leftovers, you need to know how to store them safely and effectively. If you can preserve the leftovers well, you can maintain the flavor of your pulled pork.

Follow the steps below to store your leftover pork:

  1. To start with, grab an airtight container or a plastic freezer bag.
  2. From there, place your leftovers inside the container and see to it that you spoon in any excess juices that may have remained in your serving pan. They are vital in providing sufficient moisture to reheat your BBQ.
  3. From there, place your airtight container in a freezer or refrigerator.

If you are refrigerating it, plan to eat it within 48 hours. If you used a freezer, it will be safe for consumption for 3 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Pulled Pork For 20 People?

When hosting many people, you have to prepare enough food for everyone. Expert recommends using a 1/3 pound per person rule.

Remember that cooked pork weighs half of the raw pork. So to know the exact weight of raw pork, you need to know the number of people visiting.

Use the following formula to do your math:

Number of people x 1/3 x 2 = Amount of raw pork in pounds

So in our case, to feed 20 guests we will need:

20 x 1/3 x 2 = 13 and 1/3 pounds

You can purchase the exact amount or go for 13.5 pounds of raw pork from the butcher or store. 

How Many Sandwiches Will 10 Pounds Of Pulled Pork Make?

Pulled pork is used to make sandwiches. The amount of pulled pork per sandwich depends on the size of the bread or hamburger buns. The big rolls use a half-pound of pulled meat while the pulled pork sliders use 2.5 ounces of meat.

If you make the standard sliders, you can have 60 of them from a 10 pound pulled pork.

For bigger rolls, each pound produces two sandwiches. Therefore, 10 pounds of pulled pork will give 20 big sandwiches.

Can You Freeze Pulled Pork?

Yes, you can. You can freeze pulled pork either before or after cooking it. If you freeze it after cooking, first shred it and store it with sauce in a freezing bag.

Ensure you take out as much air as possible before sealing the bag. It is a preservative measure since excess air can cause freezer burns.

How Do You Keep Pulled Pork Moist After Shredding?

Shredded moist pulled pork can remain moist by re-introducing liquids to the meat often to counter escaping steam.

There are different types of liquid to use such as a thick BBQ sauce, broth, apple juice, or cider vinegar.

Use a double layer of foil to cover the dish to lock the moisture in. You can also keep it in a crockpot to keep it warm and spray your liquid to keep it moist.

Does Smoking A Pork Shoulder At 225 Take Long?

One pound of meat takes about 2 hours to smoke. To smoke a pork shoulder at 225 will take you about 12-16 hours. This time is affected by different factors, like humidity, outside temperature, and how long your grill holds temperature.

This is an estimated time for smoking. If you want to cook, it is advisable to cook your shoulder based on temperature.

How Long Will Pulled Pork Last In The Fridge?

After enjoying a family gathering or party and there is more pulled pork, storing them is the best option. Putting them in the fridge is an effective way to preserve them.

Your pulled pork will remain fresh for some days if you use the right method.

The meat will go for 2 to 3 days in the fridge without going bad. Do not exceed these days as you will be risking your health.

How Long Will Pulled Pork Last In The Freezer?

Unlike the refrigerator, where the pork stays fresh for about three days, a freezer is more reliable for preservation. If you put your pulled pork in sealed bags without air inside and set the correct freezer temperature, it can go for up to six months.

It is better to have flattened bags instead of rounded when storing the meat in the freezer. They make your work easier when you need to take the meat out.

How Far In Advance Can You Make Pulled Pork?

Avoid all the stress of cooking for a large family or party. You can prepare your pulled pork before the day of the event. There are different ways to prepare pulled pork depending on how many days ahead.

Slow cooker BBQ pulled pork can be prepared before and kept in the refrigerator for about 4 days. Another option is storing it in the freezer, where it can take stay fresh for 3 months.

If you do not prefer the above two methods, you can start your pulled pork cooking as early as 16 hours before serving.

One thing to keep in mind is to maintain low heat. You can exceed the time as it’s hard to overcook. The pulled pork can stay warm for up to 4 hours when the slow cooker is on the warm mode.

Can I Freeze And Reheat Pulled Pork?

Yes, it is possible. You can reheat the pork using different methods. The oven is one of the options and starts by preheating it to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

Get a roasting pan and place frozen pork in it and add your preferred reserved juice. Cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil, and place it in the oven for about 20-30 minutes.

Add source if needed and give it a few minutes. When the internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit, it is ready to serve.

If you love using the grill, set a gas grill to low charcoal at medium fire and a pellet grill at 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Your pork and juice should be placed on a disposable aluminum pan and put on the grilling rack.

For a charcoal grill, place it over indirect heat. Close the lid and give it 20-30 minutes and it will be ready when the internal temperature is at 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

The slow cooker can also reheat your pulled pork. Prepare your pork and add juice and barbecue sauce and mix. For the ‘warm’ setting, it will take about 2-3 hours while the ‘low’ setting will need an hour. When the internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit, it is ready.

The stovetop is also an alternative method to reheat pulled pork. Have a heavy skillet and place your pork and juice in it. Set your burner to medium-low mode, and cook.

Keep stirring for about 10-15 minutes. Add a little water or chicken stock to keep the meat moist. When the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit, you can serve it.

How Long Will Vacuum-Sealed Pulled Pork Last?

Vacuum sealed pork can go for about 2 weeks in the fridge at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Vacuum sealing increases the shelf life of the pork as it prevents air exposure.

With no air in the bag, the pork retains its flavor, freshness, and quality for a long time.


Pulled pork is one of the tasty dishes people crave for. With the understanding of what happens when the meat is cooked, you can have sufficient pulled pork for your guest.

Bobby Johnson

When he's not writing about barbecue, you can find Bobby smoking meat for friends and family. He's been a backyard pitmaster for roughly half his life, and has worked with nearly every cut of meat. Not everyone has a hands-on guide to teach them BBQ, but that's what Bobby hopes to do with Electric Smoker HQ. He wants to help people create amazing food that they can be proud of.