How Much BBQ to Make per Person

You’ve probably heard the saying, “the man at the grill is the closest thing we have to a king.” However, no great king wants to rule a kingdom full of hungry subjects. In other words, you don’t want to throw a barbecue party and not have enough food for all your guests. But how do you know how much BBQ to make per person?

How Much BBQ to Make per Person

With our ultimate barbecue planning guide, you can grill your worries goodbye and have enough BBQ to not only cover your guests but also have leftovers for a quick snack.

So, the next time you light up the grill, you’ll know just how much BBQ to make per person. Let’s get started!

Barbecue Planning and Essentials

When hosting any party, it’s your responsibility to take care of your guests and ensure their satisfaction. The first step to take when planning a barbecue is to decide what’ll be on your menu. Even though a BBQ is typically a meat fest, meat isn’t the only thing you need to concern yourself with. You must factor in your appetizers, refreshments, side dishes, and desserts.

Once you decide on a menu, you can figure out the ideal portion size for each person and make your shopping list accordingly. Knowing how much BBQ to make per person is like drawing the line between shortage and wastage. If you don’t have a shopping list yet, here are some essential BBQ items:

  • Meat (Chicken, Turkey, Beef, Lamb, etc.)
  • Burgers and/or hot dogs (including buns and rolls)
  • Garnish (lettuce, tomato, and red onion, etc.)
  • Cheese
  • Salads (basic salad, coleslaw, and potato salad)
  • Condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayo, BBQ sauce or relish, etc.)
  • Dessert (ice cream, pudding, cake, and pie, etc.)
  • Drinks

Factors to Consider

While figuring out how much BBQ per person you’ll need, you don’t need an exact number. You just need a rough estimate the preferably goes over but never short. The following are some factors you should consider in your barbecue planning:

1. Number of Guests

The most important factor that will influence the amount of barbecue you cook is your guest list. This question is a basic one, and you need to ask yourself. The math is simple – the fewer the guests, the less food you’ll need to make unless you’re hosting an eating competition.

2. Children, Teens or Adults

Just because you know how many guests you’re expecting doesn’t mean they’re all equal in terms of age and appetite. If you’re hosting a party with fewer adults and more children, you won’t need too much meat per person. Still, you might need more kid-friendly snacks, soda, and drinks. Most people don’t count kids to avoid leftovers, but they should.

A hungry adult or pack of starving teenagers can easily make up the difference for the kids. After all, a barbecue is not exactly a sit-down event with everyone playing outdoor games, swimming, or engaged in other activities. You want to count kids as adults to compensate for adults with bigger appetites. You can increase the sides or the main, depending on the role of meat.

3. Role of Meat

When you’re hosting a barbecue party, the role of meat is essential. When we say “role”, it simply refers to whether the meats will be your main dish, a side dish, or an appetizer. Breaking your meats in these categories might sound strange considering it’s a barbecue, which generally implies meat is the main offering. Still, you never know with the current generation and their eating habits.

When the meat is the main dish, you have to buy it in larger amounts (preferably ½ a pound per person). If meant as a side dish or part of another dish like pasta, curry, or sandwich, then ¼ pound per person should suffice.

4. Type of Meat

The meat-type you include in your menu will help you determine how much quantity per person you need. Typically, you can group meat into three categories – red meat, white meat, and seafood.

5. Time of the Day

Even though this might not be as important as the factors above, you should still consider it. A general rule is: you’ll need more quantity per person if you’re throwing a lunch barbecue. This rule simply exists because people generally tend to eat more during the day and less at night.

How Much BBQ to Make per Person

Since meat is generally the main course of more barbecues, you can use the simple guide below to estimate the amount of meat you need to purchase:

1. Chicken

Chicken is one of the most popular meat choices for a barbecue. If it’s going to be your primary meat, you’ll need at least 4-5 ounces per person. If you’re serving chicken as side dishes or appetizers, then 1 or 2 pieces should suffice.

2. Steak

Steak is usually the first-choice meat for barbecues. If it’s part of your main dish, you need at least 8-10 ounces per person. This quantity also depends on the steak type and preparation method. For instance, you’ll need more seafood steak per person than beef steak.

3. Burgers and Hot Dogs

Burgers and hot dogs are BBQ staples, and they’re the easiest to prepare and eat. Generally, 1 pound of ground beef will yield about ¾ pounds of burger, which can serve around four people. For hot dogs, you don’t need any measurements. If they’re the main dish, 2-3 per person should suffice depending on the size, condiments, and extras such as cheese and veggies.

Our Final Thoughts

The key to any great event is planning and preparation. With this barbecue planning guide, you can avoid any confusion and fire up the grill with confidence.  Whether you’re hosting a barbecue party of 5 or 50, you’ll know exactly how much BBQ to make per person.

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