How Many Pounds Of Pulled Pork Do You Need Per Person?

Pulled pork is one of the inexpensive dishes that can feed a large crowd. The big question though is, how many pounds of pulled pork do you need per person? Of course, you do not want your guests to starve or end up having huge leftovers. If you have pulled pork on the menu, then an easy calculation can help you achieve the most accurate results every time.

An average person consumes around ‘⅓ pounds’ of roasted pulled pork. The amount of raw pork required would be double as pork loses fat and moisture during the process of smoking/ grilling/ cooking. Illustration: For 30 people, the total amount of cooked pulled pork required would be 6 pounds, and the amount of raw pork required would be 12 pounds.

No BBQ party is ever complete without some pulled pork recipes. Pulled pork is prepared from perfectly roasted pork shoulder (or Boston Butt) that readily melts in your mouth. The succulent meat tastes heavenly and therefore once you offer it to your guests, it is of course, not there to stay for long! Continue reading to find out how many pounds of pulled pork are needed per person and what are some of the best pulled-pork recipes.

pulled pork

How Many Pounds Of Cooked Pulled Pork Per Person?

An average person requires ⅓ pounds of pulled pork per person. Or, in other words, a pound of pork can feed around three people. The best-tasting pulled pork is prepared from pork shoulder (or more precisely, ‘the Boston Butt cut’).

The actual amount of pork required will also depend on some factors such as:

  • Kids – Young children are likely to have ½ or ⅔ of what an average adult would have.
  • Events – For a booze party or a get-together with sit-down meals, you would require more amount of pulled pork than the average.
  • Timing – People are likely to eat more at dinner than at lunch. They are also likely to eat more on Friday nights (or if they have their work off the next day).
  • Type of dish – If you are serving in the form of sandwiches or buns, then the amount required would be less than if you were serving directly. The quantity per head will also go down if there are other side dishes at the party.

How Many Pounds Of Raw Pork For Pulled Pork Per Person?

Raw pork loses its moisture and fat content during the process of smoking/ roasting/ grilling/ cooking. This results in a loss of about 40 to 50% or about half of the initial volume. Therefore, one would always need to buy double the amount of pork to serve the total number of guests.

The basic formula for calculating the amount of total pork required is as follows:

Total Amount of Cooked Pork Needed = Total number of guests X ⅓

Example: For 30 people, the total amount of cooked pork needed will be 30 X ⅓ = 10 pounds.

Total Amount of Raw Pork = Total Amount of Cooked Pulled Pork X ½

Example: For 30 people, the total amount of raw pulled pork would be 10 (see above) X ½ = 20 pounds.

Note that the above-mentioned formula gives more accurate results when you are using boneless pork. For bone-in, one would need ½ pound of pork per person.

For easy understanding, here’s a quick reference chart for the amount of cooked or raw pork required per person on average:

Number of Guests Total Amount of Raw Pork Required [Boneless] (pounds) Total Amount of Cooked Pulled Pork Required [Boneless] (pounds) Total Amount of Raw Pork Required 

[Bone-in] (pounds)

Total Amount of Cooked Pulled Pork Required 

[Bone-in] (pounds)

9 6 3 9 4.5
18 12 6 18 9
30 20 10 30 15
45 30 15 45 22.5

As discussed above, the amount of pulled pork per person will depend on the type of crowd. For example, a group of young athletes may need to consume more compared to a kid or small family get-togethers. Therefore, one must consider these factors before buying the recommended cut.

How Many Pounds Of Pork Roast For Pulled Pork Per Person?

A whole pork shoulder would weigh around 12 to 18 pounds. A pork shoulder can be cut into two parts: Boston Butt and Picnic Shoulder. Pork Butt (or Boston Butt) is used to make pulled pork and the former weighs around 5 to 10 pounds. Since pork loses its volume (or yield) during roasting/cooking, the net yield of cooked pork is only around 2.5 to 5 pounds.

Again going with the same formula, about ⅓ pounds of pork roast for pulled pork would be required per person. 2.5 pounds of pork roast would yield pulled pork for about 7 people (2.5 X ⅓), while 5 pounds of pork roast (5 X ⅓) would yield pulled pork for 14 people.

pulled pork per person

The Best Pulled Pork Dishes

Since No BBQ party is ever complete without some pulled pork recipes, we have listed some of the most popular ones for your next big occasion:

    1. Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Pulled pork sandwiches can be effortlessly made from roasted and boneless pulled pork. There are hundreds of pulled pork sandwiches recipes, but the most classic one is with BBQ sauce. Use a fork to shred the pork roast and then toss it with BBQ sauce (by simmering ketchup, vinegar, mustard, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce). Add the filling in between two slices of sandwich bread and press firmly. You may even add cheese or grill the sandwiches for enhancing the taste.

If you are wondering how many pounds of pork per person is required for making pulled pork sandwiches, then a good thumb rule is – 5 ounces of shredded pulled pork per sandwich. You may also add sliced onions, tomato, or shredded cabbage for giving a fresh punch to the sandwich.

    2. Pulled Pork Bun

Pulled pork buns or burgers are prepared in pretty much the same way as sandwiches. On one side of a toasted brioche bun, pile up some pulled pork and drizzle some BBQ sauce. Top it up with coleslaw, add a cheese slice, and seal the end with the other side of the bun. You may even wrap the burger for the convenience of your guests. (Learn how to wrap a burger here).

    3. Pulled Pork Salad

There are hundreds of ways to prepare lip-smacking and healthy pulled pork salad. One of the most famous ones is the Southwest Shredded Pork Salad. To prepare, take a large bowl and mix apple cider vinegar, pulled pork roast, chopped green chilies, chili powder, hot pepper sauce, tomatoes, red onion, canned black beans, corn, shredded mozzarella cheese, choice of salad dressing, and salt and pepper to taste. When finished tossing, add some cooking juice on top of the salad and let it sit in the fridge for about an hour before serving.


Even when you have done the most accurate calculations, there might be incidents like guest absentees or other unfortunate events when you may have some leftovers. Reheating pulled pork can yield disappointing, dried-out meat. For maximum retention of flavors and juices, store the pulled pork leftovers in a vacuum seal pack at 40 ℉ or 4℃ in the fridge within 2 hours of cooking (according to the USDA guidelines). If you want to preserve it for a longer time, then place the pack in the freezer. Remember to cool the pulled pork completely before portioning it into vacuum seal packs. Pulled pork can be reheated in the oven, slow cooker, or using the Sous Vide Method.