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How Many Pounds of Ribs per Person? [COMPLETED GUIDE]

How Many Pounds of Ribs per Person? [COMPLETED GUIDE]

Cooking ribs is always tricky, especially when you need to please some special guests. While planning a barbeque party, one of the first things to take into account is how many ribs per person should you plan for? Once you know how to calculate the amount of meat you need to prepare per person, barbecuing can actually become a lot easier.

In general, 3/4th to 1 pound of ribs is recommended per person. However, the standard portion size or the pounds of ribs per person will depend on the kind of meat or cut, the cooking method used, and who your guests are. Prior planning about the portion size will help in controlling the cost and reduce food waste. 

How many pounds of ribs per person is best mastered with planning and experience. Guest demographics and type of event are two of the most important factors to consider here. If ribs are the main part of the meal, here is a complete guide on how many ribs per person you should plan for:

ribs bbq

How Many Ribs In A Pound?

Ribs are obtained from the back part of the animal. Usually, this area has less muscle movement and therefore the meat is tender. Beef back ribs relatively have more fat compared to pork ribs.

  • A full rack of pork ribs has 13 ribs and weighs around 3 to 4 pounds. Assuming a standard trim, each pound may contain as many as 2-3 ribs. Baby back rib racks usually have 10 to 13 ribs that weigh around 1 ½ to 2 pounds and are about 3 to 6 inches long each.
  • A full rack of beef ribs has about 7 to 9 ribs and weighs around 3 to 4 pounds. However, entire slabs are rarely available commercially. You can choose to buy either beef back ribs or short plate or chuck ribs. Short plate ribs are considered one the best types of meats for barbecuing as it has loads of meat and fat. Beef ribs are larger in size than pork ribs and measure roughly about 7-8 inches.

What Are The Factors For Determining Ribs Per Person?

Always plan the entire menu before calculating how many pounds of meat you should purchase for the event. The number of ribs per person will depend upon who you have invited and what their eating habits are. It also depends upon the timing of your party. For example, guests invited to a barbeque dinner party are likely to consume more than celebrations that are done in lunch hours.

Consider whether the ribs are the main part of the meal or they will be used as side dishes. If you want to serve fewer pounds per person, then adding a few side dishes will reduce the quantity of consumption. Needless to say, it will also add some variety to the menu. Potatoes, fries, creamy carbs, chicken wings, bread, and pastries are likely to fill up your guests a bit faster. With at least three side dishes, one-third of a pound of meat can be estimated per person. If there will be children at the party, then they are likely to consume half the amount that of an adult.

A backyard pool or dinner barbeque party surely gets boring without some beer and wine! However, if alcohol is a must, then there would be a definite increase in the total consumption of food per person.

ribs tomatoes bbq

How Many Ribs Per Person?

While buying raw meat, consider the fact that a lot of moisture and fat evaporates during the process of smoking/ barbecuing, and the actual yield is relatively lower. As a general rule, the fattier the meat, the lower the yield will be.

For practical planning of any event, professionals would generally recommend 3/4th to 1 pound of ribs per person. The following chart will give you a rough idea for calculating the number of ribs or pounds per person with a generous serving size:

Actual Yield* Approximate Number/ Pounds of Ribs Per Person (Cooked) Features
Baby Back Ribs 50% Half a rack or 6 ribs Tender and Lean, High-in-demand.
Beef Ribs (Large Size) 85% 2-3 ribs Distinctive salty/ umami taste.
Racks (Pork) 60% 1 ½ pound Can have about 8-13 ribs. Juicy & flavorful comfort food. Blends well with a variety of sauces and marinades.
Spare ribs 70% 4-5 ribs Flatter, more juicier, and tender.
Brisket (Beef) 50% 3 ounces (6 servings for 6 pounds of brisket) Crispy and chewy. Reduced Fat and Moisture. It is a tough cut of meat.
Beef Tenderloin 75% 6 ounces Expensive, low-fat, and lean cut.
Pork Loin 70% 8 ounces Lean cut, relatively inexpensive, and generally served as boneless.

*Note that meat roughly loses about 25% of its total weight after cooking. The actual yield (read the full list) would depend upon the cooking method used. For instance, baked and roasted meat will give more yield than braising.

If you are considering lamb chops, then these will give you a yield of about 45 to 50%. 8 ounces of meat from lamb leg bone would be considered a generous serving size.

To explain in a simpler way, if you have invited 10 guests, then the total number of ribs required is:

  • With One Side Dish: 100 ribs or 120 oz. of 7.5 lbs ribs.
  • With Three Side Dishes –  70 ribs or 80 oz. of 5 lbs ribs.

Based on this easy calculation, you can multiply the number of guests accordingly and get a rough estimate of the total serving size.

How Many Pounds of Ribs Based On Calories Per Serving

Since an average person has a daily calorie value of about 2,000, we can roughly assume that a person will not have more than 500-600 calories of ribs per meal.

Now let’s take the example of baby back ribs to estimate how many pounds of ribs are required, based on calories per serving. Baby back ribs that are less than 2 pounds are more lean, tender, and juicy. Since each serving of baby back ribs (5-6 ribs) has about 20 grams of protein and 18 grams of fat, which amounts to about 500 calories per serving, we can assume that each person will have no more than 1 to ½ plates of baby back ribs.

½ a rack of beef ribs (2-3) has about 550 calories. Beef ribs are undoubtedly more filling than pork ribs as they have a higher calorie count. Beef ribs also contain higher amounts of protein and iron compared to pork ribs.

Do note that the number of calories will also depend on the cut of the meat and the cooking method.

Planning A Little Extra

In order to get the maximum yield, make sure you use a good barbeque with a reheating facility so that there’s minimum wastage. If the food is set out in a buffet style, then it will be great to place the salads and other dishes at the starting point. This will help you save the ribs for the last.

The problem with ribs is that everyone loves them, and nobody cares to count the calories at a barbeque party! As a party host, you would never want to get embarrassed for not having any food backup for your guests. Therefore, cooking a little extra is always recommended. Plan for at least 10 to 15% of additional ribs per person, which, if left unused, can be saved for the next day.

This guide on how many pounds of ribs per person will boost your culinary journey and help you plan the best barbeque party!

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