Catering amount


 

Tony-Chicago

TVWBB Wizard
I over do but.

Told 2 to 2.5 per pound cooked. I do one pound per person pre... then add more.

Questions first:
What is the whole menu?
How many eaters?
What time of day?
Served or free for all? Or someone help make sandwiches on the spot?

Time of day is not so much for quantity, more for timing and a whole lot more.
There are threads on this too.

One two or three...

I would make several.
 

DanHoo

TVWBB Emerald Member
I'd end up over cooking and I'd have a plan for too much food. Some way to either freeze freeze or send leftovers home with people.

Ribs are the hard one for me to estimate. 2 to 3 people per slab? But that's not considering pulled pork, presuming pulled pork sammies.

Maybe estimate 3 people per slab plus an extra, so with 32 people that's 12 slabs.

Is there a chance you'll have any that don't eat pork? If so a few pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs smoked and grilled can round out the menu. They are great on buns or alone as another flavor.
 

Scott Smith

TVWBB Super Fan
My suggestion for the ribs is to make slabs in several different ways and encourage people to try one of each. For example, you can work your quantities out to three ribs per person fairly neatly by offering plain, salt and paper, and some other flavor and encouraging everyone to try one of each. Also, everyone can discuss what they liked best.
 

Brett-EDH

TVWBB Guru
i've done a bunch of catering in the past so do what you want with this reply.

on PP, budget 6 oz cooked weight per person. so budget 8 oz pre-cook weight to account for shrinkage.

i'm assuming you're serving PP on a roll and will have sides too? if so, the 6oz cooked meat per person should be plenty.

on ribs, not everyone eats ribs, unless you're known as THE RIB GUY, and that everyone eats your ribs. i'd budget 3 ribs per person, so 3 -4 people per side. not everyone, especially kids, eat ribs. ribs are messy.

if you're doing sides, budget 2 oz per person for each side. so if you have three sides (slaw, pot salad, and beans) you'd have 6 oz of sides, plus 6 oz of PP and three ribs. that's over 1# of food per person.

that'll make some fat and happy people. women eat less than men. some men eat too much. some people will drink their calories.

and i'm betting you're serving dessert so, unless you want a boatload of leftovers, these numbers are pretty close to real. GL. we'll wait for pics.
 

Scott Smith

TVWBB Super Fan
Another trick to make ribs more manageable, meaty, and impressive for your guests is to essentially cut out every other rib bone, leaving full meat on both sides of the remaining bones.
 

Michael Smotch

TVWBB Fan
Sounds good. Thinking some chicken picatta trays,
shrimp and orzo pasta salad.
3ft Italian hero, few pizza pies. Probably do the pork butts only ahead.
 

Tony-Chicago

TVWBB Wizard
Sounds like a nice selection, but a bit of work. Pizza is always a good filler. Hopefully the pulled pork will be so good the other food will go unnoticed...

Pulled pork sandwiches?
Cole slaw, potato salad, ...
Doing them in advance does have advantages. You can sous vide for a long time then toast them at the right time.
 

timothy

TVWBB Olympian
Depends if you use buns or rolls for the PP.
Regular hamburger buns, folks usually have more than one sammy.
Pretzel or similar roll folks usually have only one.
 

Mark Foreman

TVWBB All-Star
I start with the whole menu. Then I figure out how much per person for each dish, do the shopping and cooking and usually have lots of leftovers. Way more than what we planned for.

Case in point, did lunch for 40 (pre COVID). I cooked 40 chicken thighs and 8 slabs of St Louis ribs. Sides were potato salad, baked beans, mixed salad. After they dug through 6 different appetizers and lots of drinks, we served lunch. People took a bit of everything which in most cases was less than a calculated serving per person.

Once lunch was done, we had 2 full slabs of ribs, 6 thighs, 1/3 of the beans, 1/2 of the potato salad, and 1/3 of the salad (all guesstimates). Everyone was stuffed.

The thing we got wrong wasn’t servings per person for each dish but the sheer number of dishes. In the end, WAY too much food. Oh, I didn’t mention the 2 desserts….

So now we plan based on number of dishes being served. Allow for appetizers and drinks. The more appetizers served means less meal on the guest plates….

My observation, hope it helps.
 

Dustin Dorsey

TVWBB Hall of Fame
At least this a reasonable question. It's usually, "I cooked my first port butt last saturday! It was awesome. My friend wants me to cater his wedding and there will be 400 guests. I have a tamale pot smoker made from a smokey joe, and the grate from my oven I can put over a hole in the ground. How much should I cook and what should my timing be?"
 

Brett-EDH

TVWBB Guru
At least this a reasonable question. It's usually, "I cooked my first port butt last saturday! It was awesome. My friend wants me to cater his wedding and there will be 400 guests. I have a tamale pot smoker made from a smokey joe, and the grate from my oven I can put over a hole in the ground. How much should I cook and what should my timing be?"
Catering; where men show up to make a perceived financial killing because they think they can run a backyard bbq and wind up getting killed doing catering.
 

BFletcher

TVWBB Gold Member
i've done a bunch of catering in the past so do what you want with this reply.

on PP, budget 6 oz cooked weight per person. so budget 8 oz pre-cook weight to account for shrinkage.
This illustrates why I avoid the temptation of offering a recommendation on these questions. With my own experience as a novice I'd suggest factoring a 40% loss from the initial weight. It's nice that this site has members whom are well-experienced :)

But I would also add that in my humble opinion one can overshoot a PP calculation without risk by freezing and serving it for future meals.

Best of luck, and enjoy your party @Michael Smotch!
 

 

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