How much pulled pork per person?

“How much pulled pork per person?” is a question many have wondered before hosting a BBQ party. After all, you want to ensure that your guests don’t go home hungry. In this article, I will share my tips on how to calculate the appropriate amount to prepare.

How Much Shredded Pork Per Person

When it comes to determining how much pulled pork to prepare per person, a common rule of thumb is to aim for about 1/2 to 1/3 pounds of cooked pulled pork per adult. However, to get that amount of cooked pulled pork, you’ll need to start with almost double the weight in raw pork, thanks to the magic (and science) of cooking.

As for kids, they generally eat less, so a good estimate is about 1/4 pound of cooked pulled pork per child. But remember, these estimates could change depending on the other dishes available and the overall appetite of your guests.

Pulled Pork Calculator

To make things easier, let’s introduce a simple formula for you to calculate how much raw pork you’ll need. Let’s call this our ‘Pulled Pork Calculator.’

Type of GuestRaw Pork Needed
Adult1 to 2/3 pound
Child1/2 pound
Pork Servings Per Person

These values are an approximation, but they can give you a solid starting point when planning your next BBQ.

Why More Raw Pork?

You may be wondering why you need more raw pork than the cooked serving size. Well, during the cooking process, the pork loses moisture, and thus weight, through the evaporation of water and the rendering of fat. As a result, a significant amount of the raw pork weight is lost, leading to a decrease in the final yield of pulled pork.

Things to Consider

  • Type of Pork: Different cuts of pork can yield different amounts of pulled pork. For instance, pork shoulder, also known as Boston Butt, is an excellent choice for pulled pork.
  • Method of Cooking: Whether you are smoking on a pellet grill, slow cooking, or using a traditional grill, the method can affect the final weight of your cooked pulled pork.
  • Appetites of Guests: Knowing your guests is key. Some might have a larger appetite, while others might prefer lighter meals. Adjust accordingly.

Type of Pork

Pork Butt

The pork butt, despite its misleading name, actually comes from the shoulder of the pig. This cut of meat is a favorite for pulled pork recipes because of its high-fat content and connective tissue that breaks down during slow cooking, resulting in tender, flavorful meat.

Pork Shoulder

This is the lower part of the pork butt and it’s also commonly used for pulled pork. Like the pork butt, it has plenty of fat and connective tissue that contribute to the succulent taste and texture of pulled pork.

Other Cuts

While pork butt and shoulder are the go-to cuts for pulled pork, you can also use other parts like the picnic ham or even the tenderloin, although these might yield slightly different textures and flavors.

Quick Tips To Make Your Pulled Pork Better

Start with a good dry rub for your pork. A mix of brown sugar, paprika, pepper, and salt is a good start. Rub it into the pork and let it sit overnight before cooking. The dry rub not only adds flavor but also aids in creating a wonderful crust, often referred to as “bark,” on the cooked pulled pork.

When it’s time to cook, remember to slow and low. Pulled pork needs time to break down those connective tissues and render the fat for that melt-in-your-mouth texture. Rushing it can result in tough meat.

Other Considerations

When planning your BBQ, keep in mind not just the pork but also the sides and desserts. Too much variety can mean less pork eaten. Also, consider whether your event is casual or more formal. People tend to eat less at formal events.

Also, consider the time of your event. If it’s around mealtime, people will likely eat more. If it’s in between meals, people might eat less.

Anticipate Leftovers

Even with the most precise calculations, chances are you’ll end up with leftover pulled pork. But that’s not a bad thing! Pulled pork is versatile and can be reused in various delicious recipes like pulled pork tacos, sandwiches, and more.

Also, remember that people usually eat less in group settings due to socializing, so having more pulled pork isn’t necessarily a negative outcome.

Cooking Process


Smoking is a popular method for cooking pulled pork. It provides a distinct, smoky flavor that many find irresistible. A pellet grill is an excellent choice for smoking, as it maintains a consistent temperature for the long cooking duration necessary for the perfect pulled pork.


You can also cook your pulled pork on a traditional grill. While it may not have the same smoky flavor as smoking, grilling still provides a unique, charred flavor that many enjoy.

Slow Cooking

If you don’t have access to a grill, a slow cooker is a great alternative. While you won’t get the bark that smoking or grilling provides, you’ll still end up with delicious, tender pulled pork.

Simple Pulled Pork Recipe

Looking to create a mouth-watering pork dish for your next gathering? This simple pulled pork recipe is for you. It’s straightforward, requires minimal ingredients, and the result is delicious, tender, and smoky pulled pork that your guests will love.


  • 8-10 lbs Pork shoulder or Boston Butt
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of paprika
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce


  1. Prepare the Dry Rub: In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and thyme. This mixture will serve as your dry rub.
  2. Prep the Pork: Rinse your pork shoulder and pat it dry. Apply the dry rub, coating all sides of the pork evenly. Allow the pork to sit with the rub for at least an hour, or even overnight if possible.
  3. Preheat Your Grill: Preheat your pellet grill or traditional grill to 225°F. This low temperature is perfect for slow-cooking pork.
  4. Cook the Pork: Place the pork shoulder on the grill, fat side up. Close the lid and let it cook. A good rule of thumb is to cook for about 90 minutes per pound of pork.
  5. Check the Temperature: The ideal internal temperature for pulled pork is about 195°F. Use a meat thermometer to check.
  6. Rest and Pull the Pork: Once cooked, remove the pork from the grill and let it rest for about 30 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute. After resting, pull the pork apart with two forks. It should be tender and easy to shred.
  7. Serve and Enjoy: Drizzle your favorite BBQ sauce over the pulled pork and serve.

Factors that Affect the Cooking Process

Many factors can affect your cooking process. The type of grill you use, the temperature at which you cook, and even the weather can all play a role in how your pulled pork turns out. It’s essential to monitor the meat and adjust as needed to ensure you end up with the best possible result.

Ideas for Leftovers

Pulled pork tacos, pulled pork sandwiches, and pulled pork pizza are just a few of the delicious dishes you can make with leftover pulled pork. It’s versatile and can be used in a variety of different recipes, so don’t be afraid to get creative!

How to Store Leftovers

  • Refrigeration: Leftover pulled pork can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. Be sure to store it in an airtight container to maintain its freshness.
  • Freezing: For longer storage, you can freeze leftover pork. It can last up to three months in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat it, simply defrost it in the refrigerator and reheat it.
  • Reheating: When reheating your leftover pulled pork, add a splash of broth or water to keep it moist. Reheat it slowly on low heat to maintain its tenderness.

Proper storage of leftover pulled pork is crucial to maintain its quality and safety. In the refrigerator, store it in shallow airtight containers or resealable plastic bags. If you’re freezing it, wrap it in aluminum foil or freezer paper, then put it in a freezer bag.

Remember to write the date on the bag, so you’ll know how long it’s been stored.


Preparing the right amount of pulled pork per person doesn’t have to be a stressful task. By following our guidelines and using our pulled pork calculator, you’ll be well on your way to a successful BBQ. And remember, a little leftover pulled pork can be a good thing, especially when you can turn it into a delicious pulled pork taco for lunch the next day, or use it to enhance your favorite vinegar-based Carolina BBQ Sauce. Happy grilling!

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