How Much Pulled Pork Per Person

Cooking is such a fun thing to do. Whether it be cooking for your family or cooking for your friends, it’s always a fun task but there is one thing that sucks.

And that is portioning. It’s perhaps the most difficult part of cooking, and most of the time it is impossible to get it right.

Portioning a meal that has multiple ingredients is difficult enough, let alone portioning a meal that only consists of one thing. Pulled pork, in particular, is extremely hard to portion as you cannot physically see if you have cooked enough until you get to the pulling stage of the recipe.

But there’s no need to worry because we’ve put together this guide which is dedicated to knowing how much pulled pork to cook per person.

So if that’s something you want to find out, please read on. 

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What is pulled pork?

First, let’s establish what pulled pork is. If you didn’t already know, pulled pork is a barbeque dish that traditionally originated in the Southern States of the USA.

It is a dish that requires a long cooking process and usually takes up to 8 hours to cook but the finished result is incredibly yummy. It involves slow cooking a pork shoulder, before shredding it and mixing it with a barbecue sauce for the finished result. 

Pulled pork can make a great meal or a great topping for a variety of different side dishes, and it’s a guaranteed favorite whether you’re cooking for your family or a barbecue with your friends.

But how much is the right amount per person?

You don’t want to cook too much pork that it goes to waste and, even worse, you don’t want to cook too little that people go without.

Let’s take a look at the best way to identify how much pulled pork you should cook per person. 

How much pulled pork per person?

So what is the best way to portion pulled pork per person? The first thing that you need to establish is how many people you will be cooking for. Obviously, no two people will eat the exact same amount of pulled pork as each other.

You are going to have guests who will eat less than others, the same as you will have guests who will eat significantly more than others. But it is best to portion your pulled pork on averages.

You will never be able to calculate exactly what each of your guests will eat, so it is best to portion it on an average to ensure there is enough to go around. 

Working on the assumption that every person will eat the same amount as one another, one pound of pulled pork should feed three people. This is not set in stone, and the amount that each person will eat will vary, but one pound of pork should be more than enough to feed 3 of your guests.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should just go out and buy one pound of pork for every three guests, multiplying it to reach the total number of guests.

If you do this, you will likely end up with some hungry and disappointed guests as cooked pulled pork does not weigh the same amount as an uncooked shoulder of pork. 

Raw pork will weigh a significant amount more than the pork will once it has been cooked and shredded. In fact, raw pork will always weigh around about double the amount that the pork will weigh once it has been cooked.

It is common for grocery stores to add a significant amount of water to the raw pork to increase the weight and therefore the price of the meat.

This water, along with a lot of other juices that are naturally included in the pork, will evaporate during the cooking process leaving the cooked meat at a significantly lower weight than before it was cooked. 

To combat this, you should not buy raw meat that weighs more than double the amount that you want it to weigh when cooked. To calculate the exact amount of raw meat you should buy, depending on the number of guests you are cooking for, you should follow this simple calculation:

(Total number of guests x 0.3) x 2 = Amount of raw pork you should buy

Based on this calculation, if you wanted to cook pulled pork for 12 guests you should buy 8 pounds of raw pork as this will reduce to the 4 pounds that you need once it has been cooked and shredded. 

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Factors to Consider

However, these calculations are just a rule of thumb, and some factors will impact how much pulled pork you should cook. Based on these factors it might be appropriate to increase or reduce the amount of pork that you cook to ensure none is wasted and no people go without. 

The first thing you should consider is whether you are cooking the pulled pork as the main feature or whether it is simply a dish on the buffet table. If you are only cooking pulled pork, perhaps with a side dish of fries, your guests are likely to want a significant amount more of pork than if you were offering pulled pork as a side dish to burgers.

If you are cooking it as the main meal you should follow the 1 pound per 3 people method, however, if it is a side dish you might want to cook less pulled pork to avoid any going to waste. 

You should also consider the setting of your event. If you are having a barbecue alongside a pool party or an event that is quite active, your guests will probably eat less than if you were cooking a formal, sit-down meal.

You should also reduce the amount that you cook if the event is taking place at lunchtime as people generally eat less at this time than during the evening. 


In short, you should cook on average 1 pound of pulled pork per 3 guests at your event.

However, you will have to buy double this weight in raw pork to have enough to feed all of your guests.

You should consider the different factors that will impact the amount that people will eat, however, it is always best to cook too much rather than not enough. 

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