How Much Brisket Per Person Do I Need?

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Brisket is a tried-and-true classic, but it’s also a hot new trend with amateur barbecuers. With a little bit of know-how, you can deliver smoky, sought-after slices of beef with a crunchy bark and tender inside.

Aside from cooking the brisket well and nailing the flavor, the most crucial thing is to know how much brisket per person you need to cook.

It may seem tricky, but it’s important to spend some time thinking about it to ensure a successful event, party or holiday dinner.

But don’t worry, in this article you’ll learn everything you need to know to make sure you have enough beef brisket per person.

This post will cover:

  • How Much Brisket Per Person Overview
  • How Much Brisket Per Person For Sandwiches
  • Other Considerations For Brisket Serving Sizes
    • Type Of Guests
    • How Brisket Will Be Served
    • Sides Dishes and Desserts
    • Alcohol
    • Type and Time Of Event
  • Leftover Brisket
  • Quick Guide To Serve 5-100 People
How much brisket to serve per person

How Much Brisket Per Person?

How much brisket you will need to serve per person depends on a variety of factors. But the first thing to consider is the meat itself. Why? Because how much brisket per person depends on your cut.

The Packer’s cut is a whole brisket that can weigh anywhere from 10 to 16 pounds. However, most butchers frequently separate and sell brisket as two different cuts: the point and flat.

  • The flat is commonly used for braised brisket because it is a leaner piece of meat. It is also known as the first cut.
  • The point, also known as the second cut or deckle cut, is a thicker and fattier cut of brisket typically used in a smoker or grill.

How Much Whole Packer Brisket Per Person

Let’s break down how many pounds of brisket you should get based on 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 lb for the number of people you are serving. This is an uncooked whole packer brisket, with point and flat intact.

  •  1/4 pound cooked portions: This is a small serving size. You’ll need about a 1/2 pound of raw brisket to get this portion size per person.
  •  1/2 pound cooked portions: This is a standard serving size. You’ll need about 1 pound of raw brisket to get this portion size per person.
  •  3/4 pound cooked portions: This is a large serving size best for big eaters. You need about 1 1/2 pounds of raw brisket to get this portion size per person.

Most recipes call for an 8-10 pound brisket for 14-16 servings or 1/2 – 3/4 pounds per person. Barbeque lovers set the bar even higher, proposing 1.5 pounds of uncooked meat per person to allow 3/4 lbs of cooked meat.

Raw uncooked brisket

How Much Flat Cut Brisket Per Person

A good rule of thumb is around half a pound of cooked flat-cut brisket per person for braising. However, you may require as little as 1/4 pound or 3/4 pound of meat, depending on the situation.

Recipes for braised brisket usually call for 3 to 3 1/2 pounds of meat to serve 6-8 people or 1/4 to 1/2 pound per person.

How Much Point Cut Brisket Per Person

You need to boost the amount of meat per person for the point cut since the fat cap will shrink during the cooking process. In fact, you should expect to lose up to 40-50% of the meat’s volume during cooking.

Most recipes call for an uncooked weight of 4-5 pounds of brisket for 10-12 servings of 1/4 to 1/2 pound per person.

How Much Brisket Per Person for Sandwiches?

You typically won’t need quite as much meat per person if you make brisket sandwiches. The standard amount of cooked meat per sandwich is 4 to 5 ounces. As a result, a single pound of cooked brisket can make three or four sandwiches.

A brisket can have 50% weight loss by the time it’s ready to serve due to fat removal and overall shrinkage. If you want to serve half a pound of brisket to each person, start with one pound of uncooked brisket to end up with a half-pound of cooked brisket, assuming a 50% loss.

Smoked Brisket Sandwich

How Much Brisket To Serve Per Person: Considerations

As discussed earlier, when buying brisket, the first step to consider is trimming and shrinkage. Trimming and shrinkage can result in a loss of half the total weight of the brisket. The loss may be less, but it’s a good idea to be safe rather than sorry. You certainly don’t want to run out of brisket during your party!

But there are plenty of other important factors when preparing the right amount of brisket. Some you might not have even thought about before. Let’s take a look at some other things to think about when deciding how much brisket you’ll need per person.

Types Of Guests

You probably know who has a good appetite if you’re feeding relatives and close friends.

Some people have bigger appetites and will enjoy larger servings. Others will eat less brisket, and there may even be a few vegetarians or dieters in the group of people.

Most children will eat a small amount of meat or none at all. You might even consider offering hot dogs for the little ones instead of the more pricey brisket that might just end up in the garbage can!

Hungry, growing teenagers might polish off quite a bit of brisket. And on average, men typically eat more than women.

And don’t forget there’s always the possibility that one of your guests will be a heavy hitter who will go for a second helping!

Number of Guests

If you’re inviting only a few guests that you know, it will be relatively easy to determine how much brisket you’ll need per person based on their eating habits.

But if you’re cooking brisket for a large crowd, it’s a little tougher. In this case, an easy way to estimate the right about of meat is to use these general guidelines:

  • Small portion: Half a pound of raw brisket yields 1/4 pound of cooked brisket per person
  • Standard portion: One pound of raw brisket yields 1/2 pound of cooked brisket per person
  • Large portion: 1.5 pounds of raw brisket yields 3/4 pound of cooked brisket per person
Chopped Brisket

How Brisket Will Be Served

Brisket is typically served as slices or chopped. Most people will slice the flat end of the brisket. The point is typically served chopped or shredded because of its high-fat content and uneven shape.

Chopped brisket is great for sandwiches. It’s also a great way to make your meat stretch a little further. A 1/4 pound serving of chopped meat takes up more space on the plate than a slice of the same weight which makes it look like a larger portion!

On the other hand, slices are the way to go if you want to create a sophisticated-looking platter for a more formal meal.

Type Of Event

There is a big difference in how people eat depending on the occasion. For instance, you’re not likely to serve the same amount of food for a baby shower as when there is a big game on.

It’s easier to control servings and portions per person if you have a formal sit-down dinner. If you’re having a buffet or casual event where people will serve themselves, you should plan to have more meat ready to go.

Time And Length Of The Event

The time of day significantly impacts how much food people consume. People typically eat less at early gatherings.

You won’t need as much food for a midday event as you would for a dinner party because most of us think of the evening meal as the big feast of the day. You might consider reducing your anticipated serving sizes if you expect company in the morning or for lunch.

Long Parties Or Open-Ended Events

Also consider that if you’re having a longer party or open-ended event, your guests may nibble throughout the day. As a result, you’ll need to think about both the meal and the duration of the event.

Time To Prepare The Brisket

Serving a fresh brisket for a lunch gathering also poses a different problem. Brisket smoking is a marathon task, and a large packer can take up to 15 hours to cook and then it still needs time to rest.

A brisket for dinner is easier to plan for because you can start it in the early morning hours. If you want to carve a freshly-cooked brisket at lunchtime, you’ll need to undertake an overnight cook for tender, juicy meat.

BBQ meat platter with brisket

Other Foods And Drinks At The Event

Another factor to consider when planning your brisket amounts is the amount and type of other food and beverages you will offer your guests.

If you’re on a tight budget or just want to be conservative with the amount of meat you buy, consider serving smaller portions per person and serve a lot of food options.

Other Meat Dishes

If you really want to serve brisket, but are concerned about cost or about not having enough meat consider serving it with another lower-cost meat option like spare ribs, pork butt or even chicken wings. If there are multiple main dish options, people will tend to take smaller amounts of each.

Dessert

You may also need less meat to satisfy your guests if you have a more decadent or heavier dessert on the menu or a dessert table. If that’s the case, a great option is to consider showcasing the desserts before serving the dinner so visitors know that they should save room for dessert.

Alcohol

If cocktails are on the agenda, plan for more food! When people drink, they tend to eat more. Plan for more significant meat portions, whether you’re tailgating, camping or spending the day or evening on the patio with adult beverages.

Mac n cheese side for brisket

Side Dishes

Besides being tender, juicy and delicious, there’s another reason people love brisket: it pairs so well with classic side dishes!

If you provide appetizers, sides, or bread with your meal, your guests will likely eat less meat, especially if your sides are heavy. Examples of hefty sides are things like baked beans, rich mac and cheese and hearty potato salad. You may get away with a 1/4 pound of brisket per person if you have generous sides.

On the other hand, salads and coleslaw aren’t as filling, so people may end up eating more of the brisket.

Ideas For Sides To Serve With Brisket

Some classic sides dishes are a perfect pairing with brisket. They’re also popular favorites, so expect people to pile these on their plates!

Here are a few ideas to serve with brisket.

  • Scalloped potatoes
  • Coleslaw
  • Baked beans
  • Corn on the cob
  • Grilled asparagus
  • Mac ‘n cheese
  • Hushpuppies
  • Dinner rolls
  • Corn pudding
  • Grilled potato skins
Baked beans side for brisket

Leftover Brisket

If there are only small pieces of extra brisket leftover, you can toss them into a bean chili or sprinkle them onto pizza or nachos. Even little bits of smoked brisket serve as a great flavoring.

If you’ve got a bunch of leftover brisket after your party, don’t worry. It’s not a bad thing, it’s actually a good thing! There are plenty of fantastic brisket recipes you can make that use extra meat. The great part is that these recipes not only highlight the brisket, but elevate it into a whole new dish.

Here are just a few great ideas to use up that leftover brisket:

  • Smoked Brisket Chili
  • Brisket Enchiladas
  • Brisket Sandwich
  • Lasagna With BBQ Sauce
  • Brisket Mac N’ Cheese
Sliced Smoked Brisket

Quick Guide: How Many People Will a Brisket Feed?

An entire packer typically weighs 12-15 pounds. As a rough estimate, that amount will yield about 12-15 half-pound servings of cooked meat, so a whole packer brisket could reasonably feed 10-20 people.

If you already have your guest list count, the following quick guide will help you easily estimate how much raw brisket you need.

How Much Brisket To Make For 5 people

If you’re cooking for a group of five people, you’ll need the following:

  • 2.5 pounds of raw brisket yields about 1.25 pounds of cooked brisket for a small 1/4 pound serving for 5 people.
  • 5 pounds of raw brisket yields about 2.5 pounds of cooked brisket for a standard 1/2 pound serving for 5 people.

How Much Brisket To Make For 10 people

If you’re making brisket for ten people, you’ll need the following:

  • 5 pounds of raw brisket yields about 2.5 pounds of cooked brisket for a small 1/4 pound serving for 10 people.
  • 10 pounds of raw brisket yields about 5 pounds of cooked brisket for a standard 1/2 pound serving for 10 people.

How Much Brisket To Make For 25 people

If you’re hosting a gathering of 25 people, you’ll need:

  • 12.5 pounds of raw brisket yields about 6.25 pounds of cooked brisket for a small 1/4 pound serving for 25 people.
  •  25 pounds of raw brisket yields about 12.5 pounds of cooked brisket for a standard 1/2 pound serving for 25 people.

How Much Brisket To Make For 50 people

If you’re serving brisket to 50 people, you’ll need the following:

  •  25 pounds of raw brisket yields about 12.5 pounds of cooked brisket for a small 1/4 pound serving for 50 people.
  •  50 pounds of raw brisket produces about 25 pounds of cooked brisket for a standard 1/2 pound serving for 50 people.

How Much Brisket To Make For 100 people

You’ll need the following to ensure you have enough brisket for a large gathering of 100 people:

  • 50 pounds of raw brisket yields about 25 pounds of cooked brisket in a small 1/4 pound serving for 100 people.
  • 100 pounds of raw brisket yields about 50 pounds of cooked brisket for a standard 1/2 pound serving for 100 people.

We hope this article has helped you prepare for your next brisket feast! If you follow these guidelines, you’re sure to have enough delicious brisket for everyone and maybe even a few leftovers to enjoy later on.

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