What’s the Right Amount of Meat to Serve per Person?
You will always have so much to consider when it is party time, or you simply want to have some family time over dinner or lunch. This type of situation calls for a good recipe, and you will need to gather the ingredients, tools, and wood chips. In fact, the list will go on and on and we are yet to factor in the quantity of food you need to buy and guessing the entire meat portion size for the guests can be a real puzzle; though you can leverage on the estimated meat serving size per person to calculate the total meat needed for the occasion.
If guess wrong with meat when preparing a meal, you will be faced with two options; it is either you run out of meat or end up having excess leftovers. Here, simple calculations come to play, and before going to estimate the right quantity of meat per serving, you should sit down and plan the menu with the details well outlined and a food portion guide to make things a bit simple. Our simple tips below can help with this.
Consider The Meal And The Role The Meat Will Play
The menu is the first consideration when preparing a meat dish or when planning a party. Once you figure out the meal to serve, every other thing will fall into place, including the quantity of meat to include. If the main dish is meat-based like a BBQ, then you need more meat than when it is other types of food with a sizeable portion of meat on top.
As meat-eaters, we have never really decided on the ideal size of meat that is suitable for everybody, considering the fact that people differ in appetite and capacity it becomes even more difficult. A child under ten years will consume less meat than an adult, and growing teenagers tend to consume more. However, general rules on meat portion sizes will come to your aid in this situation, below are average portion sizes for the grownups:
- Eight ounces of animal protein (meat) is recommended per serving with a margin of one ounce up or down.
- For as much as three side meals (protein and non-protein), the portion size can be rounded up to 12 to 14 ounces. Every average person will be satisfied with this.
- Consider special eaters by adding extra for growing teens and sportsmen, and reducing the portion size meant for the kids.
Think Of The Meat Preparation Yield!
This simply refers to the difference you see in meat mass before and after grilling. High-heat meat preparation affects yield negatively, especially in whole animals like chickens which give the least yield. For instance, you will obtain 5.5 pounds of meat from preparing a turkey that previously weighed ten pounds when uncooked. Here, the yield is 55%, and we are yet to factor in bones and other solids that are indigestible.
You might be wondering what happens to the mass. Well, high-heat meat preparation drains out the liquid from meat mass and getting rid of this liquid makes the meat delicious. Getting acquainted with yield of meat is important for people who cook and the ones who eat out. Below are instances of yield in some kinds of meat:
- Whole chicken yields 55%
- Whole turkey yields 55% to 60%
- Brisket yields 50%
- Pulled Pork yields 50 – 65%
- Average T-bone steak yields 8 to 90%
- Pork shoulder yields 60 to 65 %
It is obvious that the yield varies from animal to animal and also depends largely on the fat percentage and type of meat production. Ground and minced meat have the least yield alongside poultry, but you get the biggest yields from high-density meats such as steaks. So when measuring the portion per person, you should take meat mass yield into consideration, especially if you are preparing on high-heat.
Use The Palm Rule
Though many discourage approaching meals without precision, we still consider the palm rule which has come in handy on several occasions. The rule says that the correct amount of meat per person should be the size of the individual’s open palm. In so doing every guest will be covered by the rule.
What Quantity Of Meat Should Be Prepared Per Person?
Now we are getting into the nitty-gritty, what quantity of meat do you need per person depending on type? The measurements will aid you in adjusting your shopping lists and recipes as well as account for the appetite of an average person:
- Quantity of chicken per person – With chicken, yield can be tricky, thanks to the fact that different parts of poultry come with their own level of muscle, fat, bones, and hollow areas. Chicken breast, particularly boneless, is the easiest workout. The range of breast portion goes from six to eight ounces, and the main serving size is best at a 1½ piece. If there are other types of meat on the menu, then the breast should be shared one piece per person. The part with bone is best served two pieces per person. As chicken often comes in parts, it should be served based on preferences – share the breast, wings, drum stick, and thighs among your guests. The yield for whole chicken is 55 to 60 % but increases to 70% if cut, so prepare accordingly.
- Quantity of turkey per person – Like chicken, six to eight-pound portions of turkey can be served. If it is cut, the one and the half piece is ok per person. If prepared whole, one pound should suffice per person, so if you have ten guests, get a 10-pound turkey. However, turkey comes with the smallest yield of about 50% in all poultry meat.
- Quantity of pulled pork per individual – With pulled pork, the yield is generally 50 to 70% because of the intermuscular fat which easily evaporates on higher heat. If you are serving with plates ½ to 1/3 pound per person is good, but if it is in a sandwich, ½ is ok person.
- Quantity of rib person – When you count in pieces as opposed to weight, chickens ribs are quite easy, and they are bought in racks. With spare racks that come bigger than baby back ribs, then a single rack will suffice for three or four guests, but a rack should take care of two guests or three with baby back ribs. Remember, ribs yield smaller portion when cooked in a stew, so make provisions for an extra 30%.
- Quantity of steak per person– Steak goes with a simple rule more bone and fat means less yield – averagely standard beef steak yields around 75% with minor variation. The highest yield of 90% comes from strip steak with almost no bone and less fat, so it is your best bet. Expect 70 to 78 % yield from T-bone and Rib-eyed steaks because of their fatty content as well as bones. The benchmark is the Porterhouse with its yield of 75%. With steak, you should be able to get more no matter the condition of preparation. If you go for T-bones, 1.5 steaks per person will suffice; the rough estimation is 12 ounces per person.
- Quantity of tenderloin per person – Because it has less fat and loses up to ten percent mass during cooking, tenderloin gives the highest yield of 90%. Just add an extra ounce to the serving portion size. 11will be just right for someone that wants to serve ten ounces per person.
- Quantity of brisket per person – As brisket is known to come with a yield of 50 to 60 %, you will need double the portion you want to prepare. You can serve eight ounces person, and if you are having ten people over, then ten pounds of brisket is just right. The meat comes with loads of fats and exposure to heat, shrinks it by half; so, you just have to be well informed and prepare for eventualities.
- Quantity of meat per person (if you want to make skewer) – if you have the required skills, you can use the skewer for any kind of meat. The rule here is that the construction of the skewer and fillers (mushrooms, veggies, and more) will aid in retaining a large quantity of the meat’s liquid content. What this means is that the yield will be a bit higher ( ten percent more or above, but it all depends on your skills) While preparing beef on a skewer, for eight ounces, you will have to get up to ten ounces of beef but remember the best part is the one with lesser fat.
- Quantity of fish per person – as a result of its nature, grilled fish is the easiest. Generally, you can dish out eight-ounce pieces per serving size for meatier and fattier fish such as salmon, trout, and bass. When you consider the yield, then the raw fish should be up to 12 ounces as freshwater fish gives 70% yield while saltwater fish yield 80%, so freshwater fish should be a bit bigger.