BBQ Portioning 101!

Every year we get this question over and over; “I have ‘x’ number of people attending my event, how many should I order for?”

It’s an incredibly frustrating claim from the caterer’s perspective because of course, every crowd is different!  Some are big eaters, others eat like birds, yet others….well let’s just say that they make up for the ‘birdlike’ eaters!  No matter who you are, I can promise you that you know your attendees better than we do!  As I have mentioned before, we always prepare an additional 5% for your crowd no matter what size you tell us…this is to make up for last minute additions and (to some degree) big eaters. 

How do I know it’s 5%?  Good question….depending on how you book your event, what protein options you choose and what meal it is, we prepare a ‘per person’ portion based on post cooking weight ounces!  YES…there’s math involved….and a LOT more than you might think…you see, since our meats spend so long on the smoker, we typically lose 20% to 50% of the total weight during the smoking process, so we have to figure this all out in advance!

All of that math and cooking calculus adds up to a great experience but NOT ALL YOU CAN EAT BBQ!  I say that, because it’s not uncommon for our servers to hear things to the effect of ‘don’t worry, they’ll make more…” which is, as you might imagine…impossible to do for us!  SO….what are my suggestions;  Glad you ask!

  • If you are planning on ‘Pulled’ meats and you’ve got big eaters…you probably ought to order for one and a half times the size of your crowd.  This is particularly applicable in situations when you’ve got more than one meat, because folks tend to take full portions (or pretty close) of each meat!


  •  If  you’re not so sure that the ‘Pulled Meat’ option will work for your group, we can provide a number of other options that are far more certain.  I would suggest considering whole Beef Tenderloin, Chicken Thighs or maybe even a whole hog?  We can help you once we understand your group, your needs and your budget!

SO, if you’re having an event in 2011 and you’d like to add some Wood Smoked, Slow Cooked BBQ goodness…we’ve got you covered!  Just call us at 717-254-1937 or e-mail me at: and we will be happy to help!

Bootleg BBQ any time you're in Louisville, KY!


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