How Much Brisket Per Person Do I need?

The calculation to determine how much brisket per person is quite simple. I estimate the average guest will eat 1/2 lbs. of cooked brisket. Knowing that a brisket will lose half of its weight through the cook, plus you trim off 10% of the brisket during prep equates to 1 person per 1 lbs. of uncooked brisket. Ex. 15 lbs. packer brisket uncooked, should feed 15 guests.

What about different portions? You need enough meat to feed everyone and not run out; but not too much. How much beef brisket per person is enough? How many pounds of brisket per person do I need? That is exactly what we will try to answer here.

Brisket Point Cut in Center
Brisket Point – Usually the Crowd Favorite

How Much Cooked Beef Brisket Per Person – Based on Portion Size

Here I will break down how large of a brisket you should buy based on 1/4 lbs., 1/2 lbs. and 3/4 lbs. portions. I’m basing the uncooked brisket as a complete packer brisket with point and flat intact.

1/4 lbs. Brisket Servings

1/4 lbs. portion sizes are on the small size but maybe you have a lot of other meats for your guests to try. 1/4 lbs. portions: Feeds 1 person per 0.5 lbs. of uncooked brisket. Ex. 15 lbs. packer brisket feeds 30 people.

1/2 lbs. Brisket Servings

1/2 lbs. brisket servings is the industry standard and is a good average between big eaters and kid serving sizes. 1/2 lbs. portions: Feeds 1 person per 1 lbs. of uncooked brisket. Ex. 15 lbs. packer brisket feeds 15 people.

3/4 lbs. Brisket Servings

Okay you and your big eater friends are coming over for the party and no one small is sharing with you. 3/4 lbs. portions: Feeds 1 person per 1.5 lbs. of uncooked brisket. Ex. 15 lbs. packer brisket feeds 10 people.

How Much Brisket Per Person Calculation Table

Brisket Size (Packer Brisket)1/4 lbs. Serving 1/2 lbs. Serving 3/4 lbs. Serving
12 lbs.24 People12 People8 People
15 lbs. 30 People15 People10 People
18 lbs. 36 People18 People12 People
How Much Brisket Per Person Table

Understanding Brisket

Understanding brisket allows you to better estimate the amount of it you need for your party. The whole brisket, also known as the Packer’s cut, usually weighs 10-16 lbs. However, it is often sold in two separate cuts. The first or flat cut is usually used for braising and has a much less fat content. The second or the pointcut is much fattier and is usually the preferred cut when using a grill or smoker.

Packer Brisket in Wrap

As a general rule of thumb, you might require anywhere from ¼ to ¾ lbs. of cooked brisket per person, depending on several important factors. The most crucial thing to remember while you are making your initial calculations is that the meat is going to lose 40%-50% of its total volume owing to shrinkage during cooking. Therefore, if you are aiming for ½ lbs per person, the simple calculation would be portioning 1 lbs. of meat per person before cooking.

Another consideration is the fact that you do not want to run out of food. When you are looking to smoke or slow cook brisket, you are looking at a possible cook time of anywhere between 12 and 20 hours. If you run out of brisket in the middle of your party, it will not be possible for you to go and make some more. On the other hand, if you have a little extra, to begin with, you can end up with some delicious leftovers that you can later use to make sandwiches, tacos, or any number of dishes.

If distance keeps you from visiting your local butcher shop, check out Snake River farms! They carry all sorts of wonderful cuts of meat, including the notorious Wagyu brisket!


Know Your Crowd

If you are cooking for friends and family, you will likely already know about the appetites of the people you have invited. Therefore, you would be able to adjust your portions keeping in mind people who like to eat heartily when there is meat involved. You can also make adjustments for children and vegetarians.

While portioning the meat, remember to consider half the usual portion size for children. Do not forget to include tasty vegetarian options like mushrooms or vegetable skewers for your vegetarian guests. It’s crucial to pay close attention during the cooking stages not to cause cross-contamination when you are cooking both vegetables and meat.

Family BBQ party

What To Do With Leftover Brisket?

Don’t fret if you have leftovers. It is better than not having enough. There are so many things you can do with your leftover brisket. I love making simple brisket sandwiches. Reheat the brisket, throw it on some bread or large Kaiser bun, add some of our homemade BBQ sauce and eat.

Try our leftover brisket taco recipe. You’ll never want to use ground beef again. Brisket meat makes a much better taco meat.

Brisket Taco2
Leftover Brisket Tacos

What Else Are You Serving?

One of the most important parts of your portion control, when you are serving brisket, is to take into account everything else that you are planning to serve. If you are serving a full meal, you would be likely to have appetizers and a salad served before the brisket, one or more side dishes and sauces along with the brisket, and a nice dessert to round things off. We always enjoy mac and cheese with out brisket. A nice coleslaw as a side also works well with brisket.

Beef Brisket with sides

Depending on how filling these other dishes are, you would need to accordingly adjust your portions so that you do not end up with a lot of extra brisket when you are done. If it is a tailgating party where you are planning to serve alcohol, on the other hand, it’s integral to remember that people tend to eat more quantity and spread out eating over a longer period of time when there is drinking involved. Here, making room for some extra brisket will not be remiss.

Other Considerations

Keeping these basic premises in mind, you would be able to shop for the right amount of brisket while keeping within your budget. You would also have to complete the shopping in good time to allow the brisket to cook and rest properly before you can serve. If you go with the calculation between ¼ lbs. to ¾ lbs. of brisket per person, planning your party, and getting everyone fed properly, should be something that you can easily accomplish.

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