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If you are catering for a large gathering and want to make a big batch of pulled pork, it’s crucial to know how much meat is necessary to feed all the guests. This is important to calculate ahead of time so that you do not underfeed your guests or potentially spend too much money on pulled pork.
For 200 pulled pork sandwiches, it would be necessary to have 50 pounds of cooked pork or 100 pounds of uncooked pork. If the cut of meat has a bone, then an estimate of 110 to 115 pounds of pork would be necessary for 200 sandwiches. Food services will use an average of 4 ounces of pork per guest.
If you want to feed a large group of people a filling amount of pulled pork, there are a few tips you should know before taking on the large pricey task. This is a measurement you want to get as accurate as possible so you can avoid hungry guests and wasted money.
Amounts of Pulled Pork Dependent on Number of Sandwiches
A good rule of thumb that most catering services go by for pulled pork is to allot four ounces to one-quarter of a pound of the meat per sandwich. A popular catering service native to Southern California reported that the bread or roll size of the sandwich can make a difference when it comes to calculating how much meat will be needed. The catering service added that a quarter of a pound is perfect for a large-sized sandwich.
It’s also important for cooks to calculate just a bit more pork than they think they need, especially since pork cooks down. If you are cooking for a group that needs more or less than 200 pulled pork sandwiches, use this table to know how many pounds of pulled pork to purchase.
|Number of Sandwiches||250||200||150||100||50||25||10||5||1|
|Pounds of Pulled Pork (cooked)||62.5lbs||50lbs||37.5lbs||25lbs||12.5lbs||6.25lbs||2.5lbs||1.25lbs||.25lbs|
|Pounds of Pulled Pork (uncooked)||125lbs||100lbs||75lbs||50lbs||25lbs||12.5lbs||5lbs||2.5lbs||.50lbs|
Oftentimes, pork will cook down to about half its size because the fat content breaks down as it cooks. It is always safer to calculate how much cooked pork is needed for the sandwiches, which can be calculated by taking the number of sandwiches needed and then multiplying it by .25 (because one pound of cooked pork will make 4 large sandwiches). This process should give you the amount of cooked pulled pork you need. Once you have calculated the amount of cooked pork that is needed, then double that number to find out roughly how much raw pulled pork your group requires.
It’s also important to note that bone-in pork butts will weigh more because of the bone. This source shows that the bone in a pork butt can weigh about 3/4 pounds. In this case, add the weight that would be lost from the bone so that you can get the correct amount of pork in your sandwiches.
Tips for Cooking and Serving Large Quantities of Pulled Pork
There are many popular ways to make large quantities of pulled pork, it just depends on what style a cook likes best. A cook utilizes slow cookers, roasting ovens, barbecues, and smokers. When it comes to cooking a large amount of pulled pork (like 200 pounds worth) there are a few ways to prepare a large amount.
A barbecue enthusiast and competitive Traeger smoker that has served many large events say that cooking for a large group of people can be kind of tricky mostly because of the hot and cool spots on a grill. Due to the different temperatures on a barbecue or a smoker, some roasts will cook at different rates. This can lead to some pork being overdone while some cuts may be undercooked. This is something to be very aware of while you are cooking multiple pork roasts. You could run into taste and health issues if you serve meat that is overcooked or undercooked.
Using a grill or a smoker is not the only way to prepare a large amount of pork roast. A wedding and large event caterer from southern California doesn’t use smokers or grills for pulled pork sandwiches. Instead, the catering business uses roasting ovens and multiple slow cookers. Using a slow cooker is a method that makes the pork moist and tender because the meat is cooked in its own juices. Using a slow cooker also makes transportation a breeze in comparison to carrying large bins of pulled pork to an event.
When serving a large group of people, you shouldn’t pull the pork all at once. Instead, one person can start serving the pulled pork to the guests while another person starts pulling some of the pork roasts. It is best to do this so that the pork stays fresh and doesn’t cool down too much as it is being served.
Another tip that a barbecue enthusiast mentioned for serving a big crowd is to remember that everyone has different tastes and preferences. Some people like a lot of spice and flavors while some like the taste of the meat itself. So if you are planning on feeding lots of people pulled pork for a big event, it is better to go with a milder flavor profile and have lots of barbecue and spice options that guests can add themselves.
Tips on Making Pulled Pork
If you go on to search pulled pork recipes on the internet, thousands of recipes will pop up on your screen. How can one know exactly how to make the best pulled pork for sandwiches? Of course, everyone has their preferences, but there are a few tips to ensure that you are getting flavorful and juicy pork.
When you are cooking a pork shoulder in an oven, if the temperature is set to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, then allow the pork to cook at least 35 minutes per pound. It’s important to use a meat thermometer when cooking pork to ensure that the pork is at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the whole roast before removing the cut of meat from the heat source. Once the meat has been removed from the heat, it is best to let the meat rest for about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Do not skip the resting stage, as this allows the flavors to really seep into the meat.
Using a smoker or grill to cook a pork roast can be more time-consuming, but it adds a lot of flavors that a roasting oven can’t compete with. However, there isn’t exactly a set time to cook pork on a barbecue. Pork on a grill or a smoker needs to be cooked at a temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit up to 205 degrees Fahrenheit. On a smoker, there are a wide variety of different wood pellets to choose from that pair well with pork. These are usually medium or mild smoke pellets to use including:
Using different wood pellets will change how the pork tastes. For example, hickory wood pellets will give the pork a dark brown bark, while apple or cherry wood pellets will give the pork roast a sweeter flavor. This is important to note when making any pork so that you can ensure that you get the flavor profile that you want.
Luckily, making pulled pork is pretty forgiving in comparison to other meats, such as steak, poultry, brisket, and ribs. If you undercook pork (as long as it’s the proper temperature for serving) it will just be a little tougher. If you overcook pork, it might be a bit drier, but it will still be good enough to serve to guests. Pork is a great meat for barbecue beginners to start with because it is so easy to work with.
Some people like pork with a lot of barbecue sauce, while others like their pork with dry rubs only. There are so many different ways to prepare a pulled pork, but it really depends on the flavor that you are trying to achieve. There are many other recipes online to choose from, just be sure to use these tips that you have learned in addition to recipes to ensure that your pulled pork is tender and juicy.
Best Cuts of Meat for Pulled Pork
There are 3 cuts of pork that are the best for pulled pork. Those cuts are:
- Pork Shoulder
- Boston Butt
- Picnic Roast
The pork shoulder is the whole front shoulder and leg of a pig. It is ideal for many cooks because this cut of meat has a high-fat content, making the meat extremely tender and moist. This makes the shoulder cut perfect for pulling apart for pulled pork sandwiches.
The Boston butt is actually a part of the shoulder (not the rear of the pig), making it a much smaller cut in comparison to the whole pork shoulder. The Boston butt is found above the shoulder blade and has a good amount of fat content, yet less bone than the pork shoulder. Due to the consistent rectangular shape of the Boston butt, it is popular among cooks because it is easy to handle since they know what to expect from that cut of meat.
The picnic roast is also another part of the pork shoulder. It is about the same size as a Boston butt (around 6 to 8 pounds) but it includes a lot more bone from the shank. However, the bone provides a lot of flavor, so it is best to find a cut of picnic roast with the bone in to accentuate the meaty flavor.
All in all, any of these 3 cuts of meat from the shoulder will work great for pulled pork sandwiches.
What Cuts of Pork to Avoid For Pulled Pork
The shoulder of the pork really is one of the best cuts that is used for slow cooking and pulling. If you don’t have the right cut of meat to make pulled pork sandwiches, don’t use just any cut of meat to substitute for the pork shoulder, Boston butt, or picnic roast. Many other cuts of the pig are not great for using in pulled pork recipes for a variety of reasons. Here is a list of the meats you should avoid and why:
- Belly and Side cuts: Pork belly is also a source of high fatty content, just like pork shoulder. However, pork belly does not pull like pork shoulder. It is usually used for bacon or burnt ends.
- Leg cuts: These types of cuts are usually used for hams. Ham can still be shredded, but it has a different texture and taste from pork shoulder.
- Sirloin Chops: This cut comes from the hip of a pig. It is very bony, tough, easy to mess up, and doesn’t have a lot of flavor. Since the meat is so lean, it can be overcooked easily, making the cut very tough and dry if you aren’t careful.
- Pork Loins: The reason that pork loins shouldn’t be substituted for pulled pork is that this cut is much leaner. That means that the meat will be a bit tougher and won’t pull apart as easily.
Although these pork cuts might work well for other types of dishes, they just don’t work very well for pulled pork since the taste and textures of these cuts aren’t similar enough to pork shoulder.
Pricing for Pulled Pork
The price of pork can vary drastically depending on where you live, the amount of meat needed, whether there is a bone or not, the current market, etc. Fortunately, pork is less expensive than other types of meats, such as beef or lamb. This is why pork is such a great option to serve a large number of guests.
At most supermarkets and grocery stores, pork is priced per pound. This number can greatly vary, especially if you decide to buy the meat in bulk at stores like Costco or Sam’s Club. On average, a pork shoulder will cost about $3 or more per pound. If you were to buy a whole roast, this could cost you about $10 or more, depending on the size of the shoulder cut. If you were to buy a large number of pork shoulders for a big event, it would be best to go to a store that sells meat in bulk.
To find out the different prices of pork in your area, consider going to your local grocery store or do a bit of research online.