July 10, 2003

Meet the Meat

I've been remiss in doing entries. But I have a good excuse -- I've been getting ready for the big Tom and Carol summer bash.

One thing that I get asked pretty often is how to estimate food for parties. Specifically people seemed concerned about how much meat to purchase (which is a bit misguided -- vegetables can cost just as much or even more than meat purchases).

My rule of thumb is between half a pound and one pound of meat per person (for a real, eating, kind of party). I usually start assuming 3/4 of a pound per person (this includes any non-vegetable items, meat, chicken, shrimp, fish, etc). I adjust it a bit as follows:

- This is uncooked, on the bone weight (ie, chickens). I adjust up if the meat is all high in bone content (ie, ribs) and down if it contains none (ie, hamburger)

- My parties have about 10% of people who don't eat meat, or limit their consumption. Adjust up or down if you have less or more vegetarian guests.

- I usually serve a pretty large number of dishes. If you are only having one single large meat item, I'd probably adjust down. People tend to eat more when variety is there.

- I always have lots of side dishes, usually of a vegetarian bent. If for some reason your dinner is a "meat only" fest, adjust up.

- For my summer parties, it's BBQ. So most if not all of the cooked meat will keep just fine afterwards. If I'm making fancy dishes that don't re-heat and contain expensive ingredients (ie, quails) I adjust down to keep costs until control.

- People tend to eat more when it's cold and less when it's warm. That having been said, BBQs seem to bring out the pig in everybody.

Posted by dowdy at July 10, 2003 10:58 AM