If you are hosting a barbecue, one of the questions you may have is how much food to buy. You may not want to buy too much, as it can be expensive and you won't want to have any go to waste. On the flip side, you don't want to buy too little and run out of food. Trying to determine exactly how much you need is tricky, as not everyone eats the same amount. Here are a few guidelines that will help you determine how much food you need for your next barbecue.
If you are providing alcohol at your party or barbecue, it is recommended that you provide enough alcohol for guests to have one drink every hour. As such, you should have enough beer, wine or mixer on hand to provide each guest with this option. If you do not want to provide this much alcohol, you can always ask your guests to BYOB.
Meat is one of the most important elements to any barbecue, but deciding how much to buy can be challenging. The type of meat you buy influences how much meat you need to provide. For example, most hamburgers are about 1/4 pound each. Adults would eat two, while children eat one. This means you need to provide about a 1/2 pound of meat to your adult guests. However, if you are serving bbq brisket, you should purchase about one pound of brisket per adult, due to shrinkage. You also need to buy larger amounts of ribs, simply because they have less meat due to the bone. As a general rule of thumb, you should plan on providing adults with anywhere from 8 to 12 ounces of meat.
Most guests will eat 1/2 to one cup of the side dishes that they enjoy. The more side dishes you have out, the less they will take. Potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans and pasta salad are all great choices for a barbecue because they cater to a wide number of people, are filling and you can provide your guests with large quantities for little money.
Unless your desserts are individually portioned, such as a cupcake, you should plan on providing guests with about three to four ounces of each dessert. If you do individually portion your desserts, keep in mind that some guests will eat more than one. Plan on a guest eating three cookies or two cupcakes to ensure you have enough for everyone.
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