Brisket Quantity Guide: How to Plan the Perfect Amount of Brisket per Person

Are you planning a barbecue or hosting a special event where you’ll be serving mouthwatering brisket? Figuring out how much brisket to buy per person can be a bit tricky. You don’t want to end up with too little and leave your guests hungry, but you also don’t want to waste any delicious smoky goodness.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the factors to consider when determining the size of brisket to buy and provide you with a handy quantity guide. Let’s dive in and ensure you nail the perfect amount of brisket for your upcoming gathering.

shredded brisket and brisket slices on serving board

What Size Brisket Should I Buy?

The size of the brisket you should buy depends on a few factors, such as the number of people you plan to serve, the way you’ll be serving the cooked brisket, and the availability of other food options. Brisket is typically sold and priced by the pound, either as a full packer brisket or as individual flat and point cuts.

If you opt for a whole packer brisket, keep in mind that it will require more trimming. When purchasing a full packer brisket, plan on approximately one pound of uncooked brisket per person. This will yield about half a pound or 8 ounces of smoked brisket per person.

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On the other hand, if you decide to go with a brisket flat or point, the butcher will have already done a significant amount of trimming for you. In this case, plan on about half a pound of raw brisket per person.

Factors to Consider: Buffet-Style vs Plated Meal

The style of serving your brisket will also impact the quantity per person. If you plan to put slices of brisket in a pan on a buffet line, allow for around 8 ounces of cooked meat per person. Keep in mind that beef tends to be a crowd favorite, and guests may tend to load up their plates with this delicious treat.

However, if you prefer to control the portions, you can cut back and plan on 4-6 ounces of cooked brisket per plate.

Shredded vs Sliced Brisket

Shredding your brisket can be a fantastic way to stretch it out and make it go further. By serving shredded brisket, you can use a 6-ounce portion-control scoop to plate it individually. Alternatively, you can pile the shredded beef brisket on buns to create mouthwatering brisket sandwiches using a 4-ounce scoop.

If you prefer to serve slices, you can spread out your portions by cutting the brisket into thinner slices. A slice of brisket that is cut pencil thin, measuring about 1/4-inch thick, weighs approximately 2 ounces. Most beef lovers will grab 2-3 pieces, resulting in a serving size of 4-6 ounces per person.

Can I Get Away with Smaller Portions?

If your budget doesn’t allow for 4-8 ounces of brisket per person, you can get by with a 2-ounce serving size. To make this work, make sure to serve several other options like side dishes, pulled pork, or meatballs. When setting up the buffet line, place the less expensive meats first, followed by the brisket. This way, diners’ plates will already be somewhat full, leaving less room for them to go overboard.

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Will There Be Leftover Brisket?

Yes, there will likely be some leftover brisket, and that’s a good thing! It’s better to have a bit too much meat than not enough, ensuring that your guests leave satisfied. Plus, smoking extra brisket and freezing it is a great idea for future meals. So don’t worry if you end up with leftovers; they’ll come in handy.


How much brisket should I buy per person?

The general rule of thumb is to plan on approximately one pound of uncooked brisket per person for a whole packer brisket, or around half a pound for a pre-trimmed point or flat.

Can I serve smaller portions of brisket?

If necessary, you can serve smaller portions, aiming for a 2-ounce serving size per person. However, make sure to offer other food options and strategically place the brisket towards the end of the buffet line.

How should I serve the brisket?

You can serve the brisket shredded or sliced. Shredding the brisket allows you to stretch it out further, while slicing it into thinner pieces can help create a larger portion visually.

What do I do with leftover brisket?

Leftover brisket can be frozen and used for future meals. Simply wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or store it in airtight containers before freezing.


Calculating the right amount of brisket per person doesn’t have to be daunting. By considering factors like serving style, portion size, and the preferences of your guests, you can confidently plan the perfect amount of brisket for your next event. Remember, a little extra brisket is better than not enough, and the leftovers will certainly be enjoyed. Happy cooking!

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To learn more about the art of smokin’ BBQ and get inspired for your next cookout, visit Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ.