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Calculate How Much Brisket Per Person You Need: Our Advice

Mehgan Zheng
people gathered at a cookout with a graphic question how much brisket per person you need

If you are planning a dinner and have brisket on your menu, you might wonder how much brisket you need per person. Brisket is a large cut, and leftovers never go to waste, but surely you want to cook as much as necessary. 

For beginners, it can be confusing to calculate how much brisket you need. Would you need as much as a wholesale steak, or should cut it into 'subprimal' cuts? This question deserves a detailed answer as brisket will lose half its weight after cooking.

Also, you need to trim the brisket and remove the excess layer of fat. That means 10% of the brisket will be removed before cooking starts. You have to account for all these before estimating how much brisket you should buy for a family dinner or get-together.

This article will discuss how much brisket per person you need. We will also discuss which part of the brisket to buy and how long to cook it.  


Cooking Brisket For Dinner?

detail image of how much brisket per person you need, showing cooked brisket


Brisket is a wonderful choice if you are feeding a lot of people. It's perfect for slow cooking; you can simply set it up in the smoker and come back to a delicious dinner.

The only problem is getting an estimate of how much brisket you need. It's worth noting that leftovers can be saved in the fridge or freezer for later useit's juicy and tender on reheating. Still, having a rough estimate for how much you need saves a lot of trouble. 

For more information on smoked brisket, check out our article on how long smoked meat lasts.


How Much Weight Does Brisket Lose During Cooking?

close-up image of cooked brisket marbled with fat


Brisket is a thick cut with lots of fat, meat, and tough tissues. It takes a lot of time to cook. That long cooking process shrinks the meat considerably. If you are cooking it in a smoker, it can shrink 30-40% during the cooking process. With this number in mind, if you start cooking a 15 lb, you will end up with 9-10 lbs of brisket. 


Weight Loss During Trimming

Brisket has two portions, flat and point. Both portions have a lot of fat layers which need to be trimmed. Whichever piece of brisket you buy will need some trimming. The trimmings are a personal choice; some like to leave the fat on meat to make it extra juicy and moist. Many chefs will prefer to leave only ¼ inch of fat on the meat. 


Flat or Point Portion

Brisket is made of two parts: flat and point. If you don't need to cook the whole packer, it is also essential to know which part to cook. 


Both parts are delicious, but the flat is leaner; as the name suggests, it's a flat portion. The flat is covered with fat that you need to trim, but it is rectangular and easy to cut in uniform slices.


The point is the brisket part with most of the fat. It is thick and small with lots of connective tissues and fat. This cut has less meat in comparison to the fat. However, if you need to shred the meat for sandwiches or burgers, the point is a good selection. The meat inside is tender with high-fat content. Point also has a lot of tough muscles that take a long time to cook, but once cooked to perfection, the point is juicier and more flavorful. 

On average, a full brisket weighs between 15-18 pounds. The flat cut is a larger cut, between 6-10 pounds. The point section is the fatty meat portion that weighs around 5 pounds. The point has a lot of fat content, and once cooked, it does not have as much lean meat as flat.


How to Tell How Much Brisket Per Person You Need

Considering everything from losing weight while cooking to trimming off all the extra fat from the surface, you would need around 1 pound per person.

That means if you are cooking a whole brisket of 15 pounds, it is enough to feed about 15 guests. In the same way, if you are cooking for a smaller crowd of 6-10 people, then a whole flat portion is enough. The division per person depends on the size of the portion as well.


top view of sliced medium-cooked brisket

How Many Slices of Brisket Per Person?

How much brisket per person you require depends on the portion size you intend to serve to each guest. Other considerations are whether the guest list contains only adults (with empty bellies)!

If you have too many other items on the menu and are planning to serve a quarter of a pound to each guest, you should start with half a pound per person.

With a brisket weighing 12 pounds, you can feed up to 24 guests this way.

However, if you increase the portion size and are planning to serve half a pound per person, then one person per pound is sufficient. We need to consider that the brisket will shrink a lot after cooking, and you will also.

We recommend a final serving of half a pound per person. Choose one pound per person for uncooked brisket and you'll strike a good average between the big eaters and kids on the guest list. 


How to Serve Brisket

Once you know how much brisket per person you need, you can decide how you are going to serve brisket. You can shred it coarsely and serve it with salads, sandwiches, burgers, or side dishes and toppings. Consider cutting it into slices and making plates with roasted veggies and gravy for a formal gathering. 

 If you need a cutting board large enough to carve your brisket, consider getting a dark wood cutting board, such as our large deep juice groove cutting board (on Amazon)

Final Words

Brisket is a popular choice for barbecue due to its affordable price and delicious meat. Read here about other primal beef cuts. Knowing how much brisket per person you need is essential so that you can plan the menu and side dishes. On average, you can buy one pound per person. However, you should decrease the quantity if you are planning smaller portions. 


Related Articles

Beef Cuts: A complete guide

Best Cutting Boards for Brisket



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