This post may contain affiliate links which help support Girls Can Grill.
How much brisket do you need to buy per person? Follow this guide to learn what size brisket to buy to end up with the right amount.
What size brisket should I buy?
The size brisket you should buy depends on the number of people you plan to serve, how you’re going to serve the cooked brisket and what other food options will be available.
Brisket is sold and priced by the pound as either a full packer brisket or as individual flat and point cuts.
For a whole packer brisket, plan on one pound of uncooked brisket per person, which will equal about a half a pound or 8 ounces of smoked brisket per person.
If you purchase a brisket flat or point, the butcher will have already done a substantial amount of trimming for you. You’ll likely only need to trim away some of the bottom fat cap.
For a pre-trimmed point or flat, plan on one half pound of raw brisket per person.
Brisket Size Buying Guide
|Number of People||Size of Raw Whole Brisket||Size of Raw Flat|
|6||6 pounds||3 pounds|
|8||8 pounds||4 pounds|
|10||10 pounds||5 pounds|
|12||12 pounds||6 pounds|
|14||14 pounds||7 pounds|
|16||16 pounds||8 pounds|
|18||18 pounds||9 pounds|
|20||20 pounds||10 pounds|
Buffet-style vs plated meal
If you’re putting slices of brisket in a pan on a buffet line, plan on 8 ounces of cooked meat per person.
People tend to gravitate toward beef. They know it’s more expensive and because it takes so long to cook, it’s a treat when they get to enjoy it. So they’re going to load up their plates.
If instead, you’re controlling the portions, you can cut back and plan on 4-6 ounces of cooked brisket per plate.
Shredded vs sliced
Shredding your brisket is a great way to stretch it out. This way, you can scoop it from a pan onto plates with a 6-ounce portion-control scoop.
Or, use a 4-ounce scoop to pile shredded beef brisket on buns to make brisket sandwiches.
If you want to serve slices, spread out your portions by cutting the slices thinner. A slice of brisket that is cut pencil thin (about 1/4-inch thick) weighs about 2 ounces. Most beef lovers will grab 2-3 pieces, which equals 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. Here’s how.
When you set up the buffet line, place the side dishes and salads at the front of the line followed by rolls and bread slices and then the meats. Place the less expensive meats first.
If serving shredded brisket, include a 2-ounce scoop in the pan. If serving slices, cut each slice in half, so that each piece is a 1-ounce portion.
By following this approach, diners’ plates will be pretty full, leaving less room for them to go overboard.
Will there be leftover brisket?
Yes. This brisket quantity guide should leave with you some leftover brisket. There are two reasons for that.
First, it’s better to have too much meat than not enough. You don’t want people leaving hungry or disappointed.
Second, you’re probably not going to smoke brisket very often, so smoking extra brisket and freezing it is a great idea for future meals.