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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.

shredded brisket and brisket slices on serving board.

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.

If you buy a whole packer brisket, it will require more trimming. This matters because when you buy a full packer brisket, you will end up removing a lot of weight.

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 PeopleSize of Raw Whole BrisketSize of Raw Flat
66 pounds3 pounds
88 pounds4 pounds
1010 pounds5 pounds
1212 pounds6 pounds
1414 pounds7 pounds
1616 pounds8 pounds
1818 pounds9 pounds
2020 pounds10 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.

Be sure to serve several other options like side dishes, pulled pork or meatballs.

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.

The brisket should be near the end of the line followed by condiments like barbecue sauce, pickles and pickled red onions.

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.

More FAQs about Brisket

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Hey BBQ Family

I’m Christie, the head cook and award-winning competitive pitmaster for Team Girls Can Grill. I have won multiple grand championships and top 10 category finishes. I’m an expert grill reviewer for BBQ Guys, and I have appeared on the Food Network and Ninja Woodfire Grill infomercials. I established this website in 2015 to share my BBQ tips and recipes.

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