Wondering How Much Roast Beef You Need Per Person? Parties, Cookout & Family Meals

Wondering how much roast beef you need to buy for a party or cookout? Roast beef is a delicious dish, but it can also be expensive if you buy too much, so working out how many pounds of meat to buy is important.

How much does the average adult eat? What if they’re extra hungry that day? What if I want side dishes as well? Don’t worry! We’re going to break down how many pounds of roast beef per person you need. 

So you can sit back, relax and enjoy your delicious meal. Have a read of the guide below to figure out how much meat per person you need.

How Much Roast Beef You’ll Need Per Person

If roast beef is your main dish plan for 1/2 pound per person. However, they are many variables to think about. Such as what course will it be, what the average age of the group and what time of time will you be serving it. We will dive into each of those variables below.

What’s the Event

From a dinner party to your afternoon BBQ, to a sit-down dinner and everything else between. What you are cooking for will have a major impact on how much you need.

For Example;

  • Birthday parties will need less meat if there will be cake afterward.
  • If its a cookout, you might have many different types of meat to serve.
  • For Christmas feasts, you may need more because you are catering for a large group of people.
  • Its a labor day party, you might be eating over the whole day and not need as much
  • If ita wedding, its may be a sit down event, where each plat eis indivally plated. People usually eat more in a buffet style meal than in a sit down meal

What is the Age and Gender of Your Guests?

You need to know how many women, men, and children will be in attendance as well as the age groups. You will find that children and older people may not eat as much whereas young men and teenagers will dig right in!

What Time is Your Event?

You need to take into account the time of day your event will be on. If you serving dinner you may find people will want to eat more than if you were serving lunch.

Dietary requirements

Make sure you find out if any of your guests have any dietary requirements. This will affect how much you need to cater for

Start Planning Your Menu

So you’ve worked out what sort of event it is and you’ve made your choice of meat.

Now you can start planning the entire menu…

We know you want to cook roast beef.

But if you can plan your other dishes first it will help you find the right balance.

Think about whether you want other meats served.

Consider if they’ll be a cheese platter and organize if guests are bringing extra dishes. 

If The Roast Beef Is The Main

If roast beef is your main dish plan for 1/2 pound per person.

For those a bit more hungry you can go up to 3/4 pound per person.

If the roast beef is the main meal consider having it with sides. Here are some of your favorite Texas BBQ side dishes!

For heavier sides look to potatoes, roasted vegetables, or pasta.

For lighter sides look to sautéed greens and salads.

If you’re having lighter sides you may need to increase your amount of beef or have several side dishes.

The Roast Beef Is A One of Many Option

If your roast beef is only a part of the dish you won’t need as much.

This is for dishes like curries, stroganoffs or sandwiches.

These are filled out with rice, pasta, and bread so they need less meat. 

If roast beef is a part of the dish plan for 1/4 to 1/3 pound per person.

The Meat Calculator

Yes, such things do exist. 

Here is a meat calculator that will help you out how much meat you need. 

Another option is the 8-ounce rule. 8 ounces or half a pound of raw meat is a great portion for any type of protein. 

A good rule of thumb is when in doubt look at the size of your palm. The average portion size for meat is about this size.

This works for an adult guest and a young child.

Kids also tend to eat less, teenagers tend to eat more.

Most adults are somewhere in the middle. 

Roast Beef Recipes

Here are some of your favorite roast beef recipes, Jamie does a great one!

I Haven’t Cooked Enough. Now What?

Compensate your roast beef with appetizers, drinks, and side dishes. Or quickly head out and grab some bread, and turn into fancy sandwiches. Having a carb will help the meat go further.

A solid dessert also works wonders. 

I’ve Cooked Too Much. Now What?

Leftover, leftovers, leftovers.

Roast beef is delicious and it is as tasty the next day.

Some leftovers options include:

  • Roast Beef Sandwiches
  • Stroganoff
  • Beef Pie
  • Roast Beef Pot Pie
  • Beef Enchiladas 

There plenty of ways you can have it!

What to Serve With Your Roast Beef

We love a classic potato salad, pasta salad or plain potato chips.

But what if you want to spice things up?

We’ve listed some side dish recipes, in case you’re looking for some inspiration.

Average Cost of Roast Beef

Most roast beef costs on average between $4 and $7 a pound. Colder weather in fall and winter tend to have higher beef prices. This is similar to the holidays when the price also goes up.

The cost of ounces of meat can vary from store. It also depends upon the quality of meat you’re after, where you shop, and the time of year you’re purchasing.

Figuring out how many pounds of roast beef per person doesn’t have to be stressful. If you’re still struggling, ask your local butcher. They’re full of knowledge! Buying the right serving of meat for all types of events is a simple task. 

Smoke On!


Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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