Whether you are planning for dinner, barbeque party or a full-blown feast, that will involve meat in some form or shape, it is essential to know how much of it you will need to stock up. So what’s the right amount of meat to serve per person?
Generally, the amount of meat that fits comfortably in your palm is a good indicator of how much meat per serving is good for you. For an adult person it is 8 ounces of meat on average.
There is nothing worse than running out of food before the appetite of your guests (and yours) is satisfied.
Sure, you can run out to the corner market to buy some snacks, but that won’t quite do it. Especially if your dinner involved a beautifully prepared meat dish.
You can, of course, go for overkill and buy a large amount of meat beforehand, but unless you have some very deep pockets, it often won’t be an option. And as most of us don’t, let’s discuss what amount of meat serving per person should be considered optimal for your budget, health and appetite.
Who are your guests?
The first thing you need to take into account is whom are you going to be feeding? The size of the serving varies from individual to individual, however, you can make several generalizations if you divide your guest into age groups: children, teenagers, adults and people of older age.
Some of them might have an unusual appetite for the representative of that group. But unless you want to indulge them and are aware of their preferences, taking healthy guidelines to meat serving should be an appropriate course of action.
- 8 ounces is an average amount of meat for an adult person. Obviously, you can subtract a couple of ounces if you are serving a child.
- On the other hand, if you have a teenager, who is in process of growing, you might actually want to either add a couple of ounces or just go straight for an adult option of 8 ounces.
- Older people tend to eat less in general, so you can cut back the amount of meat if you are treating them for dinner.
Before we go into specific numbers, let’s talk about the general rule of thumb. The general rule of palm to be precise. What it means is that the amount of meat that fits comfortably in your palm is a good indicator of how much meat per serving is good for you, as mentioned earlier.
We will discuss more precise numbers further in the article, but if you don’t want to hustle with weighting the amount of meat each time you are preparing a dinner for guests, you can simply go with this rule.
After several tries, providing the precise amount of meat for guests should become your second nature and you won’t need to think about it at all.
What dish are you preparing?
There is a wide variety of meat available for consumption and the number of dishes you can conjure can truly be astronomical. So it stands to reason that not all dishes require the same amount of meat to be served per person.
There are very few situations when you will only be serving meat to your guests. Even in the case of barbeques, there are always side dishes available to them.
Even such simple things a potato salad, the amount of meat which will satisfy the appetite of your guest will vary. This is why coming up with a universal and practical amount of meat that should be served per person is not an easy task.
When looking for the answer to this question the most likely figure you will end up with is 8 ounces of meat. However, that does not take into account, what type of meat are we talking about (Chicken, pork, cattle, lamb, and fish) and what are the ingredients in the dish besides meat. If you are serving only meat for your guests then 8 ounces could, in fact, be a good guideline to follow.
However, in cases of chicken, it is a better rule to count how many people will be able to eat a single whole chicken. The answer to that is four adults.
But it is more likely that you won’t be simply serving cooked meat to your guests. The more elaborate and complex the dish will be, the less amount of meat it will require.
If you, for example, are going to serve your guest pork with a large amount of rice, curry and side vegetables, there is no need to go for a full 8 ounces per person. You can actually shrink the amount of service to 6 ounces.
On the other hand, if you are going for a backyard barbeque party and want to go straight for the meat, without much thought given to any side dishes, you can bump up the amount of meat per serving to 10 or even 12 ounces. This, however, cannot be considered very healthy.
However, you can probably get away with it, if you only do that on a special occasion, once in a while. For more information about how to go about arranging best the best barbeque you can, check out the other articles on our website!
Tips on cooking meat
There are many different ways to cook the meat and tips may vary from dish to dish. However, there are several tips that should be followed in most cases:
- Meat should be completely dry before you toss it into a pan or grill.
- Dry up the surface of the meat after it’s unfrozen.
- Before throwing anything on the pan, make sure that it has been preheated.
- Make sure that there is enough room in your pan. Leave space between pieces of meat and do no overpopulate it.
- When done cooking, let the meat rest for a couple of minutes to soak up all the juices.
It is paramount for meat to be completely dry before you toss it into a pan or grill. This is especially the case when meat has been in the freezer for several days. Sometimes people are impatient and do not wait for it to melt completely, which may lead to complication. If there is still a large amount of water inside the meat, you will know it as soon as you throw it on the pan. The violent reaction and hissing sound will surely point out that you should have left it to dry out for a couple more hours.
Even after you make sure that meat is no longer frozen, you will need to dry up the surface. This can be easily done by using a couple of paper towels. Once this is done, you are ready to start cooking.
This should be no brainer for everyone who is used to cooking for themselves, but before throwing anything on the pan, make sure that it has been preheated. If you want to be more precise, preheat the pan even before you put an oil on it. Give it a minute or so, then put oil in, wait for simmering to start and then throw in a dry piece of meat.
However, make sure that there is enough room. Leave space between pieces of meat, do no overpopulate your pan. It is better to cook meat in several batches, then to throw in all you have.
After you are done with cooking, do not go straight for it. Let it rest, give it a couple of minutes to soak up all the juices. Believe us, it will be worth it. Don’t worry about meat not being steaming hot when served to your guests. Slightly cooled meat will give you and your guest opportunity to taste it better, without burning your throat. When dealing with meat, patience is often very rewarding.
Don’t forget about the yield
Probably one of the most overlooked things, that may ruin your evening, is forgetting about the yield. In simple terms, it is the amount of shrinkage that happens to the meat when it’s being cooked.
During this process, a substantial amount of moisture and fat, which is present in every meat, evaporates. The amount of shrinkage that happens depends on the type of meat and amount of moisture and fat present in it.
Because of the high variability, meat shrinkage may leave you short of 10 to 60 percent from the original product. You cannot avoid or run from it: every time you cook meat, part of it will simply be lost. Good thing is that usually, it averages to 20 to 30 per cent.
So keep that in mind, the end goal being to serve your guest, 8 ounces on average (in a meat-based dish). In order to achieve that goal, with most red meat you will have to add around 25 to 30 percent to the portion per serving. This is also a good reason to make sure that your meat is dry before cooking it. The more water there is in meat, more part of original weight will evaporate.
Serving the right amount of meat to your guests will ensure that your pocket won’t take unnecessary hits and your guest’s appetite will be fully satisfied.
Because there are different types of meats, many more types of dishes and people do not consume the same amount of meat, it is hard to come up with one precise number. However, if you keep in mind the few guidelines given above, serving the right amount of meat for your guests or yourself should not be a problem.
As long as you continue to experiment and experiment with different meat-based dishes for different people, serving the correct amount will become your second nature and you won’t even have to make a conscious effort to think about it.