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Apr 19, 2012 04:30 PM

How much meat to grill for a taco bar for ~20 people?

I'm throwing a surprise 60th birthday party for my mother-in-law and we decided to do a big taco bar since its right around Cinco de Mayo, we have lovely weather, a big backyard and a grill to work with.

We are planning to do both marinated chicken and carne asada on the grill for the tacos, but I'm not sure how much we'll need for around 20 people. I always like to have plenty, rather than the fear of running out, plus the guys in my family will be perfectly willing to take home leftovers... I just need a suggestion of how much meat to purchase. Any thoughts?


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  1. 6-8 Oz of protein per person is usually plenty for dinner if you are serving other things with the meal IE. appetizers, salads, dessert. If you want more left overs increase by a couple of Ounces per person.

    1. I usually plan on about 1/4 pound of protein total per person. Some will eat more, some less. But then I always get nervous about running out because that number sounds so small.... so if it were me I'd do about five pounds of each. And have at least half left over, based on my experience.

      This assumes you are talking boneless chicken. If whole or bone-in, double it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: acgold7

        I'd go with a half pound per person.

        Years ago I did a taco party and figured with all the cheeses, etc. in addition to meat that 1/4 pound of meat would be enough per person. I was so wrong. Many of the guys would put 1/4 pound on each of their three tacos and then they tried to come back for more.

      2. That's great, thanks for the help and advice!
        I just hate, hate to run out of anything. I love to entertain & so when people come over, they know they'll have tons of food. Sounds good, around 5lbs of each.