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Another Passover question

  • j

I've read that because brisket shrinks so much when cooking, you should estimate 1lb of meat per person. Does anyone here agree?

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  1. Cooking to medium rare already results in a 15% weight loss, I would estimate 30% for braised brisket.

    1. How many are you having over?

      I dunno about your house, but when it comes to the holidays, I make enough for an army, knowing that the leftovers will be greedily scooped up as parting gifts from the assorted vultures that stalk my house this time of year.

      This is to say that I never calculate- I just go to the butcher and tell them to get me the biggest brisket they've got. :)

      1. Last year I had 14 people total for Hanukkah dinner and bought 2 briskets, total was about 10 pounds IIRC. Even after some guests had seconds (I always do buffet) there was enough left-over for a few meals. Oh, and only one vegetarian guest.

        1. I agree.That's about right. Not everyone can/will eat that much, especially when you have a bunch of sides to go with it.

          1. I generally estimate about 40 to 50% shrinkage...1 pound of meat per person, I assume that is before it is cooked...

            4 Replies
            1. re: PHREDDY

              Brisket leftovers are perfection itself so I make as much as I can afford and can fit in my pot.

              1. re: magiesmom

                I do pretty much the same thing. When cooking brisket for a crowd, I generally oven braise it in a large roasting pan that I cover tightly with heavy duty foil.

                1. re: CindyJ

                  Same as above. My medium roasting pan will comfortably fit a 6-lb. brisket so that's what I make. That's never my only main course, though, and I expect leftovers. Brisket is always better the 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc. day and it does freeze very well.

                  This year I'm having 10 one night, 12 the next. The second main for the first night is 2 grilled venison legs (just do me a favor and don't ask). The second night it will be smoked turkey breast. Then there's 2 - 3 sides, soup, fish, etc. No one ever leaves hungry and I've never run out of food.

              2. I make a ton of brisket. For 16 people, which is my usual seder amount, I make about 15-20 lbs. There is plenty left over but it freezes well. I freeze it in smaller portions and it always comes out perfect.

                5 Replies
                1. re: valerie

                  I don't know how to calculate weight relative to shrinkage rates, e.g. if shrinkage rate is 30% or 50%, then what weight do I need? I understand Valerie to be saying yes, 1lb. per person, pre-cooked weight.

                  I will be serving 24-28 people. Large briskets run to 7 lbs. That would mean making four briskets!

                  1. re: jns7

                    well, briskets can run quite a bit larger than that. Do you want a half pound per person cooked ?( that is a very generous serving, especially at seder where there is presumably a ton of other food.) But anyway, if you did want a half pound and you think shrinkage will be 30%, which Is what I'd allow then you have to buy around 3/4 lb per person. So 21 lbs for 28 people or three seven pounders.

                    1. re: magiesmom

                      I would tend to agree, you might also want to precook your brisket, and slice it cold, but thin slices, re-heat it....a real time saver. I find that not everybody wants a big thik slice of brisket......except me!!!

                      1. re: PHREDDY

                        I agree. Anyway, brisket is much better a day or two or three after cooking.

                        My brisket recipe calls for slicing part way through the cooking when it is easy to slice. and when each individual slice is then cooked in liquid.

                        I'll make mine Sunday for second seder Tuesday.

                      2. re: magiesmom

                        I usually get 4-5 lb. briskets, so I'd probably make 5 totaling 20-25 lbs. but I am insane and I am always worried about running out of food (though this has never happened!).

                        But I also like leftovers to freeze and my guests will usually take some home.

                        The other thing to consider is how much oven space you have. When I spend the day making brisket, I have both of my ovens going. Then, when it's all cooked, I let it cool, I slice, I assemble back in a single clean dutch oven and refrigerate. Then it gets reheated on the day it is to be served.