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Nov 13, 2013 07:38 AM

How much Turkey

How many pounds of turkey do we need per person

I know that the minimum to get the bird to cook property is the 14-16 pound bracket but how many people does that actually feed

We will have at least 4 but maybe 8 as a few others might pop in people so I think I need to plan for at least 7 people if not 8 (left overs never hurt anyway)

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  1. 1 to 1.5 lbs person, depending on how much you want for leftovers. :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: TorontoJo

      This is bone in, it's important to say.

    2. BTW, I've done 12# turkey on the Weber on indirect, butterflied.

      1. I donT know where you heard that you need that size turkey to cook properly. We make 10-12 pound turkeys, stuffed and roasted all the time with great success. I prefer 2 small ones to one big one anytime.

        3 Replies
        1. re: magiesmom

          Yes, I agree. We always try to get the smaller turkeys since as often as not it's just the two of us. There's certainly no problem in roasting a small turkey, so you shouldn't make a decision based on that. It's true, though, that a 10-12 pounder might not be enough for eight people

          1. re: magiesmom

            Properly, maybe not. Economically, definitely. Under 16 pounds, you have the highest percentage of bone as compared to meat. The skeletal size does not increase by much beyond the 16 pound size, so the increase in weight is almost totally meat.

            1. re: greygarious

              I too used to think that bigger birds had a higher percentage of meat and was shocked to find out that this isn't so. I've got the data and spreadsheets to prove it. We sell nothing but Turkey in our restaurant so portion control and yield are huge issues for us and as you might imagine we studied this pretty carefully before we decided which Turkeys to buy.

              If you think skeletal size isn't much bigger in bigger birds, come down to our place sometime and we'll show you. The carcasses on the 30-pounders are twice as big as those of the 15-pounders. Imagine that.

              I've taken apart hundreds of Turkeys of all different weights, raw and cooked, over the past few years and I can tell you without doubt that any commercial Turkey from 13-30 pounds raw weight at the market will yield exactly 33% carvable, sliceable meat, not counting legs and wings. So 5.3 ounces per original pound of package weight. Heritage and heirloom birds will yield much less due to their smaller breasts.

              So if you anticipate a 1/3-pound serving per guest, plan on a pound per person, again not counting the legs and wings, which are sort of wildcards anyway.

            1. Butterball has calculators that let you factor in how many kids and adults you're serving, whether you want leftovers, and whether you're light or heavy eaters: