The festive season is here, and it’s time to fire up the grill for some yummy BBQ. Burgers, hot dogs, and chicken are all set, but what about the steak? Flank steak, to be precise. It’s a surefire hit, but how much Flank steak per person should you get?
To answer the question, the general guideline is 0.8 pounds of raw flank steak per person. This is a decent amount for both those bigger appetites and leftovers.
However, several other factors affect how much flank steak serves a person. For example, is it a main dish or a side dish? What are the ages, genders, and body sizes of your guests?
In this article, we’ll break them down and even provide a flank steak calculator to help you plan your next BBQ. So, let’s get started!
How Much Flank Steak Do You Need?
Cooking flank steak and wondering how much you need? Here’s a guide to help you out.
1. General Guideline for Flank Steak Per Person
When buying flank steak, the general rule of thumb is 0.8 pounds per adult. This should be enough for those with larger appetites and those who want leftovers for the next day.
On the other hand, if that’s too much, 0.5 pounds should be enough to meet the daily protein requirement of a normally active person. For kids, 1/4 pound per child should suffice.
Remember that the meat will shrink by about 30% when cooked, so if you buy 1 pound of raw flank steak, you will end up with roughly 0.7 pounds of cooked meat.
To make things simpler, here are tables with the amount of flank steak needed for 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 adults and children. Each group will have its own table.
This table is for the servings of 0.8 pounds per adult.
|Number of Adults||Raw Flank Steak (lbs)||Cooked Flank Steak (lbs)|
This table is for the 0.5-pound servings.
|Number of Adults||Raw Flank Steak (lbs)||Cooked Flank Steak (lbs)|
This table is for the 0.25-pound servings per child.
|Number of Children||Raw Flank Steak (lbs)||Cooked Flank Steak (lbs)|
2. Flank Steak Calculator
If you don’t want to use pre-calculated tables and want a more personalized calculation, I have a flank steak calculator to help you.
All you need to do is enter the number of participants, including adults and children, and the calculator will suggest the necessary amount.
However, remember that this will be a suggested amount and needs to be adjusted according to other factors explained later in the article.
Some examples of results with this calculator when it’s the main dish:
- For 0.8-lb serving per adult, feeding 12 people, including 10 adults and 2 children, requires about 6 lbs of cooked or 8 lbs of raw flank steak.
- For 0.5-lb serving per adult, feeding 12 people, including 10 adults and 2 children, requires about 4 lbs of cooked or 6 lbs of raw flank steak.
Other Factors to Consider
When planning your event, the number of guests isn’t the only thing you should remember. Here are some other factors to take into account when determining the amount of flank steak you should get:
1. Is it the Main dish or the side dish?
One of the most significant factors is whether it will be the main dish or a side dish. If it is the main dish, you must ensure enough for each guest to have a satisfying portion. If it is a side dish, you can plan for smaller portions.
For example, if it’s the star of the show and the only main dish, you will need to ensure enough for each guest to have a filling portion. At this point, serving 0.8 pounds per person seems reasonable.
However, if you are serving multiple meat dishes, you may only need to purchase enough flank steak for each guest to have a small taste. You should go for 0.4 pounds per person or less.
2. Side Dishes
Figuring out the right serving size heavily on what side dishes you plan to serve. If your sides are particularly filling, like mashed potatoes or mac and cheese, your guests won’t need huge portions of steak to feel full. However, more lightweight options, like salads or veggies, will require larger portions of steak.
It’s also important to think about the flavors and textures of your sides when making your flank steak purchases. If you have a variety of dishes that offer different tastes and textures, your guests won’t need as much steak to be satisfied as if all the sides had the same flavor and texture.
3. Age, Gender, and Daily Protein Requirements of Guests
When determining the appropriate amount of flank steak to purchase, the age, gender, and daily protein requirements of your guests are key factors to consider.
Portion sizes tend to vary considerably, so make sure to take this into account. Men and older guests typically require larger portions due to their larger body sizes and higher need for sustenance.
However, it’s not just age and gender that should be considered when aiming for adequate nutrition. To truly provide balanced meals, you should consider the daily protein requirements of your guests and adjust accordingly.
The amount of protein the body needs varies based on age, gender, and level of physical activity, as per studies. For instance, children require only around 13-19 grams of protein per day, while adults who participate in intense workouts may need up to 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight.
Below is the recommended minimum amount of protein that people with an average active lifestyle should consume.
- Children aged 1-3 years: 0.46 oz (13 g) for both boys and girls
- Children aged 4-8 years: 0.67 oz (19 g) for both boys and girls
- Children aged 9-13 years: 1.2 oz (34 g) for both boys and girls
- Girls aged 14-18 years: 1.6 oz (46 g)
- Boys aged 14-18 years: 1.8 oz (52 g)
- Women aged 19-70 years: 1.6 oz (46 g)
- Men aged 19-70 years: 2 oz (56 g)
- Pregnant women: 2.5 oz (71 g)
- Breastfeeding women: 2.5 oz (71 g)
To simplify calculations and provide comparisons, we use the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. The RDA refers to the amount of a nutrient necessary to fulfill basic nutritional requirements.
For instance, people weighing 175 pounds or 79 kilograms should consume 63.2 grams of protein daily. In addition, according to FoodData Central, the protein content of 0.5 lbs and 0.8 lbs of raw flank steak is 48.5g and 77.7g, respectively.
- If you serve them 0.5 lbs of raw flank steak, they will have 48.5 grams of protein, nearly 76% of their daily protein needs.
- If you serve them 0.8 lbs of raw flank steak, they will have 77.7 grams of protein, close to 122% of their daily needs.
So for the average person who doesn’t exercise much, serving 0.5 lbs of flank steak is quite sufficient. But if your guests are intense trainers or big people, you may want to serve them more, from 0.8 to 1 lb.
Furthermore, if your guest list includes individuals with different protein requirements, it may be wise to purchase additional flank steak to ensure that everyone has enough to meet their dietary needs.
You can see more examples with other weights in the table below.
|Weight (lbs)||Daily Protein Need (g)||Protein of 0.5-lb Serving (g)||0.5-lb Serving / Daily Need||Protein of 0.8-lb Serving (g)||0.8-lb Serving / Daily Need|
4. Time Of The Day
Barbecues hosted at different times of the day may require different amounts of flank steak. If you’re grilling up a meal for lunch, you may be able to get away with less steak per person.
However, if you’re hosting a dinner get-together, your guests may need a little more sustenance, so more flank steak is likely in order.
Being mindful of the time of day can help ensure that your barbecue is well-stocked with all the right ingredients.
5. Type Of Party
When throwing a party, the needed amount will depend on the type of event. A casual backyard barbecue will require less food than a formal dinner party, so you shouldn’t plan for too much flank steak per person.
On the other hand, for special occasions such as a wedding or anniversary celebration, your guests may expect a more substantial meal, so you should purchase more flank steak to meet their expectations.
When planning the amount of steak to get, think about the formality of the event. If it’s more formal, it’s best to have more on hand so that everyone is fulfilled and content. This way, you can be sure your guests will be happy and have a great time.
The possibility of having leftovers is also something you should consider. Depending on the number of people and their appetites, you could be left with extra flank steak after the meal. If you plan on using the leftovers for other dishes, you should get more steak than the recommended amount to be safe.
On the other hand, if you don’t want to waste food or money, you may opt to buy less than the suggested amount. It’s all about finding the perfect balance between having enough food and avoiding over-purchasing.
Budget is always a factor to consider when planning an event, and it’s no different when buying flank steak. It can be more expensive than other cuts of meat, so it’s important to consider your budget when deciding how much to buy.
One way to stretch your budget is to use flank steak as a complement to other dishes rather than the main course. For example, you could slice the steak thinly and use it as a topping for a salad or sandwich. Another option is to serve smaller portions and pair it with less expensive side dishes.
Understanding Flank Steak
If you’re planning a barbecue or a dinner party, flank steak is an excellent choice for your main course. Understanding it and how to prepare it can help you make the most of your meal.
What is Flank Steak?
Flank steak is a thin, long cut of beef that comes from the lower chest or the abdominal muscles of the cow. It’s lean but flavorful and is perfect for grilling, broiling, or searing. You can use it to make various dishes, such as fajitas, tacos, and salads.
The Average Size, Price, and Serving Size
Flank steak is a reasonably priced cut of meat that’s easy to find in most grocery stores. Its average size varies from 1 to 2 pounds, but you can get them in larger or smaller sizes too.
Based on the recommended serving size of 0.5 to 0.8 pounds per person, a 2-pound flank steak can feed approximately 2-4 people. However, this can vary depending on your guests’ appetites and whether it’s the main dish or served as a side dish alongside other protein sources.
The cost of flank steak may differ depending on the location, but on average, it’s around $10 to $15 per pound.
Flank steak Vs. Skirt Steak
Flank steak and skirt steak are often confused with each other because they come from similar areas of the cow and have a similar texture. However, there are some key differences between these two cuts of meat.
Where they are from on the cow
Flank steak comes from the abdominal muscle of the cow, specifically the lower chest area, while skirt steak is taken from the plate, which is the underside of the cow’s chest.
Flank steak is thicker and wider than skirt steak, and it has a more pronounced grain. Skirt steak, conversely, is thinner and has a looser grain.
Both flank steak and skirt steak have a rich beefy flavor, but they differ in their level of tenderness. Flank steak is a bit tougher than skirt steak, which makes it ideal for marinating and grilling over high heat.
Flavor & Texture
Flank steak has a grainy texture that is more pronounced than skirt steak. When cooked properly, flank steak has a chewy texture that is perfect for a steak salad or sandwich. Skirt steak has a looser grain and a softer texture, ideal for fajitas or tacos.
Skirt steak has a bit more fat marbling than flank steak, which makes it a bit more flavorful. However, this also means it can be a bit greasier than flank steak.
How Many People Does A 2-lb Skirt Steak Serve?
Similar to flank steak, the serving size for skirt steak is around 0.5 to 0.8 pounds per person. Therefore, a 2-pound skirt steak could serve between 2 to 4 people, depending on the appetites of your guests.
Tips to Grill Flank Steak for Large Groups
Grilling flank steak can be a bit tricky, especially when cooking for large groups. Overcooking can result in a tough and dry steak, while undercooking can lead to an unappetizingly chewy texture. Here are some tips to ensure your grilled steak turns out juicy and flavorful:
1. Marinate the Steak
Marinating flank steak is an excellent way to add flavor to the meat and make it more tender. You can use store-bought marinades or create your own with a mix of oil, acid (such as vinegar or citrus juice), herbs, and spices. The key is to let the steak marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours in the fridge for maximum flavor.
2. Preheat the Grill
Before grilling, make sure your grill is preheated to medium-high heat (around 400-450°F). This will help sear the outside of the steak while keeping the inside juicy.
3. Pat the Steak Dry
Before grilling, pat the steak dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. This will help the steak sear better and prevent steaming, which can lead to a tough texture.
4. Grill the Steak
Grill the flank steak for about 3-5 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the steak and the desired level of doneness. Use tongs to flip the steak and avoid piercing it with a fork, which can release its juices and dry it out.
5. Check Internal Temperature
Checking the internal temperature of a flank steak is critical to guarantee it is fit to eat. The USDA advises cooking beef to a minimum internal temperature of 145°F before taking it off the heat.
To test the temperature, insert an instant-read meat thermometer into the steak’s thickest part. Once the steak reaches the desired temperature, take it off the grill and let it rest before cutting and serving.
6. Let the Steak Rest
After removing it from the heat, let the steak rest for at least 3-5 minutes before slicing it. This allows the juices to redistribute and results in a more flavorful and tender steak.
7. Slice Against the Grain
When slicing the flank steak, make sure to cut against the grain, which means perpendicular to the long fibers of the meat. This will result in a more tender and easier-to-chew steak.
8. Serve Immediately
Flank steak is best served immediately after grilling while it’s still hot and juicy. If you need to hold it for a short period, wrap it in foil to keep it warm.
When buying flank steak, you must consider various factors to determine how much you’ll need per person.
These factors include the size of the steak, the appetites of your guests, and the recipe you’re making. As a general rule of thumb, plan for 0.5 to 0.8 pounds of flank steak per person.
To ensure your steak turns out juicy and flavorful, marinate it, preheat your grill, pat it dry, grill it for a few minutes on each side, let it rest, and slice it against the grain.
With these tips, you’ll impress your guests with a delicious steak meal!
I’m Jackson. I’ve been experimenting with different recipes and techniques to make the perfect plate of smoked or grilled meat for many years. I started this blog to share my experience with others who love grilling and smoking just as much as I do. Here you’ll find recipes, tips, tricks, and everything you need to know about making mouth-watering grilled or smoked dishes.