Pitmaster Wayne Stahl of the Santa Maria Elks club and his crew cater many events each year, big to small. He gets asked one question a lot.

“A very common question about barbecuing is ‘How much food do I need for my party?’” Stahl says. He’s shared with us some numbers that he swears by.

“You can adjust up and down depending on your guests,” Stahl adds. “Women and children typically eat less than men and if you have a lot of other food, you’ll need less.”

top block, New York ribeye or tri-tip: plan for ¾ lb. per person raw/untrimmed

1 gallon of beans: will serve 25 people

1 gallon of macaroni salad: will serve 35 people

2 lbs. of green salad: will serve 14 people

10 lbs. of green salad: will need 1/3 gallon of dressing (bonus tip: Add salad dressing to taste but don’t add to much or add it too early to avoid a soggy salad)

1 loaf of bread (about 15” long): will feed 10 people

1 loaf of bread (about 12” long): will feed 8 people

1 lb. of butter: will take care of 2 loaves of bread (for garlic bread, something that’s especially big with barbecue in California’s Santa Maria Valley)

1 gallon of salsa: will feed 50 people (“This varies significantly depending on your guests,” Stahl says.)

Photo credit: Santa Maria Elks club