For turkey, it’s very easy: one pound equals one serving. So if you’re have eight people for Christmas dinner, you’re going to need at least an eight-pound bird. But, if you’re someone who likes to have leftovers, or if you intend to use the turkey carcass for broth or soup, you’re going to want to add some weight in order to have the turkey go farther.
When it comes to roast beef, calculate 1⁄2 a pound per person to be safe. If your roast is bone- in, you will want to go up to a pound per serving, to account for the weight of the bone. Again, if you’re counting on leftovers for roast beef sandwiches or beef-barley soup, buy a roast a couple of pounds heavier than what you need for dinner.
The serving weight for ham is a bit smaller: Experts estimate people will eat 1/3 – 1/4 of a pound per serving. Again, account for the ham bone if you’re purchasing bone-in (in this case you’ll need 1/3 – 1⁄2 lb per guest), and buy a slightly heavier ham if you’re hoping to have leftovers.
Originally published in the Winter 2018 issue.