cooking for a crowd

Getting the Most From Your Meat: The Best Cuts of Meat for Feeding a Crowd

Last Updated on February 28, 2020

Do you host family dinners on Sunday, or just enjoy entertaining in general? Maybe you’ve got a large family with some voracious eaters. Whatever you need to cook a large meal for, it’s essential to understand the best cuts of meat to feed many mouths.

Beyond understanding the ins and outs of different cuts of meat, it’s helpful to know the budget-friendliness of a particular cut, the ease of cooking it, and, of course, how to make it taste great!

If you’re looking for budget-conscious, easy options, whole chickens roasted in a crockpot or grilled pork loin roast will do the trick. If you’re looking to impress, there’s the labor of love ribeye roast or the barbecue essential that is beef brisket.

From a large chuck roast for the ideal pot roast meal to a hearty pork butt for sumptuous pulled pork, there are many options for whipping up spectacular, hearty meals in bulk.

Chuck Roast

The ideal pot roast meal, a large chuck roast will feed many mouths. Grass-fed chuck roasts are much leaner than their grain-fed counterparts, and ButcherBox’s chuck roasts are generously marbled.

Cut from the beef shoulder just above the short rib, the chuck roast is best braised or roasted to bring out its tenderness. Flavorful and rich cooking liquids are a must for braising chuck roasts, but feel free to experiment with flavor profiles, for example, this Chinese 5-spice chuck roast. The best part? Chuck roasts make the perfect one-pot dinner, making it super easy to feed all those mouths.

Pork Loin Roast

Lean and mild, the pork loin roast comes from the most tender part of the pig. It only has a small layer of fat on top, which adds flavor but keeps the meat lean and healthy. Sliced in decent-sized rounds, a larger roast can feed several people.

Another versatile hunk of meat, pork loin roast is amenable to many preparations. Grill it for the perfect char, or roast it low and slow in a Dutch oven, basting it with beef broth. For a crunchy exterior, sear it in a screaming hot cast iron pan before roasting it in the oven. It holds up to the most herb-filled of marinades and rubs, but a simple kosher salt, crushed black pepper, and olive oil coating will also do for a flavorful meal. This roast pork loin with apples recipe opts for the latter but jazzes it up by roasting the loin alongside apples and herbs.

Ribeye Roast

Do you love ribeye steaks? If you do, you’ll love the king-size version, the ribeye roast.

Tender and juicy, this hunk of beef is cut from the center of the rib section of the animal. It’s a perfect roasted for a Sunday dinner or a holiday meal, with a savory spice blend and a crackly crust.

This ribeye roast with caramelized onion orange butter ups the ante with that ultra-decadent compound butter, which coats the already rich roast with a de facto buttery sauce. If you’re looking to do something a little different than roasting it whole, the ribeye roast can be cut into individual steaks.

Whole Chicken

The epitome of versatility, a whole chicken is a cost-effective and mighty tasty hunk of meat. If you’ve got the home butchering skills, it’s possible to parcel out the thighs, breasts, legs, and wings.

If you’re looking to feed many mouths, though, we recommend cooking it whole — it’s quite a centerpiece on its own. You can grill it — try spatchcocking the bird first, roast it, spit-roast it on a rotisserie and even cook it whole in a Crock-Pot. It’s a blank canvas for many flavors, but lemon, garlic, butter, and thyme is always a winning combination. It’s great served alongside a bevy of vegetables, and the leftovers work in so many recipes—salads, enchiladas, or soups. Speaking of soups, save the bones and turn them into a hearty homemade stock.

Beef Brisket

As barbecue lovers know, beef brisket is a succulent, deeply flavorful cut of meat. Flat, heavy, and riddled with delicious fat, beef brisket can be sliced to serve a crowd. Brisket gets its richness from all the exercise the section of the animal from which the cut derives receives since it bears 60 percent of its weight. It’s delicious smoked, grilled, braised low and slow, and served with all manner of spices and sauces. This Texas-style beef brisket recipe is seasoned heavily then roasted low and slow in the oven. It produces a mouthwatering, budget-friendly meal to feed a bunch of hungry mouths.

Eye Round Roast

Flavorful but not fatty, the eye round roast hails from a lean and active muscle on the cow. As the name suggests, it’s best prepared as a hearty roast for the whole family.

You can serve it sliced thick with spicy horseradish cream on the side, or sliced thin for sandwiches if you’re looking for something different. Try seasoning it the day before roasting with salt and pepper. Be sure to rub it down with a savory spice rub for lots of flavor, and slice it against the grain for maximum tenderness.

Pork Butt

If mounds of luscious pulled pork sound like food paradise, this is your cut. A large cut of pork, the butt has rich marbling and plenty of connective tissue. The low and slow method keeps this cut of pork tender and flavorful, so opt for braising, roasting, or even the crockpot.

Fun fact: The “butt” actually comes from the pork shoulder, but colonial American butchers packed the cut into barrels called “butts,” giving the cut its unique name. This smoky coffee-rubbed pulled pork produces a fork-tender, rich, and flavorful meal.