Monday, April 19, 2010

Saving Money on Meat

Saving money at the grocery store meat counter is easy, just follow a few simple tips and tricks. Cutting up a large roast can be a real savings.

Start at the grocery store by looking at the cuts that are available. The difference between a large roast, and a steak, beyond size is price. That same steak that you pay 6.99 a pound for came from a roast that you would pay 4.99 a pound for. Go ahead and get the large roast, cut off some steaks, and maybe some stew meat, the rest can be a nice roast for another night. You will need to consider how much bone is in the piece of meat you are purchasing. Bones can make it harder to cut your roast into steaks.

Don't be afraid to ask the meat department if they have a large roast available, usually they will be more than willing to accommodate you. Learning the various cuts of meat is to your advantage. A roast with lots of bones will have a limited ways of preparing. On the other hand sirloin is more expensive, but you will have a greater variety of cooking options.

When you get your roast make sure you cut it right away (if you didn't already have the meat department do it for you). When cutting steaks, cut across the grain for the most tender steak possible. If you want thick steaks then stick with 1 to 2 inch thick slices. If you want thin breakfast or sandwich steaks, then partially freezing the meat is the best option. This will enable you to control the thickness a little easier.

When cutting stew meat, it is better to cut a thick slice and then cut into smaller pieces. Also make sure you cut your roast so it fits in your pan. Remember to leave some fat on the roast, steaks and stew meat for flavor, since most of the flavor is in the fat.

When buying a whole chicken to cut up make sure you compare prices of pieces. Sometimes it is cheaper to by leg quarters rather than a whole chicken. Cut the chicken in half, so you have breasts and thighs on one half, back and wings on the other. Next cut the wings off, and cut the back in half. Cut the thighs off at the joint. Cut the breast in half down the center. If you like drumsticks rather than leg quarters cut the drumsticks off at the joint.

One of your options is to ask the meat department if they will cut your beef or pork roasts for you. My local Meijer has cut pork loin and ham for me in the past. Don't be afraid to ask them at the meat counter for advise or assistance!



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