Using Cheap Cuts of Meat
My husband and I both work with people who are new immigrants to our country. Some don't have much money to spend on nice cuts of meat. However, they bring delicious foods to work and the meat is so tender and flavorful! They told us their secret. It's the pressure cooker. Apparently, the new electric pressure cookers are much safer
than the stovetop ones.
The pressure cooker has become my new best friend! I cooked a roast the other day in less than an hour that was so tender I could cut it with a fork. Flavoring that is added seems to permeate into the meat under the high pressure. Even tough meat like skirt steaks are tender when cooked in the pressure cooker. I haven't tried it yet, but our friends say that beans and lentils cook very quickly as well.
Jen in Wheaton, Illinois
Purchasing Cheap Meat Cuts
My husband and I couldn't believe the cost of ground round. We are all trying to eat healthier so that means buying leaner cuts of meat. We decided to grind our own. We saw that arm roast was on sale at our local supermarket for $1.59 so we bought 20 pounds and ground it with a meat grinder. (Kitchen Aid sells one that attaches to your mixer.) The meat had virtually no fat when fried. Needless to say, we went back to the store and bought another 30 pounds, ground it and put it in quart size freezer bags for later. Instead of buying ground round for $3 or more per pound, we spent $1.59 per pound!
Discount Meat Cuts
I have found that most groceries have a discount/markdown/quick sale bin. There is nothing wrong with the meat; they just have too much or it hasn't sold by a certain date so they must mark it down or discard it. I often go to the store and check these bins first and often find meat products 35-60% off. Today when I was at Safeway, I bought turkey sausage that was normally $4.99 a package for only $1.99 a package, which is a savings of $3 per package. I bought two packages, which is a savings of $6 or more than 50% off the items. I immediately froze the meat in my deep freezer. My grocery store is right by my library and I visit my library with my kids two to three times a week, so before we go home, we'll often visit the discount meat bin at Safeway. Sometimes we leave empty handed, but sometimes we leave with beautiful, healthy cuts of meat and poultry for a fraction of the price. This allows us to eat leaner and healthier without breaking our budget.
Lots of Meat for a Fraction
We partnered with a neighbor and purchased a beef cow from a reputable local farmer. The farmer delivered it to the locker (butcher). The neighbor took one half and we took the other. We instructed the locker (butcher) to take the roasts and steaks and package them separately for us and then grind the rest into hamburger. We had the ground beef packaged in one pound freezer wrapped packages. The result is we have very high quality ground beef without injected dyes or hormones since the local farmer doesn't use those. The raw meat from the farmer actually smells better than the raw meat from the grocery store. The price of purchase and butchering equates to roughly buying it all on sale at the grocery store. My husband and I pooled our Christmas and Birthday money from that year and got a nice freezer on sale and it only cost us about $50 out of pocket. Now I happily pass up the beef cases in the grocery store!
Cooking Cheaper Meats
There is almost always an alternative cut of beef or pork that will eat just as good for less money. Recently I've been experimenting with boneless chuck steaks and found that they can be very good. I marinate them in my special homemade marinade for 12 to 72 hours and then throw them on the grill at medium to low. I cook them for about 10 minutes per side for medium to medium rare. Now the boneless chuck is not the tenderest cut of meat, but for a $1.99 or less a pound on sale, it's hard to beat and the flavor is without equal. Another of my favorites is the flat iron. Some stores call them top blade steaks, but it's the hunk of meat that is cut off the cross rib and is usually used to make boneless country style ribs or stew meat. Your butcher should know what you are talking about if you ask for the flat iron. The flat iron makes the best steak sandwiches too. Just ask the butcher for a few half-inch slices off the narrow end that has the thin layer of gelatin as opposed to the large end that has a large seam of gristle. He will know what you are talking about. Then ask him to cut your steaks to your desired thickness. They should cost you about the same as a cross rib roast. If you are pals with your butcher, you can ask for a flat iron when cross ribs are on sale and he/she will cut it up for you and let you have it at the cross rib price. You'll be glad you did.
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