Ok, so before you even head to the store you need to have in your mind that you're not going to get T-bones and ribeyes for $3/lb. That would be awesome but will not happen. The goal is to find a diamond in the rough that you can put a little extra work and kitchen time into and still get a good quality meal.
Once you arrive at the meat case, you're looking for markdowns, BOGO (buy one, get one) or large hunks of meat that most people won't buy (think along the lines of a whole ham). You may not find a great deal every time but one good deal on a large sub-primal can last you awhile. On our shopping trip last Sunday, we found a few good deals but only cashed in on one due to our lack of freezer space at the moment.
You have to look beyond what is right in front of you and think about how you can cut things down or use them in different recipes. On this trip, the Ninja is debating which cut is a better deal and which one is the best cut based on color etc.
|Comparisons are vital - look beyond what is right in front of you.|
|Same with these charcoal steaks, - these are from the chuck but have been cut down and marinated causing their price to be $7 per lb even though a chuck roast is much cheaper per pound.|
|Ham on sale for $1.69/lb. Yes, I know it's a whole ham but you can cut things down and freeze them.|
|These whole ham butts can be cut down and frozen for use in meals at a later date.|
This is the deal that we took advantage of last weekend:
|Beef bottom round roast - buy one get one free!|
Naturally, we brought two home and got them ready for future meals. Since crockpot season is over, we opted to cut them into steaks instead of keeping them in their roast form. We unwrapped them and took them out of the package - the first step was removing the fat and silver skin (bonus info: that little pad in the bottom of the package is called a 'diaper'). Silver skin is opaque connective tissue that is very tough so removing it can really improve the eating experience.
|Preparing to break it down.|
|The diaper - soaks up juices that may leech out of the meat|
and keeps the tray and packaging looking clean and tidy.
|Removing the silver skin and external fat (the dogs appreciated this step) - silver skin is tough connective tissue so it's important to remove to improve the eating experience!|
|Cutting across the grain is important with roasts in order to improve tenderness|
|Here you can see how many ~1" steaks come from one of the bottom round roasts|
|Here are the results of the two roasts that were cut down - there were nine steaks and five 'midget' steaks (that's really what they're called), and of course the pieces of fat and silver skin for the dogs.|
|I realize it's hard to determine how big these are - a deck of cards is roughly the size of one-three ounce serving of beef. As you can see, these steaks are about four ounces.|
|The final product bagged up - I'll put them in the freezer and when we want to grill, I just pull one out the night before and let it defrost.|
I hope this provides insight on how you don't have to change your diet on a tight budget but rather just change your perspective or your strategies and you can still have high-quality, lean beef on your plate (pork, too)!
Any questions - comments? Do you do something similar at your house?
Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~