Buying Meat on a Budget

Economy Cuts of Meat

In a perfect world we would all be able to afford and/or find grass-fed meats and organic, free-range poultry - unfortunately for many this is not the case.  Just because you live in a food desert or are financially challenged doesn’t mean that you have to resort to vegetarianism or be stuck eating the cruddy, leftover, almost expired, mysteriously wrapped ground meat of questionable origin (you know the stuff I’m talking about).  There are many ”financially friendly,” healthy options to help you “get your meat on.”  Here are some of the best choices.  Keep in mind that prices may vary based on location.

Beef Tri-Tip (Sirloin Tip, Triangle Roast)

Average Price: $5.99-$6.99/pound

Vital Information: Triangle cut from the bottom of the sirloin, often ground into hamburger.

Cooking Tips: For best results roast or grill the meat.

Chicken Legs & Thighs

Average Price: $1.29-$2.19/pound

Vital Information: Much cheaper than boneless, skinless breasts.  Make sure to remove the skin before eating due to Omega-6 overload.

Cooking Tips: Bake, roast, grill, or fry in a little coconut or olive oil – it all works.

Pork Shoulder (Pork Butt, Boston Butt, Shoulder Roast)

Average Price: $1.99-$2.99/pound

Vital Information: Great for pulled pork, freezes well.

Cooking Tips: Low and Slow is the rule here (Low temp for a long time).  It is great for the crock pot or smoker.

Hanger Steak (Butchers’ Steak, Bistro Steak)

Average Price: $6.99-$8.99/pound

Vital Information: Looks weird (or different than traditional steak) - but it’s packed with flavor.  Steaks are connected in the center by inedible connective tissue.  Cut down the middle to separate and ‘clean’ before cooking.  One steak feeds 2 to 4 people.

Cooking Tips: Broil, grill, or sautee.  Cut steak against the grain to serve.

Beef Short Ribs

Average Price: $4.99-$5.99/pound

Vital Information: Look for them several ways:  whole (bone-in), cut into squares or boneless.  They’re big and meaty.

Cooking Tips: Braise or grill for best results.  Work well in stews and soups.

Pork Belly (FRESH BACON)

Average Price: $2.98-$4.99/pound

Vital Information: This is where BACON comes from.  It is very silky in texture and melts in your mouth.

Cooking Tips: Braising is best.  Cook whole or cut into cubes.

Beef Brisket

Average Price: $3.79-$4.49/pound

Vital Information: Large cut of meat that is great for freezing.  Bone-free = more meat for your money.

Cooking Tips: Smoke or braise.  Cook slowly for tender, melt in your mouth meat.

Pork Sirloin (Pork Cutlets, Loin Chops, Sirloin Roast)

Average Price: $2.99-$3.99/pound

Vital Information: Lean and full of flavor.  They are awesome in stir-fry.

Cooking Tips: Cutlets or Chops – sautee, grill, broil, bake, or fry.  Roasts and large cuts – braise or roast.

Lamb Shoulder Chops (Lamb Blade Chops)

Average Price: $3.99-$6.99/lb

Vital Information: Pick up flavor well making them very versatile and are much cheaper than loin chops.

Cooking Tips: Broil, grill or braise for best results.  These are BAA-D @SS (I couldn’t resist).

See, it is possible to eat great meat and still be able to fill your car with gas!  And just in case you are still on the “meat isn’t good for you” wagon check out this short article that shows just how nutrient packed meat is.  No more excuses!  “Meat” Your Heart Out!!

We welcome your comments below.

photo credit:  stumptownpanda

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Amy Kubal is a Registered “Paleo” Dietitian and the ring leader of Robb Wolf’s RD consulting team. She works with a wide range of clients from competitive athletes to those dealing with complex health problems. Check out her bio and consulting options, and her blog Fuel As Rx to get your Paleo nutrition fix.

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