One of the biggest line items in many budgets is meat. However, there are many different cuts of meat that are cheap and will taste just as great as premium steak if not better with the right recipe! Below are 14 price points of different cuts of meat together with some recipe ideas to inspire your time in the kitchen!

Please note that prices reflect a local Trader Joe’s NYC location, as well as a NJ Sam’s Club and average retail prices as of January 2018 per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While prices may vary depending on your location, the below will hopefully serve as an initial guide into what meat to look out for!

Beef

Beef comes in many shapes and forms and given the variety of cuts available, the choices can be confusing.

In general, the meat comes in two forms, premium cuts which are easier to cook and more expensive and then cheaper cuts which are usually cut from muscles that the cow depends on heavily. Don’t be dismayed though – while cheaper cuts may take longer to prepare, the delicious taste profile of more expensive beef is not sacrificed at all!

Below are some cheaper cuts to explore the next time you’re at the grocery store:

Brisket

$2.88 per lb per Sam’s Club

One of the most delicious cuts of beef is brisket (at least in my opinion). Brisket is also one of the least expensive too.

When selecting brisket at your butcher, make sure that it doesn’t contain too much fat, otherwise you will get very little meat from it.

Ground Beef

$3.99 per lb at Trader Joe’s

Ground beef serves as one of the the most budget-friendly beef options out there while providing great flavor to a dish. It is made from cheaper cuts of meat such as brisket or shank.

Leaner versions of ground beef come from other cuts such as ground chuck, ground round and ground sirloin.

Beef chuck / Chuck Eye Steak / Blade

$4.79 per lb per BLS

These cuts of meat come from the shoulder area on top of the cow, just below the neck. This meat is a perfect substitute for more expensive steaks – being easy on the tongue and on your pockets.

It can be prepared in a variety of ways including in a slow cooker, on a grill or in a skillet.

Beef Round Cuts

$4.93 per lb per BLS (Round Roast)

$5.61 per lb per BLS (Round Steak)

$10.99 per lb at Trader Joe’s (Flank Steak / London Broil)  

A cow’s round is its rear leg. Given how much work this part of its body does, the meat tends to be tougher and leaner.

There are plenty of cuts that can come from this part of a cow such as Bottom Round, Bottom Round Roast, Eye Round Roast, London Broil / Flank Steak, Top Round Steak and Top Round Roast.

 

Suggested beef recipes:

Marinated Skirt Steak with Chimichurri | Grandbaby CakesGrandbaby Cakes – Marinated Skirt Steak with ChimichurriOven-Barbecued Beef Brisket

Spicy Southern Kitchen – Oven Barbecued Beef Brisket

Pork

Pork Shoulder / Pork Butt

$1.78 per lb per Sam’s Club

This delightful meat is sold boneless in stores and is the area right above the pig’s neck. Pork shoulder is pretty tough and is great for roasting and braising. This cut is largely used for pulled pork which cooks over a long time and remains moist.

Pork Loin

$3.99 per lb at Trader Joe’s

Pork loin forms the middle upper back of a pig and is lean and tender. Because of this, it should be cooked as a slow roast otherwise it will dry up.

Baby Back Ribs

$5.49 per lb at Trader Joe’s

Baby back ribs are connected to the backbone under the loin muscle. They form the most tender ribs. The name “baby” does not mean that they come from baby pigs, but rather that the ribs are lean, tender and shorter than spareribs. Baby back ribs make for a great barbecue food.

Pork Chops (center-cut)

$5.99 per lb at Trader Joe’s

Situated right next to the loin, pork chops offer another tasty, affordable alternative for meals. Pork chops can be sold with or without the bones. Pork chops are best cooked under high heat such as frying or grilling.

Suggested pork recipes:

Just 6 ingredients and less than an hour are all that separate you from this awesome caramelized Brown Sugar Garlic Pork and roasted vegetables.

Dinner Then Dessert – Brown Sugar Garlic Pork with Carrots and Potatoes

Southern Pulled Pork. This is the real deal.

Kevin and Amanda – Perfect Pulled Pork

Chicken

Chicken is easily a favorite in many homes and understandably so. Chicken can be flavored in countless ways and is always soft and tender to eat.

To further reduce your bill when purchasing chicken, you can buy it whole and learn to cut it at home (which isn’t too difficult with some practice) or you can purchase it with the skin and bones and remove those at home on your own.

Chicken Drumsticks

$1.49 per lb at Trader Joe’s

Chicken Breast (boneless and skinless)

$4.49 per lb at Trader Joe’s

Chicken (fresh, whole)

$1.50 per lb per BLS

Suggested chicken recipes:

Quick & Easy Creamy Herb Chicken | https://cafedelites.com

Cafe Delites – Quick & Easy Creamy Herb Chicken

Baked Honey Garlic Chicken - little chicken nuggets, breaded and baked to a crispy perfection, then drizzled with an amazing sweet, spicy and garlicky sauce.

Jo Cooks – Baked Honey Garlic Chicken

Turkey

I must admit, outside of thanksgiving, I rarely buy turkey however, it is a healthy and affordable way to eat. Like chicken, a great way to purchase it is to buy it whole. Another option would be to purchase ground turkey.

Ground Turkey

$5.49 per lb at Trader Joe’s

Turkey Breast Cutlets (thin sliced turkey breast, boneless and skinless)

$5.49 per lb at Trader Joe’s

Turkey (frozen, whole)

$1.40 per lb per BLS

Suggested turkey recipes:

Chinese Five Spice Ground Turkey Zucchini Noodles - this is a low carb version of a popular Chinese noodle dish. Delicious and very satisfying! ~ http://jeanetteshealthyliving.com

Jeanette’s Healthy Living – Chinese Five Spice Ground Turket Zucchini Noodles

Korean Ground Turkey

The Schmidty Wife – Korean Ground Turkey


As you can see, you can prepare delicious high quality meat-based meals without breaking bank. The key is to know which cuts to look out for as you shop! If you have any additional tips for meat shopping, do leave them in the comments below!

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