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Old 12-15-2017, 05:52 PM   #1
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Cheap butcher cuts

Chime in on any animal you want, but Im looking if I go into the local butcher shop what are the cheapest overlooked cuts to ask for.
In mind I think of soup bones, shanks, pork breast bones, cheeks, hocks,etc.
Usually I get the front half of a beef and like lots of cuts as compared to my sister who will take half a steer in hamburg. Same with pig I usually get half-whole hog.

I assume since hes doing ours beasts we get it all but if I want to top up or get some extra what cuts are butchers bargains?

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Old 12-16-2017, 03:58 AM   #2
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If I've got this right, your parents raise and butcher their own livestock. If that is the case, beef tenderloin and rib roasts should be "cheap" cuts for you. I'm guessing the majority of us pay 3 times what you pay for those cuts. Before their commercially generated prices, skirt steak and brisket were cheap cuts.
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Old 12-16-2017, 04:36 AM   #3
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I don't think anything is cheap these days. I feel that many of the cheaper sounding options are mainly fat, gristle and bone. I prefer to use smaller amounts of higher quality meats and add flavor elements that increase the meaty/umami flavor in soups, stews and casseroles.

I keep an eye out for the unadvertised managers special mark downs on meat that is nearing the expiration date.

In my area ham, whole pork loins and whole chickens are still a good buy if you shop the specials.

Instead of focusing on price I think it's best to use less and eliminate waste on any meat that you buy. Make stock from the bones, use the fat for frying and making sauces, add the scraps to the soup bucket, etc...

Try to work in a few meatless meals each week and splurge on the meals where you are serving meat.

Good luck!
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Old 12-16-2017, 06:39 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Aunt Bea View Post
I don't think anything is cheap these days. I feel that many of the cheaper sounding options are mainly fat, gristle and bone.
Agreed.

I don't know anyone who goes to an actual independent butcher anymore like my mom did as a regular thing 40 years ago. Well, except for when they are particularly trying to buy the best they can for a special occasion. Back in the old days (the 60s and 70s to me ), if you were friendly with a good butcher, he could clue you in to a high quality, cheaper cut when he had it. Those cuts were always saved for his better customers (or if he didn't like you, his thumb might be on the scale when weighing).

Today, I think that for any given animal, there are the more expensive cuts, and the just slightly lesser expensive. Maybe just a dollar or two less per pound.

For instance, when I want lamb, I don't buy the rib or leg cuts at $8 per pound and up, but rather the shoulder cuts at $5 to $6 per pound. It's not all that much cheaper, really, but I happen to like the fattier pieces of lamb anyway.
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Old 12-16-2017, 11:46 AM   #5
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It sure does seem like it is all expensive these days.

30 years ago, (wow, when did I become that guy), when we got married there were a ton if cheap cuts.

We ate a lot of Turkey legs. You could get 2 for like a buck. "breakfast steaks" were a couple bucks for a big package. Hamburger was poor folk food and we ate a lot of it.

Now, unless it is on sale, even chicken is spendy. 4 bucks a pound for boneless/skinless chicken breasts is crazy, when on sale they are 1.49.

We buy on sale and from the markdown bin mostly.

I have tried going to a local butcher, but no thanks. It is even more expensive, like crazy prices.

When things like chuck steak and bottom round are going for 5 and 6 bucks a pound, I'll pass.
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Old 12-16-2017, 12:55 PM   #6
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The way we found the best prices, was to find a small farmer only raising a few cow, negotiate a good hanging price, have it brought to the local butcher (cutting and wrapping price) that works with that farmer. The finished price of the meat is (hanging + cutting and wrapping) divided by (1/3 less than the hanging weight.) If you go for some kind of special beef, it will cost more. Back in 2012 our half a beef came out to $3.51 per lb for all the cuts, which means ground beef is over priced and steaks are under priced. All in all though, it was YUM.

Buying half a cow?
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Old 12-16-2017, 03:30 PM   #7
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We buy beef on the hoof, usually splitting a half with my wife's brother. The cost of buying that way is up a lot from when we first started doing it 15 years ago. That first time we paid $1.55/lb for a half steer, cut and packaged and in the freezer. Now it's around than double that. It's easier to think about it as getting t-bone steak for the same price as hamburger, and for less than the lean ground beef in the grocery store.

For other meats we always have a few pork cuts in the freezer. Lamb has just gone out of reach for the most part, and since my wife isn't overly fond of it, we just don't do it. I will occasionally splurge on a couple of chops if she's away for a day or two, but it is so hard to justify such an extreme expense for so little. Might as well buy wagyu beef.

I still do quite a bit of chicken, either roasting it whole, or buying a whole fryer and parting it myself. I also buy pieces in quantity (family packs of drumsticks or thighs) and dividing and freezing in smaller packages. I also buy the big bags of frozen boneless, skinless breasts to have on hand for when I want chicken in a casserole or soup, or for sandwiches, etc. When I want to cook and serve the breast whole, I buy split breasts for a couple bucks less per pound than the boneless ones in the butcher case. I think bone-in and skin on cook better and stay juicier than boneless.
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Old 12-17-2017, 08:54 AM   #8
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The days of "cheap" meat are past for several reasons. The pork shoulder/Boston butt/fresh picnic can sometimes be found at very attractive prices. We generally think of BBQing with this cut, but it lends itself to many possibilities. Ground pork, braised pork steaks, sausage, and as an ingredient in jambalaya come to mind. There are others.

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Old 12-18-2017, 06:14 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Vinylhanger View Post
It sure does seem like it is all expensive these days.
Ya think? "But our spending on food proportional to our income has actually declined dramatically since 1960, according to a chart recently published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As the chart shows, the average share of per capita income spent on food fell from 17.5 percent in 1960 to 9.6 percent in 2007. (It has since risen slightly, reaching 9.9 percent in 2013.)"

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt...od-than-you-do

When I go to the grocery store I see a lot of carts filled with expensive (and often not very healthy) convenience foods. Back when I was a kid, they either didn't exist or my parents never bought them.
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Old 12-18-2017, 09:47 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by tenspeed View Post
Ya think? "But our spending on food proportional to our income has actually declined dramatically since 1960, according to a chart recently published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As the chart shows, the average share of per capita income spent on food fell from 17.5 percent in 1960 to 9.6 percent in 2007. (It has since risen slightly, reaching 9.9 percent in 2013.)"

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt...od-than-you-do

When I go to the grocery store I see a lot of carts filled with expensive (and often not very healthy) convenience foods. Back when I was a kid, they either didn't exist or my parents never bought them.
An interesting article...

I totally recall our budget when first married in 1959.
My take home was $52.. I married a country girl who's dad had to have red meat at every meal. She cooked the same when we married..
$10 per week was our butcher budget. She was heart broken if she had to go over that $10 and she cut somewhere else..

Ross
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