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cheaper cuts of meat
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# 1
crazyhazy
Old 25-01-2005, 2:29 PM
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Default Probably obvious to everyone else!

This is probably really obvious to everyone else, but as I'm quite new to shopping (only moved out of my mums in october) it's not to me. Basically am wondering what the cheapest cuts of meat are to buy. Really trying to budget, only meat we really eat just now are chicken breasts, beef frying steak (although have tried the stewing stuff in the casserole which was nice) and mince. What else should we be trying?
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# 2
elona
Old 25-01-2005, 2:37 PM
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You could try going to supermarket one hour before they close and getting whatever is a good reduction and will freeze.

Have you tried Quorn?

You can eke out meat or mince by adding lots of veg or tomatoes, baked beans etc.

There is a good thread on shopping for a family that might give you some good tips.

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# 3
tiff
Old 25-01-2005, 2:39 PM
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Tins of tuna, lambs liver, whole chicken as opposed to chicken breasts, lamb shanks (lovely in slow cooker) sausages.

You can go onto www.tesco.com, and click on groceries, you will find out prices on there which will then tell you what sort of thing is the cheapest. Also dont forget you can buy fresh food that is reduced and put it in the freezer.
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# 4
caileag
Old 25-01-2005, 2:59 PM
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Go to a decent butcher (high street, not supermarket) and ask for advice. I did this only last week, the lovely butcher was only too pleased to advise me. He suggested a piece of brisket and gave me cooking instructions (slow cook, basically). It was very tasty indeed!

The cheaper cuts tend to be the less tender ones, the areas that are more muscley. These need to be cooked slowly, but done properly (I use a slow cooker) are melt-in-the-mouth delicious. Supermarket butchers tend not to stock these as much, people want the more 'glamorous' cuts, hence my suggestion of an old-fashioned shop.

You can also get exactly the quantity you require, no prepackaged rubbish, and I find the quality is generally higher.
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# 5
Queenie
Old 25-01-2005, 3:50 PM
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The quality of meat from a traditional butchers IS superior! I find that much of the supermarket meats are sort of .... watery ... don't know how else to describe it.

Ok, cheaper cuts:-

Chicken. If you only want to buy pieces - thigh is cheaper than breast. However, it can work out cheaper to buy the whole chicken! Look at the unit price - ie: /per kilo not the price ticket

Beef: Brisket (as mentioned above) minced beef, heart,

Lamb: Neck of lamb (for casseroles), breast of lamb (boned, rolled - butcher will do this - then cooked slooooowly; don't forget to save all the dripping that will collect in your roasting tin). Lamb mince for Shepards Pie.

Pork: Belly pork, pork sausage meat (you can make a good pork loaf with that), rolled shoulder is cheaper than leg of pork because it is fattier, but, often supermarkets have a rolled pork shoulder joint on bargain offer, I buy that and then cut it down at home to make pork casseroles)

Ham I know Tesco's sell ham shanks which makes the most delicious Pea and Ham soup!

HTH
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# 6
Sarahsaver
Old 25-01-2005, 3:53 PM
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I would say go for whole things like a whole chicken or a half leg of lamb, the frozen ones from tesco are good. These are 'rubber' food as they will stretch over 3 days.
Today i had a delicious minestrone made from the stock of the lamb bone from the sunday roast, which was a biryani on Monday
Also real old fashioned things are cheap, a rabbit may only set you back 3 pounds, pigeons are about 3 for 2, then theres liver, pigs' feet, pork belly, mutton. Have you any asian butchers near you because I have found them often to be cheaper and good quality. I got a liver the size of a dinner plate once, for 95p!
get the cheap frozen sausages because they can also be used in casseroles, toad in the hole etc. I would not buy cheap mince, as it usually turns to sludge. Get the good stuff then add carrot, lentils and such to make it go further.
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# 7
r.mac
Old 25-01-2005, 5:01 PM
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hi there!

If making chilli concarne I always add a tin of red kidney beans and at the end a tin of cheap/value baked beans. This helps it go further, for less.

Also add lentils to things like spag bol. I am sure I have also read that you can add grated carrot which does the same thing, although I haven't tried it.

My advice on mince would be to go for the better, more expensive stuff (it is a cheap cut anyway) and eek it out with other things.

Use a local butchers if you have one, they tend to be cheaper, and don't be afraid to ask questions!

Interesting to see people suggest buying a whole chicken rather than just breasts. I ahd never considered doing this and I have to admit I never realised it would be cheaper! thanks

good luck
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# 8
elona
Old 25-01-2005, 7:51 PM
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rmac

It is not only cheaper to buy a whole chicken and joint it yourself but if there is an offer on something like chicken breasts or thighs with skin on it is still a lot cheaper to skin it yourself. Next time you are in the supermarket compare the price and you will see what I mean.
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# 9
tiff
Old 25-01-2005, 7:56 PM
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Tesco do 2 chickens for 5 at the moment or one extra large one for 3.49 I think. I much prefer the meat off the bone anyway, supermarket chicken breasts seem so tasteless in comparison. I used to buy them in my bad old days though.
A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went. - Dave Ramsey
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# 10
arkonite_babe
Old 25-01-2005, 9:25 PM
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tougher cuts of meat are also good if you cook them in a pressure cooker!

I tried this last week for the first time with beef pieces which were tough and they came out melt in the mouth soft. When they were done I just added veg and a gravy mix to make a nice stew type thing which we ate with potatoes.
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# 11
lyns
Old 25-01-2005, 10:53 PM
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If you can buy in bulk it,s cheaper most of the time.Butchers near me do 3 trays of beef/chicken/lamb/pork for 10 thats 4-5 meals for 5 of us.
If you have a indoor market near you these are cheaper for bulk also.I use the bull ring in Brum.
lidl have offers on this week i got a med chicken for 1.84
Hope some of this helps
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# 12
tiff
Old 25-01-2005, 11:25 PM
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Will take a look in my local butchers then, not used one before. Lidl's chicken is a great price too.
A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went. - Dave Ramsey
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# 13
Debt_Free_Chick
Old 26-01-2005, 7:30 AM
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Thrifty cuts of meat

cheap cuts of beef
Brisket, skirt, chuck, shin/flank, silverside (even topside, unless well hung), oxtail

All of these make a great "pot au feu" or Bouef en Daube or any other slow cooking dish. Essentially, you start with an onion base, brown the meat, add stock, flavouring & vegetables and leave it to cook, slowly, for a couple of hours. You can add variation with different vegetables/flavourings, including wine, brandy (cheap version only!).

If you have a mincer (unlikely) or food processor (possible) then you can buy a cheap cut of meat and make mince yourself. True ... a processor won't create the thin sausage-like threads of mince, but the meat will be minced (don't overdo it, or you'll end up with finely ground meat. OK, but maybe not what you want).

For homemade burgers, we buy skirt. Generally can be quite tough, but makes excellent tender burgers.

Skirt or chuck makes an excellent steak & kidney pie. Or minced (processed) a bolognese (ragu)

If you buy an expensive roast cut remember to use the leftover bones to make a beef stock. Freeze it and use as a base for a future slow cook beef dish. And recycle the meat as a Cottage Pie (it came about as a dish to use up leftover roast beef, not as one for using fresh, raw mince).

Cheap cuts of lamb
Scag end (neck), shanks, shoulder (honestly!)

Trendy braised lamb shank is a cheap cut, but you pay a premium for it if you eat out! Cook it long & slow (as with all cheap cuts of meat). Just braise some onions & garlic. Brown the shank, add flavourings, stock & veg and you have a classic restaurant dish.

Scrag end or neck makes Lancashire Hot Pot - just the lamb, layered with potatoes. Traditionally served "as is" but add veg or serve a side dish, if you prefer.

Shoulder - can be fatty, but this should melt during the cooking process. Just place the joint on a rack inside the roasting tin. The fat imparts the most beautiful flavour and makes the roast very tender. Use any leftovers for Shepherd's Pie (traditionally made from the roast leftovers, not raw minced lamb).

And then, use the bones to make a stock. Freeze and store until you have the next cheap of cut of lamb that you intend to slow cook.

Cheap cuts of pork
Hock, trotters, belly

If you can get decent quality (free-range or organic) the belly will make a good roast. It's the cut used to make streaky bacon or pancetta. Or it can be slow cooked, perhaps with prunes or apple. Or it will make a great oriental flavoured dish. Or the great claissic French Cassoulet!

Trotters - are an acquired taste, but tasty they are! And do use the left over bones, gristle and cartilege as a stock. The gelatine, in particular, has a beautiful flavour. Freeze the stock, and use it as a base for Pea & Ham soup!

Hock - often called the rich man's trotter as it has equally good quantities of gelatine .. and flavour. You can joint it to make spare ribs or boil it with lentils or another pulse. It makes a great stock or pick off the bits from the bones for a hash or soup....

HTH

Last edited by Debt_Free_Chick; 26-01-2005 at 7:38 AM. Reason: Signature removed
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# 14
Lyndsay_21
Old 28-05-2005, 8:34 AM
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Default Cheaper cuts of meat?

this has probably been asked before but i want to start going to my local butcher and was wondering what where the best cuts of meat to buy to go into the slow cooker, i am totally useless at knowing things like this so somebody please help i need beef, pork, possibly lamb??
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# 15
squeaky
Old 28-05-2005, 8:57 AM
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Brisket often gets a good mention here. There are recipes in our recipe collections which you can find by using the "Indexed Collections" sticky at the top of the board. There are recipes in both the Old Style collection and the Slow Cooker one.

There may also be (I can't remember 'cos I've indexed so many things lately) some threads listed that talk about brisket.

Good advice is to ask your local butcher. He'll not only tell you about economical cuts he might even suggest good ways of cooking it

Edit: I can't believe I haven't collected any brisket threads
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Last edited by squeaky; 28-05-2005 at 8:59 AM.
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# 16
Ticklemouse
Old 28-05-2005, 9:19 AM
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I've done shoulder of lamb and lamb shanks in the slow cooker - absolutley scrummy. They are a fattier piece of meat but If you put enough water in, when the meat is cooked, take it out and remove all the fat. I bought a large fat separator jug for 1.99 and once the liquid has cooled a little, pour into that and it's so easy to remove all fat. You can keep some of the fat to make a roux for your gravy base - no need for gravy granules either now
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# 17
Queenie
Old 28-05-2005, 9:25 AM
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Recipes which state stew/braise are generally referring to cheap cuts of meat because those are the one's which need slower cooking.

So ....

Beef: (cuts of beef - diagram)
Bladebone
Brisket
Flank
Oxtail
skirt or chuck

Lamb: (cuts of lamb - diagram)
Breast of Lamb (very fatty though!)
Neck (scrag end)
shoulder

Pork: (cuts of pork - diagram)
Belly
spare rib



HTH
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Last edited by Queenie; 28-05-2005 at 9:42 AM. Reason: changing pork diagram link to UK version
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# 18
squeaky
Old 28-05-2005, 9:28 AM
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GREAT POST QUEENIE !!



I'm going to add this post to our recipe links Right now.
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# 19
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Old 28-05-2005, 10:34 AM
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A hand of pork is also very cheap and and is extremely versatile, you can roast it whole and use the leftovers, there will be loads, oryou can remove the meat from the bone before cooking and you should get enough for 3 or 4 casseroles or curries.
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# 20
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Old 28-05-2005, 10:36 AM
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Question May I ask.....

Hi

May I ask something please?

I can only eat poultry, lamb or pork(which I dont really like!)I do occasionally cook cheap brisket joints (around 3.00)for roasts for hubby & daughter, with enough left for a few sarnies. Brisket cooks very well in the slow cooker with either ale, beer, cider etc.

I love lamb but have always put off buying neck of lamb as it looks scarey to me Is there bones in the neck? How easy is it to cut up? Would it be ok in stews & casoroles etc? Also, what is the shoulder of lamb like? Always looks fatty to me-how do you cook this?

I normally buy lamb either already in cubes (2.95 350g Asda-makes enough stew & dumplings for 3-4 people) or a half leg of lamb for roasts (5.00 Asda-enough for large roast 3 people and a couple of rounds of sarnies).

How would the price compare with the neck and shoulder to the cubed lamb and leg that I normally buy?

I know pork is quite cheap, but always find it chewy, even when cooking in slow cooker with soup/sauce etc. What am I doing wrong? :confused:

Thanks
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