Do you cringe in horror each week when you get to the meat counter at the store? I know I do. Lately it seems like the price of meat is going up faster than the price of gas. Below is a few simple tips that I have either learned through the years or learned by watching my grandmother through the years of watching her cook when I was younger. A hour or less of time once a week can help save you tons of money when it comes to buying meat. They can also shorten your cooking time during the week. Another added bonus will be that you will be eating healthier to.
1. Most us eat a lot more meat at meal then is really good for us. Read up on the serving size of each type of meat you cook and package your meat for each meal to meet the number of serving sizes for your family. Less left overs, less money spent and less waste.
2. No one eats the bones that come with meat right? So why cook the meat with the bones on them then throw the bones? When you are throwing bones away from cooked pieces of meat you are throwing out some wonderful flavoring and small amounts of meat that can be used for another meal. Debone the meat (but don't throw away those bones just yet ) and wrap the right amount of serving sizes for your family and either refrigerate or freeze till you are ready to use it. Put the bones in a gallon freezer bag, lable with the kind of meat and place in the freezer. When you have enough bones saved up put them in a roasting pan with a couple of stalks of celery, a couple of carrots and a onion and roast till done. When the bones are done place them drippings and all into a stock pot, add some water and simmer till you have a nice rich broth. Take out the bones and pull off what ever meat might remain on them, set aside. Strain the broth. place back in the stock pot along with the bits of meat. add some veggies of your choice and some potatoes. Add some spices of your choice and let simmer till the veggies are done. You wind up with a rich soup for very little cost. Then you can give the bones to your dog if that is what you normally do with them. Another added bonus of deboning your meat before cooking is that the meat cooks faster there by reducing the time you spend cooking. Deboned meat also thaws faster then bone in meat in most cases. A win/win if you ask me. :)
3. When a cut of meat is on sale for a really good price buy enough to last a few months or until the next sale if it comes on sale fairly regular in your area. When whole boneless pork loins goes on sale here for $1.49 a lb I will buy 4 of them and cut them up to suit our needs. I get thin boneless chops, thick boneless chops for stuffing and pork roast loin out of them. That way for the next 6 months I have my pork chops that I paid a $1.49 a lb for instead of having to pay the $4.49 a lb that the chops are going for at other times.
4. Beef stew meat is going for $3.89 or more a lb in my area right now. So instead of buying it I will wait until a nice beef roast goes on sale for under $2.79 a lb and buy 4 of them. I will cut two of them into smaller roasts and the last two I up into stew meat. I have been able to have stew meat that is costing me $1.99 a lb while others are buying the store cut stew meat for $3.89 or more a lb.
5. Whole chickens are always a better buy then cut chicken. I buy at least 4 whole chickens when they are sale really cheap and them cut them up and package them the way I want. I debone the breasts and take the skin off. I packaged them in meal size protions. For my family of 4, two breast from one chicken makes a meal for us. I cut each breast in half and then pound them flat, flour and fry them and use like chicken fried steak or patties on a bun. I have even stuffed them with HM stuffing and baked them with some gravy over top. I use the backs, first tips from the wings and the bones and skin from the chicken breast to make chicken stock thus giving me a couple of extra meals free from the cost of meat. I save the meat I pick off the backs after making stock to use in soups.
I hope my little tips above will help you on your frugal walk through life and makes things easier for you like they have me.