Saturday, June 17, 2017

What's your beef? ...or how to save buying beef

MOO !! Look! It's a BEEF!!
How often do you go to the grocery store and look up and down the meat aisle and try to figure out what you can make for dinner and if you can afford it? Currently, the price of beef is on the rise and the price of almost any cut is even more expensive. Being a chef, I like to do as much as I can for myself in the kitchen and with a little effort and only a few extra minutes, I am going to show you how to save some money buying beef.

The general rule with meat is that the more the butcher does for you, the more you are going to pay. Even though very few grocers butcher their own meat today (yes, it is almost all done at the factory slaughter
where the different cuts come from
house), you can save a few dollars per pound on some cuts of beef. Let's look at beef cut in strips, usually labeled "for stir fry". I have seen this selling for as much as $7.99 in some grocery stores. Now look at the price for a sirloin roast or eye of round. The price of these is selling for around $3-$4 a pound, if you find it on sale. If you buy that roast and do your own cutting, you will be saving $3-$4 a pound off of the same meat. All that is required is taking the roast home, cut a slice off the roast and cut that slice into strips. That should not take longer than 10 minutes. The same can be done for minute steaks or steaks that will cook in any gravy or sauce. If you are splurging and want good steak like ribeye or NY strip, try buying a whole ribeye or strip loin. Overall, the price will be higher for theroast, but per pound you will be saving money flor the finished steaks. Usually $1-$3 a pound can be saved by buying the whole ribeye or strip and simply cut your own steaks off of it and you get the benefit of cutting it to the thickness you want.

Ground beef can be a real savings in this area if you follow my tips given in this previous post that talks all about how to save money on ground beef. Sure you can get ground beef for maybe $3 a pound right now, but this is usually 73/27 beef which means that 27% of the ground beef is fat. When you cook this off, you are going to lose a quarter of the beef's weight to fat. You also have the addition of added sinew, "pink slime" and bits of bone that make their way into the ground beef. Now when making a burger, you do want a higher fat content to the beef so that you will have a juicy burger, but if you have too much, you will have a huge fire on your grill as the fat hits the hot coals and flares up. Burgers should only have AT MOST 20% fat. when making your own ground beef from a whole cut roast, you control how much fat is in the finished product. You will also avoid he higher chance of e-coli contamination prevalent in ground beef.

So, when buying a cut of beef, I suggest you look to getting a larger cut of beef and doing your own cutting. Sure, you may be unsure at first what you are doing, but with a little patience and practice, you will be able to do it. You will also be getting a better cut and you will have a little more control over the quality of what you are making.

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