We have heard many ways to save on meat. They run the gamut from buy on sale to buy at reduced price to buy in bulk when you see a rock bottom price.
But I have other ways to save on meat by just buying less. Don’t get me wrong, we love our meat here. But none of us need more than a 3-4 oz. portion of meat at a meal. That gives us enough protein along with the cheese or vegetables that may be in or with a meal.
Some days we get those protein portions by making meatless meals. We love beans and rice or omelets. Breakfast for dinner is on our menu at least once a month. Hubby will make scrambled eggs, omelets or scrambled egg burritos. We have a side of fruit or vegetables with those meals.
I save a fortune in one year’s time by using beef crumbles. I cook up a large amount ground beef at a time. I use this meat masher to mash it into the smallest crumbles. Then I freeze it in half pound portions using my food saver. When I am making a skillet dish or casserole for us, I pull out one bag for it. Many times when we have lots of pasta, rice and or vegetables in that skillet dish it will last us two nights.
Another way that I have learned to save is to dice meat into smaller dices. One time when we were visiting my son and his family, I noticed that my smart daughter- in – law diced her chicken into smaller pieces than I did for stir fry. I thought to my myself that is a great way to make the meat stretch further. I always chunked my meat much bigger than hers. Now I dice it smaller.
I do the same with dicing pepperoni, ham, and turkey for salads or pasta dishes. You can dice your beef smaller for beef stew. Mine were always too big.
Another thing I do is grind my own meat. My Top’s has sirloin tip steaks on sale for $ 3.99 a pound this week. It is the only grocery purchase that I am making this week. So when I went to the market this morning, there was only 1 in the case. I asked at the butcher shop and they said they would cut me 6 more steaks fresh. So I purchased about 5.57 lbs. of steak which was 7 steaks total. I paid a total of $22.23 for all of them. They are pictured up top.
We don’t like sirloin tip steak grilled so I grind it into ground sirloin. Today the ground sirloin is on sale for $ 4.99 a lb. so I only saved $1.00 a lb. But most of the time it is priced closer to $5.99 – $ 6.99 in my stores. I made all of the bags for my food saver from on sale cheap rolls that I had stockpiled. But I would repackage the meat even if I had purchased the $4.99 lb. ground sirloin. $1.00 a pound savings on ground sirloin is well worth my time. Those dollars add up over a year into many dollars.
Hubby helped with the grinding, using our Kitchen Aid grinder attachment while I cut up the steaks and trimmed the little bit of grizzle that was on them. I left a very little bit of fat on them to flavor the meat. I think it tastes better especially for hamburgers.
I didn’t have time today to cook up the ground meat so I used the food saver to package it raw into the portions I wanted to freeze.
But first I weighed them on my kitchen scale after zeroing out the bowl that I put the ground meat in.
Then I used the food saver to package them up. I ended up with seven 1/2 lb. packages for skillet or casserole dishes. One 2 lb. package because Hubby wants to make chili soon. One 3/4 lb. package for mini cupcake meatloaves. And lastly a one pound package wrapped in saran wrap that I stuck in my fridge for tomorrow night’s hamburger dinner. We grill 4 hamburgers outside. Any that don’t get eaten get crumbled up into the next night’s spaghetti sauce.
Yes if you do the math, we ended up with 7.25 lbs. of ground sirloin even though the meat price stickers showed 5.57 lbs. that I was charged for. The butcher obviously gave me extra because he didn’t trim them as well as he might of if they were individually packaged in the meat case. I took a tiny bit of grizzle off of them. Yes I used a bit of fat but not much. There is no way that those trimmings came to a 1/4 of a lb. So I ended up paying $ 22.23 for 7 lbs. of ground meat or $3.18 a pound. This happens a lot when I have the butcher cut something for me. So in the end, I saved $ 1.81 a pound!
Any time I need ground beef, turkey, chicken or pork, I look at the ground prices and all the other cuts of meat to see what is cheaper. I have ground sirloin tip steaks and roasts, chuck steak and roasts, round steaks, chicken thighs or breasts, whole chickens, the dark meat from turkeys, and turkey breasts so many times over the years. Besides saving money, the other advantage that is important to me is the fact that I know my equipment for grinding is super clean and so are my hands.
I realize that not everyone has a Kitchen Aid with a grinder attachment. But I have seen many hand grinders in thrift stores for a couple of dollars. They look like my Grandma’s old fashioned one that she used to attach to a chair and hold a bowl under it.
I would love to know your tips on saving on meat for your family’s meals. Please leave a comment and share with all of us.