The price difference between various cuts of meat can be astounding - so here's how and why you should grab a meaty bargain next time you visit the supermarket!
You get what you pay for, right?
Getting enough good quality protein in your diet is essential for optimal health and eating meat is a great way to do just that.
However, some people might argue that eating meat is expensive.
When it comes to most things in life, including food, you get what you pay for and a lower price often means lower quality.
However, when it comes to meat that is not always the case. Some of the most inexpensive cuts of meat can be just as tasty, nutritious and versatile as conventional cuts.
8 Best Inexpensive Cuts of Meat to Look Out For
Next time you're at the supermarket or butchers, look out for these inexpensive cuts of meat which provide great taste and nutrition as well as amazing value.
1. Chicken Legs, Thighs & Drumsticks
Chicken on the bone is always cheaper. Buying meat on the bone also means that it is as minimally processed as possible.
As well as being cheaper and as close to nature as possible, cooking chicken on the bone makes for tastier and juicier meat.
During cooking, the rich and concentrated chicken-y flavour from the bone marrow oozes into the meat for a superior flavour.
With chicken on the bone, you also get the added bonus of nutrient-packed skin, fat and cartilage which are super tasty too.
👉 Prosciutto wrapped chicken thigh recipe
2. Pork Shoulder
When it comes to cheap cuts of meat, it's hard to beat pork shoulder for value.
You can buy pork shoulder both on and off the bone. It is a fairly tough cut of meat taken from the shoulder region, which is marbled with fat.
Given the right treatment - usually cooking low and slow - pork shoulder transforms from tough to tender and is really versatile.
Slow cook your pork shoulder and add to casseroles, stews and ragus or shred for pulled pork to use in tacos and homemade burgers.
3. Beef Brisket
Beef from the supermarket is usually always Grass Fed, so is a brilliant source of vital nutrients.
Brisket is a cut of meat taken from the lower chest or breast of beef or veal.
It is a really affordable cut of beef, which is perfect for feeding a crowd or the whole family on a budget - costing less than £10 per kilo, enough to feed five hungry people.
Like pork shoulder, the secret to juicy and tender brisket is cooking low and slow. Beef brisket is the perfect slow cooker meat and given the time and attention it needs can be just as delicious as prime cuts.
4. Beef & Pork Ribs
As with chicken on the bone, beef and pork ribs inherit the juicy, rich flavour of delicious bone marrow as they cook.
You can eat your ribs off the bone, enjoying the naturally sweet and succulent meat that's marbled with fat.
Of course, ribs on the bone are famously cooked on the barbecue for that smokey and chargrilled flavour.
You can also cook your ribs in the oven or air fryer. Serve with a dollop of our Unsweetened BBQ sauce for a match made in meaty heaven.
5. Beef Mince
Beef mince is one of the most versatile meats there is - you can use it to make anything from Bolognese and kebabs to homemade burgers and much more.
It's also just as nutritious as other cuts of beef - providing a great source of protein, zinc, B12 and many other vitamins and minerals.
Grass Fed beef mince is a little more expensive, but as ground beef is a bargain to start with - it's certainly worth the upgrade.
👉 Low Carb beef stroganoff recipe
6. Skirt Steak
Skirt steak is taken from the underbelly of the cow. It's extremely good value for money and is actually the most popular meat used to make Cornish pasties!
The secret to a well cooked skirt steak is to cook the meat no further than medium, which will avoid it becoming tough.
You can also use a meat mallet to tenderise the meat and break down tough fibres before cooking.
7. Lamb Scrag & Middle Neck
As opposed to conventional lamb neck, lamb scrag is taken from the top of the neck rather than lower down nearer the chest.
Again, scrag is one of the least expensive cuts of meat - but this does not mean that it lacks flavour.
In fact, scrag packs in the rich, tasty flavour of lamb that we all know and love.
Cooked correctly, scrag is a great addition to stews and casseroles.
8. Organ Meats
Last but not least, organ meats are perhaps the most affordable and the most nutritious, inexpensive meats of them all.
From heart to liver and even kidneys, brains and intestines - organ meats, also known as offal, are classed as off-cuts and sold extremely cheaply.
We always like to champion organ meats as they're so nutrient-dense, but lots of people don't know where to start when it comes to preparing and cooking offal.
Check out our recipe and article below to discover just how easy it is to start cooking with organ meats.
👉 Your complete guide to offal
👉 Chicken liver meatball recipe
Tips for Cooking Inexpensive Cuts of Meat
Cooking with less expensive cuts of meat requires a little more TLC to ensure a juicy, tender and flavoursome end result.
Here are some golden rules to follow when cooking with cheaper cuts.
Low & slow - Cooking at high temperatures causes the fibres in meat to contract and tighten, which equals tougher, drier meat. Instead, cooking at a low temperature over a longer time allows the connect tissues in meat to loosen and relax - for juicy and tender meat, even with tougher cuts.
Marinate - Marinating your meat isn't just about flavour (although that's a bonus too!) Using acidic ingredients in your marinade such as lemon, vinegar or wine helps to tenderise the surface of the meat as well as penetrate it with a deeper flavour. The longer you marinade for, the better the results!
Check the temperature - As well as cooking at lower temperatures, different cuts of meat will cook best at differing temperatures. Be sure to do your research and check which temperature is best suited to the cut of meat you've chosen. Investing in a meat thermometer is also a great idea to take out the guesswork!
Tenderise - Using a meat mallet is a simple and easy way to tenderise meat instantaneously. The good old fashioned elbow grease of pounding the meat with a mallet helps to break down the muscle fibres, to loosen them up and create more tender meat. This works really well with inexpensive cuts of steak such as skirt steak.
Carve it right - Always carve across the grain, that is against the direction of the muscle fibres in the meat. Cutting across the grain will shorten those muscle fibres, for meat that's more tender and less chewy.
- Save the extras - As with all cuts of meat, always be sure to keep any leftovers you have to make homemade bone broth, gravies, soups and stocks. This is a great way to reduce waste and get the most out of your already great value meat!
Getting enough quality protein in your diet isn't always just about prime cuts of meat - you can get just as much taste, nutrition and satisfaction out of cheaper cuts. Broadening your horizons with less expensive cuts of meat is a great way to save some of your hard-earned cash too.
All information provided on our website and within our articles is simply information, opinion, anecdotal thoughts and experiences to provide you with the tools to thrive.
It is not intended to treat or diagnose symptoms and is definitely not intended to be misconstrued for medical advice. We always advise you seek the advice of a trained professional when implementing any changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits.
We do however recommend seeking the services of a trained professional who questions the conventional wisdom to enable you to become the best version of yourself.