Easy Meat Swaps to Keep Your Budget in Check
These wallet-friendly cuts are sure to become family favorites.
As you continue to make homemade meal after homemade meal, working your way through all your go-to recipes, there are days when nothing is more appetizing than a juicy filet mignon and some fluffy garlic mashed potatoes. The only problem: The high price tag that comes along with such a mouthwatering piece of meat. That's why we rounded up the less expensive cuts of beef, lamb, pork and chicken that can be prepared the same way as their pricier counterparts and yield an equally delicious dinner.
If You Like Ribeye, Try Beef Chuck
The balance of meat and fat in a thick, marbled ribeye makes it one of the most indulgent pieces of beef. But it is also one of the priciest, with grass-fed, dry-aged options running over $20 per pound. Instead, try beef chuck. Most often used chopped into chunks for stews or ground for burgers, beef chuck comes from the part of the cow right next to the ribeye, sporting similar marbling and juiciness. There will be some bones (this cut is also known as the 7-bone steak), but you can cook it the same way as a ribeye and find it for under $10 per pound.
Total savings for a family of four: $20
If You Like Lamb Lollipops, Try Lamb Shoulder
Looking at a succulent, perfectly cooked lamb lollipop topped with a spoonful of mint jelly is enough to induce some drooling. But a one-pound rack of lamb rib chops can cost $40 or more, and that's before the sides and fixings. The swap: Lamb shoulder chops. These larger cuts of meat are just as tender and savory as rib chops, can be pan-grilled or braised in a similar way, and run under $10 per pound.
Total savings for a family of four: $60
If You Like Filet Mignon, Try Petite Tender
Ahhh the filet mignon. After kobe and wagyu beef, which can cost hundreds of dollars per pound, this melt-in-your-mouth, steakhouse staple typically sells for between $20 and $30 per pound. The reason: Each animal only holds about a pound of filet, making it more expensive to produce. But if you're looking for an equally tender, mild and juicy cut, look no further than the petite tender. Also called teres major or faux filet, this cut comes from the cow's shoulder and can be cut into medallions and seared the same way you would a filet mignon — and you'll see it available for between $5 and $15 per pound.
Total savings for a family of four: $40
If You Like Pork Tenderloin, Try Pork Butt
Simply because pigs are cheaper to raise than cows, pork is one of the least expensive meats you'll see at the grocery store. Even so, if you're planning to roast, slow cook, or braise your pork, choosing pork butt, which is typically $3.50 per pound, instead of the leaner pork tenderloin, which is closer to $5 per pound, will yield a dish that is just as juicy and succulent but kinder on your wallet.
Total savings for a family of four: $3
If You Like Chicken Breasts, Try a Whole Chicken
Chicken is relatively inexpensive when compared to red meat, but there are still ways to make it more affordable. If you tend to gravitate toward the packages of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, you're likely paying around $5 per pound. Instead, pick up a whole chicken, which averages around just $1 per pound and delivers much more meat. Even if your family is partial to white meat, you can use the drumsticks to add flavor to stock or soup. Go with a classic roast chicken, or even try spatchcocking and grilling.
Total savings for a family of four: $8
This story originally appeared on allrecipes.com