The Best Cheap Cuts of Meat
Pictured recipe: Oven-Baked Chicken Drumsticks with Potatoes
I'm all about sticking to my budget. Unfortunately some of my favorite meats are on the expensive side. Tender cuts of beef like tenderloin and filet are delicious, but can get expensive. Even the ever-popular chicken breast is the most expensive cut of chicken. So in an effort to save money, I'm choosing cuts of meat that are more budget-friendly but still totally delicious. Here are 5 of the best, healthy, budget-friendly cuts of meat to eat any night of the week:
1. Bone-in Chicken Thighs and Drumsticks
Pictured recipe: Cranberry-Balsamic Chicken Thighs
Bone-in chicken thighs are just $3 per pound and drumsticks are even less, around $2 per pound and both are absolutely delicious. Dark meat is not only less expensive than white meat, but it's a little more forgiving when you cook it. White meat tends to dry out if you overcook it, but chicken thighs and drumsticks tend to stay moist even if you overcook them a little. (They have a slightly higher amount of fat and more connective tissue than breast meat, but more iron too.) Plus, bones act as insulators that slow the cooking process. That prevents the meat from drying out, hence the phrase "tender at the bone."
Related: How to Cook Chicken Thighs
2. Beef Sirloin
Pictured recipe: Rosemary-&-Garlic-Basted Sirloin Steak
Craving a New York strip steak? Sirloin is less expensive at around $11 per pound (compared to $15 per pound for strip). It has less fat than a strip steak, and because of that, it can be a little dry. But that's easily remedied by watching it closely to prevent overcooking or by turning it into kebabs. Just cut it into 1-1/2-inch cubes and thread it onto a skewer with some veggies. And here's another money-saving tip: by pairing your steak kebabs with vegetables (which tend to be a lot cheaper than meat) means you won't need to buy as much sirloin to make your meal.
Related: Healthy Steak Recipes
3. Ground Beef
Pictured recipe: Ground Beef & Pasta Skillet
Let's not forget about hamburger! Ground beef is still pretty cheap at around $6.50 per pound. Opt for 90%-lean or leaner to keep fat and calories in check. And if you don't use up all the ground beef you get in a package, you can easily freeze it for future use in an airtight bag.
4. Ground Turkey
Pictured recipe: Greek Turkey Burgers with Spinach, Feta & Tzatziki
For those who don't like red meat or simply want to eat something different, don't forget about ground turkey. It's also more affordable than ground beef, at about $5.50 per pound and it's a good stand-in for ground beef. It's usually made from dark meat (which makes it moist) and it's mild in flavor, so it's good to mix in other flavor elements like fresh herbs, onion or flavorful cheese to jazz it up.
Try These: Healthy Ground Turkey Recipes
5. Bone-in Pork Chops
Pictured recipe: Bone-In Pork Chops with Grilled Peaches & Arugula
These come in at around $4 per pound and they're downright delicious. For a healthy choice, opt for "pork rib chops," which only have the loin attached to the bone and are an appropriate serving size, and skip "pork loin chops," which also have the tenderloin attached. (You'll be able to tell a pork loin chop by the T-shaped bone that holds the loin and tenderloin in place. The rib chop has only the rib bone.) Choosing these will ensure that you're getting about 3 to 4 ounces of meat per person.
Try These: Healthy Pork Chop Recipes