Memorial Day in the United States has traditionally been the unofficial kickoff of summer. Many celebrate this holiday by firing up the grill and having friends or family over for a cookout. If you’re planning your holiday BBQ menu you might be dismayed to hear that in the US the price of beef has hit an all-time high and isn’t expected to go back down anytime soon. However, if you’re a savvy shopper you can still have your cake — er, steak — and eat it too. Here’s how:
Look for Sales
Check your local supermarket’s weekly ad for sales. This week’s Meijer circular, for example, advertises certified Angus ground beef from chuck for $1.99 per pound. (It makes for a nice juicy hamburger, America’s #1 grilled food.) You can often find fantastic sale prices like this during the week before a holiday, but even if there’s nothing special to celebrate you will still find the occasional good deal if you keep your eyes open. Take advantage of sales like this and save by purchasing multiple pounds or cuts of one or two types of meat and storing them in your freezer for later use.
Bonus tip: Read labels carefully. At some grocery stores you must buy the larger “family pack” to get the best sale price on meat. Divide these larger packages into smaller portions and freeze them in freezer bags or wrapped in wax paper and then aluminum foil. When you do this, remember to write the date and the type of meat on the package so you can tell what it is later.
If you don’t already own a separate freezer for storing sale meats and other frozen foods, consider investing in one. The savings earned by purchasing meats and frozen foods on sale will pay for the cost of the deep freezer within a few months, if not less.
Slow cooking cheaper cuts of beef results in tender meat for less money. Also keep in mind that your slow cooker isn’t just for winter use! “Set it, then forget it” instead of using the oven to help keep your kitchen cooler this summer.
Don’t worry, we’re not going to suggest you switch to tofu or bean burgers! Instead of giving up meat entirely, try switching to chicken or turkey one or two times per week instead of your usual beef or pork. Those two types of meat are the cheapest available and will help you keep grocery costs down. You can also consider ways to serve less meat and more vegetables. How about a garden salad topped with grilled chicken? Pasta with meat sauce? Baked potato soup with diced ham or crumbled bacon?