Tips and Tricks for Making Cheaper Cuts of Meat Taste Amazing

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Tips and Tricks for Making Cheaper Cuts of Meat Taste Amazing

Tips and Tricks for Making Cheaper Cuts of Meat Taste Amazing

It would be nice to have the money to buy the best of the best when it comes to meat, but the fact is that, for many of us, it just isn’t viable on family budgets to buy expensive cuts of meat. Often families are left with little choice but those cheaper cuts, which don’t exactly stand out on the plate.

The good news is, there are loads of tips and tricks that take these uninspiring cheaper meats and turn them into absolutely stunning dishes that family and friends alike won’t just settle for, but actually request. Let’s look at a few now.

Cook At The Right Temperature

We all know that not all meat is created equal, but when it comes to those cheaper cuts the right cooking temperature makes such a difference. Overcooking cheaper meat can be a dinner disaster, and the same goes for undercooking. Cheap meats often have more connective tissue, so not cooking it right means you’re going to be chewing for days to get it down. Do your research and get the temp right!

Go Slow

Temperature does make a difference, but so does speed. Patience might be a virtue, but when it comes to cheaper cuts of meat patience rewards with delicious, moist, and tender meats. This is even more important to remember when you’re dealing with meats that are considered ‘tough’ i.e. the ones that come from active muscles like the shoulder or chest. These meats can be chewey, but when you slow cook them they break down, becoming super tender as well as super delicious.

Marinate Like Crazy

Marinating is great for so many reasons, but when it comes to cheap meat it’s worth remembering just how much of a difference it can make. Not only does a good marinate help to flavour your meat, which can be great if you’re dealing with something that isn’t that exciting, marinating can also make it tender. Yes, most marinades contain tenderising agents in the form of acids – usually vinegar, yoghurt or lemon/lime juice – that work to break down the meat. It’s kind of like cooking, but it happens in your fridge. While it might be tempting to leave your meat marinating for a longer period, it’s possible to ‘over-marinate’ and if left too long your meat can turn to goo. Don’t leave it longer than 2-8 hours!

marinade cheaper cuts of meat
Marinate meats to make them taste amazing

Alternative Cuts To Start With

Pork

Pork is definitely not the cheapest meat, despite being a popular choice for Australian families. However, it absolutely can be an affordable meat for your dinner line-up if you choose the right cuts. For pork that really delivers on flavour and texture without blowing the family budget, we’d say chops, shanks and shoulder. Pork chops are an affordable lean meat that can be tough, but not if you sear the outside before slowly cooking the rest. Pork shanks are best, and most flavourful, when done in a nice slow braise. Finally, pork shoulder can really shine when slow cooked and shredded, making for a delicious and affordable pulled pork!

Chicken

Chicken is an easy-to-cook and flavourful go-to meat for families, but if you opt for the trendy ‘health conscious’ breasts they can be expensive. Well, while that particular chicken cut does get the attention, there’s a lot to love elsewhere too. Chicken legs are one part of the chicken that is often ignored, despite being incredible value for money. The secret with chicken legs is to embrace the bone-in, as it keeps the meat moist and tender. In fact, legs stay much tenderer than breasts, which despite their reputation are often dry and lacking flavour.

Beef

This is one meat that you will really notice if you buy the cheaper cuts and don’t cook it right. The texture and flavour of beef might seem dependent on the cut, but with a few of these secrets up your sleeve, you’ll change your mind on the cheap stuff. Beef shanks, particularly when they include the marrow, go great in slow-cooked stews, as does beef chuck, which becomes melt-in-your-mouth tender with the right cooking methods. Rump roast is a winner when it’s slowly roasted, bringing out maximum flavours for a budget cut.

For the creative cook, there’s a lot to love about cheap meats, and embracing them over the expensive stuff means your family’s shopping budget is in good hands. If you have a favourite cheap cut and recipe, share it with us here!

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Katie -

Author

Katie is the Managing Director and Editor of Mums of Brisbane. Most days will find her drinking copious amounts of coffee, cuddling her kids and trying not to step barefoot on lego. Katie lives in Beautiful Brisbane with her husband and four gorgeous children.