How much meat should you buy? In general, 1 pound of meat provides three servings, but when there is little bone and little or no other waste, 1 pound can serve four. When buying meat for stew or meat pie, 1 pound of meat can be sufficient for four or five servings if the dish contains vegetables as well.
Avoid meat containing high proportions of fat and bone unless you can make use of what otherwise would be waste. For example, bones can be used to make stocks; rendered meat fats can often be used for cooking instead of commercial fats.
However, keep in mind that some meats, although they may not appear to be wasteful, may contain fat in large quantities. It takes about 10 slices of crisp side bacon to equal the protein in a serving of cooked ground beef, because bacon is largely fat.
Ground shoulder of beef (chuck) is better to buy than the slightly cheaper and considerably fattier ground meat sold as "hamburger." The fattier meat is more expensive per serving because of shrinkage due to the fat.
Learn how to estimate the cost per pound of the meat actually eaten as compared to the price paid per pound for the whole piece of meat including the wasted part. A higher-priced cut may be less costly to serve than a cheaper one, depending upon the percentage of fat, bone and gristle in each. Meaty, less tender cuts from the shoulder and flank of beef, lamb and pork are usually good buys, but beef short ribs, lamb neck and pigs' feet, unless sold very cheaply, are usually uneconomical.
Meats such as liver, heart and kidney are economical because of the high nutritive value and total absence of waste. Beef, chicken and pork liver cost much less than calf's liver and have similar food value. Buy these organ meats frequently.
Meat prices depend mostly on supply and demand. Beef is available all year and is the most popular meat in America since it provides so many different cuts at a wide range of prices. Pork is most plentiful and therefore most economical to buy in the fall and winter, veal in the spring and lamb from September to December.
Some meats that are usually bought sliced may be more economical to buy in a large piece and slice at home. Bacon is an example, although this is not easy to slice at home. Some butchers will slice it for you without additional charge, but not all will do this.
Bologna bought in bulk and sliced at home is less expensive than sliced bologna. For lunch-box sandwiches, an inexpensive roast of beef cooked at home, chilled and sliced thin may make more economical sandwiches than store-bought sliced luncheon meats. In addition, it provides good nourishment with much less fat than the prepared meats.
To save money, prepare combination dishes of meat mixed with other ingredients in preparations such as stews, meat pies and meat with pasta. These are especially successful with ground meat. The "meat extenders"-rice, macaroni, spaghetti, nonfat dry milk powder, bread crumbs-not only stretch the expensive meat ingredient but also add food value other than protein and improve the texture of the finished dish.
You can prepare successful dishes with tough cuts of meat if you learn how to cook in a Dutch oven or a Crock Pot. Long, slow cooking is the secret way to tenderize. You can accomplish the same objective in less time in a pressure cooker.
select one here...