No, no, this is not a helpful guide to help young dudes finally break the 30 second threshold. Guys, you’re on your own for that. Well, I hope you aren’t but I ain’t helping you. I’m writing today to talk about the ever increasing cost of meat. I’ve dabbled in the subject before but a recent trip to the grocery store when I was craving a nice steak got me all kerfuffled. My kids can get by sharing a steak betwixt them so I was looking for 3 modestly sized sexy cuts of beef. If I was to go AAA grade meat I was looking at about 36$ to 40$. Regular, sketchy grade weird coloured steaks were not too much cheaper either and would have clocked in at about 27$ to 30$. Imagine my consternation when I saw this, and trust me, I don’t get consternated easily cause I eat tons of bran. I was in no mood to drop that kind of coin to satisfy my mid-winter meat craving and I can imagine a bunch of you would feel the same.
So what can a phatso do? Go vegan? That’s it! Get out of my blog right now! None of that talk please. For many of us these prices are an annoyance but for a fair chunk of people it’s simply too much money to spend on meat. This isn’t restricted to fancy steaks either. All meat is skyrocketing in price. Here in Quebec we produce 107% of all the world’s pork, and it’s good quality too. Since it’s so readily available you would think it would be cheap right? What have I told you about thinking? It does no one any good so just stop it. Without any exaggeration it seems to me that pork has gone up in price in the last 18 months by at least 50%, if not more. Has your salary gone up 50% in that time? Mine neither. I’m not ready to give up shoving meat into my face, uh wait a second… anyway unless you have unlimited funds we need to start getting creative with our cooking to stretch our cash. I bet if you look just below there will be some helpful ideas.
Cheaper Cuts of Meat- While I find filet mignon to be overrated many beef lovers still think of it as the filet mignon of all cuts of beef, so to speak. Butchers and grocery stores charge accordingly for it. I prefer rib eyes and NY strip cuts but they ain’t exactly giving those away these days either. I’ve turned to flank and hanger steaks in my time of beefy need. They might be a bit tougher but the flavor on them is actually superior to most other cuts. Ya, you’ll need to put a bit of work into cooking them by either marinating them or getting the doneness of them just right but it’s far more affordable and really, once you get into these you’ll have trouble going back. Love chicken breasts? Good for you. They’re a pretty healthy protein. Their cost is also offensive to me. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy a nice breast or two but for my money I get more value out of thighs. So ya, I’m a thigh man now. Sometimes a leg man. If eating chicken skin concerns you DON’T buy the ones with the skin already removed. They jack up the prices of those too. Just get them skin on and yank it off yourself. Yank it off…geez I didn’t even try for that joke. Buy the stuff that people tend to shun; liver, gizzards, heart, etc. You can make magic with that stuff.
Put in the few minutes extra work- You love those thin veal cutlets? Me too! Their price sucks the bag though. I get pork instead. If you buy them already cutleted then you are paying more again. When I have the time I get a pork loin, cut into about 4 ounce sections and pound the living crap out of it with a cast iron pan. It saves me money and it’s like anger management therapy too. Plus when my girlfriend gets home and asks me what I’ve done with my time I can tell her I pounded my meat. She respects me immensely when I make these jokes. Another money saver is to buy your birds whole. If you aren’t sure how to butcher up a chicken real nice to separate the various cuts just look it up on the internets and you’ll be ripping apart chickens in no time. This also leaves you with the carcass after. Get on that homemade stock with that. Saves cash and homemade is always better than store bought.
Mind Your Portions- In North America we eat ridiculous portions of meat. Go to a steak house and try to find a cut of meat that is 4 to 6 ounces. In one place in Cleveland I asked if there was any steak smaller than 12 ounces the waitress told me only on the kids menu and I wasn’t allowed to order from it. It might look pathetic to serve yourself a 4 ounce steak but unless you are Kim Kardashian you really don’t need to be putting bigger pieces of meat into your body. Still can’t get over the visual idea of such a small steak on your plate? Get creative with it and get one big steak for the family and slice it up in a stir fry or grill it, slice it and serve a few slices over some nice garlic mashed potatoes and a giant ass salad (make your own dressing damn it!). Buy stewing meat and make a nice stew, or a mean stew if you prefer. At my place a curry dish or pasta dish with chicken in it feeds all of us and has enough leftovers for 2 lunches. You know how much chicken goes in them? 2 breasts.
Go to Farms/Stock up- You have family? You have friends? Buy a side of beef from a reputable farmer together and get a butcher to butch it up for you. I love eating duck. It’s one of my top 40 meats to ingest. In standard grocery stores the price is just obscene. Once a year I’ll drive out to a duck farm and stock up on wings, legs, and gizzards at a greatly reduced price. The breasts are always pricey, even at these farms, but if you buy a whole duck or two they are reasonably priced and come with 2 breasts already attached! Amazing! When BBQ season hits there are always sales on steak so it’s a good idea to stock up. Don’t be a jerk about it and buy 100 T-bones like I see some people do. Save some for the rest of us! But buy a few and get yourself some good freezer wraps and those babies should be good for months. Butchers by my house tend to have filet mignon quite cheap at that time of the year too if you buy the whole strip. A dude by me even cuts it up real nice for me for an extra 5$. It might not be my favorite cut but when it works out to like 4$ a steak I am all up in that cut’s jammy.
Be nice to Hunters- Some of you may be against the idea of hunting but if you eat meat then that makes no logical sense. It’s far more humane than mass slaughtering of animals and it’s also a much more sustainable means of acquiring meat. Hunting cows is SUPER easy but it’s kind of illegal so don’t do that. I don’t hunt yet though I’d like to. For now I am content to be nice with people around me who hunt, and much like a vulture, I will circle them waiting for tasty morcels. A moose hunter friend of mine knows if he gets one that moose tongue is all mine. He doesn’t eat it and would just leave it to the butcher he brings his animals to. He hasn’t caught one yet but I’ve already got 2 recipes on standby for one of those bad boys. I once offered 100$ to a caribou hunter and asked what he could do for me. As he started to unbutton his pants I was like umm no, no! I was hoping you might have too much caribou to consume and I’d like to help you out. He refused the money but gave me enough caribou to fill my freezer. Sometimes he makes me dance for him but I don’t mind, I got good moves. So if you know a hunter chat them up!
Look, I know it’s convenient to have all kinds of meat at our fingertips at stores right by us. I think if we put in a little work just some of the time we can save some serious scratch and even manage to eat healtheir options than most of what’s in the meat aisle. For those on tight budgets know that there are things that can be done to still put great meals on your table with a wide variety of meat. And to the big wig people that control pricing and all that, can we not get government more involved in regulating pricing more so we ain’t getting gouged for meat? As my surfer friends, none of which I have, would say “Do you even grocery bro?”
Categories: Phood Philosophies