How to Pick the Best Cut of Meat
With soaring food prices, many of us meat eaters are forced to reconsider our choices at the grocery store. With choice steaks running $11 or $12 a pound, it's time to start exploring other options! There are several ways to cut your meat budget and still enjoy tender, tasty meats.
PORK: Pork is inherently more tender than beef, so you don't have to worry so much about getting a tough cut. Try substituting pork shoulder steaks for pork chops. They're much cheaper and are just as good. They generally have more fat on the outside edges, but it can easily be trimmed.
Buy a fresh ham and have the butcher slice it. The ham steaks make a great substitute for center-cut chops. They can be fried, baked, grilled, or used in stir-fries.
BEEF: The key to buying good beef is marbling, the little bits of fat throughout the muscle. It's also important to remember that muscles that move the least will be the most tender. For example, the loin is located next to the spine and moves very little; therefore, it's the most tender cut found on a beef animal. A little knowledge of bovine anatomy and familiarizing yourself with different cuts will help you become a savvy shopper.
One way to save money on beef is to buy a lower grade, like select instead of choice. Sometimes the meat will be tougher since it won't have as much marbling as choice, but this can be remedied with marinades and other tenderizing.