Let’s face it: there are some of us who avoid buying meat not because we’re vegetarians, but because we can’t afford it. Many people can’t seem to reason with the cost of some meats at the butcher counter these days, especially with beef, and therefore shy away from enjoying a carnivorous meal. We were determined to prove that expensive meats don't have to be the only option, and to get to the cost-cutting facts, we spoke with third-generation meat cutter Kari Underly, founder of Range Inc. and author of The Art of Beef Cutting: A Meat Professional’s Guide to Butchering and Merchandising.
The book, a James Beard nominated piece, is targeted toward the butchering industry but is loaded with lots of tips and advice for the home cook as well. Detailed and expansive, it covers every tendon and muscle found in a cow, and helps to familiarize readers with the different cuts of meat available.
With that being said, we’d like to point out that the book is for professionals, and a lot of it covers merchandising and how to better price your meat case. We flipped through it and looked at it from the consumer perspective with Underly, and she gave us some pretty simple and easy tips that’ll help you make cost-saving decisions when buying meat. Craving filet mignon? No problem; but rather than spending the extra dough on the tiny piece of meat, Underly suggests buying a different cut that’ll give you the same tenderness and flavor. Along with substitutions, Underly uncovered some rare cuts of meat that were new to us, are as flavorful and delicious as the popular cuts, and cost little to nothing. So if you’re a meat lover who battles with the prices every day, these tips from butchery expert Underly will help you start putting the meat out on the table more often — and may even help you impress your local butcher as well.
Anne Dolce is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @anniecdolce