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Cheapest cuts of beef and ideal way to cook them?

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  • Cheapest cuts of beef and ideal way to cook them?

    AFAIK, beef is the best in terms of fatty acid composition - especially if I'm going to be eating grain-fed (because I'm sort of poor)

    What then is the cheapest form of beef I can get? I'm assuming ground is - but beyond that I'd like to know the cheapest cuts of roast and steak.

    I'd imagine too that the cheapest cuts need to be slow-cooked in oder to make them palatable, but I wonder if that's not doing anything nasty to the protein in the beef (denaturing?)

  • #2
    My local market supplies pasture raised beef shank at 2.29/lb and chuck eye roast for about 3.29/lb. Oxtail from the same pasture fed farm is slightly more expensive at around 4/lb and they're trying to order me some liver for under 4/lb. While yes it is an amazing small chain supermarket that is only up in my area you might be able to make do with the occasional pasture fed meats if you go for the odd and underutilized cuts that I mentioned above. Additionally meat marked as "stew cuts" is normally from around the shank as well as it a great price since most people don't buy it (supply and demand).

    Tongue and heart is also often pretty low for the same reason but can end up very tasty. As with the shank/roast/stew/oxtail cuts you're going to want a nice long braise with the tongue as well, these muscles are worked almost nonstop over the entire course of the cow's life which means they are very tough, but a good 3-4 hr braise (make a lot at a time for left overs) will make them more tender than a filet! Alternatively if you happen to have access to a vacuum food packer you can try some sous vide cooking (simmer in bag) with some light marinade added in and cooked real low over night 12+ hours, although that's a little out of the general cooking comfort level of most people.

    Try checking with your local butchers or even health food stores, while the health food stores will have plenty of the ribeyes an filet cuts for ridiculously high prices, many of them can order you the cuts mentioned above for much more reasonable prices.
    "You can demonstrate the purpose and limits of human digestion with a simple experiment: eat a steak with some whole corn kernels, and see what comes out the other end. It won’t be the steak."
    -J.Stanton

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    • #3
      Another inexpensive offering is beef ribs. Roast or grill them. Make soup with the bones and whatever tissue adheres to the bone after you gnaw away. Beef ribs usually run slightly over a dollar a pound in my local markets.
      Tayatha om bekandze

      Bekandze maha bekandze

      Randza samu gate soha

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      • #4
        Going 100% grass fed/pastured is tough in this economy. I'm also really tight on cash right now, and I just can't justify spending $6.99/lb for local grass fed ground beef, when a Spanish meat market down the street sells fresh ground 10lb bags for 10$. And 4$ a dozen for pastured omega 3 eggs, when I can get normal for $0.85/dozen. I just realize it's not optimal, and supplement with a good amount of fish oil.

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        • #5
          Strangely enough, the farmer from whom I buy my pastured, grass-fed/finished beef sells all the cuts at $5.50/lb (discounted to $4/lb I believe, if you buy 100 lbs or more). Needless to say, I usually end up with a freezer full of porterhouse, t-bone, and tenderloin steaks.

          To me it's not just about the Omega 3:6 benefits, the happier/healthier cows, and the reduced environmental impact; I just find that grass-fed/finished beef tastes a lot better than the supermarket grain-fed stuff. More precisely, once I got used to the taste of grass-fed, the grain-fed stuff started tasting truly disgusting. I can't put my finger on it, but the last few times I've had it I've been really turned off by the odd combination of blandness and some objectionable lingering aftertaste in the grain-fed stuff.

          Ok, mini-hijack is over...sorry.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Mad_Fatter View Post
            What then is the cheapest form of beef I can get? I'm assuming ground is - but beyond that I'd like to know the cheapest cuts of roast and steak.

            I'd imagine too that the cheapest cuts need to be slow-cooked in oder to make them palatable, but I wonder if that's not doing anything nasty to the protein in the beef (denaturing?)
            To my knowledge, slow cooking doesn't denature protein in beef.

            As far as cheap cuts of meat, typically several roasts are fairly inexpensive (i.e., around the same price per pound as ground beef). For instance, shoulder roasts usually aren't too pricey, as well as bottom round.
            Are you a college student, trying to navigate college while being Primal? Do you know any other PB college students on a tight budget? Heck, for that matter, are YOU trying to live Primal on a budget? Enroll at Primal University!

            For after all what is man in nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either.
            -- Blaise Pascal

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            • #7
              Watch for sales and loss-leaders. I've gotten rib-eye steaks for less per pound than ground beef by paying attention to sales. I won't even buy chuck roast unless it's on sale. I buy lots at a time and freeze.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ProtoAlex View Post
                Tongue and heart is also often pretty low for the same reason but can end up very tasty. As with the shank/roast/stew/oxtail cuts you're going to want a nice long braise with the tongue as well, these muscles are worked almost nonstop over the entire course of the cow's life which means they are very tough, but a good 3-4 hr braise (make a lot at a time for left overs) will make them more tender than a filet! Alternatively if you happen to have access to a vacuum food packer you can try some sous vide cooking (simmer in bag) with some light marinade added in and cooked real low over night 12+ hours, although that's a little out of the general cooking comfort level of most people.
                How do you cut your tongue? The muscle runs from back to tip, you can cook it pretty quickly and it'll be tender so long as you cut thin across the fibers.

                Other than this, I agree; by organs, the parts no-one else wants. They're always cheaper, and will make a fair meal.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Velocity View Post
                  To my knowledge, slow cooking doesn't denature protein in beef.
                  All cooked protein is denatured.
                  good overview

                  Your body absorbs protein out of the intestine as peptides anyways, meaning that it has to be broken down, so the natured/denatured state doesn't matter.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by The Big L View Post
                    Strangely enough, the farmer from whom I buy my pastured, grass-fed/finished beef sells all the cuts at $5.50/lb (discounted to $4/lb I believe, if you buy 100 lbs or more). Needless to say, I usually end up with a freezer full of porterhouse, t-bone, and tenderloin steaks.

                    To me it's not just about the Omega 3:6 benefits, the happier/healthier cows, and the reduced environmental impact; I just find that grass-fed/finished beef tastes a lot better than the supermarket grain-fed stuff. More precisely, once I got used to the taste of grass-fed, the grain-fed stuff started tasting truly disgusting. I can't put my finger on it, but the last few times I've had it I've been really turned off by the odd combination of blandness and some objectionable lingering aftertaste in the grain-fed stuff.

                    Ok, mini-hijack is over...sorry.
                    I know what you mean. The taste of pastured raised beef/lamb are simply far better than grain fed meats. While I can't afford them on a regular basis, the beef in my supermarket are from Creekstone Farms, and I can taste the difference between their steaks/ground beef and regular conventional meats. Good quality meats just taste better......

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                    • #11
                      All cooking denatures protein -- that is its definition. It is solely dependent on temperature, so holding meat at say 150F for 4 hours doesn't affect the protein any differently than the same temperature for only 30 minutes. The difference is that the extra time is required to break down the collagen in the connective tissue so that it melts into gelatin -- this is what makes slow cooking tough meat tender.

                      If anyone's interested in the science of cooking meat, see this article.

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                      • #12
                        I cut the tongue crosswise as you mention, what's your definition of quickly? I couldn't imagine beef tongue coming out tender if grilled but then again, I've never attempted it.
                        "You can demonstrate the purpose and limits of human digestion with a simple experiment: eat a steak with some whole corn kernels, and see what comes out the other end. It won’t be the steak."
                        -J.Stanton

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                        • #13
                          Me neither, but I've had it boiled and fried. I'd say a good half hour's more than enough boiled.

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