What should you be buying from your butcher? Theo Weening, the global meat buyer for Whole Foods, shares his favorite budget-friendly cuts of meat.
1. Short ribs
Why? They're like steak, but a lot cheaper and really hard to screw up.
First of all, I like the flavor profile. Short ribs are tender and have a lot more flavor than some other cuts. It has the bone in it, so when you serve it, it has a nice look to it. It looks really substantial. Short ribs are like a steak, but the price point is a lot cheaper. They're easy to put together — when you cook short ribs, it's really hard to screw them up.
Short Rib Recipes
Why? It's a better rib-eye — and about half the price.
They call chuck-eye the butcher's secret because the price point is about half that of a rib-eye, but it is a rib-eye. They're the same thing, but it's cut a little thinner — about an inch and a quarter — because the butcher tries to get two out of them.
I cook it just like a ribeye — quick on a hot grill. I try to be plain with the seasoning. Since it already has such good flavor, you don't have to add a lot of stuff to it.
Why? It's like a flank cut of beef, but about 30 percent cheaper.
Flat-iron, which is from the shoulder, is a very flavorful cut. I like the flat-iron a lot when I'm entertaining a crowd. I season it with salt and pepper, grill it, slice it into pieces, put it on top of mixed greens, and serve it like that.
Try this: Flat-Iron Steak with Salsa Verde
4. Hanger Steak
Why? It's like a tenderloin cut of beef, but about 50 percent cheaper.
The hanger steak "hangs" from the diaphragm of the heifer or steer, near the animal's kidney. It's not a muscle that is used, which is why it's tender. I usually get three of them, take off the membrane (you can ask your butcher to do this), clean them up nice, tie them together, and cook them. Then I cut them in small little medallions. A buddy of mine came over and said, "That's the best little fillet mignon I've ever had!"
5. Ground Brisket + Ground Short Ribs
Why? The combo is better than ground beef, and about 10 to 15 percent cheaper than buying the meat whole.
I really like using ground brisket and ground short ribs and cooking it like a hamburger patty. Compared to ground beef, the brisket/short rib combination adds more flavor and texture.
Read more: 5 Things Your Butcher Can Do for You