Money-Saving Tip: Buy Bone-In Meat

There's been a lot of talk lately about buying cheaper cuts of meat to save money. We've told you how to cook them and why less expensive, tougher meats make good braises.

But even if you want to keep buying chicken breasts and pork chops (rather than shanks and flanks and butts), buy them with their bones still attached. They're cheaper, but you actually get more for your money. It's a win-win...

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are great when you need clean, neat chunks for a stir-fry. But they've become so ubiquitous that we think people buy them without really considering the alternative.

Chicken breasts (we'll get to pork in a sec) with the skin still on have what amounts to a blanket of flavor protecting the meat while it cooks. It keeps it moist, and if you don't want to eat the extra calories the skin brings, you can always peel it off once it's cooked.

As for the bone, and this applies to pork chops, too, it also adds flavor while the meat cooks. With both pork and chicken, you get extra meat nestled around the bone that's stripped away when the bone is removed. More bites for your buck. A quick comparison at Fresh Direct showed that bone-in meat is at least $1 cheaper per pound than the boneless varieties.

We find that bone-in meat is more forgiving (it's harder to dry out) and, especially with chicken breasts, offers so many more options for preparing it. You can shove butter and herbs under the skin or stuff cheese between the meat and the bones.

Some examples:
Roasted Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Fresh Garlic
Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Grapes, Hazelnuts, and Parmesan
Beer-Brined Chicken on the Grill
Winter Cooking: Apples, Cabbage, and Pork Chops

Related: Conscientious Cook: How To Start Saving Money this Weekend

(Image: Fresh Direct)