Weekend Cooking: What to Cook with Cheap Cuts of Meat

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: The Kitchn)

Save money and get a delicious meal? Yes please! Lazy weekend afternoons are the perfect time for cooking something low and slow, filling the house with yummy smells. And even better, the best cuts of meat for these braises are also very often the less expensive cuts. Let’s take a look!

The less expensive cuts tend to come from the front and hindquarters of the animal. This meat is tougher because it was the most exercised while the animal was still alive. For this reason, these cuts can be more difficult to cook and take longer to cook, hence they are often passed over in favor of marbled steaks and tenderloin. Ipso facto, they end up being less expensive per pound.

The other thing to keep in mind with these cheaper cuts is that you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck. You might pay $10 or more for a pork shoulder while you pay $4 for a steak, but the dish you make from shoulder will stretch out into multiple meals.

This weekend, check the meat department at your grocery store and try one of these recipes!

Cuts of meat that are listed together can generally be used interchangeably in a recipe (like top, bottom, and eye rounds), unless specifically instructed otherwise.

Shanks – beef, veal, lamb, and pork
Braised Pork Shank
Braised Lamb Shanks from Simply Recipes
Osso Buco from Epicurious

Top, Bottom, or Eye Round – beef
Grilled Balsamic Marinated London Broil with Red Onions from Epicurious
Sauerbraten from Alton Brown and the Food Network

Beef Shoulder or Chuck Roast
Slow-Cooker Pot au Feu (can also be made with shanks)
Pot Roast from Simply Recipes
Beef Bourguignon from Epicurious

Beef Brisket
Friday Night Slow-Cooked Brisket and Onions
• Corned Beef

Pork Shoulder (Picnic or Boston Butt)
Slow-cooked Pork Roast Two Ways
Pulled Pork from Simply Recipes

(Image: Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan for the Kitchn)