How To Save Money On Beef Stew Meat
|June 24, 2013||Filled under Freezer Tips, Recipes: Beef|
After WLS you are told to focus on protein first. While there are varying amounts of protein in other foods usually the main source for most people is meat. If you purchase any type of meat the one thing you’ve probably noticed is prices are rising. Because I’m trying to stay within a budget I tend to look for ways to save money especially on items that are increasing in price.
The one thing I’ve noticed is the price of the different cuts of meat increases if the butcher has to do more work preparing the meat. Which makes sense. If the cut of meat, such as a steak, removes a lot of trimmings in order to get that particular cut then the price goes up. Sure the trimmings are used to make ground beef but the butcher still had to do more work to get that cut. Which is where you can save some money.
Beef stew meat in my area, just south of Boston, usually runs about $3.99 or more a pound. A sale might drop the price down to $3.49. If I purchase stew meat I still usually end up cutting it into smaller pieces once I get it home. Rather than shell out the extra money for the butcher to chop a larger piece of meat into smaller bits I do it myself. You can actually create your own stew meat by using a boneless chuck roast. It’s basically the same cut of meat and usually sells for less. Often times, when chuck roasts go on sale, I can get them for $2.79 to $2.99 a pound.
This weekend there was a sale on chuck roasts and I picked up four of them to make beef stew meat. The roasts were selling for $2.79 a pound plus I found one that was even lower since it had reached the “sell by” date so it was discounted even further.
Making your own stew meat doesn’t get any easier than this. First, purchase your boneless chuck roasts. Unwrap and begin dicing into the sized pieces you desire. Along the way I usually remove larger pieces of fat and any tough connective tissue. These get thrown out. In the end I removed about half a pound of fat in total from all four roasts. It only took me about 20 minutes to dice them all up.
Once I’m done cutting all the meat into the size pieces I desire I bag them into premeasured amounts in freezer bags. Now, when I’m ready to make beef stew or some other meal, I remove a bag from the freezer, thaw it and it’s ready to be used. I originally started my beef stew making adventure with about 11 pounds of meat. Once the fat was removed there was about 10 1/2 pounds left. I divided the meat into freezer bags that contained about 1 1/2 pounds of meat which is the perfect amount for a pot of stew in my house. I got 6 bags of prepared stew beef from the four roasts. Total savings: $13.80 for about 20 minutes worth of work. Plus, I won’t have to spend any extra time cutting store bought stew beef into smaller pieces.
Here’s some pictures of the beef stew making process. It really is super easy to do:
Click on the pictures if you want to enlarge the collage. After this I place three of the quart sized bags into one larger gallon sized freezer bag. There’s two purposes for doing this. One, it reduces freezer burn because there are now two bags protecting the meat. The second reason is I always place an index card in the larger bag with information about what’s in the bag and the date I put it there. In the past I’ve had a few too many mystery items pulled from the freezer. Now I mark everything. It not only saves time but it saves money because I know exactly what I have and when it was put there.
How about you? What do you do to save money on purchasing meat for you and your family? Leave a comment below and share a tip.