How to eat clean on a budget - Part 5

written by

Mike Jones

posted on

May 22, 2022

Up to this point all of the techniques I mentioned apply to the fruit/vegetable world in the same manner as they apply to the meat world. This one, not quite as much. I will speak mainly of the meat world because it is what I know better, but will mention places where it applies to vegetable and fruit buying as well.

The first really important point is cut selection. It applies to all different types of meat, Beef, Pork, Chicken or Lamb. I am just going to give you a number of examples so you get the idea. We do not have enough time to go through all but we can cover enough ground that you will see what I am talking about.

Let's start with pork. Everyone loves a good pork chop. Going from the front of the hogs loin to the back you have Country Ribs, Rib Chops, Loin Chops then the Sirloin. Due to demand the Loin chops are the most expensive. We cut our Country Ribs to look like pork chops. They sell at a 25% discount to Loin Chops and in my opinion taste better. Typically they have a little higher fat content which adds to the flavor. So just by moving up the loin a little bit you can save 25%. Another area to slice 25% off your pork bill is to switch from regular sliced bacon to bacon ends. A side of bacon coming out of the smoker might not be a perfect rectangular shape. The butcher will slices a few pieces off of the end before they get the nice pretty long slice of bacon. We don't throw those pieces away, we sell them as bacon ends. They are between $3 or $4 a pound cheaper than bacon. They are all that Connie and I eat in the bacon world. We have them in all 4 varieties of bacon and we sell at a large discount. If you are not making bacon wrapped shrimp or having company over it is a great alternative to bacon and you can save big. Just like bacon ends we have the same thing with ham ends compared to ham cubes.

In lamb my favorite go to savings is Shoulder Steaks and Sirloin Chops verses Loin or Rib chops. Sirloin Chops have a higher meat to bone ratio. A loin chop is more than 30% more expensive than a Sirloin Chop.

The next way to save big on your purchasing of quality meats requires a little sweat equity. If you were to buy Whole chickens or Whole cutup chickens, do a partial thaw, then part them out and refreeze you will find your savings will be substantial. We once had a class here on the farm on how to part out a chicken. After a few times you can typically part out a chicken in less than 5 minutes. If you were to buy a dozen birds spend an hour parting them out and then refreeze them you would probably earn close to $75 in savings in that hour. That works out to $150k per year. The point being is if you can sharpen a knife you can save big and eat the cuts you like to eat. The fact of the matter is the butcher is making all that money. We make more money on selling whole chickens than other cuts. The reason ground chicken products and boneless chicken products are so expensive is the butcher charges a lot of money for post processing a chicken. We want to sell all of those products to provide y'all with the food you want but remember this series is about saving money while eating clean. Owning a knife and knowing how to use it can save a bunch with very little time invested.

As we come to the end of this series I hope you found some techniques that will work for you. You don't have to do them all, I just offered them as ideas to spark your own frugal gourmet. I guess I am dating myself with that reference. There might be another post in the series in the future but not next week. I feel like the last two might have taken some of you out of your comfort zone and I don't want to whine about gardening right away. So have a great week, Hope to see you all this week.


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