The Best Budget-friendly Meat Cuts

Publish Date November 8, 2023 2 Minute Read
Budget Meat Cuts

The Best Budget-friendly Meat Cuts

Beef, pork, poultry and other protein sources are menu must-haves for most households, and likely account for a large portion of your weekly grocery budget. If you’re clipping coupons, shopping sales and looking for more ways to save, we’ve got you covered. Get to the meat of the matter with our favorite budget-friendly cuts.

Budget Beef Cuts

If you’re looking to beef up your weekly meal plan on a budget, try our favorite budget-friendly beef cuts:

Chuck Roast

Known for its rich flavor and versatility, chuck roast is a popular choice for many dishes. Coming from the shoulder area, this cut has a good amount of connective tissue and marbling, making it tender and flavorful when slow-cooked. Chuck roast is often sold as a large, boneless cut or smaller portions called chuck steaks.

While everyone loves a classic Sunday pot roast, the versatility of this cut invites creativity, so don’t be afraid to have fun with marinades and cooking methods. Try our cinnamon beef pot roast or coffee-roasted beef chuck for inspiration.

Bottom Round Roast

Coming from the hindquarters of the cow, this cut is lean and muscular. While a bottom round roast may require a bit more TLC, its versatility, flavor and affordability make it well worth the wait. Use your slow cooker to prepare an easy and delicious pot roast, or marinate, tenderize and cook this cut low and slow for a tender, juicy roast. Be sure to allow ample resting time once cooked through to keep your beef moist and delicious.

Flank Steak

Flank steak is a long grain cut of meat, with long muscle fibers throughout. It’s affordable, versatile and flavorful when cooked properly. Grill it, broil it, slow-roast it or use it in a stir-fry, making sure to marinate and tenderize beforehand. Because of its lean texture, flank steak is best cooked to medium-rare or medium doneness. Be sure to let this steak rest after cooking, and cut against the grain when slicing.

Ground Beef

While not technically made from a specific cut of meat, ground beef is certainly versatile, convenient and affordable, so we think it deserves a mention here. Check out our ground beef guide for everything you need to know about cooking with this staple ingredient.

Budget Chicken Cuts

Check out our favorite budget chicken cuts to get the most cluck for your buck:

Whole Chicken

Buying in bulk is best, and purchasing a whole chicken is no exception. Perfect for a classic family dinner, leftovers from a roasted chicken can be transformed into a delicious bone broth after you’ve fed the whole family.

Chicken Leg Quarters

Chicken leg quarters are the thighs and drumsticks of the chicken. Perfect for rustic recipes, like this classic French tarragon chicken, these versatile cuts are affordable and delicious.

Chicken Drumsticks

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option packed with flavor, look no further. Drumsticks are delicious when baked, grilled or even air-fried for easy and affordable weeknight dinners. They’re also easy to marinate overnight for wholesome family feasts. Try these classic buttermilk-marinated drumsticks for your next Sunday dinner.

Chicken Thighs

Because of their tender texture, chicken thighs are more flavorful and forgiving than chicken breasts, and they’re just as versatile. From blueberry thyme thighs to airfryer mojo, the possibilities are endless.

Budget Pork Cuts

Pork Shoulder

This cut is flavorful and perfect for set-it-and-forget-it cooking. Slow roast this cut all day long for moist and tender pulled pork, stew or chipotle carnitas.

Country-style Pork Ribs

Pork ribs, sometimes called country-style ribs, are less expensive than baby back or spareribs, and they pack just as much flavor. They're excellent for grilling, baking or slow cooking.

Looking for More Ways to Save?

Check out our top 10 tips for saving money on groceries, and visit our blog for even more fresh, budget-friendly inspiration, including meal planning, recipes and more.