There are tips and tricks to finding meat that isn’t so expensive, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll walk away with a crying wallet. Depending on what you’re looking for, there are some types and cuts of meat that tend to be more affordable. You should consider certain types of meat when shopping on a budget, whether you buy meat in bulk or just what you need on a weekly grocery run.
What are the cheapest meat options out there? Chicken is one of the cheapest meats on the market and it comes in a variety of cuts. Pork shoulder and ground beef are also cheaper, but you can find quite a few meat options at decent prices if you know what you’re looking for.
Here we’ll explain how to find the cheapest meats, as well as what cuts of meat to look for in small quantities versus bulk meats. It might not be possible to find fancy T-bone steaks or a leg of lamb, but you can find cheap meat if you know what to look for.
Cheapest Meat Options
We all have our favorite options when it comes to buying meat, but sometimes those options aren’t affordable. If you’re looking to purchase meat cheaply, you need to know which options have the best prices! The majority of this guide is focused on the cheapest meat that can be purchased regularly or at a grocery store.
There will be times, however, that we discuss buying meat in bulk. Sometimes buying meat in bulk lowers the price, so you may be able to save some money this way. As we discuss various topics, we will clearly identify the details.
Here is a quick list of the cheapest meat cuts we have found:
(Various cuts of chicken)
Ribs of pork
Beef ground up
Pork chops with bone in
Shoulder or butt of pork
Breast of lamb
Among these are some of the cheapest meats available, although the cut you choose will make a difference. The cheapest meat you can find is chicken – really all the cuts of chicken.
Buying in bulk is the cheapest way to buy chicken. You can buy different cuts or even a whole chicken for cheap and cut it up. It is also a good deal to buy regularly, so chicken wins both categories!
The Cheapest Cuts of Chicken
You already know that chicken is going to be your cheapest option for meat. However, some cuts of chicken are more affordable than others.
However, chicken breast is still relatively inexpensive, but it is the most expensive form of chicken.
It’s better to buy chicken in other ways if you want the cheapest options. Let’s look at some cuts to see how much they cost!
While we will give you an average cost, just know that the price of chicken may vary.
Where you are located and the market prices at the time of purchase affect some prices.
When it comes to buying chicken, a whole chicken is one of the best options. Of course, you will be more limited than if you buy legs or thighs, but it is still the most economical option.
Cooking the whole chicken or separating it should provide you with more than one meal in most cases.
Whole chicken is the cheapest because it requires the least amount of processing – no cutting, no separation, no anything.
It costs approximately $1.29 per pound for a whole chicken, which is delivered in one piece and contains all of the bones.
As one of the cheapest cuts of chicken, chicken quarters are made up of thighs and legs combined.
This cheap meat can be prepared in many different ways, and the meat can even be pulled from the bone if needed. It cooks beautifully, so you can make just about any recipe with it. It also grills easily in the summertime.
Chicken quarters usually cost $0.99 per pound and come with bones.
The next cheapest option is chicken thighs. Because of their affordability and ease of preparation, chicken thighs have become increasingly popular.
Chicken thighs can be roasted, grilled, pan-fried, or even deep-fried.
When you buy them bone-in, they’re the cheapest, but they’re also affordable when you buy them boneless.
Bone-in chicken thighs usually cost $0.99 per pound, while boneless and skinless chicken thighs cost $2.79 per pound.
Since drumsticks are easy to find, you can almost always find them for a really great deal.
While there are fewer ways to prepare them than chicken thighs or breasts, you can still experiment with different preparations and changes easily.
The average price of chicken legs (or drumsticks) is currently $1.54 per pound. They have less meat and always come with a bone.
Per pound, chicken breasts are the most expensive cut of chicken.
In comparison to other meats, it remains relatively affordable, but it is more expensive.
Furthermore, fresh chicken breasts may be more expensive than frozen bags of chicken breasts.
When you buy chicken breasts from a butcher or grocery store, they are unlikely to be bone-in.
As you can see, chicken breasts outweigh all other chicken types in terms of cost. Stick with chicken quarters or bone-in thighs if you want to save money.
The Cheapest Cuts of Beef
Beef prices fluctuate just like other meats, so if you’re looking for a cheap cut of beef, steer clear of some very pricy cuts.
Despite the fact that ground beef is processed, it remains cheaper than cuts such as steaks, ribs, and roasts. However, some of those cuts aren’t too pricey either.
Here are some of the cheapest cuts of beef. You will notice right away that beef is significantly more expensive than chicken.
A great way to save money on meat is to buy ground beef. It is versatile, so you can do a lot with it.
Whether you buy in bulk or just what you need on your regular grocery trips, it can be affordable.
Depending on the distributor and the prices at the time, it might be more affordable to buy it in bulk and then divide it into servings.
Beef that is less lean might be cheaper than this. Ground beef costs about $4.46 per pound. Prices might also vary depending on how lean the meat is.
Generally, stew meat comes in chunks. It can be used in stews, casseroles, soups, or kabobs.
In spite of being pre-cut into smaller chunks, it can still be used for a variety of dishes.
Stew meat is a cheaper cut of beef than a lot of other options. You can purchase stew meat for about $6.87 per pound.
Depending on the type of steak, the price can rise very quickly. Chuck eye steaks are the cheapest, as are round steaks. If you know how to cook them, you’ll have excellent results.
Round steaks are easier to find and pretty versatile. They can be prepared in any way you would prepare a regular steak.
The chuck eye or round steak might not be as awesome as a T-bone, but you can certainly make them great if you know how. Start with a good marinade!
Round steak costs an average of $7 per pound.
Another great way to buy meat is by purchasing a chuck roast.
Whether you cook it as a roast or you use it for other things is entirely up to you.
With this piece, you can make it work for your needs.
A chuck roast costs about $7 per pound on average.
Beef Short Ribs
Some people actually use short ribs as a steak substitute because they are cheaper than most beef steaks.
Beef short ribs vary in price. Right now, they average $7 per pound, but they have been known to be as low as $4 per pound.
There are some cuts of beef that are extremely expensive because they are considered high-end or specialty cuts.
The Cheapest Cuts of Pork
The best ways to buy cheap pork are pork ribs, pork chops with bones, or pork butts or shoulders.
Although bacon might seem cheap, it actually costs more per pound than other options.
Pork is one of the cheapest meats on the market!
You can choose spare ribs or baby back ribs depending on the price. Pork ribs are much cheaper than beef ribs.
As a rule of thumb, spare ribs are cheaper per pound than ribs that are sold as a rack. Ribs also take a long time to cook, so be prepared for that.
There is an average price of $3.50 per pound for pork spare ribs and $5.99 per pound for pork baby back ribs.
Pork is more affordable than beef ribs, which cost $7-$9 per pound.
Bone-In Pork Chops
Pork chops can be bought with or without a bone, but bone-in pork chops are cheaper.
No matter whether you buy bone-in or boneless pork chops, you can make a lot of dishes with them.
There is an average price of $4.25 per pound for bone-in pork chops and $4.99 per pound for boneless pork chops.
It’s not a huge difference, but sometimes every little bit counts!
Pork Butt Or Shoulder
A pork butt or shoulder cut is the best choice if you want a large cut of pork.
It’s usually pretty cheap to buy it this way, and you could also buy a pork roast, which is similar.
Pork in bulk is a great way to save money because it is more affordable than most other forms of pork and definitely less expensive than beef.
Pork shoulder and pork butt typically cost around $2.29 per pound. As with all meat, prices will vary.
The Cheapest Meat To Buy In Bulk
There are some meats that are more affordable to buy in bulk. For example, if you love beef, buying it in bulk can actually be a great deal more affordable than buying each cut individually.
While markets vary regularly, it’s easy to figure out which meats you can buy in bulk and save money on.
Working with a butcher shop for a side of beef or pork is usually more affordable than buying a week’s worth at a time, and you have some flexibility over the cuts.
In addition to this option, here are the best meats to buy in bulk.
Whole, thighs, or legs of chicken
Beef ground up
Roast, chuck, or rump of beef
Turkey as a whole
Shoulder or butt of beef
Boxes of mixed beef
An assortment of pork tenderloins