So in a past life, well not really, but a long time a ago, I was a co-manager at a well known grocery store chain. I have worked in the food, food related industry, an then blogging, for over twenty years now. Part of my job in the grocery store was to be able to inspect the meat department, and to insure first, it was clean, and safe for our customers, then secondly, my job was to see if grocery stores were merchandising their meat properly.
Confessions of a Butcher – Book Review by Stephanie Manley
Merchandising, is making sure they upsell cuts of meat properly. For example, a butcher could just take large primal cut of rib eyes, and sell it as a the whole primal cut, he isn't going to make a lot of money that way. What he could do is to sell the first couple of cuts off the rib eye as “Delmonicos” they are more fatty, and they cost more. He could then make some really large steaks sold at a higher price, then some average cuts at a normal price, you get the idea.
I have known a couple of these tricks of the trade and used them, in previous posts you will often hear me extol the virtues of chuck eye steaks, they are right off the rib eye, and often have the same flavor, but cost 1/3 of the price. This book Confessions of a Butcher, walks you through the entire meat counter, with these money saving tips. He goes over beef, pork, and yes, even chicken. You can save money when you are armed with a little knowledge.
Personally I do not buy meat that is pre-packaged in hermetically sealed packages. I am always skeptical of meat that has a shelf life that can last over 7 days. Honestly, this scares me. I shop at stores where there are butchers on hand, because they can grind meats for you, and make cut the meat into the pieces that you want. This is the type of store where you can utilize this book the most. He suggests that if you like sausage, you can have a pork butt ground, and then season it at home. So you can make your own premium sausage at home for the cost of the meat, and sausage seasonings. I haven't bought sausage in a store for a long time, because the thoughts of all of the fillers, and mechanically separated meat scares me.
Here are just a few of the tips in this book.
1. Do not buy large roasting chickens because they are fryers in disguise.
2. When it comes to Turkey, the larger the bird, the higher yield of meat.
3. Do not buy stew meat, buy a round steak or check roasts, and slice up your own stew meat.
4. Do not buy any piece of meat that has been tenderized, buy meat and then ask them to tenderize it for you. (Scraps of meat turn into tenderized meat)
5. Never as for small amounts of meat to be ground special. One-half to three-fourths of a pound of meat will remain in the head of the grinder.
After arming you with many money saving tips this book also talks about knives, and what you need to do cut meat at home. Sometimes you may buy meat when the butcher has left for the day, but it is hard to pass up a bargain. So you can learn how to make few cuts at home. He also includes a few recipes as well. I really think this book is a little gem especially if you find saving money to be important.
You can purchase this book at Amazon.com.
Confessions of a Butcher-eat steak on a hamburger budget and save$$$
In the meantime, what are you favorite money saving tips on how to save money at the meat counter?