Grocery Shopping Series Part I: Cheaper Ground Beef

In this series I’m going to tell you how to get ground beef cheaper, which is actually higher quality than standard ground beef.

When I was six years old, my mom worked as a meat wrapper for the butcher shop in a local grocery store. All my life she’s taken the sale cuts of meat to the butcher to have them ground. Most people don’t seem to know that’s an option – or maybe they are afraid to ask?

Have you checked the price for hamburger lately? It used to be fairly inexpensive, but nowadays it can run from $3 to $4 and more a pound! But did you notice that cross cut rib roasts are on sale this week for $1.37 a pound?

If your grocery store has a butcher section, they will happily grind a cut of meat for you. Just gather up a four or five pound roast, and go on over to the butcher. Ring the bell and ask him to grind it for you. I have never had one turn me down, unless I got there after they just closed for the day and just finished cleaning the grinder.

If you only want a couple pounds of hamburger, ask him to cut it in half and grind half, and give you the rest as a roast. You can even make your hamburger leaner by asking him/her to trim off the extra fat, although you might want to reconsider that as the fat is where all the flavor is at! You can have them grind up a seven bone steak and package up the bones for your dog, or take them home and freeze them to use later to make beef stock. For that matter, you can ask him to put a round steak through the tenderizer to make it less tough.

Generally you can only ask to have beef ground. They can’t mix types of meat, so don’t ask to have pork or chicken ground.

If you have a food processor, you can grind small amounts of meat yourself. We have a  KitchenAid Stand Mixer* and use this Food Grinder Attachment*.

Sometimes I like to take a pound of chicken breast and mix it with a pound of beef. Cut the meat into squares one inch or smaller and put a handful of chunks into the processor at a time. Blend for a few moments, then stop and see how the meat looks. Remove that bit and blend up another handful of chunks.

Something else we often do is buy a half or whole pork loin.  Trim all the fat from the edges and don’t be too perfect about separating the fat from the meat. You can make a delicious sausage using ground pork, just add seasonings and let it set overnight before cooking so the flavors can marry.

You can save a lot of money on meat using this little trick.

This post was included at the Festival of Frugality April 21, 2008 in The Paragraph Edition at On Financial Success written by Aaron Stroud.

*Amazon Affiliate Links KitchenAid Stand Mixer and Food Grinder Attachment

Have you ever had your butcher grind beef for you?

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3 thoughts on “Grocery Shopping Series Part I: Cheaper Ground Beef

  1. Interesting ideas. We’re currently focusing on making better use of meats in our diet. These tips are going to come in handy.


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