Thrifty Griller’s Guide to Budget Beef Cuts


When it comes to grilling, there’s a lot of pressure to use the tastiest and most iconic cuts. You have an audience to impress – friends, neighbors or in-laws will be waiting to chow down on your finished product and take turns either praising or slamming your “grilliance”.

This pressure doesn’t come without a price. Some of the most popular cuts for the grill are top loin (strip), flank and ribeye steak. These steakhouse favorites are full of flavor and have a great reputation. But what if you’re trying to grill on a budget? Don’t sacrifice flavor for other proteins! There are several beef cuts that won’t break the bank.

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Chuck Eye Steak

This cut comes from the 5th rib of a cow, between the chuck and ribeye (hence the name). Chuck eye steaks are rich in flavor and balanced similarly to the ribeye, but cost less. There are only two per cow, so these might be a little tougher to find in the store. But they’re sure a treat when you do!

Shoulder Steak or Ranch Steak

This cut is affordable, convenient and versatile. It also meets government guidelines for lean!

Skirt Steak

If don’t think you’ve heard of this cut, think again! Also known as “fajita meat”, skirt steak is boneless and extremely flavorful. It could also benefit from a tenderizing marinade, so check out our tips below! To promote tenderness, carve diagonally across the grain into thin slices.

Ground Beef

Everyone knows you can’t go wrong with burgers on the grill. Ground beef, specifically ground chuck, in an 80/20 blend makes great patties.

More Ways to Save on Beef:

  1. Consider the price per serving. If 1 lb. of ground beef costs $4.50, that works out to about $1.15 per serving. That’s a lot of satisfying nutrients for your dollar!

  2. Look in the meat case for family packs or bundles. If you can’t use it all for one meal, freeze it or use leftovers for sandwiches, salads or even stir-fry the next day!

  3. Go small. If you don’t need a pound of beef, don’t buy one! Instead, visit the meat counter to find perfectly portioned steaks and roasts.
  4. Buy larger cuts and slice your own. Slicing steaks at home can save you at least a dollar or two per pound. Freeze individually or serve when entertaining a group.

  5. Hunt for bargains. Every week, your local grocers will offer specials on beef. Watch the weekly paper for coupons and deals. Don’t get the paper? Check out the store’s website, Facebook or Twitter.
  6. Ask for help. Talk to your neighborhood butcher or meal counter clerk for recommendations on how to get the most out of cuts.
  7. Using a tenderizing marinade can help improve tenderness or amplify the flavor of value cuts. Use a resealable plastic bag or container and put in the refrigerator. Allow beef to soak in marinade for 2-8 hours to improve tenderness or 20-22 hours for more flavor.

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