How to Cook Less Expensive Cuts of Meat

For those of us who love red meat, sometimes nothing else will do. But the cost of many cuts of red meat can be prohibitive for those cooking on a budget. I have good news: If you master the art of slow cooking, there are a number of economical cuts that, properly prepared and cooked, can become delicious house favorites.

Less expensive cuts of meat tend to be tougher, either because they come from a part of the animal that was most active or because of the presence of connective tissues. Braising and stewing are the two most popular methods of softening tougher cuts of meat. Two of my favorite dishes in this style are a slow-cooked pork shoulder and braised lamb shank, in which the meats are cooked for several hours in a flavorful liquid that can then be strained and reduced to serve as a sauce. (For a real economy of scale, chop up leftover meats and toss them and their sauce with your favorite pasta.)

Stewing produces a similar result, and the technique works well with such cuts as short ribs, brisket, and rump or bottom round roasts. Here, too, you can make a little go a long way by serving stew with something that will soak up its sauce, such as white rice or simple egg noodles. Another favorite, though not as economical, is oxtail, which when slow-cooked takes on an incredibly rich, beefy flavor that's worth the splurge.

 

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