Buying butcher meat can be more affordable than you’d expect, especially if you follow some of these tips for making the most of your butcher. When it comes to buying meat it may sometimes be difficult to enjoy a variety of meats on a limited budget. Many meat-eating families are now choosing to enjoy one or more meat-free main meals a week but what about the other nights?
There are many ways to cut down your meat shopping bill, from buying yellow sticker (reduced meat) that is still in date at the supermarket and freezing it to bulk buying (hard when you have a weekly budget or a tight monthly one).
Have you considered using your local butcher instead? Dream Bear mum Nicki did and this is what she found…
I’d always veered away from using the buying butcher meat for two reasons, one because I assumed it would be far too expensive and two because the prices aren’t clearly labelled on counter meat (£x per lb when you want 500g can be quite confusing until you get the hang of it).
Despite my misgivings I decided to give the butcher a try for the odd thing, to see how prices and quality compared and to build up a list of what I liked with weights and prices. The first time I went in I asked for a pound (weight) of mince and 8 sausages. The butcher was friendly and helpful. The mince and sausages were superb and less expensive than I’d thought. The next time I asked for four chicken breasts. This worked out cheaper than I’d expected again and I had loads left over. What I hadn’t realised was that with butcher meat you get meat and just meat however with many supermarket meats that are pre-packed they are injected with water and fats to preserve them which is why they shrink so much when you cook them. On this occasion I could make tea as planned, have chicken sandwiches for lunch and enough bits left over to throw into pasta with veg and pesto for the next night!
I noticed on Facebook that my favourite butcher had also started making up family trays of meat which worked out as enough meat for a family for a week plus left overs for lunch for just £25. Feeling cheeky I asked if I could substitute this for that which dropped the price slightly and suited us much better. Another win for the butcher (and for us!).
By this point I was hooked. I loved serving up the butcher’s meat which tasted great and while at face value might have seemed more expensive it actually wasn’t. Sometimes I found it cheaper than supermarket meats because they wouldn’t shrink.
Nowadays I’m on first name terms with my butcher and will either phone in an order and come and pick it up or go down and have a nosy at what they have in. If I’m having a skint week I might say “I could with about £3 money’s worth of diced pork” and they are happy to oblige. I might ask what they have that’s different but not too expensive and again, they are always happy to help. I know my brisket from my beef shin now and have even shared recipes with the butcher (who is also good at advising how to cook something, I.e. pop it in the slow cooker for 6 hours on slow and it’ll be lovely and tender).
I really do wish that I’d tried buying butcher meat before I did as value and quality wise they can’t be beaten. I’m also enjoying cookery on a budget a lot more than I ever have which is always a bonus. If you are considering using the butcher but just aren’t sure if your budget can stretch to it why not do what I did and buy a few things first rather than try and do a whole week’s worth of shopping? I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much you enjoy shopping and cooking again, even on a strict budget once you’ve given it a go.
How do you feel about buying butcher meat? If you already do buy straight from the butcher how do you find it? What are your favourite cuts or products? We’d love to hear from you so please feel free to leave a comment below.