Buy on special
Avoid paying full price by buying meat on special. Many supermarkets discount meat in the evenings or on a Sunday to move meat that is about to reach its expiry date. Make the most of this and buy it on sale then freeze it.
Buy in bulk
Butchers and supermarkets often charge less per kilo when you buy in bulk. Split it into smaller portions to store at home. Or get really serious and split bulk buys with family or friends.
Get to know your cuts
Knowing what meat works with what dish can save you spending on premium cuts when cheaper cuts will do the job just as well.
- Steaks: Rump and T-bone steaks are far cheaper than sirloin or scotch fillet steaks (rump $24.99 per kg, T-bone $20.99 per kg, sirloin $26.99 per kg and scotch $36.99 per kg) and if you marinate them in oil and seasoning before BBQing or grilling they’ll be tender too. Use more expensive cuts in salads and other dishes that don’t need much meat.
- Casseroles: Round steak and chuck steak are cheaper again (round $16.99 per kg and chuck $9.99 per kg) and perfect for casseroles or stews.
- Chicken: Thighs are generally cheaper than breasts (thighs $13.99 per kg and breasts $15.98 per kg) and in a curry or stew no one will notice the difference.
Wield the knife
Many precut casserole or stir-fry packs are more expensive than cutting your own. (Rump is great for stir-fry.)
Mix up your minces
Pork mince is often cheaper than beef or lamb and an easy substitute. Turkey is often cheaper than chicken and the taste is similar.
Make your own marinades
Buying pre-marinated meat can save you time but you pay more for the convenience. Learn to make your own quick marinades. Try 1 tbsp each of soy sauce and honey with a little garlic or teriyaki sauce straight from the bottle.
Use less meat
Most of us eat more than the 100g of meat recommended in the Australian Healthy Eating Guidelines. As a general rule, the meat you eat should fill a quarter of the plate.
Storing and using
- Freeze meat and chicken in small portions in freezer bags with as much air removed as possible and seal well. It will keep better as it freezes faster and the moisture in the air doesn’t create more ice crystals. Make sure you write a use-by date on the bag.
- Don't overload your freezer with unfrozen food. It will cause food to freeze more slowly and is not as effective. Put the meat in the coldest part of the freezer with space around it so air can circulate freely. Once frozen, restack closer together.
- Uncooked chicken will last for 6–12 months in the freezer. Uncooked red meat will last 8–12 months.
- Cooked meat will last 2–3 months in the freezer, casseroles 3 months, cooked chicken pieces 4 months.