How To Make Cheap Stew Meat Taste Great

How To Make Cheap Stew Meat Taste Great

Photo: Mark Bonica via VisualHunt
Stews are a frugal person’s best friend. There’s nothing more satisfying to a penny-pincher than scores of single-bowl meals made with the cheapest cuts of meat. Stew is easy, but to get the best flavours, stew meat needs a little extra care. Here are some tips.

The following tips come courtesy of The Kitchn. Combined, they will help to elevate your stew to the next level.

Sear it well. I love a dump-and-go slow-cooker recipe as much as the next lazy person, but don’t believe a recipe that says you can skip this step. Taking the time to sear a good, brown crust onto your meat is extremely worth it, giving you lots of rich, umami flavours that will be imparted to the whole stew.

Cook it low and slow. It’s what “stew” means when you make it a verb, after all, and it’s what does these cheap cuts of meat best. Whether it’s a slow-cooker, a stovetop pot over low heat, or a dutch oven in the oven itself, find a cooking method that gives the collagen in these tough cuts plenty of time to break down. (OK, you can cheat on this with a pressure cooker. Go ahead.)

Save acid for the end. Tender cuts of meat do well with a tangy marinade, but according to The Kitchn, acid makes stew meat take longer to get tender. Wine should be fine, but this warning goes beyond vinegar — hold off on adding tomatoes to stew until near the end, too.

3 Tips for Making Inexpensive Stew Meat Taste Heavenly [The Kitchn]


  • Try getting cheap cuts of meat here in Australia, practically impossible even at butchers. One of the main selling points of slow cookers was the ability to cook cheap cuts of meat into a nice meal, those cuts aren’t cheap anymore which takes away a large benefit of why it was good in the first place.

    Same thing with smokers, I’m pretty sure it was made as a way to cook cheap cuts of meat into something edible, those cuts ended up becoming popular and not so cheap anymore. In America yes, it’s still cheap. Not here in Australia though.

    • I agree. The “cheaper” cuts of beef like gravy beef/chuck are around $17/kg in my neck of the woods. Even the cheap fatty mince is $7/kg.

      I remember going to the butchers as a kid and buying “cheap” lamb cutlets for 30c each. They are $32/kg now.

  • Seems to be because of the demand for cheap cuts for stuff like this. Demand drives the price up. Shows how much trouble we’re in when even cheap food is expensive

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