If you like to eat well and enjoy cooking, regardless of the season, here’s how you can find great steaks. Today you can order meat online, often with greater selections and better prices than you’ll find locally. If you’re looking for the best cheap steaks, we’ve done the preliminary work for you. We searched major online meat merchants that offer the best steak deals. The many choices will delight you and possibly give you cause to pause, so we also included some tips on how to choose a cut of steak. below.
When you go to a butcher shop or the meat counter in a grocery store, you can ask the butcher for advice, look at the available cuts of meat, and make your choice. When you order online it’s on you to choose the best cuts of steak. Many of the online steak merchants listed just above have descriptions or guides to help with your decision, but before you start shopping, here are the important factors to consider when you shop for the best cheap steak deals.
- What’s the occasion? Are you looking for a cheap steak for a regular meal at home or are you shopping for the best possible steak deals for an important anniversary or holiday? Is steak on your weekly home menu rotation or do you restrict yourself to steaks for special occasions just a few times a year. You’ll find several of the merchants specialize in selling artisanal steaks, which you might not want to serve a large family a couple of times a week, but that are ideal for a wedding anniversary or to celebrate a promotion at work. Price is certainly a factor in buying cheap steak (more on that below), but consider the context of the meal. Will you be grilling steaks for a group of friends watching a ball game or for a romantic dinner?
- Beef cuts: There are plenty of guides online and on several of the merchant sites listed above that show the map of a beef cow and the various types and qualities of steak from different parts of the body. Major factors to consider when selecting any steak are the thickness, the relative amount of fat or marbling, the grain muscle grain which affects toughness, and aging. Aging matters because whether steaks are wet-aged (quicker at 21 days or more) or dry-aged (90 days), aged steaks are more tender because the tissue breaks down (in a good way) over time. Traditionalists aside, by the way, bone-in steaks don’t have any significant taste advantage over boneless steaks — but traditions die hard, so don’t get into a fight about it.
- How will you cook your amazing steaks? If you’re the cook and have already decided how you’ll prepare the steak, your experience matters immensely. If you’re going to cook with a properly pre-heated cast iron pan, that’s a lot different from popping steaks in an air fryer, sous vide cooker, or a roasting pan. Grilling? That’s great, but how consistent is your grilling success? Different cuts of meat are better prepared in different manners to bring out the best combination of flavor, consistency, and doneness.
- How many people will you serve? It’s much easier to prepare steaks the way the diners like them when you cook for one or two people as opposed to when you’re cooking for a big family gathering or party. People are picky about their steak, and not just in how much the steaks are cooked, which ranges from from raw to burnt beyond recognition. Some like the the outer surface crispy with dripping centers and other want the meat cooked consistently all the way through. Seasoning preferences, matter, too, which adds to the complexity of cooking for larger groups.
- Sauce or no sauce? Prior to refrigeration, sauces were often used to mask the odor of spoiled meat, and even today many steak purists prefer their meat without sauce and unseasoned except maybe for a bit of salt. If you select artisanal steaks chosen for their flavor and then smother them with rich sauces, the flavors may conflict, certainly, but you’re probably paying too much for the meat. People who prefer lots of sauces could be just as happy with cheap steak cuts.
- Cost: Do you want to spend $10 or $100 per person for steak that you’ll prepare at home? You’ll find good steak deals at either end of the price spectrum from the online steak merchants listed above, but realize that the most expensive steaks are always the best choice for your purpose and occasion and the cheapest cuts aren’t necessarily the worst. If you shop on price alone, whether you buy the most or least costly, you may be disappointed. Steak isn’t cheap in general, so if you’re investing in a good meal, spend wisely based on the other factors.
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