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Where to get the cheapest red meat?

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Where do you buy the cheapest red meat? Extra points for non-ground!

I have 2 80lb malamute mixes that are rescue doggies that I feed a modified raw diet to (raw chickens, meats, etc, + yogurt, butter, cream, + cooked/frozen veggies). They are very healthy, but I have trouble finding good deals on red meat other than ground beef, which I'd prefer not to feed them(not that they care). I'm looking for notably less than $2/lb. They eat like 100lbs of food a month, and unfortunately, rely too much on chicken (which I can find for under $1/lb) for their protein.

I also find that even stew meats (at my local grocers) run at least $3-$4/lb (which I think is a bit high compared to chicken!). As a result, we rarely eat red meats, though I'd prefer to eat more. We LOVE to eat steak, but don't do it much because of the cost. Iron is good for you!

I have done some searching for local farms that sell portions (like 1/2s or 1/3s) of cows to get a decent deal on meat (I have a chest freezer) but none of the nearby farms have cows, mostly they all have pigs and chickens, which I can find for cheap pretty conveniently. We'd eat all the tasty good parts, and all the freaky parts and bits that we don't want would go to the doggies.

That's not to say that we don't enjoy high quality meat, most of the time I try to make sure we get nice stuff, and during the summer (when farmers markets are open and the garden is producing) we like to eat seasonally and cook/freeze things, but we ARE on a budget, and the more money we spend on the furkids' food, the less we can spend on our own!

Where do you go for killer deals on red meats?

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  1. i don't know where you are located, but if you have a large asian grocery store nearby w in house butcher, there are often "killer deals" on beef there. my only caveat, and it doesn't seem to matter if the meat is mainly for dogs, is that the cheapest cuts of meat can be uh. . . perfect for long braising. well, tough. tough, like maybe quite low grade, from older animals. . . but cheap, is what i am trying to say.

    2 Replies
    1. re: soupkitten

      We're located in the Seattle area, and we have a number of CHEAP asian grocers nearby. I find for the weirder parts of animals, they tend to be much cheaper (calf's liver, tripe, etc) but for more normal cut (doggie and human(long braising) friendly is ideal) they are not really any cheaper, as they don't tend to have the kind of sales that i usually hit up at my local grocery stores. Maybe I should go to the shadier locations and see what I can track down there.

      1. re: LaureltQ

        If you have any Halal markets in the area, that might be a good bet. I've found them, at least down here in SoCal, to have superb prices for both beef and lamb (as well as lots of great veg and herbs).

    2. Have you asked the local market what they do with the scraps and trimmings they cut?

      1. Ditto the recs for Asian groceries, but it's not just Asian. Check your Mexican grocery stores. Awesome deals on cuts of meats most chain markets would not carry.

        Also, check the clearance aisle of your major supermarkets. Good to great deals on near "expired" beef.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ipsedixit

          +1 to ipsedixit's recs. I had started to write an identical post when I saw this one!

        2. Start a conversation with a trusted butcher. Tell him your needs. Any friends that hunt or fish?
          My concern is too much protein, I'm no vet, my dog loves brown rice (cheap ) with broth which can be reasonable.

          1 Reply
          1. re: CCSPRINGS

            We feed our Maremmas raw meat and bones, and they are doing really well on it. The best places around here to find the dog food meat are small abbatoirs. When butchering the animals they save all of the scraps that are unfit for human consumption and freeze them separately. We usually buy 100lbs at a time for $0.75/lb. We have also found a "country store" that specializes in pet food and other outdoorsy things (firewood, docks, plain pine furniture....), that sells raw meat for pets in bulk quanities for about $0.30/lb. However, it's a bit more questionable.

          2. A local carniceria generally offers very decent prices, and a butcher there will likely be sympathetic to saving scraps for you to pick up "will call" every few days or so for a super-modified price.

            1. Make friends with your local grocery stores' meat department managers and offer to take away any expired meat, fresh and frozen. If it passes the "smell test", you should be fine; dogs' digestive tracts are evolved to allow eating of pretty disgusting carrion.

              1 Reply
              1. re: kaleokahu

                There are liability issues with that, some that cannot even be waived by the consumer. Silly notions like "strict liability" from what I understand ...

              2. If there's a Costco Business Center near you I notice they carry "Select" grade beef and also sell it frozen by the case.