Friday, November 20, 2009

Money-Wise: Using Bulk Meat

Piggly Wiggly recently had pork loins on sale for $1.49 a pound, and with a sale like that, I quickly snatched up a large loin so I could take it home, slice it up and freeze it for future meals. I had enough freezer meals to last a month, so I didn't exactly need more meat immediately. But the deal was too good to let pass.

So tonight, since I was in a frugal mood (having made homemade chicken broth already), I went ahead and pulled the pork loin out of the fridge so I could cut it up into chops and freeze them for a later day.

When I cut raw meat, I place it on a large cutting board and whip out the electric knife from the top shelf in the cupboard. I bought this for my husband as a Christmas present many years ago (something he insisted he had to have if I expected him to carve the T-day turkey) but it's gotten a lot more use from me using it to cut up my bulk meat purchases.

In addition to cutting chops from the loin, I use the electric knife to slice off the thick layer of fat that's on the back side of the loin. It's not exactly the healthiest part of the pork loin, so I certainly won't miss it.

And after cutting up the whole loin (8.36lbs according to the package label), I divided the meat up into 10 meals. I had 3-4 chops for each meal, depending upon how thick or thin I cut each chop (the thinner chops were grouped in 4's and the thicker chops in 3's).

The chops were then sealed up in food saver bags, and voila! Ready for the freezer! You could probably use freezer bags or some heavy duty foil for the meat, but I prefer the food saver bags. In my opinion, the food saver keeps the meat fresher for longer than the freezer bags, since there's no sauce or anything to help preserve the meat in the bag.

So I may have spent $12.46 for the whole loin, but broken down into the actual cost per meal, it's just $1.25/meal! What a bargain!

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