18 Budget-Friendly Beef Cuts for Delicious, Affordable Meals

Beef can be an expensive protein, but there are many inexpensive cuts that are full of flavor. With the right cooking methods, these economical beef cuts become meltingly tender and delicious. Here are 18 of the cheapest cuts of beef that still taste amazing.

Cheap Steak Cuts

These cheap steaks cook up juicy and tender:

  • Top Round Steak – Also called London broil, this versatile steak does well with marinades and benefits from quick, high-heat cooking like grilling or broiling. Slice it thin across the grain after cooking.

  • Top Sirloin Steak – While not as tender as premium steaks, top sirloin is very flavorful. Marinate it first to help tenderize, then grill or broil. Slice thin.

  • Flank Steak – This thin, flat cut has lots of beefy flavor. Marinate, then cook fast over high heat. Slice against the grain when serving.

  • Skirt Steak – Long and thin with a loose texture, skirt steak has tons of flavor. Just season simply with salt and pepper and cook hot and fast. Slice thin across the grain.

  • Tri-tip Steak – Cut from the bottom sirloin, tri-tip makes a great budget steak for grilling. Cook quickly over high heat, then let rest before slicing.

Bargain Roasts

Turn these inexpensive roasts into fork-tender meals:

  • Chuck Roast – With great marbling, chuck roast cooks up moist and tender. Braise, roast, or slow cook chuck roast until fall-apart tender.

  • Bottom Round Roast – This very lean and inexpensive roast needs slow, moist cooking methods like braising or slow cooking to get tender. Slice thin or shred for servings.

  • Eye of Round Roast – Also lean and inexpensive, eye of round roasts benefit greatly from braising or slow cooking with liquid to become tender.

  • Cross Rib Roast – Cut from the chuck section, cross rib roasts offer good marbling and beefy flavor. Slow roast, add broth if needed to keep it moist.

  • Brisket – Comprised of both the leaner flat half and fattier point half, brisket requires lots of slow cooking but rewards you with incredibly moist, tender meat.

Ground Beef Bargains

Ground beef is affordable and versatile. Here are some of the most budget-friendly grinds:

  • Ground Chuck – With about 80% lean meat and 20% fat, ground chuck makes juicy burgers and meatloaves. It has nice beefy flavor.

  • Ground Sirloin – With 90% lean meat and 10% fat, ground sirloin is perfect for dishes like meatballs, pasta sauces and chili. The higher lean ratio keeps it affordable.

  • Ground Round – Extremely lean and inexpensive, ground round (93% lean meat) works great in recipes where fat needs draining like sloppy Joes, tacos and casseroles.

  • Ground Beef – Typically a mix of trimmings from various primals, ground beef ranges from 73% to 85% lean meat. It’s great for familystyle meals, pizza topping, etc.

Budget Stew Cuts

These meats are ideal for stews, chilis and braises:

  • Chuck Steak – Cut from the shoulder, chuck steak has nice marbling. Dice it up for stews or braise whole pieces until tender.

  • Bottom Round Steak – While lean, bottom round steak has good flavor. Cut into cubes for stews and chilis. Slow cook or braise for tenderness.

  • Cross Cut Shanks – Shanks braise beautifully and become incredibly tender after slow cooking in moist heat. They add rich body to soups and stews.

  • Beef Short Ribs – Meaty and so flavorful, short ribs transform into fall-off-the-bone tender perfection with braising. Great in soups, stews and chili.

  • Beef Neck Bones – Add richness and body to bean or vegetable soups by simmering meaty beef neck bones in the broth. Scoop out marrow for extra flavor.

Thrifty Specialty Cuts

Some unique beef cuts are surprisingly inexpensive:

  • Hanger Steak – With robust flavor similar to skirt steak, hanger steak benefits from marinating and high-heat, fast cooking. Slice thin against the grain.

  • Tri-tip Roast – From the bottom sirloin primal, tri-tip makes a delicious budget-friendly roast for grilling or roasting whole. Just season and cook to medium rare.

  • Beef Back Ribs – Far meatier than pork back ribs, beef back ribs have a prime rib flavor at a fraction of the cost. Slow smoke or braise until tender.

  • Shoulder Tender or Teres Major – This flavorful, flat cut benefits from marination and quick high-heat cooking like grilling or broiling. Slice thin across the grain.

  • ** Flap Steak**- Cut from the bottom sirloin, flap steak has a loose texture that absorbs marinades beautifully. Grill, then slice very thin against the grain.

With the right cooking methods and some seasoning, inexpensive beef cuts can rival premium steaks and roasts in both flavor and tenderness. By choosing economical beef options like chuck roasts, brisket, ground sirloin and round steak, you can serve up delicious beef dishes without breaking the bank.

Out Of The Cheapest Cuts Of Steak, Here’s The Best & The Worst


What’s the least expensive beef?

With names like flank, chuck and blade, the cheapest cuts of meat can sound severe and a little intimidating. However, butchers and professional chefs know the worth of these less popular cuts – they often have far more flavour than their expensive counterparts. However, they do generally require longer cooking.

What is the poor man’s steak cut?

We have the chuck eye, also known as the poor man’s ribeye, on the menu. If you are a fan of cast iron cooking, a seared and well-seasoned steak, and lots of butter, this one is for you!

Is chuck roast the cheapest cut?

Instead, it’s leaner, which makes it a bit tougher than other cuts. That’s the main reason why a chuck roast is more affordable, on average, than other meat cuts for a pot roast or an oven roast, like a beef tenderloin or a prime rib roast.

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