More Affordable Cuts Of Beef

Get out there and steak your claim

We've heard 30's the new 20 and tea is the new coffee, but since when did skirt steak become the new New York strip?

Thanks to the law of supply and demand, what were once inexpensive—and relatively unknown—cuts like savory bavettes and juicy hangers have now reached near-porterhouse prices. So if you've found that your favorite cheap cut has fallen victim to popularity, here are a few other alternatives out there. 

① Chuck Eye

Nicknamed the poor man's rib eye, this seldom-seen steak literally sits hidden at the center of the entire chuck roast. Some grocery stores will sell it already butchered for you, but it's not too difficult to dig out this hidden gem the next time you're making pot roast. While chuck eye might not have its posh steakhouse cousin's tenderness and marbling, it's still an excellent choice for the price. And like most steaks, it's best seared hot and fast in a blazing cast-iron pan. Accoutrements like a burnt onion sauce are nice, but just be sure to not cook the chuck eye past a rosy medium. And, please, no ketchup.

② Beef Shanks or Shins

Instead of springing for expensive English-style short ribs, try braising succulent shanks, a cut taken from just above the cow's hooves. You'll either encounter them as a whole roast similar to lamb shanks or cut crosswise into thick sections with a pocket of bone marrow in the center. Since this muscle does a lot of heavy lifting, there's an abundance of tough connective tissue, which will eventually melt into a rich broth if cooked low and slow. Crosscut shanks also make an affordable substitution for veal in a classic osso buco.

③ Eye of Round

An incredibly lean choice, this often-ignored cut's mild flavor makes it an excellent, affordable steak tartare. And when sliced thin and dressed in olive oil and Parmesan shavings, it can also easily serve as the centerpiece of a beautiful carpaccio.

④ Bone Marrow

Popularized by British chef Fergus Henderson, you'll find that this once-intimidating delicacy has now become the crown jewel of many gastropub menus. But despite its recent Instagram popularity, few realize how simple it is to cook bone marrow at home, making it a surprisingly cheap steal at the meat counter (at least, for the time being). While many butchers sell bone marrow cut crosswise, we recommend you ask for it cut lengthwise—the increased surface area makes it easier to get to the spreadable beef butter inside. Brine the bones before roasting them in the oven or use them to make a comforting bone broth.

⑤ Oxtail

What this incredibly muscular cut lacks in tenderness and yield—it shrinks up considerably after cooking—it makes up for with a marvelous beefy flavor and lip-smacking fattiness. Oxtail does need a longer-than-average braising time, but when it comes to traditional Caribbean stews or luscious shredded oxtail sandwiches, nothing else can compare.