Let's Eat

A kosher butcher shares the best value cuts of meat to stock up on

Our favourite brisket is longer a bargain so here are some more economical ideas to get your teeth into


Perfect for tacos Photo: Inbal Bar-Oz

Foods costs are rocketing, and among the highest risers has been brisket.

It was historically a foundation of the traditional Jewish menu and a cheaper option because it needed a longer slow cook to become tender.

A victim of its own success, its popularity has seen it shoot up the price ranks now coming in dearer than many other meats on the kosher counter.

According to butcher and recipe writer Sarah Mann-Yeager, it has another drawback.

“You need quite a bit of it to make a meal,” she explains. “It shrinks by about a third when you cook it — which is why salt beef is so expensive. You need to one and a half kilos of raw meat to end up with a cooked kilo.”

Fortunately, there are other cuts that will leave your budget intact. Here are Mann-Yeager’s top picks:

Skirt steak:

From the chest wall, it’s filled with flavour and best cooked FAST over high heat. It soaks up marinades well.

Sarah recommends it for tacos and fajitas — slice across the grain before marinating in lime juice, garlic and olive oil with sliced onions and peppers and then sauteeing the vegetables until tender crisp and flash-frying the meat. Serve with soft tortilla wraps, the sauteed veg, salsa and bowls of guacamole.

Flap (aka Surprise) steak:

This is a very thin cut, which you treat like brisket.

However, Sarah says that it’s best cut at a 45° angle or it can be too thin. It does swell a bit when cooked.

It’s full of flavour — even better the day after cooking, when all the flavours have had time to develop. Like brisket, with its long muscle fibres, it’s not particularly tender, but a long, slow cook will render it melt-in-the-mouth good.


At between £8 and £9 for a pack of six decent ones, sausages are no longer super cheap, but Mann-Yeager recommends stretching a pack into more portions by serving them on a pile of caramelised onions, mash and seasonal vegetables or even a tin of baked beans — which you can find at under 50 pence.

Or, Mann-Yeager suggests squeezing out the meat and mixing it with breadcrumbs to make Tuscan meatballs.

Serve them in a tomato sauce over pasta, or as part of a vegetable tray bake, with plenty of (budget-friendly) seasonal vegetables.

Her tip is to do a double batch and freeze half for an easy week-night supper.

“You can put them in the tray frozen. They’re small so they’ll cook through in the time it takes the veg to cook.”

Beef, chicken or turkey mince:

You can feed four people with one pound of minced meat by turning it into chilli or ragu or even meatballs. Add plenty of vegetables to chilli or a ragu sauce and bulk out meatballs with breadcrumbs. The longer you can cook your ragu the richer the flavour will be. Top with mashed potato in pies.

Or cook off more of the liquid to make it nice and thick and use it to fill pasties or  pile into pitta or buns to make Sloppy Joes.

Alternatively, swap the pastry for wraps to make lovely crunchy pasties. Spoon ragu onto one half of the circle, brush the outer edge with beaten egg then fold over to make a semi-circle.

Press around the edges, crimping with a fork if you can.

Poke a small hole in the top with a sharp knife, glaze with egg, then bake for 20 minutes at 180°C.

Whole chickens:

“It’s always cheaper to buy a whole bird and joint it yourself,” says Mann-Yeager. It’s not hard to learn how to do it — there are plenty of how-tos on YouTube. You can use every scrap of the bird – in tray bakes, to make sauces for pasta and in pies and salads. And then keep the bones to make stock for soup.



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