DEAR MARY: We love to grill outdoors during the summer months, and this summer is no exception. However, the sky-high price of beef has really thrown a wrench into our family food budget. How can we keep a lid on the price of meat and poultry? While we are fond of salads, we’re not ready to get rid of the grill. Help!
DEAR STAN: Believe it or not, professional butcher John Smith, author of “Confessions of a Butcher,” recommends that the best cuts of meat for the grill are the cheapest cuts. Sure, they’re also the toughest cuts, but that’s simple to overcome when you know how to prepare those exceptionally flavorful, yet tough, cuts for the grill.
SELECT BY PRICE: When selecting meats for the grill, zero-in on the cuts of meat that are in season, plentiful and well-priced. And when they’re really cheap? Buy extra for the freezer.
MARINADE: Marinade is the secret to making a tough cut of meat as succulent and tender as a prime cut. Just make sure your marinade of choice contains acid like vinegar, lemon or wine. Acid breaks down the meat to make it tender. Enzymatic action from wine, beer, cider and soy sauce also helps.
Here’s my favorite marinade for any cut of beef, even kabobs This is so flavorful and loaded with tenderizing acids, you’re going to understand why I call this a miracle in a jar.
BASIC MARINADE FOR CHICKEN OR BEEF
1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup white wine or balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons ground dry mustard
2-1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons ground cloves
Combine all ingredients in a jar or other container that has a lid. Shake well until fully mixed. Pour over meat and cover. Allow to marinate overnight or longer, turning often.
GRILLED FLANK STEAK
Trim excess fat from a 1-1/2 pound flank steak, or “London Broil,” as it is now called in some parts of the country. Score steak on both sides in 1-1/2 inch squares. Place steak in a large shallow dish or zip-top heavy-duty plastic bag. Pour enough Basic Marinade over the steak to cover it. Seal the container, and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 8 hours, turning occasionally. Drain steak, reserving marinade. Grill, covered, over medium coals (350 degrees), 6 to 8 minutes on each side or to desired degree of doneness, basting twice with marinade. Discard any marinade that remains. To serve, slice steak across the grain into thin slices. Yield: 6 servings. Note: Steak may be grilled ahead of time and served cold. Yum!
Mary invites questions at firstname.lastname@example.org, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of “7 Money Rules for Life,” released in 2012.
To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.