Is Cheap Meat a Good Idea?

Just quickly I’m a student on a tight budget and im looking to cheap sources of calories. For meat Im thinking about buying beef chucks and other alternatives that are high calorie but contain lots of fat. Considering this is it worth consuming this cheap meat?

Here is a good link on the topic of Reducing the Fat Content of Regular Ground Beef by Draining and Rinsing See,

Make sure to look at the links at the end of the article.
From the first link:

“A study conducted at Iowa State University in 1992 focused on methods to further reduce fat in ground beef during preparation. Ground beef of three different fat levels (10%, 20% and 30%) was prepared by three different methods: pan-fried as patties; pan-fried crumbles; and pan-fried crumbles which were subsequently rinsed. All products tested (patties and crumbles) were placed on paper towels after cooking and blotted for 30 seconds. The rinsed crumbles were subsequently placed in a strainer, rinsed with four cups of hot water (150 degrees F), and allowed to drain for five minutes.”

“In this study, 50% or more of the original fat of the 20% and 30% fat ground beef was lost during cooking and blotting of both patties and crumbles. Slightly more fat was lost from ground beef cooked as crumbles. Further warm water (150 degrees F) rinsing of the crumbles was effective in removing about half of the fat still left in the crumbles after cooking and blotting, producing very similar final fat amounts in all three types of ground beef.

“While warm water rinsing greatly reduced fat in crumbled beef, it did not substantially reduce the amounts of protein, iron, zinc or vitamin B-12. However, warm water rinsing of crumbles did significantly reduce the beef flavor and juiciness in the 20% and 30% fat ground beef, and resulted in increased chewiness in all types.”

“Implications for Consumers: When ground beef cooking is followed by careful blotting and warm-water rinsing, the fat content can be dramatically reduced. High-fat ground product can be manipulated on cooking and handling so that the result is a fat content that mimics a high-cost lean cooked ground product. Where money is tight, purchasing lean or extra lean ground beef (3% -10% fat) can be reserved for those times when fat cannot be removed by blotting and rinsing, i.e. in the preparation of meatloaf or stuffed peppers.”

Its pretty hard to comment as New Zealand prices are unknown to most of us, but here are some thoughts.

In Canada, pound of lean ground beef sells for as little as $2/lb, and I pay $3.29 at the high end butcher, that works out to $1-1.60 per 50g of protein. Pretty cheap all in all. Chicken legs and pork cuts are sometimes available at this price level.

I question whether the extra work involved with trying to save that last dollar a day on cheaper meat is really worth it, even to a student, or whether the loss of protein content due to higher fat really makes it much cheaper per gram of protein once that and extra work is calculated. I figure it is worth about $400 a year that you could save.

On the other hand if you are looking to do something like the anabolic diet, or even some protein/fat meals, the high fat content makes it easy, and balancing your fat intake is pretty easy, most meats are relatively balanced, save omega 3 (ground flax seeds and fish oil will cover these bases), and red meats tend to have low omega 3 and low omega 6, so adding some walnuts (an excellent omega 6 source with some omega 3) actually goes a long way.

I would worry more that the meat was quality rather than the cut.