Thrifty barbecuing and choosing little-known cuts can help to save money.

Quirky BBQ cuts to save money

Impress your friends and family and save money by choosing little-known cuts of meat for the grill with advice from two expert butchers.

Many of us are making the most of this sunny weather by firing up the BBQ. But with the price of meat going up and belts tightening due to the cost-of-living crisis, it’s good to have a few aces up your sleeve.

What a way to impress your friends and family by cooking up a little-known, quirky cut of meat. No need to mention that this is actually saving you a few pennies in the process.  

We speak to two expert butchers, Matt Flynn from organic veg box company Riverford who has also talked about what ‘ethical’ meat means to him, and Jorge Thomas from Swaledale Butchers in the Yorkshire Dales, who supplies some of London’s best restaurants.

Part of the grilling experience is to go and chat with the butchers and tap into their expert knowledge, so don’t take our word for it. But here are some starting points:

Denver steak

Although a cheaper cut, the Denver has been rated the third most tender beef cut.

“It’s a fairly modern cut,” says Jorge Thomas, of Swaledale Butchers. “The Denver is inside the chuck, which normally would be considered a stewing cut.

According to Thomas, this cut came about when a university in America broke down a whole cow and grilled every part of it, rating each cut for flavour and tenderness.

“The Denver was the third most tender cut on the animal. It’s a highly marbled area of the chuck,” he says.

Take the steak out half an hour before cooking to bring it to room temperature. Season and rub generously with oil.

Lay the steak on the BBQ and resist the urge to move them until two minutes have passed. Flip them over and cook for another two minutes. Continue to cook either side for another minute or two, turning them over regularly, until the crust has formed a golden crust.

Rest for eight minutes and cut across the grain to serve. You can find the full recipe here.

Spatchcock whole chicken  

An interesting take on a classic- spatchcocking allows the chicken to lie flat and cook more evenly.

Admittedly chicken is hardly original, but this is an interesting take on a classic roast. Spatchcocking, or butterflying, is a technique so that the chicken can lie flat on the barbecue to cook quicker on the grill. Follow these simple instructions to learn how to spatchcock, but if you’re unsure, feel free to ask your butcher.

This is a surefire crowd pleaser; a whole chicken is great value and can go a long way, says Flynn.

Elevate this dish with a simple marinade of herbs and oil the night before. You can find the recipe here.

Beef tri-tip steak

The tri-tip is an underrated steak, according to butcher Matt Flynn.

“This is one of my favourite barbecue steaks,” says Flynn. “A very underrated steak that goes under the radar. It’s a far cheaper cut but it offers all the enjoyment of others.”

It’s perfect for barbecuing because this cut loves to be cooked at heat. Cook either side for six minutes at a high temperature and leave to rest for five minutes once taken off the grill.

If the steaks are thinner than one inch, reduce the cooking time by a couple of minutes.

Beef flat brisket

Cook a beef brisket in the oven first at a low heat before finishing it on the grill to give it a chargrilled flavour.

“This cut is often used in the UK during the autumn and winter months but it also makes a great barbecue centre piece,” says Flynn.

A flat brisket is normally pre-cooked in an oven and then finished on the grill.

BBQ fruit and veg

Remember barbecuing isn’t just for meat; chargrilled and blistered fruit and veg makes an excellent addition and brings out their natural flavours. From watermelon to aubergine, ratatouille to nectarines, Riverford chef Bob Andrews reveals his top fruit and veg BBQ recipes here.


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