Just about every culture has a dish that includes ground meat. It’s easy to come by, is a great way to use leftovers, and can be flavored with spices and other foods. With so many great ways to use ground meat in your cooking, you probably want to find the most cost-effective way to add it to your menu.
Is it cheaper to grind your own meat or buy it at the store?
Generally speaking, grinding your own meat does not end up being cheaper than buying it. You can find ground beef for a lower cost per pound than buying a roast. When you factor in the cost of special kitchen tools required to grind your own meat, the overall cost goes up even more.
However, If you prefer a more expensive cut of meat to make ground beef, grinding your own meat will be cheaper.
- Is It Cheaper To Grind Your Own Meat?
- Type of Ground Beef
- Is It Worth It To Grind Your Own Meat?
- Final Thoughts
Is It Cheaper To Grind Your Own Meat?
Store-bought ground meat can be cheaper than grinding your own, but only if you want a lower quality cut. This does not mean that the meat is not good, just that it is not as expensive overall (ground or not).
To determine the cheapest way to get ground meat, we went to Walmart and compared a few different options to get ground beef chuck.
- Purchase frozen ground beef for $3.88 per pound. The beef is 73% lean, 27% fat and must be thawed before cooking.
- Purchase ground beef chuck for $5.16 per pound. The beef is 80% lean, 20% fat, and ready to cook.
- Purchase organic, grass-fed ground beef for $5.78 per pound. The beef is 85% lean, 15% fat, and ready to cook.
- Purchase a manual meat grinder for $20.99 and beef chuck roast for $7.47 per pound. You will need to cut the roast into smaller pieces and grind it by hand.
- Purchase an electric meat grinder for $49.88 and beef chuck roast for $7.47 per pound. You will need to cut the roast into smaller pieces and place them in the meat grinder, which will grind it for you.
While prices can vary from store to store, most fall within this range. Organic, grass-fed options are almost always more expensive than conventional ground meat.
Prices can be lower if you buy ground meat in larger packages. When considering which kind of ground beef to purchase, the same 80% lean, 20% fat ground beef chuck goes from $5.34 per pound to $4.63 per pound when you buy in bulk. You can always re-portion it and freeze it in smaller containers once you get home.
Just make sure that you have enough freezer space for your bigger quantity.
Is It Cheaper To Grind Your Own Beef?
The cheapest option for ground beef is to purchase the frozen variety for $3.88 per pound. Other stores will have similar prices, with some even lower if they offer customer loyalty discounts.
To grind your own beef, you will spend a minimum of $28.74 on the same shopping trip to get a manual meat grinder and one pound of beef chuck for grinding. If you opt for the electric grinder, you will spend even more.
While it is cheaper to get the pre-ground beef, the quality and freshness may not be the same. You also have a greater degree of control over the meat that you use if you grind your own. If you want to get a Wagyu steak for $200 per pound and grind it to make burgers, the best way to make that happen is to do-it-yourself.
Which Ground Meat Is Cheaper?
While many of us think of ground beef as the cheapest and most plentiful option (and it might be at your store), other ground meat can also be a good budget-friendly alternative.
Here are the prices of ground meat at our local Walmart.
- Ground Beef Chuck, 80% lean, 20% fat: $4.63 per pound
- Ground Turkey, 85% lean, 15% fat: $3.20 per pound
- Ground Chicken: $3.47 per pound
- Ground Pork: $3.58 per pound
- Ground Italian Sausage: $3.13 per pound
Depending on your recipe, you may be able to substitute another type of meat that is cheaper or healthier. Ground turkey tends to be leaner than ground beef. Ground sausage can bring a different flavor.
You can also mix different kinds of ground meat in some recipes, such as lasagna or meat sauce with pasta.
Type of Ground Beef
Ground beef remains one of the most popular options in the United States and is used in a variety of dishes. While the flavor of all ground beef is similar, not all cuts and types are created equal.
The four main options available at the grocery store include ground chuck, ground round, ground sirloin, and generic ground beef, which may be a mix of the others.
You can also find different meat/fat ratios. The more lean the ground beef, the less fat there is, and the higher the price. Fatin ground meat brings flavor but does cook away, resulting in less meat overall.
If you grind your own meat, you can use any cut of beef that you want. Ribeye, New York Strip, Top Sirloin, and Tenderloin are all high-quality cuts of meat that are delicious. Some may include bones, however, so you will want to purchase more meat since you will need to remove the bone before grinding.
Recipes With Ground Meat
While some recipes call for specific types of ground meat, you may be able to substitute a cheaper option or cut without sacrificing taste and texture.
Here are a few of our favorite recipes that use ground meat. Some types of ground meat are commonly used in certain dishes, but you can substitute with a budget-friendly alternative. You may even find a new favorite food!
Hamburgers (any ground meat)
Lasagna (ground beef or sausage)
Spaghetti Sauce (ground beef)
Ground Orange Chicken (ground chicken or turkey)
Turkey meatloaf (ground turkey)
Pork Stir Fry (ground pork)
Adding ground meat to your cooking can be economical and delicious. You can even use a meat substitute in many of these recipes to make them vegan or vegetarian.
Why Is Ground Meat Cheap?
Ground meat is usually cheaper than steaks and other larger cuts of meat. Why is that when it requires an extra step to prepare?
There are only so many full cuts of meat on an animal. The best-tasting pieces are even less plentiful. Once a butcher has taken off the best cuts, they are left with a lot of extra smaller pieces or tougher pieces that don’t make great steaks.
So they grind them and sell them as ground meat.
Ground meat does require extra work but allows butchers and stores to sell the leftover pieces of meat that they would otherwise be unable to use. This doesn’t mean that the meat is bad in any way, just that it is a combination of a lot of smaller pieces that are ground and put into one package.
Is It Worth It To Grind Your Own Meat?
To determine if grinding your own meat is worth it, you should ask yourself a few questions that don’t focus just on cost. While price is definitely a factor, it might not be the only thing you want to consider.
Can You Save Money Grinding Your Own Meat?
You might be able to save money grinding your own meat, but probably not. If you are purchasing beef chuck, it is almost always cheaper to buy beef that is already ground. For more expensive cuts of meat, it might be cheaper to grind your own meat.
Look for discounts and coupons to take advantage of the most savings.
What Kind Of Meat Do You Want?
By grinding your own meat, you have much greater control over what kind of meat you use. After all, just about any meat will do. Remember that you cannot grind the bones. If you purchase a bone-in piece of meat, you will need to cut around it and may need to buy more.
Do You Want To Learn A New Skill?
Grinding your own meat can be a fun experience, especially if you start to add in seasonings and experiment with flavors. It can also be satisfying to know that you are eating a dish that you had a more involved role in making.
Is It Worth It To Grind Your Own Beef?
Overall, you should think about why you are considering grinding your own meat to decide if it is worth it. If you are focused on price, chances are that you can find the cheaper alternative that is already ground. If taste and flavor are your top priority, having an extra amount of control over your ingredients by grinding your own meat is a good option.
If you just want the experience of grinding your own meat, go for it!
Grinding your own meat is a great way to have greater variety and control in your cooking, but might not be the cheapest option. Unless you get a really great deal, purchasing already ground meat is usually cheaper. There are a lot of other great reasons to try grinding your own meat.
Whatever you choose, you’re sure to enjoy a delicious meal and a fun cooking experience.
Katie is an experienced writer, who wrote for big magazines like The Spruce. She is also a mom of three (Sebastian, Lincoln, and Hannah). In her spare time, she likes to read, day hike, and explore hidden gems around her home in North Carolina. You can connect with Katie on Instagram @katiebwriter or her website, www.katiemelynnbegley.com.