Thursday, January 12, 2012

How to Save on Clearance Meats - Beef, Poultry, Pork and More!

Example of Kroger meat markdown

Shop later in the day when meat has been marked down.
Most grocery stores will start to mark down meat based upon the sell by date on the packaging.  The butcher or grocery store personnel will begin marking down meat early in the day, however, reductions will continue throughout the day.  Look for the code in the corner of the Sale Tag, (L1, L2, L3 for your best savings).  The larger the #, the better the savings!
Markdowns also include packaged meats such as cold cuts, prepared dinners and the like.
If you do not intend to use the meat immediately, freeze for a later date.

Holiday Specials.
Most grocery stores will stock up on Holiday favorites such as whole turkeys, hams, corn beef and roasts.  Due to that volume, you have a good chance on grabbing better than sale prices on these meats the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and other holidays.

Size matters – Buy big and break down in to smaller portions.
Have your butcher cut your large portions.  More times than not, you can save per lb. by buying in bulk.  Check your menu, if you know that you will be having ground beef for various dishes throughout the month, buy a larger package and break it down into portions suitable for your recipes.  Hint:  most recipes and pre-boxed dinners call for 1 lb of ground beef.  Why not break your portions down into 3/4 lb?  If you purchased a 5 lb. package of ground beef, you would actually have 1 extra portion for another meal, and you will never notice it in your recipe preparation.

Anything to be concerned about?
Since product dates don't give you a true guide to safe use of a product, here are some other tips from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Services:
Purchase the product before the date expires.
If perishable, take the food home immediately after purchase and refrigerate it promptly. Freeze it if you can't use it within times recommended on the chart.
Once a perishable product is frozen, it doesn't matter if the date expires because foods kept frozen continuously are safe indefinitely.
Follow handling recommendations on product.

Meat                                                        Storage Times After Purchase
Poultry                                                                               1 or 2 Days
Beef, Veal, Pork and Lamb                                                3 to 5 Days
Ground Meat and Ground Poultry                                    1 or 2 Days
Fresh Variety Meats (Liver, Tongue, Brain,
Kidneys, Heart, Chitterlings)                                            1 or 2 Days
Cured Ham, Cook-Before-Eating                                      5 to 7 Days
Sausage from Pork, Beef or Turkey, uncooked                1 or 2 Days

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