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Making the most of meat budget as beef prices hit record highs

07/07/2015 10:07 EDT | Updated 07/07/2016 05:59 EDT
There are few things that can compare to a nice, juicy piece of steak if you're a meat lover, but with beef prices hitting record highs, some adjustments may have to made to the barbecue menu this summer.

Statistics Canada revealed data on Monday that showed the price at slaughter for 100 pounds of Alberta beef rose to $192.80 in May. That's a 36 per cent jump from the previous year, and it now stands as the highest price on record.

Sharon Gray, owner of the butcher shop Mission Meats in Kelowna, B.C., says she was selling a side of beef for $3.90 a pound in January. Now, merely six months later she's selling it for $4.70 a pound.

The increase in price has forced her customers to change their purchasing and eating habits, she said.  

"Our beef eaters still eat beef, but maybe they eat a little bit less," Gray told Radio West.

"Same with the people who come in and get the bison — come in and still buy the bison, but maybe get a little bit less, and share a steak rather than having a whole one."

Tips for stretching your meat budget

For those coping with the new sky-high beef prices, here are some tips on how to make the most of your meat budget:

1. Substitute with ground beef

There are lots you can do with ground beef other than just rolling it into a burger patty, Gray says.

"You can do little mini-meat loaves," she suggested. "I make a stir-fried stroganoff with ground instead of top sirloin, and it's a nice meal. My family loves it."

2. Buy a cheaper cut

Though some lesser cuts are getting more expensive as well, Gray says you can still get a top sirloin for $10.99 a pound compared to a rib eye steak, which is around $18.99 a pound.

"There's round [steaks] — they're going to run you about six bucks a pound," she said.

"You can always … pound them, make them into Swiss steak-kind of stuff."

3. Go for chicken or pork

Let's face it — chicken and pork aren't red meat, but they are more affordable and can be just as tasty as beef, Gray said.

"The trick is just finding a way of cooking it that you enjoy," she said.

Listen to the full interview: How to stretch your meat budget

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