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The Best Meat for Slow Cooking Also Saves You Money

Good news for carnivores on a budget: You don’t have to spend big to eat hearty. Here's how to turn the cheapest cuts of meat into the most delectable fork-tender meals.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Slow Cooker Pot Roast | Photo by Meredith

Anyone who shops for meat knows tender juicy steaks are pricier than tough and gnarly chuck roasts. That toughness is due to fibrous connective tissue called collagen, found in muscles that get used for walking around. Tender meats have less of it and tougher meats have more. But when you cook all that gnarly collagen just the right way -- I'm talking low and slow with enough liquid to keep things moist -- it melts down into the meat and turns it so tender, you can cut it with a fork. It all adds up to meaty meals that go easy on your budget.

If you're ready to save some serious dough, pull out your slow cooker, Dutch oven, Instant Pot, or big skillet and give these cheap cuts a try.

Beef Short Ribs

Short Ribs Braised with Mushrooms and Tomatoes

Short Ribs Braised with Mushrooms and Tomatoes

Short Ribs Braised with Mushrooms and Tomatoes | Photo by mauigirl

You might also like:

Slow-Cooked German Short Ribs
Korean Braised Short Ribs (Galbi Jjim)
Bloody Mary Short Ribs

More recipes for short ribs.

Beef Chuck Roast

Slow Cooker Beef Pot Roast

You might also like:

Original Homemade Italian Beef
Charley's Slow Cooker Mexican Style Meat
Awesome Red Wine Pot Roast

More recipes for chuck roasts.

Pork Shoulder

Orange and Milk-Braised Pork Carnitas

Orange and Milk-Braised Pork Carnitas

Orange and Milk-Braised Pork Carnitas | Photo by mauigirl

You might also like:

Andy's Spicy Green Chile Pork
Slow Cooker Texas Pulled Pork
Slow Cooker Apple Cider Braised Pork

More pork shoulder.

Lamb Shanks

Rosemary Braised Lamb Shanks

You might also like:

Lamb Shank Vindaloo
Stout-Braised Lamb Shanks
Jinx-Proof Braised Lamb Shanks

More lamb shanks.


All of these recipes just happen to taste even better the next day, and they freeze well. Plus, you can make a little meat go a lot further by serving it with plenty of vegetables and starches like potatoes, polenta, rice, and noodles. For extra set-it-and-forget-it convenience, try these great tips for converting stovetop or oven recipes to slow cooker dishes.

Here's to eating well and saving money.


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Vanessa Greaves

About Vanessa Greaves

Good food, friends, and fun are always on the menu. Find me as foodelicious on Allrecipes and vanny.gee on Instagram (but only if you don't mind cat pics and cocktails).