CLEVELAND - With the price of beef reaching near record highs, the cost of a Fourth of July holiday cookout could be pretty steep.
So what can you do to keep family and friends happy and well-fed without breaking the bank? Think local.
By that, consider visiting your local butcher or meat market. While many may think going the old-fashioned route for meat is more expensive, prices at many butcher shops are competitive with supermarket chains.
“Look at my overhead compared to theirs,” said Denny Gray, the owner of Al’s Quality Market in Barberton. “I can keep my prices lower.”
Gray said it is also important to remember that you are getting personal service at a butcher shop, and that means you are getting extra value for the price.
“We have to give our customers better value. We have an option for everybody who walks through the door.”
That’s a sentiment echoed by Andrew Dionne of Dionne’s Beef at Cleveland’s West Side Market.
“You walk in, you can ask questions,” Dionne said. “We can give you ideas, build a relationship.”
Dionne, like many of the other meat business owners, said that personal relationship goes a long way. He said customers can find out what is on special and make requests for special cuts of meat. Many times, according to Dionne, a butcher can make suggestions that save money.
So, what are some of the suggestions meat cutters, as well as chefs have been making lately?
Many are directing customers toward less expensive cuts like chuck roll steak, Denver cut, and teres major, a piece from the beef shoulder that is second in tenderness only to the loin, but costs only half as much. While you might opt for a less expensive cut, some butchers claim you can still get more for your money even when purchasing more expensive cuts.
“It’s all about quality,” said Marshallville Meat Packing owner, Jim Tucker. Marshallville Meat Packing has been an institution for decades in Wayne County. For Tucker, it is a matter of building relationships with his suppliers and then passing them on to his customers.
“We’ve had the same suppliers for years, we know the quality. We take extra steps, too. We age our beef for two weeks. That makes it taste better.”
And that quality for the price can translate into better value. So, while that holiday cookout may cost a little extra this summer, it doesn’t have to drain your checking account. Just think local.
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