Have a big family to feed or inviting a lot of guests over for a meal? We all know that steak isn't cheap, and finding good quality cheap steaks online, in a butcher or the grocery store is not easy to find.
However, there is an easy way that just needs an open mind and a little prep time which will garner Prime Rib-like results without breaking the bank and will impress any guests.
In today’s article, I am going to demonstrate how we can get excellent tasting steaks and save a lot of money by utilizing the great meat structure of a Chuck Roast and turning into delicious but affordable steaks.
Cheap Steaks does not have to mean a bad eating experience, nor does it have to mean poor quality steak smothered in copious amounts of sauce to disguise the poor quality. We are going to cover the following to set you on a money-saving path to steak heaven:
- Definition of a cheap but tasty steak.
- Why use Chuck Roast for cheap steak?
- How to make tasty cheap steaks using Chuck Roast.
- 4 Methods: Sous Vide, Reverse Sear, Pineapple Juice, and Pan Fry.
- Popular cheap steak cuts.
What Makes a Cheap Steak Great?
- One that saves you money and tastes great.
- Should be only a marginal compromise in terms of eating experience compared to expensive steaks.
- Comes from a good quality animal that was raised right and fed a quality diet its entire life. A steak is only as good as what the cattle are fed.
- Have nice loose muscle fibers that are easy to work with and tenderize further.
- Be easy to slice up, easy to chew and have some nice fat content.
- A great cheap steak is one you are not forced to use some kind of sauce to hide poor quality.
The ideal candidate to achieve our goal of inexpensive but tasty steaks is not to buy low priced precut steaks at all but to buy a whole roast and create your own.
I suggest buying a full Round Roast or Chuck Roast. Chuck is by far and my personal favorite and has always gives consistent, delicious results in steak form.
Why Use Chuck Roast For Cheap Steak?
- Chunk Roast is a great value for money cut to work with. You get a lot for your dollar.
- Chuck Roast tends to have an excellent beefy taste to begin with so perfect candidate.
- Good fat content with decent marbling can be found on Chuck.
- Average weight of Chuck is 1.5 to 2.5 pounds which will give lots of tasty steaks.
- Overall a naturally juicy cut of beef that is inexpensive with high-quality fat content.
Now that you know which cut of roast to buy to make a inexpensive yet tasty steaks, let's go through some of the preparation methods I recommend and use that will help you make the best value for money steaks you will ever have with consistent high quality Prime Rib-like results every time.
Here are my top four ways to prepare cheap steaks using Chuck Roast.
How To Make Delicious Cheap Steaks Using Chuck Roast
Method 1: Sous Vide Chuck Roast
- Sous vide the Chuck Roast for 24 hours, the internal target temperature we are looking for is 130°F or 54°C.
- Take out your steak after 24 hours and pat dry.
- Pan fry the Chuck on all sides in butter and on a very high heat. Preferably on a cast iron pan.
- Make sure to sear all sides to acquire a nice crust.
- Take the Chuck off the pan and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Carve against the grain and slice into 1” amazing thick steaks that will look and eat like Prime Rib!
Method 2: Reverse Sear Chuck Roast In The Oven
If you don't have a sous vide, that's fine! Reverse sear using an oven and pan.
- Start by slow cooking the Chuck Roast in the oven on low heat until it hits the internal target temperature of 130°F or 54°C.
- Let the Chuck rest for 10 minutes then pan-fry your steak in butter and salt.
- Be sure you get a nice sear all side.
- Let it rest for 15 minutes and serve. Just be sure to always slice against the grain.
This is excellent method to get that top quality prime rib-like experience by turning the humble Chuck Roast into cheap steaks that would not be out of place in a steakhouse due to their appearance and mouthfeel.
Method 3: Pineapple Juice To Tenderize Steak
This is a great way to make cheap steaks when time crunched or from Round Roast which is a bit leaner:
- Start by cutting the raw chuck roast against the grain into one-inch-thick steaks.
- Place the steak into a bowl of pineapple juice for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Remove the steak from the pineapple juice and wash under running water.
- Pat dry the steak using a paper towel.
- Sprinkle salt and pan-fry the steak using high heat.
- Sear both sides properly to get the best crust.
You will get a nice and juicy steak using this technique at a fraction of the cost of most traditional steak cuts.
Don't worry about any pineapple taste, once rinsed under the faucet with water your guest will never even know.
Why Pineapple Juice?
Pineapple juice works so well to tenderize steak because it contains an enzyme called bromelain. Bromelain softens the meat fibers and helps the division of protein, which allows for a cheaper steak to feel more tender without spending a lot of time marinating.
Many cultures have been using pineapple juice to tenderize beef, pork, and chicken for hundreds of years at least. In western countries, we use bromelain in the form of a digestive enzyme supplement from the health food store to aid in digestion by helping to break food down.
If you are thinking about making your roast more tender, you should consider using pineapple juice as a part of your marination process.
Method 4: Chuck Roast Cut into Steaks
We have many clients who simply take a Chuck and go straight to the pan!
- Start by cutting your chuck roast into one-inch steaks. Always be sure to cut the beef across the grain of the meat fibers. 1” steak size ensures the Chuck fibers are easy to chew.
- Pan fry your steak directly on a high heat using some beef suet or tallow.
- Ideally, you should cook your steak to medium-rare or medium with plenty of salt. This will avoid any drying out and unwanted chewiness.
- Sear your steak on all sides for a tasty crust just like any steak.
Using this method, you will acheive a steak in between a Skirt Steak and a Flat Iron Steak in terms of mouthfeel and flavor.
Strictly speaking, Chuck is a roast which in almost all cases means folks will braise it in liquid in the form of a Pot Roast or Stew of some sort. But with a little change in mindset, a Chuck Roast can yield some outstanding steaks that are extremely cheap on a per pound basis but also taste superb.
But what if you dont have the time to make your own cheap steaks from a roast?
Other Cheap[er] Steaks?
There are a handful of steak cuts out there that we suggest you can turn to that will give you a good eating experience, already cut into steaks and would be considered cheap steaks in the low to moderate price range.
Popular Cheap Steak Cuts
- Skirt steak
- Flat iron steak
- Hangar steak
- Fank steak
- Sirloin steak
- Chuck Eye Steak and Denver Steak are two of my personal favorites and are nearly always reasonably priced.
The Chuck Eye Steak in particular, will pan fry very well, doesn't need any extra sauces and shares many of the qualities and the tasty Longissimus Dorsi with the Ribeye making it well worth trying.
Cheap Steak Summary
- Cheap steaks are very hard to find these days.
- Most cheap steak cuts need a sauce to add flavor and moisture.
- We need to get creative and use Chuck Roast to save some money.
- Chuck Roast is the ideal candidate for making tasty but cheap steaks.
- You can make very decent but cheap steaks using a Round Roast also.
- Chuck has loose muscle fibers and good fat content. Perfect for steaks
- You can achieve some Prime-Rib type results just using a Sous Vide or Reverse Sear.
- Keep the steaks to 1” thick for best results.
- No matter the cooking method, always aim for medium rare to medium doneness when making steaks from a roast.