Shopping Discussion

Creating a Grocery Meat Cheat Sheet

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  • Aug 13th, 2017 4:48 pm
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Nov 15, 2008
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arnycus wrote:
Apr 8th, 2017 10:45 pm
I'm around, and prices often drop right after the holiday due to low store traffic and empty pockets, as well as fast approaching food expire dates.
Hmmm, it doesn't always work out that way for me. Last xmas the hams were at $1.49/lb; the next week the same hams were on in-store special for $1.99/lb. It's just like xmas where you're betting on whether the sales are going to come early, late, or ever depending on how merchants are doing. The economy is doing ok around here and I don't expect prices to go down after a sale. The best that I can hope for these days is that they extend the sale.
arnycus wrote:
Apr 8th, 2017 10:45 pm
Also when thinking about such giants as Loblaws, I wonder what is their real revenue stream given exorbitant number of various chains under their umbrella, and what piece of that pie their "founding fathers" are taking home? It must be just enough for a cheap holiday ham - what you think? :)
I think they are doing all right. They have put a lot of effort into their tech, and I am pretty impressed with their points programs and online stores. PC Points is a very clever program - it encourages users to buy the high margin stuff (all perishables) and PC products foremost.
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Aug 17, 2008
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arnycus wrote:
Apr 8th, 2017 9:34 pm
I'm not sure if there's any real value to a grocery cheat sheet that is scattered across several provinces with totally different population income and living conditions that greatly affect local prices. :rolleyes: Any thoughts?
I do realize RFD is ON/TO-centric, but I still like to see all the deals to compare.
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I just enjoy watching the prices. I've heard people complain they can't afford meat in their diet. I get irked by the food banks because they deal in a lot of processed foods and aren't really telling people how to afford and prepare natural foods (cheaper and better for you). This is sort of an extended anti-processed-foods rant.

I think people have to step away from the prepared foods: heat and eat, processed, marinated, flavoured meats. They are so much more expensive and nutritionally worse. People will pick a can of salmon at $2.99 when that is over $6/lb and you can get frozen fillets without all the salt for that, and then they complain about how they have to live.
death_hawk wrote:
Apr 8th, 2017 10:17 pm
Speaking of cheap meat, Foody World in Toronto has chicken legs for $0.76/lb
Since OP seems to have abandoned the spreadsheet I have no basis of comparison but I vaguely remember that it's about a buck a pound at retail.
Then again.... this is also a 40lb case and probably not IQF.

I'm being helpful! /s
Yup, you can get these bagged under $1/lb at the discount chains around here.

I've got to get some and split as follows
- drumsticks to deep-fry use as the new wings, since (big, any) wings are so darned expensive
- backs to the freezer for stock
- skin on thighs fried up crisp so I can render all the fat out of it for use in sauces, stews, gravies, etc. and fix every chicken breast recipe too
- thighs deboned for skewers, stews, etc.

So for the price the cut is a real workhorse IMO.
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Feb 9, 2009
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lecale wrote:
Apr 9th, 2017 6:01 pm
- skin on thighs fried up crisp so I can render all the fat out of it for use in sauces, stews, gravies, etc. and fix every chicken breast recipe too
I don't know about replacing wings with drumsticks technique Smiling Face With Open Mouth, but if you were working in a medical field you'd see how clogged human arteries look on sonograms when you pedal on fried foods and animal fat too much. Its a sure way to get heart attack or stroke, unless you run 20 miles each morning and spend 2 hours in a gym each evening. Its better to remove the fat and slow cook under steam pressure such things for the sake of own well-being. Better yet stick to veggies as you were saying before.
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Aug 22, 2006
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lecale wrote:
Apr 9th, 2017 6:01 pm
I think people have to step away from the prepared foods: heat and eat, processed, marinated, flavoured meats. They are so much more expensive and nutritionally worse. People will pick a can of salmon at $2.99 when that is over $6/lb and you can get frozen fillets without all the salt for that, and then they complain about how they have to live.
This problem is getting worse instead of better. Every day I wander around the grocery store and find more and more things that make me say WTF? WHY!
Everything is about convenience nowadays. I get it. People are busy. They have more money than time.
But there's still easy to prepare things that are delicious. Cheap too.
I've got to get some and split as follows
- drumsticks to deep-fry use as the new wings, since (big, any) wings are so darned expensive
- backs to the freezer for stock
- skin on thighs fried up crisp so I can render all the fat out of it for use in sauces, stews, gravies, etc. and fix every chicken breast recipe too
- thighs deboned for skewers, stews, etc.

So for the price the cut is a real workhorse IMO.
This is what should be done. Doesn't take THAT long either since this cut is easy to work with.
But that's theory. Even with good butchery skills (I can break down a whole chicken in less than 60 seconds) I'm still too lazy to do it even though it's literally 2 cuts.
Plus it's not the break down that's the hard part. It's the repackaging, especially if these come frozen.
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arnycus wrote:
Apr 9th, 2017 6:41 pm
I don't know about replacing wings with drumsticks technique Smiling Face With Open Mouth, but if you were working in a medical field you'd see how clogged human arteries look on sonograms when you pedal on fried foods and animal fat too much. Its a sure way to get heart attack or stroke, unless you run 20 miles each morning and spend 2 hours in a gym each evening. Its better to remove the fat and slow cook under steam pressure such things for the sake of own well-being. Better yet stick to veggies as you were saying before.
I don't think you have to stick to stuff like chicken breast 100% of the time. If you end up with a batch of drumsticks, enjoy them. I am not a proponent of deep-fried but I do eat it 4-6 times a year. People are willing to eat crappy processed food all the time as long as it is heat and eat, yet they recoil when they hear of foods prepared from scratch in the same way.

I mostly meant you could be eating shake n bake legs all the time and kinda eating off the prison menu. There are other things you can do with legs. My primary interest is rendering the excess skin to use when I am doing recipes with breast. Just saying you can get something decent out of the scrappy meat.

lol you did a good job of turning me off the drumsticks and maybe now I will get some bone-in skin-on breast to get my skin and therefore chicken fat. The chicken fat is about 30% saturated vs. 50% saturated for beef fat (tallow) or butter or 15% for olive oil or 7% canola...but totally flavour-loaded. A small bit makes a chicken breast recipe a heck of a lot chickenier.

In general I believe in guidance that suggests about 1/2 veg 1/4 starch 1/4 meat in a meal. I do eat healthy meals like that, it's just I also eat crap like potato chips and candy on top of that. I could save a lot of money and pounds if I just stuck to my meals. I just know how I am blowing my diet and sadly it is not the occasional drumstick.
death_hawk wrote:
Apr 9th, 2017 7:16 pm
This is what should be done. Doesn't take THAT long either since this cut is easy to work with.
But that's theory. Even with good butchery skills (I can break down a whole chicken in less than 60 seconds) I'm still too lazy to do it even though it's literally 2 cuts.
Plus it's not the break down that's the hard part. It's the repackaging, especially if these come frozen.
Well, buy enough for 3 months at a time and only orchestrate this craziness 4X a year. I think I am becoming interested in a vac sealer. I use ziploc sandwich bags and lower them in water to force the air out and then overbag with a freezer bag. It's pretty low tech.

Portion-freezing meat/poultry and dicing vegetables before cooking are the two main time sappers for me. You just have to zen and learn to like the joe jobs, I guess. If you can save money and somehow think of chopping and butchery as a meditative, not stressful thing, it is a win (money) win (nutrition).
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Candies? Is that to sweeten unripe hard to bite fruits you recommended earlier? Smiling Face With Open Mouth And Smiling Eyes
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arnycus wrote:
Apr 9th, 2017 10:49 pm
Candies? Is that to sweeten unripe hard to bite fruits you recommended earlier? Smiling Face With Open Mouth And Smiling Eyes
Oh come on, right now I have no candy in the house but hard to bite granny smiths in the fridge.
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Aug 22, 2006
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lecale wrote:
Apr 9th, 2017 10:11 pm
I am not a proponent of deep-fried but I do eat it 4-6 times a year. People are willing to eat crappy processed food all the time as long as it is heat and eat, yet they recoil when they hear of foods prepared from scratch in the same way.
Somewhat of a tangent, but I giggle when this pops up in an airfryeroven thread.
They pop in par fried stuff into airfryeroven and claim "HEALTHY!" or "healthier" anyway.
A small bit makes a chicken breast recipe a heck of a lot chickenier.
This goes for basically any animal fat.
There's a reason I usually have like 8 different fats on hand.
Let's see...
-Duck
-Chicken
-Pork (lard)
-Bacon (counts because it's flavored differently than lard)
-Beef
-Butter
-Canola
-Olive
-Avocado

Now... I don't always have ALL of these, but I usually have a good portion of them.
Strangely I'm only missing chicken right now.

I think I am becoming interested in a vac sealer. I use ziploc sandwich bags and lower them in water to force the air out and then overbag with a freezer bag. It's pretty low tech.
You should do it.
It sounds like you have long term storage nailed already, but are using the wrong things to actually store it.
Sandwich bags are pretty cheap, but freezer bags aren't.
The large ones at Costco are like $0.12-0.14 I think. I'm not sure what the smaller ones are off hand.
Since we're talking about chicken parts, you can probably get away with 6x12 or 8x12 bags which are $0.047 or $0.063 each.
6x12 can hold 2-3 breasts and 8x12 can hold like 9-12 drums.

I say this in every thread that even remotely mentions a vacuum sealer, but it's single handedly the best kitchen related purchase I've made in my life.
Nearly all aspects of my food now touch it in some way/shape/form.
It's a GIANT investment up front (like a grand) but it pays for itself.
Speaking of giant things, here's a million words about why it's good: http://forums.redflagdeals.com/what-vacuum-sealer-should-i-get-2057563/
Portion-freezing meat/poultry and dicing vegetables before cooking are the two main time sappers for me. You just have to zen and learn to like the joe jobs, I guess. If you can save money and somehow think of chopping and butchery as a meditative, not stressful thing, it is a win (money) win (nutrition).
https://www.kitchenaid.ca/en_CA/shop/-[KSM2FPA]-2104378/KSM2FPA/

I bought one of those on a whim once when Amazon had a sale for $130.
I don't think I've seen it for that price since.
But if you're dicing a large amount of stuff, this is stupidly handy.
It's a home based unit so the feed chute is designed for safety (read it's tiny) so there's still a little prep to be done, but the bulk of the dicing can be done via machine.
It's better than spending $2000 on a Robot Coupe especially since it's probably for home use.

Portioning and packing however is my time sink.
I have a vacuum time of 35 seconds plus 7 seconds for sealing. Add in a couple seconds for vacuum release and loading unloading and I'm up to about a minute per package (or 2 packages if I'm using 6" wide bags because I can fit 2 at once).
Plus actually loading the bags.
It's probably slower than your approach but it stores better. Might be cheaper too depending on how much your bag cost is.
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Nov 15, 2008
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First, exciting news, No Frills will have ham wrestling in the area on Thursday and Saturday only, $.97/lb Cook's bone-in hams limit one per arm and good luck.

No one has a turkey under $1.99 and most flyers seem to be headlining beef this week.

Zehrs has
striploin steak bone-in AAA $6.88/lb Thursday and Saturday only
rabbit $7.99/lb
boneless lamb leg $6.99/lb

Walmart
prime rib roast AA $4.77/lb

RCSS
cap off prime rib AAA $4.77/lb Thursday and Saturday only
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Nov 15, 2008
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death_hawk, this is going to sound bizarre but I probably couldn't deal with a chopper because I like to cut my vegetables into perfect little squares, matchsticks, planks, etc. It's something that people notice when they are eating and the size and shape of the cut affects the flavour intensity of the final product IMO. I use a knife or a mandoline. Vegetables are a hard sell I find so I try to make them as interesting as possible by at least being fascinating to look at.

I don't think I do that badly with my sandwich bag scheme. E.g., I will buy a dozen breasts, bag each one in a sandwich bag, shake it down to the bottom, force the air out in the sink and seal, dry, roll into a lock and stack within a proper freezer bag. I end up with a rectangular mass of chicken breast logs that have no air between them but still break apart into single breasts with ease. And the rectangle of logs is very stackable. I have IQF fish fillets though that are the slipperiest things to attempt to stack, that always slide out and attack me when I get in the freezer. So I am loathe to give up my hillbilly ways. I think I am onto something.
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Aug 22, 2006
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lecale wrote:
Apr 12th, 2017 1:35 am
First, exciting news, No Frills will have ham wrestling in the area on Thursday and Saturday only, $.97/lb Cook's bone-in hams limit one per arm and good luck.
allmywat.jpg
No one has a turkey under $1.99 and most flyers seem to be headlining beef this week.
Isn't Easter normally Turkey?
Maybe not because even Costco has like 1/4 of a case instead of a whole case full of them.
rabbit $7.99/lb
Maybe I'm out to lunch, but isn't this high?
prime rib roast AA $4.77/lb
Ugh. I might have to go to Walmart. Even though it's AA that's a pretty good price since Costco right now is like $11/lb.
cap off prime rib AAA $4.77/lb Thursday and Saturday only
WTB: Cap. PM.


lecale wrote:
Apr 12th, 2017 1:48 am
death_hawk, this is going to sound bizarre but I probably couldn't deal with a chopper because I like to cut my vegetables into perfect little squares, matchsticks, planks, etc. It's something that people notice when they are eating and the size and shape of the cut affects the flavour intensity of the final product IMO. I use a knife or a mandoline. Vegetables are a hard sell I find so I try to make them as interesting as possible by at least being fascinating to look at.
Strangely enough, it actually does a surprisingly good job at being even.
I mean... unless you're tossing like 30% of the product, you're never going to have 100% even pieces due to "stupid round fruit"

I don't think I do that badly with my sandwich bag scheme. E.g., I will buy a dozen breasts, bag each one in a sandwich bag, shake it down to the bottom, force the air out in the sink and seal, dry, roll into a lock and stack within a proper freezer bag. I end up with a rectangular mass of chicken breast logs that have no air between them but still break apart into single breasts with ease.

Oh... I thought you were sandwich then freezer each one.
You're actually sandwich a bunch then freezer them all in one bag?
And the rectangle of logs is very stackable.

I love stackability. Flat pack vacuum usually does pretty well in this, although it's still kind of precarious since it's kind of uneven.
Rolls would be easier.
I have IQF fish fillets though that are the slipperiest things to attempt to stack, that always slide out and attack me when I get in the freezer. So I am loathe to give up my hillbilly ways. I think I am onto something.
Yeah I'm afraid to open my freezer.
I'm honestly tempted to invest in like a hundred of steam table inserts of various sizes so I can store oddly shaped stuff.
Actually... with a lid that might not be a bad idea. It's somewhat space inefficient compared to naked, but you won't get an avalanche each time you open the door.
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Aug 17, 2008
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No luck getting a Cook's ham - they didn't get them in on the weekend, were supposed to get them in yesterday. Husband went after work, store said they were all gone by noon. So, will have to get a store-brand one from either Sobeys or Co-op.

btw, I think it's so very odd that people have turkeys at Easter - guess it's just a cultural difference - or just a protein item easier to feed a crowd?
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Nov 15, 2008
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I had trouble getting a Cook's ham too - the first store was wiped out and the second had exactly six 11-pounders. That's ok, I wanted a big one (soup).

Turkey IMO is a quirky N. American thing - there isn't a country that is into them outside the US and Canada. Big and cheap. They push whole turkey right from Thanksgiving to Easter; there is always at least one $.99/lb option that turns up every holiday. Then when summer comes they promote pieces at jacked up rates...like double the price of chicken.

Anyway let's say you can get a 10 lb turkey or ham for $10-15 if you watch. Here's a premade Easter dinner offer from a new premium grocery chain Farm Boy. You get your turkey or ham and 4 side dishes from the deli for, wait for it....$129.99
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