One of the best ways to save money on your meat bill is to find a food store that has a pick 5 meat program, you can buy any 5 meat items for $19.99. Look for the packages that run $5.00 or more if you were going to buy off the pick 5. You can save as much as $5.00 to $6.00 buying a pick 5.
By Leon from Dalton, GA
Editor's Note: It looks like these Pick 5 programs are pretty common with smaller, more independent grocery stores. Check stores like Red Apple, IGA and Thriftway rather than the larger chains. If you find one, report it here in the feedback.
My Thriftway, as well as Sun Fresh and Apple Market, regularly feature strip steak and pork loin in 10 pound and up slabs in cryovac. The pork is usually $1.69/lb, the steak $3.99/lb. I cut these up into a desirable thickness--1-1/4" to 1-1/2"--, wrap them in recycled produce bags--the thin, clingy kind--and freeze them. You can use the styrofoam dishes that are usually used to package steaks, chicken, pork chops, etc. to cover them in your freezer top and bottom to minimize freezer burn. That is usually not a problem, though, as they don't often last long enough to degrade that way. The steak slab can run to $50 or more but it is worthwhile.
E.W. James & Sons Supermarkets in my area (TN) has this program. My husband is the meat manager at one of their stores, and he has had as many as 80 varieties of Pick 5 items on hand. He has one of the best Pick 5 programs in his company, selling huge numbers of "sets" even when compared to stores much larger than his.
Save-A-Lot and some IGA stores in our area do Pick 5 as well, but as another poster warned, check the price per pound to make sure you are not paying more for the Pick 5 size than what it is regularly offered for... Save-A-Lot has been bad about raising the prices of the items, so you aren't actually getting a deal there. My husband uses the same price per pound on his as he does in the rest of the counter, and sometimes LESS because the Pick 5 size might also be considered a "value pack." Preparing the Pick 5 packages of weighted items (as opposed to sticking a Pick 5 sticker on a prepackaged item) is time consuming, and some meat department personnel get lazy and don't watch to make sure the prices on the packs total enough to actually give you a deal...
It is a great deal if used wisely.