Cheap Beef Cuts for Slow Cooking

Planning a low and slow cooking process for beef? Maybe you’re wondering what cuts of meat are best!

I’m not surprised, there are plenty of available cheap cuts best for this method of cooking..

Let’s look at the top cheap beef cuts for slow cooking.  So you can save a bit of money from high beef prices but still enjoy a flavorful meal!


Why Are Some Cuts of Beef Better for Slow Cooking?

Before we ‘meat’ the contestants, let’s see what makes cheap meat great for slow-cooking methods.
Cheaper cuts of meat are the less sought-after because;

– They may contain a lower meat-protein ratio.

They may have high levels of fat, sinew, and connective tissue.

– They may have tough muscle fibers due to the area they are cut from.

– They aren’t deemed as ‘premium’ or in the food culture.

Now this doesn’t mean these cheaper cuts aren’t as flavorful as the more sought-after alternatives.

Note: Popular beef or other meat cuts will depend on the country!  The beef stomach is a delicacy in China compared to the US for example. Slow cooking the cheaper cuts give enough time for the less desired components


1. Beef Shank/Beef Shin

We should all know the depth of flavor lamb shanks bring to the table. The same is said for the delicious tender meat from a beef shank!

A cross-cut beef shin/shank is only $10 per pound!

Containing a balance of lean muscle and connective tissue from the joint. Slow cook in a Dutch oven with some red wine and winter veg!

Simmer on low for around 2-3 hours or until the leg muscles fall from the bone!

See my recipe for smoked beef shanks here


2. Skirt Steak

You don’t usually associate steak with slow cooking but hear me out! The skirt is from the underside of the cow and has tough proteins but a deep flavor.

Thin strips of this cut are used in Asian cooking for hot pots or as a budget steak.

Skirt steak averages $13 per pound compared to a rib costing as much as $25!

Cubed steak from the skirt will create a rich and tasty stew from slow cooking. Giving plenty of time for the tough protein fibers to unwind and become tender!

I have found that smoking skirt steak is the best way to ensure it comes out tender and juicy and not tough.

3. Chuck Roast

A whole chuck roast comes from the shoulder of the cow. This piece of beef has 3 key muscles surrounded by connective tissue and intramuscular fat.

The king of slow-cooking beef, a chuck roast is typically cut into varying-sized chunks for stewing.

A boneless chuck eye roast will cost as little as $8 per pound!

Slow-cooked chuck roasts have a naturally rich flavor produced by broken-down collagen. Buy a whole chuck eye roast to save money and cut it into chunks of stew meat.

Try making a simple Irish stew with barley and potatoes held together with a beefy flavor!


4. Oxtail

Now admittedly oxtail has a very low meat percentage. Though the tailbone contains high levels of delicious marrow and minerals.

Making this a tasty and healthy treat when given time to render and release the hidden flavors.

Try braising in a tomato and wine sauce for an almighty Osso Bucco!


5. Beef Short Ribs

Beef short ribs are a prized cut in many cuisines. We should all know that slow-cooking ribs is the best way to go!

Allowing the picture-perfect meat to fall off the bone in many BBQ joints across the country. Unlike the standard pork ribs, beef short ribs might not always come from the rib area.

Short ribs are short-cut bones with surrounding meat and connective tissue. Cut from the brisket, chuck, rib, or plate area.

For as little as $5 per pound, these are an absolute steal if cooked properly!

Can’t find beef short ribs? Here are some alternatives.

6. Beef Trim & Offcuts

Butchers work tirelessly while we are sleeping, there are breaking down the cow into many different cuts

Doing so will naturally lead to trimming various parts containing fat, sinew, and offcuts.

These are usually sold to be made as pet food or even thrown away! Ask your butcher if they have any trim or offcuts you can take. These might not even cost you a dollar!

Try frying the offcuts and fat on high heat in a cast iron pan and then braise to make gravy. Extracting the flavors and then filtering the offcuts is how the French make a demi glaze!

7. Beef Bones

Like beef offcuts and trim, there are hundreds of bones in a cow.  The majority of us buy boneless cuts for ease and accessibility when cooking.

Ask your butcher if he has any beef bones for sale which can cost as little as $2. However, these aren’t going to your dog! (sorry Marley)

Roast the bones with some apple cider vinegar to help break down the minerals and marrow.

Braise for 24 hours on low heat, further extracting the gelatin to make a healthy bone broth. Oh, and don’t forget to filter out the impurities and bones before blending.

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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