Summer Grilling: To Save Money, Take It Low and Slow

cuts of meat for grilling
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When it comes to summer grilling, a quick payoff has its price. Hamburgers and hot dogs cook fast, but they're not always the healthiest food to feed your guests. Hot dogs are high in salt, and hamburgers can be tainted. And while premium cuts of meat may not have those problems, a steady diet of steak is hazardous to your summer food budget.

Summer cooking is another area where it pays to take a tip from Grandma. In the past, home cooks had a simple solution: they opted for cheaper cuts of meat that took longer to cook. Many classic recipes -- from barbecue to pot roast to brisket -- rely on these inexpensive cuts, which, if done right produce tender, tasty meals.

The FDA advises cooking every cut of meat to at least 145ºF, which is basically the high end of medium. For a low-fat cut like filet this is problematic, but many higher-fat, lower-price cuts will develop amazing flavor with the increased cooking time.

Here are seven of our favorite low-cost cuts of meat to grill. Depending on the local cuisine and preferences of your area, costs will vary, and some of these options may not be a bargain. Just in case, be sure to keep a few possibilities in mind when you go to the market. Happy Fourth!

Bruce Watson is DailyFinance's Savings editor. You can reach him by e-mail at, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.