- Manage your meat!
You don’t need to blow your entire food budget to grill in style. For example, skip the porterhouse in favor of a good (and cheaper) skirt or flank steak. Ignore the boneless skinless chicken breasts for legs and thighs that are high in flavor and low in cost. As for fish, ignore the priciest catch of the day and get some darker, grill-friendly fish like mackerel or blue fish.
- Dress Up Old Classics
Sticking with the tried and true—chicken, burgers, hot dogs, brats? Just add simple inexpensive elements that can really amp up your flavor. Things like bleu cheese, chopped bacon, or barbecue sauce inside your burger patties before you toss them on the grill can really dress up the old standbys. You can also split those dogs lengthwise, add some cheddar and wrap them in bacon. Or let your chicken steep overnight in your favorite Claude’s marinade.
- Make Leftovers!
Planning out portions? Grill enough for leftovers! If you put those briquettes or propane to work just once every couple of days, you decrease the per-meal fuel cost. In order to reheat, just sprinkle your meat with a barbecue sauce, wrap it in foil, and cook over indirect heat for five minutes. Get creative! For example, leftover pork roast can just go straight into the slow cooker with some barbecue sauce. Don’t make too much that you wind up throwing it away, however, as you might as well be throwing money away too.
- Conserve Fuel
Surprise! People tend to waste fuel when they grill. Many of us pour way too much charcoal into our grills. Stop pouring that entire 10lb bag of charcoal into the grill! Three lbs should be enough to cook any meal for four to six people. Using propane? If you’re cooking brisket or pork loin, you only need it on high for the first five minutes after you put the food on the grill. After that, turn it down to low and let it cook slowly. And remember to turn the propane off after you’ve burned off any debris!
- Befriend Your Butcher
There is no better way to keep tabs on when your favorite cuts of meat are going on sale than making friends with those who manage your local market’s butcher block. These people have the inside track! Build up your relationship with your local butcher so you can find out which cuts have better prices because they aren’t as popular as others. Like, for example: Lamb Neck. Not many people are interested, so the price is right…and it’s just as tasty as the much more expensive cuts of lamb on display.