A good steak hits the spot, but the prime cuts – fillets, T-bones and Tomahawks – can cause a severe dent in your wallet. If you have a whole family to feed, costs quickly spiral.
But the thrifty shoppers among us know that there are plenty of other cuts of beef that can be just as tasty – if not more so – and much more affordable.
According to new data from Waitrose & Partners, sales for many so-called "forgotten cuts" are up. Over the past year, there's been an 80 per cent increase in online searches for beef ribs, a 65 per cent surge for braised beef, 59 per cent for shin, and beef cheeks are up 23 per cent.
"The rise in demand for braised beef, cheek and shin is certainly being driven by the revival of slow cooking, not to mention the desire for more affordable meat options," says Jonathan Moore, executive chef at Waitrose & Partners.
Stewart Collins, of award-winning butcher S. Collins & Son in Muirhead, says they've also seen sales of cheaper cuts rise, though not dramatically. The likes of flat iron and bavette steaks, which are increasingly fashionable, are becoming more popular, while traditional cuts like beef cheeks and shin are also being cooked more often.
People are after more value for money, Collins believes, while also discovering that more affordable cuts, particularly those amenable to slow cooking, are incredibly flavoursome, too.
Here's a quick guide to some of the most popular cheap cuts right now, including recipes from Telegraph columnists. Most cuts, if they can't be found at your nearest supermarket, should be easy enough to source at the butcher.
From £9/kg at Tesco, brisket is an affordable cut from the fore quarter of the animal, which is the cheaper end, and responds well to low and slow cooking, or even brining (for example with salt beef). It can also be braised, smoked or barbecued, according to Collins.
This brisket taco recipe from Stephen Harris is ideal for feeding large groups of people cheaply. It takes a bit of effort (as do many cheap cuts) but is worth it.
The chuck is just below the neck, and is commonly sold as "braising steak" in the UK. It's one of the most economical parts of the animal, and is increasingly popular in burgers, as it has plenty of fat.
Ask your butcher to grind chuck steak for this juicy burger recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Due to its positioning at the top of the leg, beef shin gets plenty of exercise, which means it's tough but tasty. A few hours of braising leaves it falling apart. It's one of the most easily found cuts, and is currently available at Sainsbury's for £7.13/kg.
Here, Xanthe Clay cooks it slow for two and a half hours, with onions, red wine, tomatoes and beetroot.
Bavette is the French term for flank, and it's a thin steak from the top of the chest. It can be tough, so is best for flash frying. According to David Lishman, chair of the Q Guild of Butchers, it should be marinated for tenderising, and cooked at a high heat for a couple of minutes on each side before resting. It can also be braised.
Packed with collagen, when slow cooked oxtail becomes tender, gelatinous and delicious, though it can be a mess to eat. Xanthe Clay's pie mixes oxtail with marrowbones for extra flavour and texture.