Posted by Tim Stobbs on January 23, 2013
I think there is a perception out that that buying a ham, a whole chicken or a roast is an expensive item. Which to be honest in some cases I think it is, but given the number of meals I typically get out of a ham I was curious to find out how cheap per serving a ham could end up being. So during the last few months we bought and then ate a ham to test this theory.
I spent $24.02 on a boneless ham, which by the way was not a sale price (I wanted to keep things reasonable). The results after several months were: 44 servings over seven meals or on average $0.55 per serving. Since you might want an idea of how this works here are the meals we ate.
The main event for this ham was a dinner with friends where we served the classic ham, mash potatoes and peas supper for six adults and two kids. Next up was leftovers for lunch during the following weekend. At this point we got smart and froze a large part of the ham for future use.
In the mean time we made a chickpea and ham salad, which we love. Then forgot about ham for a week or two. The secret to using up any large amount of meat from a ham, turkey, roast is to space it out. Eating the same thing for weeks on end is boring as hell so take advantage of your freezer to shift it a month or so down the road. For example, I have some Christmas turkey in my freezer right now which I will likely defrost in February.
Once we defrosted the frozen ham we got cooking again with a few more meals. One supper was a simple one of pasta, spice and veggies to make a meal. Then we made a homemade ham and pineapple pizza….mmm. Then for some other company we made some ham, white bean, sweet potato soup. To use up the last of the leftover ham we diced it up to make a ham and cheese quiche.
So overall, yes the initial cost of something can be expensive for a large amount of meat, but when you space out the leftovers it is entirely possible to drive down your average cost to something reasonable. At $0.55/serving for a family of four means that we would spend on average $2.20 per meal just for my family to eat that meat (plus obviously the cost of other ingredients). Also recall that wasn’t even a sale price you could drive that number much lower. Overall I think that is fairly affordable, but entirely dependent on your ability to use ALL of your leftovers. Wasting that meat is really the expensive part of of buying a big piece of meat.
Do you every buy big chunks of meat at once? If so, what meats do you find cost effective to buy? If not, why don’t you?