One of the things I've been puzzling over is how to compare different cuts of meat. Since the only meat I'm regularly eating at the moment is chicken, that's what I focused on.
The best price I can regularly get on chicken is $.79/lb for chicken leg quarters. But obviously, a good portion of what you're getting when you buy leg quarters is bone & skin. So how do you compare that price to, say boneless/skinless chicken breasts?
Well... fortunately, I came upon this document published by the Texas Agricultural Extension which addresses just this issue.
According to the document,on average these are the percentages of actual meat in various cuts of chicken:
- Boneless/Skinless Breasts or Thighs: 100%
- Whole Chicken: 58%
- Split Breasts: 68%
- Thighs: 66%
- Drumsticks: 58%
- Leg Quarters: 62% (they didn't list leg quarters separately, so I averaged the thigh and drumstick percentages to get this number)
So if leg quarters are $.79/lb that's equivalent of $1.27/lb for the actual meat (excluding bone and skin.)
To calculate this number for your own situation, take the price per pound of the cheapest cut you can regularly buy and divide it by the percentage of actual meat in that cut. For example: .79/.62 = 1.27.
From there we can extrapolate the equivalent prices of other cuts of chicken. So to equal the $.79/lb price for leg quarters I'd need to hit the following prices:
$1.27/lb or better for boneless/skinless (1.27 x 1)
$.73/lb for whole chicken or drumsticks (1.27 x .58)
$.86/lb for split breasts (1.27 x .68)
$.84/lb for thighs (1.27 x .66)
This, of course, doesn't take into account the intangibles like being able to make stock with the bones & skin.
I haven't been able to find anything even close to the prices I'd need to make the other cuts worthwhile... plus, I really do prefer dark meat to white. So for the moment I'll stick with my $.79/pound leg quarters... at least until they go on sale for $.49/pound, at which point I hope there's lots of room in my freezer! That'll give me incentive to step up my efforts to get it defrosted!
So how about you, do you have a system for comparing prices of "almost the same" items?