This Is The Best Affordable Cut Of Steak, According To Pat LaFrieda

As food costs continue to impact families' weekly budgets, that craving for steak may sometimes go unsatisfied. Less-expensive proteins, whole grains, or even seasonal vegetables can fill the plate. And while some celebrity chefs have suggested swaps for particular steak cuts, other culinary experts are willing to add their suggestions to the weekly shopping list.

Pat LaFrieda might not be the name on the tip of some people's tongue, but he has influenced the culinary world for decades. Eater NY referred to him as the celebrity butcher who glamorized an unglamorous world. As the third-generation owner of Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors, he's influenced a wide array of culinary institutions. Beyond the establishment that bears his name, he has provided meats for legendary restaurants such as Eleven Madison Park and even Shake Shack

While the brand and the man built relationships within the culinary world, it was their expertise that chefs trusted. His customized burger blends were legendary. Even as food trends evolve, the LaFrieda name and his advice are well respected. LaFrieda spoke to Mashed about the most affordable cut of steak — and when he recommends a certain type of meat, people listen.

Pat LaFrieda suggests flavorful, inexpensive steak cuts

While Pat LaFrieda might supply meats to some pricey restaurants, the celebrity butcher appreciates that some people may not have deep pockets. Still, he doesn't believe steak is off the table. "If you're trying to stay on a budget, you'll want to avoid the big-name cuts that you'd find at a restaurant or steakhouse, such as New York strip, ribeye, porterhouse, and filet mignon. These cuts are undeniably delicious, but there are alternatives that will get you close for a lot less cash," LaFrieda tells Mashed. And given that says that there are "100 different kinds of primal cuts," there's a choice for every budget.

"A flatiron steak is just as flavorful as a New York Strip for 25% of the cost," LaFrieda says. "There's also the chuck eye steak, which is a continuation of the ribeye past where the industry usually cuts it off ... It's a really great cut for the price."

As LaFrieda explains, consumers need to think beyond the most familiar names. But he did add one caveat: "I'd avoid sirloin, because it's often marketed as a high-end product though in actuality it's lacking in flavor and texture." Whether it's a little bit of knowledge or a conversation with a butcher, there are ways to put steak on the table without going over budget.

What's the secret to cooking affordable cuts of meat?

While many chefs have their methods for perfectly cooked steak, a few simple cooking tips can make many people feel like a master chef. For Pat LaFrieda, he recommends two methods for cooking flatiron or tri-tip steaks. "Both grilling or pan searing are great options, as long as you can reach a very high level of heat," LaFrieda tells Mashed. "A properly seared flatiron steak is going to give you just as much flavor as a more-expensive New York strip."

In addition to the cooking, the proper seasoning can accentuate the flavor. LaFrieda believes that, "Seasonings and marinades are fine, though they will mask the flavor of the beef." Instead, he suggests, "To make cheaper cuts taste more expensive, you can season simply with coarse salt and cook at a high heat for that classic steakhouse sear on the outside, while leaving the internal temperature low. A steak on the rare side will be nice and juicy, which is something you'd expect from a higher-priced cut."

That advice is simple, but it makes a smart point. Proper seasoning and good execution are key for any meal. Next time the craving comes, a delicious, affordable steak is in the butcher case, provided the consumer looks for the less-familiar name and cooks it properly.