Steaks on a grill

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Grocers are reporting 20-30% price increases for meat. T-Bone steaks are retailing for over $11 a pound, and grocers say there is no end in sight.

Consumers are feeling the pinch. Everyone I talked to recently groaned about the price of food. Their grocery bill is going up, but their paycheck isn’t.

While everything is up, meat is the hardest hit because of gas prices and the use of ethanol in gas. With a higher demand for corn, there’s less corn to feed the animals. There’s also more exports. As a result of all these demands, the supply is lower so you’ll pay a higher price for meat.

There are ways to still enjoy grilling this holiday weekend and summer. I spent some time with the Meat Merchandiser for Marc’s Grocery and he shared some money-saving ideas.

1. Grab pork ribs rather than beef ribs to save money

2. Use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts – you’ll pay half the price

3. Split chicken breasts in half horizontally to make the portions go further

4. Add Hamburger Helper or add an egg and bread crumbs to make the meat go farther

5. Try alterative meats like turkey to save money

6. Shop the sales and stock up – you can store meat for up to six months

6. Compare prices – call your butcher, farmer’s market, or warehouse store to see if they offer savings over your local grocer

Just make sure you cook your meats thoroughly. When you defrost them, don’t do it in the microwave because you lose quality. Defrost the meat in the refrigerator. Don’t undercook your meat, especially the other white meat — pork, that made me so sick this weekend. The government just lowered the temperature restaurants need to cook pork, but just make sure it’s cooked thoroughly. You don’t want your enjoyable party to end miserable for a friend.