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May 182014
 May 18, 2014  Posted by  Features, Food, Hot Deals

Are you starting to panic because you have a big crowd coming over for a barbecue? Here is our guide to cooking on the cheap for a crowd. Find guidelines for cooking for a crowd on one of our favorite free recipe sites,

Where to buy bulk meats at big savings

  • Use your club card at your local grocery store and buy whatever is on sale and build your menu around it, whether it is beef brisket, pork ribs, whole chickens, hot dogs or ground beef.
  • Shop at a restaurant supply or wholesale grocery store that is open to the public (such as Cash & Carry on the West Coast, or Market Grocery in Georgia).
  • Consider a membership at a store like Costco or Sam’s Club if you will use it often enough during the year to recoup the membership fee.

Cuts of meat that save you money

  • Buy a roast and cut up steaks yourself, such at tri-tip roast, beef rib roast or even beef tenderloin for filet mignon. Cutting your own steaks can save you 60% or more off regular retail prices for steaks.
  • Cook up inexpensive cuts like beef brisket, beef chuck pot roast or pork shoulder to create a batch of shredded meat that you can stuff inside burger buns or taco shells, or serve over steamed rice.
  • Buy ground beef (or grind your own from chuck roast) to make hamburger patties or buy whole chicken and cut it up yourself.

Recipes for cheap cuts of meat

Get your guests involved

  • Have your guests bring their own meat and/or beverage of their choice
  • Have guests bring an appetizer, salad or dessert. Assign the dishes by alphabet. (For example, last names ending in A-F bring an appetizer, G-L bring salad, M-Z bring dessert).

Now that we have the meat out of the way, let’s turn our attention to the side dishes. Your best bet is to make your own. The least expensive sides include potatoes, beans, macaroni or pasta, and grains such as rice. Fortunately, many of these ingredients make delicious, hearty dishes that are easy on your budget. Depending on your menu, don’t overlook a simple pot of steamed rice — it is the perfect backdrop for grilled foods – sauces from barbecue to teriyaki and vegetable salads. Fresh, local produce is abundant and affordable, so take advantage of fruits and vegetables at the grocery stores and farmers’ markets in your area. I like to make one or two sides that I know everyone loves, plus one or two that offer something unexpected. So, don’t be afraid to cook out-of-the-box while you are hosting a party outdoors.

Potato salads

Baked Beans

Macaroni and Pasta Salad

Rice and Grain Side Dishes

Vegetable Salads and Slaws



 More tips for cheap and elegant summer parties:


Carole Cancler

Carole Cancler is a business and technology professional with experience in food science, technical writing, and product development. Her former company, Private Chef Natural Gourmet in Seattle, Washington specialized in frozen gourmet meals. Prior to that, Carole spent 11 years at Microsoft as a software engineer and program manager. Her writing expertise includes business intelligence, websites, newsletters, and recipe development. Currently, she focuses on writing and consulting for the food and technology industries and, for fun, teaches cooking classes. Her first cookbook, The Home Preserving Bible is available on Amazon. Carole owns and operates Greater Seattle on the Cheap.

One comment on “Cheap recipes for your barbecue

  1. Dawn on said:

    Love this! Found the link on Twitter and just shared it on my FB page. Always looking for new ideas that do not break the bank! Thank you for sharing.