Backyard BBQ on a Budget – 6 Great Tips
Expert Advice

Although the IRS has extended the 2020 tax filing deadline from April 15 to May 17, one thing is for certain.  Everyone has their financial situation in mind this time of the year.  With the economic hardship, or outright disaster, that COVID-19 forced upon millions of people last year, we’re all looking for ways to stretch that continually devaluing dollar.

That being the case, here are some cost-cutting ideas on how you can still enjoy your backyard BBQ homegate party while saving some money at the same time.

Buy from Costco or Sam’s Club

Despite what you may think, or have heard, these big box stores generally have a great selection of meat at prices that are less expensive than your regular grocery store.  Of course, you must buy in large quantities, but you can cook what you need for your party this weekend and freeze the rest of it.  Also be sure to check out their prices on paper plates, cups, napkins, etc.  Chance are those items will be less expensive here as well.  If you don’t already have a membership, it’s certainly worth considering purchasing one.

Visit your grocery store or local butcher at the right time

So, the thought of buying your steaks at Sam’s Club makes your stomach turn.  We get it.  You love going to see “Rick” your local butcher. He’s been there for years and knows exactly what you want and how to cut it. However, there’s a time and place for everything.  Kroger always has discounted prices on Tuesday for the meat products that didn’t sell over the weekend. Also, take note of holidays. Much like buying candy after Halloween, you can also buy cheap cuts of meat right after most major holidays.  Think turkey and prime rib right after Thanksgiving and Christmas, or lamb after Easter.

Substitute standard cuts with less expensive alternatives.

Another option is to find a less costly substitute. Meat prices have fluctuated significantly over the last year, due to COVID, and there have been supply chain issues as well. Historically, meat prices increase right before Memorial Day and the upcoming Father’s Day and July 4th grilling season. If you’re on a budget, be flexible with the meat you consider grilling. Chicken thighs, for instance, can be a delicious and inexpensive option to chicken breasts for your backyard BBQ. You can also substitute your usual go-to beef cut with a less expensive alternative. Instead of smoking a brisket, consider smoking tri tip or a roast instead.

Buy in bulk

We mentioned buying your meat at one of the big box clubs.  You should also consider purchasing your rubs and seasonings there as well. Making your own barbecue rub can get expensive, especially if you use more than a few ingredients. Buying individual rubs by the shaker can be expensive as well. Again, if the clubs turn you off, consider finding a good commercial rub and buying in bulk from them. Many of the top rub companies sell seasonings in large bottles or even in bags by the pound online. Loot “n” Booty BBQ offers a 5-lb bag of their rub at a deeply discounted price.

Vacuum seal and freeze your leftovers

Nobody wants to eat the same meal over and over for days. You can try repurposing your leftovers in nachos, tortillas, soups or as a side dish. However, investing in a machine like the Potane vacuum food sealer to vacuum seal your leftovers, will result in savings in the long run. You can easily divide your cuts into smaller portions and freeze them for later.

Share the wealth and spread the cost

Nowhere is it stated that the backyard BBQ host must foot the bill for the entire party.  Sure, you may want to be the “provider of the meat”, as that is your right to do so. However, let your friends chip into the fun too.  Divide and conquer is a great way to look at it. Have someone brings the chips and dip, someone else bring ice, side dishes and desserts.  Someone else can bring the beer and other adult beverages. At the end of the day, it’s all about the food, fun and camaraderie, so spread the cheer and the costs.