I'd like to start purchasing more meat from organic farming for my stir-frys, but the price level for high-tier cuts like chicken breast is almost unpayable, so I'd like to look into alternatives.

I don't care about which animal the meat is from, and it doesn't need to taste perfectly good or be 100% tender. What would be some cheap options that can reasonably be used in a stir-fry?

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    I think this is far too broad & would end up being a list question. Cheap cuts will not be good in a flash-cook of any type. But basically, if it can't climb out of a bucket, you can cook it. – censored Dec 13 '19 at 18:05
  • Looking for alternatives to organic meat (regular meat) ? or different kind of meat and/or other types of proteins (like tofu, tempeh) ? – Max Dec 13 '19 at 18:16
  • Not many cuts are cheaper than chicken breast. If that's unpayable, that's not organic, that's robbery. – user3528438 Dec 13 '19 at 18:21
  • @Max I'm looking for cheap types of meat, which are cheap enough to buy organic without spending too much. – MaxD Dec 13 '19 at 18:21
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    But, from what I heard, heart might be the most cheapest. – user3528438 Dec 13 '19 at 18:24

The problem with a lot of cheap cuts is that they are not really suitable for stir frying or other short cooking methods because they are less tender, more muscular, more sinewy. Instead, cheap cuts from e.g. beef often end up in pot roast dishes, where they can soften up and become really good.

That being said, a few good options for stir fry meats are, in my opinion:

  • chicken thighs, i.e., dark chicken meat, which also usually stays juicier than breast. I can get them at my local supermarket, de-boned, in free-range quality, for quite a low price. Need to do a little cleanup usually, but nothing too bad.
  • cutlets (schnitzel in German) from beef, veal or pork: tenderize them a bit with a meat mallet, then cut in strips across the grain
  • ground beef: while it's not whole meat, you can cook ground beef with a little bit of oil on medium-high meat to get the water out, then brown it in it's own fat and a little oil, then finally add your veggies and other ingredients for a "fine grained" stir fry, so to speak
  • other cuts of beef: Kenji L√≥pez-Alt covers cheap stir fry cuts from beef beautifully here
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  • Thanks, good answer and nice article. – MaxD Dec 13 '19 at 22:40

Chicken breast is popular in Western countries because:

  1. It can be cut in large portions with no bones
  2. It has a high protein to fat ratio (white meat), which is perceived as more healthful.

Restricting just to chicken, the solution is to buy dark meat parts that have bones: thighs and drumsticks. Where I shop in the USA, the per-unit price of boneless chicken breast is around 3-4 times that of drumsticks. There is some waste with the bones, and you have to cut the meat off the bones yourself, but drumsticks are much cheaper. My personal preference for a stir fry is chicken thigh, which is intermediate in price.

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  • Or buy a whole chicken, break it down and then you have a carcass to make into stock. – Dugan Dec 14 '19 at 2:41

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