Grilling on a budget? Raid the pantry

Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:36am EDT
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Americans are facing sticker shock this summer, with the price of hamburgers, hot dogs, tomatoes and other staples for barbecues rising as much as 7 percent.

With grilling for many Americans likely to move from their homes to tailgate parties at football games, a little planning and a bit of creativity could remove some of the stings at the cash register without much sacrifice in flavor and quality, experts say.

Clipping coupons, stocking up on sales items, buying cheaper cuts of meat are easy first steps, said Sunny Anderson, host of the television show "Cooking for Real."

"The rule of thumb is usually that the more you do at home, the less it costs," she said.

Use what you may already have. Substitute a white vinegar in a recipe if you have apple vinegar instead of buying a new bottle of white vinegar, she suggests.

"I think this is a time when people should look and use up what's in their pantry," Anderson said.

Also, don't throw away those last few pieces of steaks and chicken. Use them to make lunch and dinner, she says.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is food writer and barbecue expert Steven Raichlen's suggestion: consider buying a whole pig or cow and divide it among family members, if you have the storage.   Continued...

<p>Beef is grilled in Yokohama, south of Tokyo in this July 27, 2011 file photo. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao</p>