Are you looking for ways to save money on lunch meat?
Steve wanted to see what kind of “deal” we could get on ham lunch meat if we sliced up a smoked, shank ham for our sandwiches. Could we get quality sandwich slices for less?
We bought our shank ham on sale for 97 cents a pound. Because the Smithfield ham we bought was smoked, it was ready to eat (no need to cook it.)
In this article we’ve also placed two videos:
- How to slice a shank ham for inexpensive lunch meat
- Three ways to buy lunch meat and save money.
Video: 3 Ways to Buy Lunch Meat & Save Money
In this video, we share 3 ways you can purchase lunch meat. We start with the most expensive way and move to the least expensive. You may be surprised by how much money you can save.
Three places in the grocery store to buy lunch meat:
- Deli Counter: $7 to $10 per pound
- Wall Deli: $4 to $7 per pound
- Chubs from the Meat Department: $3 to $5 per pound
In the video, we explain how much you can expect to save by shopping smarter.
Shank Ham Lunch Meat Estimate
We wanted to determine how much lean, sliced lunchmeat could we get out of an 11.19-pound shank ham.
The ham cost $10.85. We thought that there would be about 20 to 30 percent waste when we subtracted fat and the bone.
So our expectation was that we would end up with about 7.5 pounds of lunch meat.
If we ended up with that much our final cost per pound would be $1.44 per pound; that’s a fairly good price for lean ham lunchmeat.
Video: Slicing A Shank Ham
To record our test, we decided to shoot one of our first “How To” videos – it’s not the best cinematography, but you’ll get the concept of how we sliced the ham.
The Shank Ham Slicing Process
We’ve sliced large chubs of meat before, but never a shank ham. Following are the steps we take when slicing our own lunchmeat.
Step 1. Get Rid of the Fat
First Steve cut off most of the fat from the outside of the shank ham.
Then he cut several large chunks of ham off of the shank and started slicing it on our Oster home meat slicer (see a list of the best selling home meat slicers on Amazon here).
Because we cut off uneven chunks of ham, our slices weren’t perfectly shaped, like pressed and formed lunchmeat usually is. But it was uniform in thickness.
Step 3. Slice with Someone Else
We usually slice lunchmeat with two people. One person does the slicing; the second person “catches” and stacks the sliced meat as it comes off the cutter.
Step 4. Store the Sliced Ham Lunchmeat
We store the lunchmeat in plastic containers or zippered plastic bags in 1-pound servings. We put a paper towel on the bottom of the stack of meat to absorb any liquid from the meat when it is defrosted. Then we freeze the lunchmeat so that it can be consumed in smaller portions, with less risk of the meat going bad before we finish it.
When we take the lunchmeat out of the freezer and defrost it for use on sandwiches, we are careful to change the paper towel when it is saturated with water to minimize any bacteria growth. This habit keeps the lunchmeat fresher, longer.
The Final Cost of our Lunch Meat Test
In the end, our 11.19 pounds of shank ham resulted in 6.25 pounds of sliced lunch meat – 1.25 pounds less than we expected.
We had 2.5 pounds of fat and 1 pound of bone (with a little meat left on it for use in split pea soup). Some of the meat disappeared . . . we think the brothers who were running the slicer may have sampled the ham because the numbers just don’t add up.
But in the end, our $10.85 worth of ham resulted in lunch meat that cost $1.66 per pound.
Conclusion – Shank Ham Lunch Meat Results
We thought the savings would be greater than they were. Still, $1.66 per pound is a good price. But we have scored some better deals when prepackaged, sliced ham was marked down because it was going out of code.
Slicing our own lunchmeat from a shank ham, bought on sale, is a fairly good way to score some high quality, discounted lunchmeat.
But buying chubs of lunch meat from the meat department of your local grocery store and having them slice it is probably the cheapest way to get inexpensive lunch meat.
What do you think, are the savings worth the effort?
For more meat savings, visit our money saving tips page.
And for other grocery savings, visit this money saving tips with lots of different categories!