The Real Deal: How to save on your Independence Day barbecue amid high food prices
Your July Fourth cookouts will be feeling the financial heat this holiday weekend.
News 12 New Jersey's Carissa Lawson has The Real Deal on what is costing more, what's staying the same in price, and some tricks to help you save at the store.
Prices for barbecue items climbed 17% overall compared to a year ago, according to a survey from the American Farm Bureau Federation this week.
News 12 spoke with financial expert, Caleb Silver with Investopedia, who actually broke down the higher prices for those individual barbecue staples this year.
"Basically, anything you're putting on your grill or in your grill is costing you more money. Let's start with chicken. Wings up 53.8% from a year ago, propane to power up that grill up, 26.5%. Hot dogs are up 10.4%, and beer, you've have got to wash it down with something, that's up 5% from a year ago."
The question now is there any way to actually save some money despite the higher food prices?
Chef Sam Mozzarella, of Catrina's International, shared some expert advice on how you Can get more July 4th bang for your buck.
Mozzarella has been cooking since he was 12-years old.
"I've been doing this a long time, so you have got to learn how to shop and spend wisely," Mozzarella says. His No. 1 money saving sizzling advice is for your barbecue meats, like hamburgers.
"I pay wholesale prices, but I've seen prices for chopped meat, $7.99 a pound and better," he says. Mozzarella advises to buy the ground beef and make the patties yourself.
"You have got to look at it, it's more work. So every cut they make, they charge more you have to put in a little bit a work yourself, even with the vegetables. Instead of buying the veggies, already cut up, buy them whole, clean them and cut them up yourself," he says.
"The best thing to do with chicken is buy the whole chicken and cut it yourself, because when you buy the stuff already cut, they charge different prices, different prices if they take the skin off, different prices if they take the bone out," Mozzarella says. "One chicken you can cut it into 8 to 10 pieces."
Mozzarella says there's a way to save on the higher cost of propane gas to fire up that grill as well.
"Just don't let it run for no reason. People leave it on. They forget to shut their valve. You lose gas that way. Some people, if they're not cooking, they still have the barbecue running. Shut the grill off," Mozzarella says.
Another money saving tip -- keep your barbecue get together simple. It's what will save you the most.
"At a barbecue, nobody expects to see all kinds of fancy stuff, sometimes, but for the most part, the majority of everybody, cooking a barbecue-- hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken -- simple stuff," Mozzarella says.
Mozzarella says his final piece of advice for you and your guests who are dealing with higher food prices this Fourth of July holiday is to have a plate of patience.
"If we can go through the pandemic, we can go through this, too," Mozzarella says.
Mozzarella also says don't be embarrassed to go to more than one place to get food items on sale.