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Recipes for Busy Moms Recipes for Busy Moms

Ingredient of the Week, August 5: Ground Beef

Posted by on Aug. 4, 2013 at 2:20 AM
  • 13 Replies

                        

 Ground beef is simply ground up lesser cuts of beef. It is considered accepted theory that the concept of ground beef was a creation of the Mongolian and Turkic tribe. The tribes had access to Asian cattle and they shredded the low quality meat to make it more digestible.

How The Name Ground Beef Became Known As Hamburger
Russian Tartars brought the food to Germany before the 14th century. In Germany the meat was seasoned and cooked or even eaten raw. This gave rise to a food for the commoners of the Hamburg region and the beef was referred to as Hamburg Steak.

Ground Beef Consumption In the U.S.

Roughly 42% of all beef eaten in the United States is in the form of ground beef. According to the USDA statistics, Americans consume about 67 pounds of ground beef each year. Most of that is purchased as fresh ground beef, prepared and eaten at home. The obvious reason for that is that the meat is economical and can be prepared in a myriad of ways.

The most popular ground beef recipes in the United States are hamburgers, casseroles and chili with an up and coming runner up of ground beef tacos.

Ground Beef Production And Grades

Ground beef is made from various cuts of beef (typically tougher) and sometimes with the addition of scrap and trimmings. Only products defined and sold as “hamburger” can have added fat. Additionally, ground beef products may have added seasonings but the USDA does not allow additions of water or fillers.

Standard Grades Of Ground Beef
 Cut  % of Lean  % Of Fat  Calories per ounce* 
 Ground Beef  70% lean  30% fat  77
 Ground Chuck  80% lean  20% fat  76
 Ground Sirloin  85% lean  15% fat  73
 Ground Round  90% lean  10% fat  65
 *Crumbled and cooked

Grass Fed, Organic, and Kobe/Wagyu
In addition to standard grading there are some new varieties on the market you will want to be aware of.

Grass Fed Beef – Grass fed means that for the lifetime of the animal it consumed a diet of forage consisting of grasses, legumes, Brassica). Animals cannot be fed grain or grain byproducts. Mineral and vitamin supplementation is allowed.

Organic Beef – By definition this means that beef must be fed 100% organic feeds that contain no animal parts. Additionally the animals must be allowed access to outdoors, sun, grass and pasture.

Kobe / Wagyu Beef - Kobe beef grown in the U.S. referred to as Wagyu beef. The typical ground beef is “chuck” which offers enough fat to be moist with good flavor. This is the most expensive ground beef available and can be found in some specialty markets as well as online.  Wagyu ground beef  sells for about $12.50lb.

                       

Buying Ground Beef

First, select the appropriate fat content for your recipe.  Although very lean grades are more healthful they tend to be drier and don't always have the flavor you want.  If you purchase fattier grades make sure to drain off excess fat and even blot it on paper towels before it goes into the recipe.

Fresh VS Frozen
We strongly encourage you to purchase fresh ground beef from a reputable grocer or butcher who has a high turn-over of products.  Small stores with lower sales volume may keep product for longer periods of time.

Even though we now have labeling laws for origins of meat those laws do not apply to processed products such as some “hamburger patties” sold in the frozen food section as well as other processed foods.

When you purchase fresh ground beef there is typically a “use or freeze by” date on the package.  You should use fresh ground beef within a day of purchase or package it and put it in your freezer.

Sell By or Expiration Dates – The federal government does not require retailers to put sell by or expiration dates on meat packaging. Primarily it is done by the retailer so that they know when to rotate or remove stock. Clearly it is helpful for the consumer as well. Dating is only as good as storage and handling practices. If the product has been out of refrigeration too long the product could be well beyond it’s prime before a sell by date is exceeded.

What The Meat Should Look Like – Typically packaged or butcher-bulk ground beef will be bright red on the outside. The interior meat may turn a slight grey color and this is normal. However; if you purchase ground beef that is grey in color all-over there is a good chance it is beginning to spoil.  If the grayish meat does not have an “off smell” then it should be OK to eat provided it is cooked and used immediately; otherwise discard it.

Freshly Ground Or Make Your Own

Ground beef is essentially at the end of the production chain of beef products.  By virtue of the fact it is ground and exposed to more air it is more prone to bacterial contamination.  There are a couple of simple alternatives to the 'plant ground' ground beef found in most stores.

Have The Ground Beef Made For You
If you shop at a butcher or a grocery store with a butcher you can have them grind the beef for you.  I typically pick out a piece of chuck roast (or sirloin, depending on what I need) and I ask the butcher to put it though their grinder.   Although we don't know how clean the grinders are at least we know the meat that went into our ground beef.   

Safe Ground Beef Handling And Cooking Practices


Use or Freeze – Ground beef should be used or frozen within 2 days of purchase (or less if labeling advises).

Freeze – Don’t freeze meats in butcher wrappings or store packaging. Work on a clean work surface. Repackage portion-size beef in freezer paper or plastic freezer bags. Remove as much air from the packaging as possible to reduce freezer burn. Date the package and use within 6 months.
Wash all surfaces well after packaging.

Cooking – Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160F. This temperature will kill potential E.coli bacteria. Undercooked ground beef is one of the primary sources for this food-borne illness.  Don't be misguided by the color of the meat.  When in doubt use an instant read meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. This is especially critical when feeding children or any adults with an immune deficiency problems.

Handling - Wash Your Hands & Works Surfaces
E.coli can be transferred from your hands, dishes or work surfaces.  Wash your hands well for a minimum for 20 seconds using warm soapy water.  Do this before and after handling meat. Wash all dishes, work surfaces, cutting boards, and utensils that come in contact with the raw meat.

                        

What are your favorite ways to use ground beef?

by on Aug. 4, 2013 at 2:20 AM
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Replies (1-10):
frndlyfn
by Bronze Member on Aug. 4, 2013 at 2:23 AM

We buy ours from a local store that purchases a whole side of beef and then grinds it themselves every day.  We buy fresh and ask them to wrap for freezing when we know it will not be used that day when we get home.  It is hormone free, grass fed from our region and lower costs than the crap that walmart sells in our area.

ZsMommy
by Bronze Member on Aug. 4, 2013 at 2:23 AM
1 mom liked this

You can't sleep Luci? You're in the same time zone as me. Why are you awake? (I'm headed to bed)

Blue_Spiral
by on Aug. 4, 2013 at 2:23 AM
1 mom liked this


Good information!

My mother makes a dish of ground beef, salsa and sour cream mixed with bow tie pasta, kidney beans, red onion and corn.

It is one of my favorite things my mother makes. 

ZsMommy
by Bronze Member on Aug. 4, 2013 at 2:25 AM

Now to answer your question-I haven't purchased ground beef in about 12 years-switched to turkey burger. Ground beef tastes funny" to me after this long. Yes-I'll get an occasional beef burger out,but we just don't eat it at home.

SweetLuci
by Luci on Aug. 4, 2013 at 2:47 AM
1 mom liked this
I'm actually in Las Vegas right now, so 3 hours difference, But a busy day tomorrow so figured I'd get this done tonight! lol
Quoting ZsMommy:

You can't sleep Luci? You're in the same time zone as me. Why are you awake? (I'm headed to bed)

frndlyfn
by Bronze Member on Aug. 4, 2013 at 2:50 AM

Do you buy fresh ground turkey or the prepackaged stuff?   Last time i tried ground turkey it made me sick.

Quoting ZsMommy:

Now to answer your question-I haven't purchased ground beef in about 12 years-switched to turkey burger. Ground beef tastes funny" to me after this long. Yes-I'll get an occasional beef burger out,but we just don't eat it at home.


ZsMommy
by Bronze Member on Aug. 4, 2013 at 5:31 AM

Both. Mainly fresh but I've purchased frozen at Aldi's,but I prefer fresh.

Quoting frndlyfn:

Do you buy fresh ground turkey or the prepackaged stuff?   Last time i tried ground turkey it made me sick.

Quoting ZsMommy:

Now to answer your question-I haven't purchased ground beef in about 12 years-switched to turkey burger. Ground beef tastes funny" to me after this long. Yes-I'll get an occasional beef burger out,but we just don't eat it at home.



jjamom
by Silver Member on Aug. 4, 2013 at 10:24 AM
Our favs are Salisbury steak. meatloaf and meatballs.
goddess99
by Michelle on Aug. 4, 2013 at 1:37 PM

Haven't eaten beef in 20 years.

periwinkle163
by on Aug. 4, 2013 at 6:08 PM

Tacos, chili, meatballs the ways are endless, lol.

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