Ground Beef SelectionWhen buying packaged ground beef, be sure there are no tears in the packaging and always check the expiration date. Bulk ground beef is often sold in round chub rolls, vacuum-packed in a wrapper you cannot see through. With this type of packaging, you are pretty much at the mercy of the market, because you cannot see the meat to make any visual judgements. Since it is usually the best bargain, pay attention to the expiration date and cross your fingers.
Clear-wrap packages give you more of a visual choice. The meat should be red, with the fat marbling uniformly mixed.
For most recipe applications, ground chuck is the best choice. Chuck comes from an area of the cow that is more exercised, giving it more robust flavor. It has enough fat to make it juicy, but not so much that it shrinks down to nothing when cooked. Keep in mind that the flavor compounds in fat also stimulate saliva flow, hence succulence and a pleasurable dining experience.
Ground sirloin and ground round make adequate burgers, but only if cooked to less than medium doneness. Longer cooking renders the meat dry and flavorless. Although the USDA now recommends all beef be cooked to at least medium doneness, many gourmands still opt for flavor and cook to rare or medium-rare. Choose your ground beef according to your tastes.
Ground Beef StorageFresh ground beef should be stored in the coldest part of your refrigerator and used or frozen within 2 days.
To freeze ground beef, remove it from the market packaging and divide into specific recipe portions (1/2 pound, 1 pound, 2 pounds, etc.). Wrap in plastic wrap or foil and place in airtight plastic sealable bags. Freeze up to three months.
Burger patties can be formed, separated by butcher paper or plastic wrap, sealed in a zip-top bag, and frozen for quick individual meals.
Plan in advance to thaw frozen ground beef in the refrigerator.
Four ounces of cooked ground beef is considered 1 serving. One pound raw beef will equal 2 cups ground beef.
More About Ground Beef and Hamburger Recipes: Ground Beef Cooking Tips
Ground Beef Labels and Fat Content
Ground Beef Selection and Storage
What is in ground beef? FAQ
How to Grind Your Own Ground Beef
Ground Beef Coloration and Safe Handling
Ground Beef History
Ground Beef Recipes - Hamburger Recipes
Ground Beef - Beef Mince Photo © 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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