Also indexed as: Ground Round, Hamburger
See also: Recipes with Beef
Cooks find endless uses for this all-American classic.
Buying and storing
Ground beef is a quick and easy staple of the American diet, the key ingredient in hundreds of casseroles and classics such as chili and meat-based spaghetti sauce. In the United States, ground beef often finds its way into hamburgers. Although hamburgers take their name from the German city of Hamburg, the familiar ground beef patty served in a bun seems to have been launched in 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair.
Ground beef comes mostly from the chuck, sirloin, and round, though the taste depends more on the amount of fat than on the cut of origin. The fat content of ground beef varies, so it’s important to check the label for this information. A higher fat content makes for a juicy hamburger. For a casserole, where the hamburger is cooked and the fat poured off, a lower-fat ground beef might be a better choice.
Regular ground beef usually contains 25% fat by weight.
Lean ground beef usually contains 10% fat by weight.
Extra-lean ground beef usually contains 5% fat by weight.
Buying and storing tips
Ground beef should have a bright red color and be free of gray or brown patches. Beef normally has a purple-red color but takes on a cherry-red hue, known as the “bloom,” when exposed to oxygen. While the exterior is bright red, the interior of the meat retains the darker color. Vacuum-packed beef also shows this purplish color. With lengthy exposure to oxygen, ground beef will turn brown. This is a sign that the beef is no longer fresh and needs to be used immediately.
Check the label for fat content and the “sell-by” date. The label may also tell you which part of the animal the hamburger comes from, for instance, the round or chuck. For the leanest possible beef, buy a lean cut of meat and ask your butcher to trim the fat and grind it for you.
Store ground beef in its original packaging in the coldest part of the refrigerator, where it will keep for 1 to 2 days. It may be frozen in this packaging for up to two weeks. For longer freezing, wrap the meat in heavy-duty aluminum foil, freezer paper, or freezer bags. Ground beef will keep 3 to 4 months in the freezer. Defrost it in the refrigerator, allowing 12 hours for thick hamburgers. Cook as soon as possible after defrosting.
Ground beef is commonly available in grocery stores.
Preparation, uses, and tips
Because it is finely ground, this type of beef is particularly vulnerable to bacteria. It should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F (70°C).
To pan-fry, heat skillet over medium heat. Use ground beef formed into patties or meatballs, or crumble to cook for casseroles. Cook ground beef on the heated skillet, turning to cook all outer surfaces. Ground beef patties take 10 to 12 minutes and are done when the interior is brown but still juicy.
To broil, preheat the broiler and form ground beef into 1/2-inch (1.3cm) patties. Place on a broiler pan in the oven, 3 to 4 inches (7.6–10.2cm) from the heat source. Broil, turning once, until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (70°C).
To grill, form into 1/2-inch (1.3cm) patties and place on the grill directly over the heat source. Cook, turning once, until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (70°C), approximately 11 to 13 minutes.
To bake, combine ground beef with onions, chopped vegetables, herbs, spices, salt, and pepper. Form into a loaf and place in an ovenproof dish. Cook at 350°F (180°C) for 1 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (70°C).
To microwave hamburgers, form ground beef into patties, place on a greased baking dish, and microwave on high 4 to 10 minutes, depending on quantity. Halfway through cooking, turn patties and drain drippings. To microwave bulk ground beef, place beef in a bowl, then cook on High, 9 minutes per pound (445g). Stir several times during cooking.
Regular ground beef (broiled), 3 oz. (85.05g)
Total Fat: 17.5g
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value, based upon United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the USDA Recommended Daily Value. Nutritional information and daily nutritional guidelines may vary in different countries. Please consult the appropriate organization in your country for specific nutritional values and the recommended daily guidelines.