Wednesday, June 18, 2008

WFMW: Ground Beef Tips

One of these days... I'll learn to keep my WFMW tip SIMPLE!!!

Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer hosts the weekly edition of "Works for me Wednesday", where you will find oodles and oodles of valuable tips. Click on over and join the rest of the blogging world at Shannon's blog!

Here are a few tips for using ground beef...

1. Prevent ground beef from sticking to your hands: This is so simple, it's not even funny, but so appropriate for the grilling season... before shaping your ground beef into patties for grilling, wet your hands. When you pat the meat out with wet hands, the water prevents the meat from sticking as badly, and makes it simple to clean up afterwards. This also works when you're making meatloaf, or meatballs. By the way... see number 2!!

2. Season, season, season: Always, ALWAYS season your ground beef before you cook it. For instance, add salt, season-salt or garlic powder to the raw ground beef so the flavors cook into the meat... even if you're making spaghetti sauce, tacos, etc. Other yummy things to add to ground beef for burgers are: 1 envelope of beef-onion soup mix; 1 envelope of ranch dressing; 1 envelope of good seasons dressing mix; Pampered Chef chipotle seasonings ... just don't put all of those seasonings in at the same time.

3. Tender and juicy burgers: When making hamburgers, meatballs, or meatloaf, don't "over-work" the ground beef, because this will cause the finished product to be dry and tough. The heat from your hands and the friction of mixing and squeezing the meat can break down those itty-bitty bits of fat that you want to keep in the ground beef for juicy results.

4. Get leaner ground beef without buying lean ground beef: Buy the cheaper ground beef instead of the leaner ground beef. Brown it as you would for tacos, spaghetti sauce or soups, then pour the cooked meat (grease and all) into a colander in the sink, and rinse with hot water. Drain well, and blot dry with paper towels. When you do this to regular ground beef, the fat content is reduced down to that of the more expensive lean ground beef. Tight times call for wise actions.

5. Prevent a lot of shrinkage when cooking meat up: The higher the cooking temperature, the greater the shrinkage, so cook ground beef at a medium heat rather than high heat. At the same time, make sure your grill or pan is hot when you place the meat on it so that it will sear the outside and seal the juices in.

6. Don't loose the flavor: Never use a fork to poke holes in your burgers or smash them down with a spatula while it is cooking because you will squeeze out all the juice and flavor.

And... here are some easy recipes for ground beef:

Gourmet Ground Beef Stroganoff
Shepherds Pie
Salisbury Steak
Baked Ziti
Chili Mac
Beef Enchiladas


Sonshine said...

Great tips! Thanks for sharing!

I wonder what the meat would taste like if one put all those seasonings that you listed in the meat all at once! LOL

Jen said...

Great tip with the water and your hands..I had no do have good tips...I learned from you with the plastic knife and cutting brownies..remember that one? I loved your recipes too.

Overwhelmed! said...

Great tips! Thanks for sharing. :)

Donnetta said...

Now how can it be that I have been cooking ground beef all this time and dind't know so many of these fantastic tips?? Thanks for sharing them!

And bookmarking the page to come back to the recipes later!

Barb said...

You just amaze me, the way you so thoroughly cover a subject when you write about it, GiBee. All of these are great tips and I've been telling my girls forever, overhandling is the worst thing you can possibly do to ground beef. It's guaranteed to make it mealy and mush. Great, great tips!

Sandy said...

OK GiBee, now I am hungry! LOL. Great tips!!

Kamis Khlopchyk said...

Great tips though I would add that it's not a good idea to put grease down the drain... trust me when I say calling Rotorooter is not good for the pocketbook :-)

Shawna said...

Yes, now I am hungry, too. lol Thanks for all of these great tips, GiBee!