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Ground Beef

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A.K.A

chopped meat; ground meat; hamburger

What is it?

Ground beef often gets shaped into patties for hamburgers, but it can also be the main ingredient in meatballs, meatloaf, and chili. Depending on where the meat came from on the cow, it will have more or less fat. Though percentages vary from region to region, ground round (from the hind leg) and ground sirloin (from the small end of the back) are more lean. Ground chuck (from the shoulder) has the most fat. A good percentage for most cooking is 20% fat. Less than that can give you dry and crumbly results. Quite often a mix of chuck (for fat) and sirloin (for flavor) works best.

Don’t have it?

You can grind your own beef on a home meat grinder or in the food processor, which will give you meat that’s chopped, rather than ground. Other meats, pork, lamb, veal, and even chicken can substitute for all or some of ground beef, though they have different fat content and flavor.

How to choose:

The package may list the percentage of lean meat rather than fat. If you see a package labeled 80%, it means 80% lean, not 80% fat!

How to prep:

When handling ground beef, keep your hands and work surfaces clean to prevent food-borne illness. The USDA also recommends cooking ground beef to an internal temperature of 160°F. Ground beef benefits from ample seasoning.

How to store:

Keep ground beef well wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated. It has a short shelf life so use it soon after purchasing or freeze for longer storage.

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