The first step to creating a delicious and flavorful dish with ground beef is to know which beef is best for the recipe you you’re cooking.
Choose 73/27 for Fatty, Flavorful Results
Ground beef that that’s 73-75% lean is perfect for recipes that call for browning and pouring off drippings. The extra fat allows the browned crumbles to retain their own flavor and moisture while adding richness to sauces and chilis.
Choose 80/20 for Juicy Burgers
Ground beef with an 80/20 ratio is perfect for burgers, as the fat content helps the burgers retain their juiciness in high-heat, low-moisture environments like the grill, while the lean meat helps the burgers keep their shape.
Choose 93/7 for Lean and Tasty Results
With a ratio of 93% lean meat to only 7% fat, this ground beef is a healthy and flavorful option, perfect for a wide variety of recipes.
Hot Tips for Cooking Ground Beef
For evenly browned beef that that’s full of flavor, follow these hot tips:
Use Oil to Prevent Meat from Sticking to the Pan
Whether you choose a fattier ratio or a leaner blend, using a bit of oil will keep the ground beef from sticking to the pan. For leaner ratios, olive oil is an excellent choice to add richness and flavor, but vegetable oil works well, too, especially for higher-heat cooking.
Use a Cast-iron Skillet
For crispy, juicy beef, use a preheated cast-iron skillet. Add your oil, followed by the ground beef, and gently break the meat apart as it browns for an even sear. While the easiest way to determine doneness is color, your ground beef should also reach an internal temperature of 160°F. Remember, a cast-iron skillet will retain its heat long after you you’ve turned off the burner, and the meat will continue to cook. To prevent overcooking, and to remove excess oil, use a slotted spoon to quickly transfer your cooked beef to a dish.
Tenderizing Ground Beef
To tenderize your ground beef, add baking soda. Baking soda raises the pH of the meat's surface, making it more difficult for proteins to bond. This will keep your ground beef tender, moist and perfectly crumbly when it it’s cooked. Add ⅓ tsp. of baking soda per pound of meat, letting it sit for 15 minutes before cooking.
Spice it Up
After you you’ve tenderized the meat, pack in the flavor by adding your favorite seasonings. If you you’re using a highly pigmented blend of spices, like a taco or chili seasoning mix, you may want to wait until the meat is cooking to add, so you can easily tell when your meat is perfectly browned.
How to Drain Grease from Ground Beef
Once you you’ve cooked your ground beef to juicy perfection, you may want to drain the excess grease released in the process. For extra-lean ground beef, transferring the beef to another dish with a slotted spoon may do the trick, but for fattier blends, you you’ll want to use a method that will remove the bulk of the grease quickly. To do this, line a bowl with foil and top with a strainer. Strain the cooked beef, letting excess fat and grease drip into the foil. Wait for the grease to cool, about 15 minutes, and then throw it out for easy cleanup.
Meal Prepping with Ground Beef
Cooking ground beef in bulk is a great way to meal prep, making weeknight dinners a breeze and allowing you to quickly bulk up pantry staples like jarred sauces. Store cooked ground beef in the refrigerator for a few days, or store in a zip-top bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.