How I process large quantities of ground beef…


I don’t always brown my beef this way, sometimes I use the traditional method of cooking it in a pan and standing over it chopping, stirring, chopping, stirring…yeah sometimes I do that. One thing I ALWAYS do though, is cook large batches at once. I never just cook enough for one meal.

I prefer to brown at least five to ten pounds at once. I then drain off the grease, cool it, and package it in small freezer bags in whatever amount equals enough for a family meal of spaghetti or whatnot. For my family, this usually means a cup to a cup and a half of ground beef. I freeze it and whenever I need it for a meal, simply thaw in the microwave or with whatever I am cooking and I’ve cut out a major step and a decent amount of mess!

If you end up having a meal such as tacos, which required extra beef, simply grab two bags.
Why get out the skillet, thaw, brown, and drain over and over when you can do it once and save yourself tons of time and repeated messes?

This is one of my favorite ways to cook beef as it doesn’t require the attention that a skillet browning does. Also, you can get those nice little granules of beef without having to chop, chop, chop….Its great for large quantities of beef as well and I find the cooking process is done in half the time, with a lot less fat left on your finished product.

Begin with ground beef. Why do I use ground beef instead of ground chuck or lean ground beef? Simple, its cheaper. Grocery prices have been rising rapidly, gas is through the roof and I still have to feed a family of four with the same amount of money as I had before all of this. Ground beef it is!

Fill a large pot with water, you’re going to need a good bit of water here.
Using your hand, take a clump of ground beef and submerge it.

Then moosh it up really well, leaving no large clumps.

Continue until all of the beef has been smooshed into the water.

Yeah, this isn’t pretty but puleeze. I’m a mom. I’ve seen worse by far.
Bring to a boil. You’ll need to stir it just a time or two until its all nice and browned and done.

Here you can either drain it with a collander or strain it out. I prefer to use this neat little strainer I have and just strain it out.
Until I have a whole bowl like this. At this point, I will get a one cup measuring cup after it has cooled and put one cup servings in individual freezer bags to have on hand whenever I need ground beef for a meal.
And look at all this you left behind!! ewwwww

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  1. Alicia Busch says

    Do you use this same frozen meat for recipes that call for ground beef with onions? I’m just curious how and if you can incorporate the onions after the beef has already been browned and frozen.

  2. MaryAnne Keough says

    I am going to do this with deer meat. I have been doing the browning large quantities in a skillet thing for years but this seems so much easier. I also add spices to the deer meat to turn into sausage for pizza and omlets or a quick fried tater meal. Our son gave me your book for Mothers Day- he is so sweet ! He also bought one for himself. .We live here in Ethridge TN, (our son is in Mobile now with the Coast Guard) any way this son always says “We country people eat deer meat-it’s the city folks who call it venison” He really is a country bumpkin! You can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy!

  3. Betsy says

    I just stumbled upon this and may try your method this week, because I have a bunch fo ground beef that I need to process. I’ve seen this boiling technique, a crockpot dry version, and cooking in the oven – all seem like good ways to cook a big amount of ground beef.

    I do wonder, though, about the cost savings on the using the cheaper 73/27 ground meat If you are cooking it and draining off the fat (as most of us do for most applications), you are pouring out 27% of the total weight, which is 1.35 pounds, leaving the equivalent of 3.65 pounds of meat. Whereas if you buy the leaner kind (say, 93/7) you’re only pouring off 7% of the weight, or .35 pounds, leaving 4.65 pounds. So, depending on the prices, you don’t actually save with the cheaper meat because of what you actually yield: 1 pound more actual meat with the leaner cut.

    • Cheryl Bone says

      Betsy, I agree with you on this. I buy cheaper than 93/7 for hamburgers but on this method, I have done both ground beef and pork sausage. I like the flavor of ground chuck, 85/15 for hamburgers and meatloaf. I agree you are losing a whole lot. I keep the juice, put it in refrigerator, skim off the fat and make soup base with it. I cook onions in everything also.

  4. Ann/alba says

    you know this is the way my Scottish Mother would make Mince & Tatters
    She would boil the onion & carrots together Skim fat thicken to a gravy spoon over mashed Potatoes… Yorkshire Pudding on the side.
    Talk about Comfort Food.
    Pubs in England make a Pie sized Yorkshire pudding put mince & potatoes in the swimming in Gravy….

  5. MSS Mom says

    In Trinidad we make fresh seasoning by putting pimentos, garlic, onions, chives, rosemary, thyme and some pepper to taste in a blender. blend that up with water, store it in a clean bottle in the fridge and it can be used to season any meat. At my house we soak batches of minced beef in water with a lime or lemon squeezed in it then we drain it and add the seasoning is mentioned above. it is then separated into several bags so that we can cook anytime.

  6. Spike says

    Christy I have been doing this with ground beef for years, my mom would always buy in bulk and cook the beef in water. To me it has a much better taste than fried beef, I rinse it immediately with cold water, let cool, and put in qt freezer bags . Makes cooking so much easier. So many of my friends had never heard of cooking beef this way, I was amazed!

  7. Donna says

    HI Christy,
    Thanks for posting this. A friend of mine, who was on the weight watcher diet, did this years ago. I thought it was wierd at the time but now it does sound like a good way to cut down on the bad fats!

  8. Marie Everett says

    Christy – I’m new to your site and found you because of this posting on Pinterest. I tried this method for the first time today. I’ll freeze the beef and try it within the next two weeks. My question is how do you dispose of all the water/grease from the pot? Today is Thursday, which is trash day for us, so I had an empty 25 pound bag of cat food. I put that bag inside a large trash bag and emptied the water/grease into the cat food bag. Then I just rolled the cat food bag down, closed the trash bag and took it all outside. But if I didn’t have the cat food bag…options? Thanks for your help with this question. Marie Everett

    • Sally Abbott says

      Marie, we are coffee drinkers at our house, so I always have some type of empty coffee can. When I drain my ground beef, I let the liquid cool and then pour into the coffee can, put the lid on it and in the garbage it goes.

  9. Kendall says

    This is a great idea. I have been processing 20 pound or more of ground beef for many years. I used the large skillet method and had several skillets to make it happen and a lot of chopping. I never thought of using the water method. I will try it the very next time that I have to process ground beef.

    • Eva says

      my recipe for making pork pie uses this method, you put the ground pork in the pot, add the water and smoosh it up, I use a potato masher and then drain it. I drain all the cooking water into empty tin cans and put them in the garbage. You don’t have to add soo much water either, just enough to lightly boil the meat. I then brown the pork to get it a bit drier, and make my pork pies.
      Otherwise I get my DH to stand at the stove cooking the large packages of ground beef in my big wok, they are always nice and separated when he does it. I pack it into the quart ziplock freezer containers, and just pop it out into whatever I am using to cook the meal.

  10. Nancy Cowan says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Christy!!! I just tried this method of preparing 5lb ground beef. It was so quick and easy! I have gathered so many great money saving tips and recipes from your website. You’re a genius!!!

  11. Carol Ziemann says

    My daughter buys ground chuck from Sam’s Club by the case, very good price, but it she freezes it with seal a meal heavy duty freezer plastic. Wait until I show her this. Wow, tacos, spaghetti, lasagna, chili, and on and on, will be easier and easier. Thank you. For everything. May the Lord Bless you and your family for bringing you to me. You don’t know how much you helped me.

  12. Kathy Owens says

    Hi Christy,

    This is how I always cook ground beef that is for chili. It removes a TON of fat from the meat also. I make hot dog chili very fine and chili for spaghetti has to have some chunks left in it. I love your site and your recipes. Many thanks,


  13. Susan says

    I put in onions and salt. I then put the broth in the fridge and next day throw away the fat on top. What is left is a very gelatinous beef broth that is delicious. Really! I have been reading a lot about bone broth and its healing properties. The more it gels the heathier it is. Cheap hanburger meat must have some bones in it!

    • says

      Hey Nancy!
      A lot of times, if someone isn’t really used to eating deer meat regularly, it will taste “off” to them. However, some deer taste more gamey than others. Even the way the deer is killed can affect the taste of the meat: If it isn’t a quick kill the deer releases more lactic acid which can make the meat taste different as well as being a bit tougher.
      I like to slow cook my deer meat. That allows it to marinate and absorb the flavors of whatever sauce or gravy I cook it in. My favorite is to slow cook it in beef gravy with some sliced up onions and mushrooms (if you like those). The most important thing, if you want to affect the flavor, is to marinate it in something with a flavor that really appeals to you.
      Another thing that a lot of people do is marinate it in buttermilk for several hours before cooking it however they normally would (even in the gravy like I mentioned before). A lot of success has been reported with the dairy helping to leech out undesired flavors. I just go straight to the slow cooker with gravy though.


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