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!
Bring to a boil. You’ll need to stir it just a time or two until its all nice and browned and done.
Hiya @The SouthernPlate Staff! I mean, Christy!
Long time no talk! My wonderful existence as a telecommuter came to an end in April when some of my hard-working and excellent colleagues were laid off due to the economy and those of us who were working at home were recalled to the newsroom. Hence, I don’t get much Twitter time or other online time that isn’t strictly work-related. Kinda like kids worry about “POS,” or, parent-over-shoulder, I’m a bit leery of EOS — or, editor-over-shoulder.
Yes, I am kind of complaining, but mostly, I’m grateful to still be employed as a journalist. This economy has not been kind to my kind (or to many other great folks in jobs they love).
I’ve been reading several of your posts (and harvesting your wonderful recipes) and when I got to this one, I just HAD to chime in. I’ve been browning and bagging ground beef — and freezing it in right-for-my-family quantities for years. It takes some time on the weekends but it is a huge weeknight-worknight time-saver! I don’t do the water method like you do; usually use a large stockpot to brown and drain.
After draining, I often add S&P and chopped onion and cook until onions are translucent, then add fresh minced garlic and cook until fragrant, before cooling, bagging and freezing, since many of the dishes I make call for ’em.
If my weekend is too busy for that, I’ll just bag up 1lb hunks of raw ground beef in quart-size freezer bags & mush them flat, squeezing the air out before stacking them in the freezer. Not as convenient as having pre-cooked gr. beef, but being flat like that, I can just slide it out of the bag and into a heated skillet to start cooking it, scraping down the cooked bits and turning the still-frozen side over in the pan.
Costco actually had huge trays of ground pork this week, which I will also be pre-browning — though I’ll save some, unbrowned, to combine w/gr. beef for a meatloaf at some point.
Gosh, my first time back here in months and I’ve gone on a Christy-esque tangent.
I hope you and yours are well and I wish you wonderful holidays!
Erika, even though this is an old post, just wanted to tell you that I like your method of cooking the onions and garlic in it ahead of time for various dishes. I cook the same way with ground beef, and almost always use onions and garlic browned with the meat, so this is a great idea to pass on. We can all use time-saving ideas. Thanks for the tip!
Christy, I could hug you for this idea. I do not look forward to separating big batches of beef into 1-pound bags to freeze. And how it leaves the fat behind! Utter genius. You rock.
I have done this once, since reading about it, but I don’t think it tastes the same as if it is actually browned. I used it one time straight out of the bag and after that I put it in a frying pay for just a few minutes. Now granted maybe the day, I didn’t think it tasted right, it could be that I wasn’t feeling quite right or something, my daughter that lives with me didn’t say anything and she is a real fussy, adult mentally disabled woman. When I got done boiling it, I spooned the meat out and did 1 1/2 cup pkgs. Then let the pot sit in the sink until all of the fat had congealed on the top of the water and spooned it out into my wastebasket. I don’t have room in my apartment to store empty cans, and milk cartons, etc.
When I do brown hamburger the real way, I have my daughter do it, this is just for a meal at a time, and then when no pink shows, she calls me and I go and turn the heat up high enough that a lot of the fat burns off or cooks off, which ever term would be the best to use.
That thought occurred to me too about the taste because I like to cook it until I get some of those yummy chewy little browned bits in it. That can still be done anyway no problem if that’s what you like then do that. Great idea about the fat hardening and then tossing it altho some of the posts mention that they do not drain the fat. I personally think there might be some flavor loss by draining it all off so may just toss half of it and see how that goes.
I just joined your site. This is the best idea for ground beef. I have never heard of this before but what a timesaver, especially having 3 hungry boys & 1 hungry man around!! Thanks
During college (so, so many years ago), I worked for a regional taco joint and this was the way they cooked their ground beef. The difference was — they cooked 20lbs at a time and didn’t add as much water (so it evaporated during cooking). They also didn’t drain the grease off. My mother always wanted to know the “secret” to the fine grain of taco meat and this is it. She does drain the grease off, though. *grin*
Thanks for sharing your technique. It brought back fun memories.
I normally brown large amounts at once, but wouldn’t the water wash out a lot of the flavor of the meat?
This is the best thing ever! I’ve got mine on the stove right now and I’m gagging at all of the fat that’s just rising up. It’s amazing I’ve been eating all of that for so long! Gross!