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Friday, February 20, 2015

Getting a real beefy flavor and texture using ground beef

Let's face it, ground beef is often (though not always) the least expensive beef, but also when used as mince, it seems to lack that beefiness that I crave.

Soooooo, if ground beef is the only beef I can afford, I like to prepare it in ways that maximize the beefiness. For me, that means, serving it in chunks, like meatballs, burger patties, Salisbury steak, meatloaf (if there aren't too many "stretchers" in the mix),

and baked in a sheet, using this method, then cutting the cooked ground beef into strips to use in beef with broccoli and for making French dip or bbq beef sandwiches.

I take 1 pound of ground beef, mix in some salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and herbs. My favorite herb with beef is thyme, but oregano will also add flavor.

While you can use fresh garlic and minced onion, I find the powder diffuses flavor through the whole batch of beef better, and those little "bits" don't fall out of the cooked meat strips.

I press this meat mixture into a rimmed baking sheet, like a jelly roll pan (to catch drippings). If the beef is very lean, I grease the pan first. The beef should be about 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thick all over.

Bake in the oven, about 425 degrees F, until browned all over, and thoroughly cooked, about 15-23 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to rest for 1 minute,

then cut into strips for topping a French roll, for French dip sandwiches, or, adding to the stir-fried vegetables at the last minute for beef with broccoli, or, topped with bbq sauce, and placed on small buns for bbq beef sliders.

For the French dip sandwiches, you can make an easy au jus with just beef bouillon granules, onion and garlic powders, heated in water.



Kris said...

Good tip! We don't eat a lot of beef, but sometimes it does sound tasty. All of us (except my son) love meatloaf--the cooking smells really get my appetite going.

Cat said...

Nice idea! I do something similar to replace the meatballs in homemade Italian Wedding Soup. I got tired of making all the tiny meatballs, so started pressing the meat into a pan like this, then cutting into small cubes (or crumbles, if it sticks a bit).

Lili said...

Hi Kris,
We don't eat a lot of beef either, sadly for me. I've been really craving it this past year. I think I need the extra protein and iron. So, when we do have some, I try to make the very most of it!

Oooh, a really good meatloaf does smell yummy while baking!

Lili said...

Hi Cat,
that's a great idea to make the mini meatballs in a sheet then cut up. That must save you bunches of time! I'll remember that -- thanks!

Anonymous said...

what a great idea

live and learn said...

Interesting. I never thought about doing this, but I would rather have my meat distributed throughout a dish so I can just have a little bit at a time. But I think my family would like this and it would be as easy as browning meat on top of the stove and freezing that.

Lili said...

Thank you, Linda!

Lili said...

Hi live and learn,
I guess we each have our preferences. I can understand your wanting to have small bits of meat stretched out through the dish.

Anne in the kitchen said...

I have never done beef like this, but I will give it a try. Does it freeze well after cooking and slicing?

Lili said...

Hi Anne,
I've never frozen beef cooked in this way. But I imagine it would freeze/thaw/reheat in the same way that cooked burger patties do.

When I make beef in this way, I've always cooked-to-order for that night's dinner, as it's very easy to do, and doesn't require constant monitoring, as cooking ground beef to crumbles on the stove does.

Hope you like how it works for you!

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