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Ground Beef Basics


View my Kosher Beef Guide for a better understanding of the Kosher Forequarter.

Today, we are focusing on ground beef, which can come from the Chuck section or the Neck. We'll talk about Chuck some other time.


Although very tasty, the meat in the neck is made up mostly of connective tissue and bone.  It can either be cubed, minced or used to make stock.

ground beef


Minced meat (ground beef) is one of my all-time favorites.  Whether it's cottage or shepherd's pie (flavored ground beef topped with a layer of mashed potato),  Chilli and tacos, fajitas, Chilli con carne, meat loaf, lasagne, stuffed cabbage, sloppy Joes, spaghetti bolognese, stuffed peppers or dumplings,  it is so versatile and there's so much you can do with ground beef.

With the BBQ season approaching and to get things 'rolling' so to speak, I thought we should start off with Steakhouse Burger Patties.

Here are my tips for the perfect beef burger patties or meatballs.

  • Fat - you need a bit of natural beef fat in the meat otherwise they will be as hard as rocks!  It also gives a lovely flavor.
  • Ground beef goes bad very quickly, so if you're not going to use it the same day, freeze it.
  • To defrost, place the ground beef in the fridge as it must stay cold.
  • Never defrost meat then refreeze it in its raw state.  Defrost it, cook it and then freeze it.
  • Cooked ground beef actually lasts for about 4 or 5 days in the fridge.
  • All meat shrinks in size when it is cooked and ground beef shrinks even more when it is cooked on a high temperature.
  • Cooking ground beef at a moderate temperature will prevent extra shrinkage and retain the moisture.
  • Overcooking causes moisture and fat to be drawn out of the meat, making it very dry and tasteless.

A beef patty recipe is probably the most discussed recipe around.   Why? Because people love sharing their secret ingredient for the perfect patty.   Whether it's  grated apple, BBQ sauce, ketchup, paprika or mustard, everybody believes they have the best!   And why not?  That's what eating is all about.  Some like it plain, some prefer spicy,  but if there's one tip I can give for these steakhouse burgers,  it's that you ask your butcher for a coarser texture than 'normal' ground beef.   I prefer mine minced on a  6.5 mm =  ¼ " mincing plate.  This is the size most steakhouses prefer for their burgers.   A finer mince may cause your patty to be too compact and firm and the coarser mince helps to aerate the beef patty and give it that steakhouse feel!

When combining the ingredients together to form the patties, do it without too much fuss and keep mixing to a minimum.  The best burgers are those that come straight off the grill onto the bun and therefore, partially cooking them and reheating them later, isn't a good idea!

Another great ground beef recipe is when it is turned into Italian Beef Tomato Sauce.