Tips on How to buy Ground Beef, and Storing Hamburger Meat

Ground Beef

Regardless of quality, most people use Ground Beef and don't know much about choosing and storing it.
Regardless of quality, most people use Ground Beef and don't know much about choosing and storing it.

Hamburgers, Chili, and Tacos oh my!

Ground Beef is one of those commonly eaten foods by people all over. Its taste and uses are great and they by the lb (pound). The beef also comes in different ways, on a tray covered with plastic, already made into pattys, made into meatloafs to cook yourself and many more. As new generations grow up (even old generations) many don't know how to buy and store ground beef. When was the last time you went to the supermarket and just found the cheapest ground beef there? Thats what I was thinking. Now you don't have to go for the cheapest and you can learn how to really buy your beef!

Wheres the Beef?

Wendys old ad used to be Wheres the beef? Which wasn't just for big buns, but due to the fact McDonalds and other chains used a high fat content which melted away.
Wendys old ad used to be Wheres the beef? Which wasn't just for big buns, but due to the fact McDonalds and other chains used a high fat content which melted away.

Wheres the Beef?!

Most people don't understand the ratio between meat and fat in the ground beef they buy. Really you can look at this two ways, flavor or size. The next time you go to the store, try to look for a large almost 5lb pack of 80% or 80/20 hamburger. Also, try to find a 5lb pack of 90/10 - You probably wont. The formula is simple, the larger number is amount of meat and the smaller one is fat content. While you eat a lot of the fat, it normally melts away making the burgers smaller then when you started - this happens to all burgers but the percentages are different. Just because every ratio can be used for everything that needs hamburger, some make things better. Who whats a dry burger and tacos that are extra greasy?

Wheres the Beef? Commercial

Note: I do not endorse Wendy's in with this video in this hub. It is just for educational purposes (and laughs).

Meat-Fat Ratio Table

Ground Beef Ratio
Uses
Why?
75/25
Tacos, Oversized Hamburgers, Manwitches, Pasta Topping, Sheppards Pie, Chili
This will make the Juicy Hamburgers everyone is looking for. The problem with this is its the most unhealthy with the most calories. Because of the fat content, a hamburger should start off 2.5 times larger then what you want the final outcome.
80/20
Hamburgers, Tacos, Pasta Topping, Sheppards Pie, Meatloaf
This is the most common used one for Hamburgers that are juicy and ok for calories, good for tacos and pasta topping to. Hamburgers should be 1.5-2 times the size desired.
85/15
Hamburgers, Tacos, Pasta Topping, Meatloaf
This should be the leanest meat used for Hamburgers. Any leaner then this is really dry and mostly tasteless. Hamburgers should be .5-1 times larger then desired.
90/10
Meatballs, Pasta Topping, Meatloaf
This is a very lean hamburger that makes good meatballs. Meatballs will fall apart if there is too much grease within them and this will bind together with the bread. It is also good for meatloaf for the same reason. Dieters who crave meat might make a burger out of this, but I wouldn't.
95/5
Meatballs, Pasta Topping, Meatloaf
This is the 2nd leanest Ground Beef you can buy. It is dry so it has to be mixed with other ingredients to taste good. Like on pasta with sauce or making meatballs with a lot of spices and bread that holds in grease.
Round to the nearest %. Some are 91% and some are 86% etc.. I used ratio but there the same as percents. The closer the meat is to this ratio the more likely it will do the uses.

Storing Tips at a Glance

  • Never wrap frozen Hamburgers/Ground Beef in tin foil. The meat will take on the flavor of the tin foil and it could make you sick! Even if you didn't get sick, it would taste utterly horrid.
  • When freezing ground beef as a clump, make sure its in a freezer bag or wrapped in two coatings of plastic to protect against freezer burn.
  • Frozen Ground Beef / Hamburgers should be used within 4 months of freezing, after that it is highly recommended to throw it out and get more.
  • It is wise to put a date on the Hamburgers / Ground Beef in the freezer so you don't keep the meat too long, and so you use the oldest before the newest - unmarked meat may take up space in freezer for months!

Now I have the Beef I want, now what?

Now you came home from the store you don't know how to store the meat. Well the best rule of thumb possible is to use the meat within TWO days of buying it. If you aren't going to use it within two days you can freeze it. If you wish to make hamburgers out of it make the patties first before you freeze it. Once frozen hamburger tends to fall apart from itself when thawed and cooked, so its best to go on pasta or make tacos or chili after being frozen all together. After being frozen it should still work for meatballs and meatloaf but I suggest using it fresh and then freezing the meatballs if you must.

Hamburger Makers

Tupperware Hamburger Press and Freezer Set in Chili Red
Tupperware Hamburger Press and Freezer Set in Chili Red

This is the most effective for occasional weekly use. It is great and almost identical to the one I have had for years.

 
Hamburger Keepers Set
Hamburger Keepers Set

Its always a good idea to get extra storage to have it, they also ware and warp from use after a long time.

 
Weston Burger Express Hamburger Press with Patty Ejector
Weston Burger Express Hamburger Press with Patty Ejector

This is the cream of the crop for quick patties. Doesn't everyone need a Patty Ejector?!

 

Tips for making Hamburger Patties (and to Freeze them)

There are two very good ways of making and freezing hamburger patties. Each way has its own strengths and weaknesses but out of personal experience these are the best two.

1. Use Tupperware Press and Storage

I personally been using this method for many years, you buy the press which is three pieces - A press, a circle cylinder to hold the patties in, and the base which is a locking plastic container. Its as simple as placing the cylinder into the base, add meat, and push down hard. Thats it.

2. Use a Hamburger Press and put on Paper

This uses a metal heavy duty hamburger press that you basically lay a piece of paper, add meat, and push down making perfect circular patties. These then stack on top of each other nicely. This works best for a day when you have your cook out and want to make a lot of patties fresh and quick.

Both of these methods are available on this page to the right. Its a great idea if you get the Tubberware set to add on the extra storage because 3-6 patties isn't a lot!

Comments 1 comment

soni2006 profile image

soni2006 6 years ago from New Delhi, India

Hello tharanx, this is an awesome hub on buying and storing ground beef. We never store it for more than 2 days in refrigerator just because it gets degraded easily. I learned a lot from your tips. Thanks for sharing.

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