Learn how to cook ground beef in a way that ensures it stays juicy while achieving a beautiful browned finish. In this article, I’ll share my secrets to cooking ground beef perfectly every single time. Ground beef is an essential ingredient in countless dishes, making it a vital skill to master. Whether you’re using it for a basic pasta sauce, baked ziti, nacho dip, or an easy Mexican skillet dinner, knowing how to cook ground beef well is a game-changer in the kitchen.
Video: How To Cook Perfect Ground Beef
Shopping For Ground Beef
When it comes to purchasing ground beef, you’ll find various options at your local store. Pay attention to the fat-to-lean content and specific cut information, if available. The most common ratio is 85/15, consisting of 85% lean ground beef and 15% fat, which is considered all-purpose. However, if you’re aiming for super juicy burgers, opt for a higher fat content like 70/30 or 80/20. On the other hand, if you’re making tacos or sauces, extra-lean ground beef with a fat content of 90/10 might be preferable. When in doubt, go with the versatile 85/15 as we’ll be using it for today’s demonstration.
Choose the freshest ground beef available, paying attention to the sell-by date. Once you’ve made your selection, keep the ground beef cold and cook it within a couple of days. For longer storage, freeze it in a freezer bag, removing as much air as possible. It can be safely frozen for up to 3 months. After cooking, refrigerate any leftovers for up to a week.
How To Cook Ground Beef
The secret to cooking ground beef to perfection lies in minimizing movement until it’s finished cooking and achieves a delightful browned crust. This crust enhances the flavor and texture of the meat.
To begin, heat a large pan over medium heat and add a cooking oil of your choice. Olive oil is my go-to, but any favorite cooking oil will work just fine.
Using a nice big pan is essential. While you can use a non-stick pan, it may not brown the meat as well as a stainless steel or cast iron skillet would. Opting for a thick, heavy pan ensures more even cooking. Remember, the pan should be hot before adding the meat!
Once the ground beef is in the pan, flatten it out like a large, thin burger patty. Allow a crust to form before breaking it up into smaller pieces using a wooden spoon and flipping it. Let the meat cook through completely before breaking it into even smaller clusters.
While this is my favorite method for cooking ground beef, did you know that you can also cook it in an air fryer? It’s a convenient alternative worth considering!
Seasoning Ground Beef
Seasoning ground beef is crucial, regardless of what you plan to do with it. In the recipe below, I add salt and pepper at the end, but you can also incorporate them midway through the cooking process. Garlic powder is another great addition, and chili powder works well too. However, any additional seasonings depend on the dish you’re preparing, so I haven’t included them in this recipe.
This article was originally published in February 2019 and has been revised and republished in April 2022.
Remember, mastering the art of cooking ground beef is a skill that will elevate your culinary creations. Enjoy experimenting with this versatile ingredient and impress your friends and family with delicious meals made with perfectly cooked ground beef. If you’re interested in discovering more mouthwatering recipes and helpful cooking tips, visit Ekilove for a delightful culinary journey.