Types of Ground Beef, Nutritional Value, and Quick Recipes
Ground beef is a staple in many households, and it is versatile and can be used for tacos, burgers, or shepherd’s pie. But what kind of ground beef should you buy? There are three main types: regular, lean, and extra-lean, and each has its unique set of benefits and drawbacks. So which one is right for you? Keep reading to find out.
What is ground beef, and where does it come from?
Ground beef is made from ground-up cow meat, and it can come from any part of the cow but is typically ground upchuck or round. Ground beef can be sold with or without fat, though most ground beef you’ll find at the grocery store is around 80% lean.
Ground beef can be fresh or frozen. If ground beef is ground and packaged at a USDA-inspected facility, it can be labeled with a “keep refrigerated” or “use or freeze by” date.
Three types of ground beef
There are three main types of ground beef::
- Regular ground beef is the most common type of ground beef. It has a fat content of 20-30%. It means that for every 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of ground beef, there are 20-30 grams of fat.
- Lean beef has a fat content of 10-20%. It means that for every 100 grams of ground beef, there are 10-20 grams of fat.
- Extra-lean ground beef has a fat content of 5-10%. It means that for every 100 grams of ground beef, there are 5-10 grams of fat.
The ground beef you choose will depend on your personal preferences and dietary needs. If you are trying to cut down on fat, then lean or extra-lean ground beef would be a better choice. However, regular ground beef has a higher fat content, which means it has more flavor.
Ground beef nutrition
It’s a good source of protein, iron, and B vitamins and a source of saturated fat and cholesterol. The type of ground beef you choose will affect its nutritional value.
Regular ground beef has the highest saturated fat content. Lean ground beef has less saturated fat than regular ground beef but more saturated fat than extra-lean ground beef. Extra-lean has the least amount of saturated fat.
Saturated fat is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. However, ground beef also contains cholesterol, which can help increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels. It means that ground beef can be part of a healthy diet if consumed in moderation.
How to cook ground beef for the best results
No matter which type of ground beef you choose, you can do a few things to ensure that it cooks up deliciously.
First, ensure your ground beef is at room temperature before cooking. It will help it cook evenly. Preheat your pan to medium-high heat before adding the ground beef. It will help prevent the ground beef from sticking to the pan and making it difficult to brown. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to break the ground beef into small pieces as it cooks. It’ll help it cook evenly and prevent it from clumping together.
Finally, once the ground beef is cooked, drain any excess fat, which can be done by blotting it with a paper towel or using a colander to drain it.
7 Quick ground beef recipes that everybody loves
Now that you know all about ground beef, it’s time to put it to good use. Here are a few ground beef recipes from TheKitchenCommunity that showcase ground beef as the star ingredient:
- Beefy Nachos – Perfect for game day or a quick weeknight dinner, these nachos are loaded with flavor. Simply top tortilla chips with seasoned ground beef, shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, and your favorite toppings.
- Sloppy Joes – A classic comfort food, Sloppy Joes are always a hit. Seasoned ground beef is simmered in a sweet and tangy sauce, then served on buns. Add a side of pickles or chips to complete the meal.
- Chili Con Carne – This hearty chili is perfect for a cold winter day. Ground beef is simmered with tomatoes, beans, and spice for a flavor-packed dish. Serve with some crusty bread or cornbread on the side.
- Spaghetti and Meatballs – A family-favorite pasta dish, this recipe features tender meatballs made with ground beef and breadcrumbs, simmered in a tomato sauce. Serve over spaghetti noodles with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top.
- Hamburgers – No list of ground beef recipes would be complete without burgers! Grill up some juicy burgers, topped with your favorite toppings. Serve on buns with sides of potato salad or french fries.
- Beef and black bean chili- This hearty chili is perfect for a cold winter day. Ground beef, black beans, diced tomatoes, and spice combine to create a delicious and comforting dish.
- Cheeseburger soup- This soup is packed with all of your favorite cheeseburger toppings: ground beef, cheese, pickles, and onions. It’s the perfect way to enjoy a cheeseburger without all the calories.
Tips for buying ground beef and storing it properly
It should be stored in the refrigerator and used within two days. If you do not use it within that time frame, ground beef can be frozen for up to 4 months. When buying ground beef, look for ground beef that is a bright red color. Avoid it if it is brown or gray, as this could indicate that it is starting to spoil. Ensure to check the expiration date before purchasing ground beef.
If you buy ground beef from a bulk bin, ask the butcher for a fresh batch of ground beef, ensuring that you are getting the freshest ground beef possible. When storing ground beef, please place it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic; this will help keep it fresh and prevent it from leaking any juices.
Ground beef is one of the most affordble and versatile ways to feed your family without them ever getting bored with the menu. It is easy to buy in bulk and you can store it in big volumes without taking up all the space in your freezer. Whichever way you look at it, ground beef is a must on any shopping list and a great ingredient for creating new and exciting, or more traditional dishes.