Learn how to cook ground beef and get the most taste and flavor. We will cover how to cook the beef in a frying or saute pan.
Ground beef is added to so many dishes such as tacos, meat sauce for your spaghetti and people love to put it on top of pizza and nachos.
If you are just throwing the packaged meat into the frying pan without a plan on how to brown the meat then you are going to miss creating the flavor that you can pull out of the beef with the Maillard reaction.
Choosing your beef
If you are going to cook ground beef I feel it is a good idea to get beef with at least 20% fat content. Fat is flavor and this will help the taste of the ground beef.
You really want to purchase the freshest ground beef you can from a grocery store or butcher shop that is doing the grinding.
When you grind beef you are providing a lot of surface area on the meat that can be a breeding ground for bacteria etc.
If you have a great butcher then, great! But if you don’t, make sure to look for a package that says organic and grass-fed beef.
I also recommend, if possible, to buy grass-fed AND organic beef. Buying the meat this way gives you the opportunity to not be exposed to GMO grains, pesticides, and fertilizers that the conventional cows feed on.
Video – how to cook ground beef
6 Steps for how to cook ground beef
Here are the 5 simple steps that you are going to need to take to get the best flavor out of your ground beef. Remember we want to brown the beef we do not want to end up with gray ground beef.
Prepare the ground beef
It is a good idea to pull the meat out for the fridge 10-20 minutes before you are ready to cook. This will give the meat some time to warm up so you do not extract all the heat from the pan when you add it.
I like to cut it up into pieces real quick. This is super easy when you buy one of the organic packages that are square. The goal is to break it up so it does not go in the pan in one clump.
Heat up the oil
For 1lb. of beef you really want to use a 12″ skillet. We want to make sure there is enough surface area for the beef when it is being cooked.
In a frying pan heat up some oil to cook the beef in on medium heat. I prefer to use avocado oil seeing that it has a high smoke point.
You do not need a lot of oil as the beef has some fat content to it already. The idea is to get the ball rolling and get a thin layer on the bottom of the pan.
You want to make sure the oil is hot before you add the beef!
Add meat to the pre-heated skillet. After you get it in the pan and have it separated with some space from the different chunks of meat you’re going to let it sit so the water can evaporate off.
You do not want to be moving it around in this stage. Let it do its thing.
After it appears that most of the moisture has come out go ahead and grab a spatula and push on the meat to extract some of the moisture.
Go ahead and add some salt to the beef. I like to use a kosher salt but sea salt also works well. Add some fresh cracked black pepper.
How to brown ground beef
This is the best part of the process. You are looking for the Maillard reaction “browning of the meat”. After the meat starts to brown on the bottom. Keep an eye on it.
Start to break the ground beef apart so that you get the most contact with the hot pan.
After you have it spread out a bit let the meat do its thing and brown up. Take a look to make sure you are not burning it. After you get some browning try to flip the meat to a side that has not yet been browned.
Keep moving it to raw beef sides until you get some crust on all sides.
Remove from heat
So the ground beef is ready when it is fully cooked through. You are looking for no more pink. If you bought the meat already ground this is very important to not have a pink center because it could be harboring some bacteria that can make you sick.
The USDA recommends cooking ground beef until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now if you ground your own meat say, steak scraps from trimming a beef then go ahead and cook it to the temp you’d like. You can cook it to rare, medium, medium-rare or still you can cook it well done.
The beef did not have time to be exposed to potential bacteria and that’s why you’re safe to eat it when it is not fully cooked.
How to Cook Ground Beef
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp Fresh ground pepper
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
- Prepare the beef and let it sit out for 10-20 minutes. Chop it into 1" chunks to help with the cooking process.
- Heat a pan to medium high heat and add the avocado oil. Test the oil to make sure it is hot enough by sprinkling a bit of water on it.
- Add the ground beef to the hot pan. Move the pieces around so that they have some space from one another. This will give room for moisture to come out of the meat.
- Season the meat with salt and pepper.
- Allow the meat to brown on one side. After it has browned flip the meat to the other side to allow it to brown. Break the meat up to desired size and continue to move it around and brown it.
- Remove it from the heat when it is cooked through and has reached a temp of at least 160°