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Thread: Do you REALLY brown your ground beef?

  1. #1
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    Do you REALLY brown your ground beef?

    Though I rarely watch foodtv anymore, I usually scan what they're cooking early in the day if there should be anything of interest. I was curious about RR's Sloppy Joe DiMaggio's, a hot dog/ground meat variation on the usual, which actually wound up looking pretty appetizing, if Death by Cholesterol. (You could substitute for a healthier variation, but somehow that doesn't appeal.)

    We've all "browned" ground beef before, many times, but she made a big point of something: don't move the meat around, let it really brown, otherwise you don't bring out the flavor and just have gray meat.

    <SHRIEK!!!!!>

    I've been doing gray meat all my life. Lesson possibly learned, even at my advanced age and experience in the kitchen.

    As it happens, Tony abandoned a large package of chopped meat in the fridge when he headed back to the city, so I just might give a shot. The weiners, though, will be venison.

    Just curious, has anyone ever made the recipe, and do you really "brown" your meat?

    Bob

    **********************************



    Sloppy Joe Di Maggios - Serves a whole team of 9 little leaguers!
    Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray, 2007


    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    2 pounds lean ground sirloin or ground turkey
    1 packages beef or pork hot dogs, sliced 1/2-inch thick
    1 onion, chopped
    1 tablespoon steak seasoning (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)
    1 tablespoon chili powder
    3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
    3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    1 (14.5-ounce) can tomato sauce
    9 soft burger rolls - like at the ballpark


    Heat the extra-virgin olive oil, a turn of the pan, in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add meat and crumble as it browns. Add chopped hot dogs after 3 to 4 minutes then cook 3 to 4 minutes more. Add the onions to the pan and cook to soften, 5 to 6 minutes more. In a bowl mix the spices, sugar, Worcestershire and tomato sauce. Pour sauce over the meat and simmer a few minutes to combine flavors. Slop onto buns and serve.

  2. #2
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    Well, now that you mention it, I guess I don't either. I don't think it looks gray, but it does not have that nice deep brown color or flavor that you get when pan frying a burger. I will pay close attention next time.

    Vicky

    I have never made that recipe. I have to take a lipitor just reading it. No mention of draining the grease off either.

  3. #3
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    No but I will now!

  4. #4
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    That is interesting about the browning. I guess I've always had gray meat, too.

    That recipe looks more Paula that RR!

    Loren

    who hates hot dogs except Fenway Franks (but only at the ballpark, never at home! )
    The term "working mother" is redundant.

  5. #5
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    Yes, I do, b/c I'm paranoid about e. coli, so I always send my ground beef to he!!. I break it up as it goes from red to grey, then I switch to a clean spatula & keep going till it's darker. It's always good (I don't let it go so long that all the juices evaporate), & I know it's fully cooked.
    If you're afraid of butter, use cream. ~~ Julia Child

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  6. #6
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    I do really brown mine unless it's for meat sauce for spaghetti. For that, I like it to be really soft, so I cook it very slowly with a bit of water, and covered with a tight-fitting lid for the first part. After it's cooked and thoroughly broken up, I let it brown some, though.
    Okay...it's time to pull up your big-girl panties and get on with it. (Seen on a bathroom wall.)

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  7. #7
    Nope, mine is usually gray too.

    But, to properly brown meat, I think it's more than not moving the meat around. The pan has to be hot enough and you can't put in too much meat at once (or it just all jumbles together and steams).

    I'm impatient, so I often don't let the pan get hot enough and I'm cooking my meat all at once whether it's too much or not, thank you. So I rarely get browned ground beef.

  8. #8
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    That is interesting. I never thought about it, but I am guilty of gray meat too. I will try really browning it next time.
    Claire

    It doesn't matter what you think, just that you do.

  9. #9
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    I haven't made that recipe, but we make sloppy joes the way my mom did for me -- without a recipe. I generally brown the meat, but I'm sure there are some times I'm in a hurry and it may be closer to grey. If you think about it, it's similar to searing a larger cut. You won't be able to sear in all the juices though.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by testkitchen45 View Post
    Yes, I do, b/c I'm paranoid about e. coli, so I always send my ground beef to he!!.
    Did you know that E.Coli lives naturally in your intestinal tract? I just ran a whole bunch of tests on it yesterday in lab and now know more about it than I ever really wanted to. Also, when you smell it, it smells like poo. Yes, my instructor made me smell it, even though the first words out of my mouth were "I don't want to!"

    OK! Now that i've grossed everyone out, I'd like to return you to your scheduled thread about gray meat!

    Erin

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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by lindrusso View Post
    But, to properly brown meat, I think it's more than not moving the meat around. The pan has to be hot enough and you can't put in too much meat at once (or it just all jumbles together and steams).

    I'm impatient, so I often don't let the pan get hot enough and I'm cooking my meat all at once whether it's too much or not, thank you. So I rarely get browned ground beef.

    I think you are right and I am the same way. Most often, you put the meat in some sort of sauce so does it really matter? And apparently we've all been eating grey meat and living through it.

    The recipe actually sounds pretty good though if you substitute a lean meat and turkey or light hot dogs. Might have to try.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by celestialchef View Post
    I think you are right and I am the same way. Most often, you put the meat in some sort of sauce so does it really matter? And apparently we've all been eating grey meat and living through it.
    No one suggested that you didn't "live through it."

    We'd all like to improve our cooking/results, so I'm not sure what the purpose of that remark is.

    What browning the meat thoroughly presumably does is give the meat a deeper, richer flavor. Think "carmelizing."

    Also, in the episode, the meat fills the pan and it still browned, a lot, and doesn't just steam as Alysha suggests. RR does use some seriously scary high flames, though.

    Bob

  13. #13
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    Okay, I'm a little confused.

    To truly "brown" the meat, you're not supposed to move it around while it cooks. But then how do you break it up? Wait until *after* it browns, then crumble?

    Sorry, probably an obvious answer to my stupid question.

  14. #14
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    I'm guilty of steaming my ground beef. I just feel like if I cooked it long enough to brown then it would be way overcooked. Maybe I'll give the browing thing a try.

    If you're into Death by Cholesterol recipes by Rachael Ray, there is the Dogs Wrapped in a Pig recipe that she had on her show the other day. It's a hot dog wrapped in pancetta in garlic butter buns! They looked devine.
    http://www.rachaelrayshow.com/?q=rec...apped-in-a-pig

  15. #15
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    On "Chef at Home" (on Canadian food tv) Michael Smith talked about making a quick spaghetti sauce. He definitely presumed that all ground beef should be browned and carmelized for full flavor. But then he pointed out that's why meat sauces with ground beef must be simmered for a long time, so that the browned meat can tenderize.

    His solution for a quick spaghetti sauce, then, was to not really cook the meat at all before adding the other sauce ingredients. Then the meat is virtually poached in the sauce and would not need a long, tenderizing boil. However, he commented that you would lose some of the beefy flavored of the well-carmelized meat.

    I guess my point is that even a chef will shave time off by using grey meat, but recognizes the flavor enhancement of truly browning the ground beef.
    Avril

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  16. #16
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    I guess we eat ours grey too. However, when I'm "browning" ground round for sauces, I almost always drain it and then RINSE it! It's amazing how much fat comes off it, even the 93% lean stuff I usually buy. I rinse it with warm water 2-3 times (partially filling the pan that I cooked the meat in with water). Is anyone else out there doing this or am I the only crazy one?
    barbara-cook

  17. #17
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    When I took some cooking classes in Boulder, the instructor said that the reason the meat turns grey is because of overcrowding and the meat ends up being more steamed than sauteed. Haven't tried it though because who wants to brown their ground meat in batches?
    Sherri

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  18. #18
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    Interesting you bring this up Bob, because I've noticed over the past few years watching RR that she really got that meat cooked and browned nicely. I guess I always thought you were supposed to cook it just til it was done (grayish I guess)...not dark brown done I have to say that since I've picked up on this tip of hers, I've been doing it this way and it DOES make a difference in the taste. As a matter of fact, a friend of mine was asking me the other day what seasonings I used in my taco filling because it "tasted so different and good". Honestly, I don't use anything special (other than I mix my own spices versus using the packets), but now I wonder if part of the difference in the taste to her was the browning.
    - Kiran

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbara-cook View Post
    I guess we eat ours grey too. However, when I'm "browning" ground round for sauces, I almost always drain it and then RINSE it! It's amazing how much fat comes off it, even the 93% lean stuff I usually buy. I rinse it with warm water 2-3 times (partially filling the pan that I cooked the meat in with water). Is anyone else out there doing this or am I the only crazy one?

    My sister rinses hers. If i'm going to eat ground beef, i'm going to eat it while it still tastes good! Meaning with all the grease left after draining it!
    Everyone needs to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. . .

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by lindrusso View Post
    But, to properly brown meat, I think it's more than not moving the meat around. The pan has to be hot enough and you can't put in too much meat at once (or it just all jumbles together and steams).
    I also agree with lindrusso and use this technique.

    In terms of getting rid of fat, I add a bit of water to the browned and cooked meat, bring to a boil, and drain. I then pour the water into a measuring cup, let the fat rise to the top, and removed the liquid below with a bulb baster. I reduce the liquid so as to be almost syrupy and add it to the meat. This works whether I am using the browned ground beef right away, or freezing it in Zip-loc bags for future use.

    I suppose there is some flavor lost. ("Fat carries flavor," as the butchers say.) However, combining truly browned ground beef with the reduced liquid is remarkably good without as much fat as simple draining, especially if regular ground beef (rather than extremely low fat) is used.

    Kay

  21. #21
    I've browned at times mainly because I suddenly realized I hadn't finished prepping everything and had to quickly prep while the meat browns. It tastes great but it doesn't come out in separate tiny bits, it comes out in large chunks.
    newcook

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbara-cook View Post
    I guess we eat ours grey too. However, when I'm "browning" ground round for sauces, I almost always drain it and then RINSE it! It's amazing how much fat comes off it, even the 93% lean stuff I usually buy. I rinse it with warm water 2-3 times (partially filling the pan that I cooked the meat in with water). Is anyone else out there doing this or am I the only crazy one?
    I do this for taco salad, or anything where I know I'll add back fat... we put Italian dressing on our taco salad...
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbara-cook View Post
    I guess we eat ours grey too. However, when I'm "browning" ground round for sauces, I almost always drain it and then RINSE it! It's amazing how much fat comes off it, even the 93% lean stuff I usually buy. I rinse it with warm water 2-3 times (partially filling the pan that I cooked the meat in with water). Is anyone else out there doing this or am I the only crazy one?

    I'm a rinser too, so I guess Iam crazy too. I am not opposed to eating fat[I love burgers, ribs, pizza, beef] but when it is browned ground beef it is icky to me.


    after I brown and drain the meat, I usually put it back in the pan and sautee the onions, garlic, etc. together, and the meat browns very nicely.

    Vicky

  24. #24
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    After I brown my pork, sausage, beef, or ground turkey I whirl it in the food processor to make nice small pieces. This does require additional dirty dishes, but I have a small hand turn plastic processor that goes into the dishwasher.

  25. #25
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    Interesting and helpful comments from Avril, and last night's "test" suggests that this works for some things, but if you want the meat more tender, do this only for recipes that simmer.

    So I did the Joe DiMaggios last night and really enjoyed it. To answer Eva's question, I crumbled the beef pretty well into an extremely well heated pan, then broke it up a bit more with the spoon to a size I liked. Then I left it alone for a full five minutes, and although I was using a 3 qt. saucepan and it was full, the meat absolutely browned. I drained (whatever this inherited beef was, it wasn't lean) then pushed it to the sides and threw the hot dogs in, and they were browned almost immediately.

    The sauce seemed kind of bland tasting from the pot, and yet when I had the actual Joe, it was terrific. Easy enough to tweak to preference, add heat, cumin, whatever, but I think for kids, this would be just fine. But at the first mouthful, I said;

    "Hey, this is nothing but a big old chili dog turned around!!!!"

    I also sprinkled some shredded cheddar on, which she did on the program, but is not in the recipe. This morning, I cooked up a couple cups of ww elbows and turned the rest into chili mac, another suggestion she made not in the printed recipe.

    In summary, good recipe, probably do it again, and also brown the meat more, but will think about what I want the finished recipe to be. This was chunkier, crustier, and, much to my surprise, a lot more appealing than meat that was finely broken down, which I usually do.

    ...and, um, no...I don't wash my meat.

    Bob
    Last edited by bobmark226; 07-12-2007 at 09:42 AM.

  26. #26
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    Bob - did you notice a real beefy difference with the browned beef? I'm always cooking in a hurry, so I need to know if it is worth it to banish the grey!
    Avril

    There's always a reason to bake.

  27. #27
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    Thanks for posting this Bob. I've used this RR method before, but had forgotten about it. I used this method tonight for making taco meat for taco salad. We both thought it was tastier than normal. AvrilH, I do think it tasted beefier.

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