Food Facts & Tips

Ground meat facts

Buying ground meat

- Unless otherwise marked, supermarket ground beef comes from cuts primarily from the front shoulder (chuck) and trimmings from cuts.
- Ground beef from a specific cut is called "source-grind." Ground sirloin is the most common, but you may also find ground blade or ground round. Source-grinds are slightly more expensive but often are tastier.
- You also can get very flavourful ground beef from butchers who carefully dry-age their meat. You can usually ask for coarse or fine ground, according to your preference.
- Ground beef is graded by fat content: extra-lean up to 10% fat; lean up to 17%; medium up to 23%; and regular up to 30%. The fat content of ground meats other than beef are not government regulated. However, ground pork or lamb, sold as lean or regular, follows the same guidelines as beef; we recommend lean.

Choosing Ground Beef

Ground beef is one of the least expensive and most versatile sources of high-quality protein. Regulations require that ground beef be labeled as either:
Extra-lean: a maximum fat content Of 10%
Lean: a maximum fat content of 17%
Medium: a maximum fat content of 23%
Regular: a maximum fat content of 30%

- EXTRA-LEAN/LEAN: Use in such recipes as cabbage rolls and meat loaf, in which the ground beef is not precooked and drained of fat before being added to other ingredients.

- MEDIUM: Use in such recipes as hamburgers and meatballs, in which the ground beef is not cooked before other ingredients are added but in which the fat can be drained during cooking.

- REGULAR: Use in such recipes as spaghetti sauce and tacos, in which the ground beef is cooked and fat is drained off before beef is combined with other ingredients.

Cooking ground meat

- Ground meat must be used within 24 hours of purchase.
- Although cooking ground meat so it is no longer pink is generally safe, the Beef Council of Canada recommends the use of a digital meat thermometer. Remove the beef patty from the grill and insert the thermometer through the side until the tip reaches the centre. The internal temperature must reach 160?F (71?C) to kill any harmful bacteria, such as E. coli. Wash the thermometer immediately after testing any undercooked patty.
- Because fat drips out during cooking, the amount of fat in cooked ground beef is reduced by one-third.
- You can freeze ground meat for up to 3 months; seasoned and mixed ground meat can be frozen for 1 month in bulk or already formed in patties. Wrap in plastic and seal in airtight container or double wrap in foil.
- Any recipe for grilling burgers can be adapted to stove-top or broiler cooking. In grill pans and skillets, cook burgers over medium-high heat. Or broil 6 inches (15 cm) under heating element.

Ten Tips for Perfect Grilling

1. Clean and pre-heat your grill on high.
2. Lightly oil everything before you put it on the grill. This helps the searing process and prevents sticking.
3. Season your food just before grilling, preferably ( Back Eddy's Seasoning )
4. Sear the outside of steaks when grilling. This really helps with the flavour and juiciness.
5. Use tongs or a spatula to turn your meat on the grill. Using a fork can damage the meat and release juices.
6. Cover your grill as much as possible during the grilling process. This helps to lock in the grilled flavour and will help prevent flare-ups.
7. Do not turn your steaks more then you have to. Three times to mark them with a cross
8. Keep a spray bottle with water handy to douse any un-expected flare-ups.
9. Use the 60/40 grilling method. Grill for 60% of the time on the first side, then grill 40% of the time after you turn over the food. This will give you an evenly cooked product.
10. Brush your steaks with butter basting sauce and remove. Butter enhances the flavour of meats, especially when broiling.
11. Place your cooked product on a clean plate. Never place cooked product on the plate you used to transport the raw product to the grill without thoroughly washing it first.
12. Allow your foods to "rest" for 3 minutes between cooking and eating. This will help them retain moisture when you cut into them.