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What heat level should I use to brown beef?

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I brown a lot of ground beef for meal prep and as the base of everything from pasta sauce to Mexican casserole.

I've noticed two different possibilities for heat - high and semi-searing, or low and slow. Which is better for flavor and texture?

Additional information:

  • I use mostly lean beef, 90/10 or so
  • I usually add spices and sometimes a small amount of salt
  • Because I'm using the meat as a base, I don't want the extra "juice" that escapes.
Why should this post be closed?

4 comments

Is ground beef the same as minced meat? What does 90 / 10 refer to? Where I'm from I've never noticed similar numbers. What do you mean with extra juice? Zerotime about 1 month ago

I have never heard it called minced meat, but yes, that is what I mean! The numbers refer to the lean / fat ratio - you can get anywhere from 70/30 up to 95/5. Higher fat ratios are better for things like meatballs, 80/20-85/15 is good for burgers, etc. By the extra juice, I mean any liquid that is dispersed when cooking, mostly just water I guess. Sigma about 1 month ago

I'm very surprised that there is liquid in your meat. The minced meat I use basically only contains meat and no additional ingredients besides salt. For clarification: Do you want the water out? Or do you want to keep it? For casseroles it might be sensible to keep it, for sauces it doesn't really add value to the final meal. Zerotime about 1 month ago

It's a fairly small amount. I'll try to take a picture next time... I generally do not want it. Sigma 28 days ago

2 answers

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Fat renders at a lower temperature than meat cooks, so if you are looking to get a lot of fat in the pan, the lower heat method, or even starting in a cold pan, will probably work better. Since you are using leaner beef, maybe this is not the goal, and so a higher heat sear may work better.

If this is something you make a lot as you say, you could try each and see what you prefer. If you are finding some recipes call for one and some recipes call for the other, I doubt either will have terrible results.

1 comment

I will report back :) Sigma 26 days ago

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With regard to texture: meat is a sponge of proteins holding water. As you cook it, the sponge tightens, forcing out water. If you stop and let it re-absorb the liquid, and it will regain some tenderness. Or you can keep going, and it will be tight and dry.

If you want a nearly creamy texture, cook the meat until it is no longer pink, then pop it into a blender along with as much of the liquid as you can get. I often do this with just part of a pot so I can get both the creamy texture and meatier chunks.

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