This Frozen Ground Beef Hack Is a Weeknight Timesaver

No more fiddling with your microwave’s defrost feature.

dotdash meredith food studios
dotdash meredith food studios

If you have a pound of ground beef and a well-stocked pantry, you can usually quickly throw together something for dinner. Add a package of ramen, a can of diced tomatoes, and a can of corn to ground beef, and you have Ground Beef Curly Noodle. Combine salsa, beans, diced tomatoes, a bottle of beer, and a bunch of seasoning to ground beef, and you have Lazy Hazy Beef Chili.

The most common barrier to making these quick and effortless dinners? A frozen brick of ground beef. Even defrosting the meat in the microwave takes time you may not have, and the method often results in ground beef that partially cooks before it’s fully defrosted.

There’s now a frozen ground beef product that cooks straight from the freezer with no thawing and describes itself as the “best new grocery item since sliced bread.” I gave it a test to see if it's exaggerating its claim.

Pound of Ground’s New Frozen Ground Beef Crumbles

Have you ever frozen individual pieces of food on a baking sheet, such as homemade ravioli? Once frozen, you can add them to a freezer-safe container, and they won’t stick together. It’s convenient because you can grab just a few ravioli from the bunch to cook. Or, you can dump the entire batch of ravioli into boiling water, and each one will evenly cook because they aren’t sticking together to form one mass.

That’s the idea behind Pound of Ground’s new ground beef.

When fresh beef is ground, the result is “squiggles” of beef. The makers of this uncooked beef product seem to make those squiggles even smaller, creating what they call crumbles. The crumbled pieces are flash-frozen individually and then put into 1-pound packages. As long as the package never defrosts before using it, the crumbles don’t stick together.

The result, the company claims, is a minimally processed, no-artificial-ingredients-added, frozen pound of ground beef that you can dump into a skillet and brown in 7 to 8 minutes.

<p>Pound of Ground</p>

Pound of Ground

How to Cook with Frozen Ground Beef Crumbles

The company sent samples of Pound of Ground for me to try. I searched for a recipe here on Allrecipes that required browning ground beef. The product is designed for recipes that brown the ground beef for meals such as tacos, lasagna, or a ground beef casserole. It’s not ideal for recipes where you need to shape the ground beef, such as meatballs, burgers, or meatloaf.

I chose to make Ground Beef Vegetable Soup. There are fewer culinary joys in the kitchen in the fall than cooking a big pot of soup that makes enough for dinner, enough to freeze for another dinner, and still have enough to share with someone else. This soup starts with two pounds of ground beef and has a ton of vegetables in it. It filled my favorite soup pot (a 5-quart 1950s Revere Ware copper-bottomed, stainless steel Dutch oven I bought at a yard sale) three-quarters of the way full.

But back to the ground beef crumbles. The contents of two 1-pound packages went into the Dutch oven straight from the freezer to brown. Because I used two pounds, the beef took about 12 minutes to completely brown. I then made the rest of the recipe, just as written.

The soup was delicious, although I added extra seasoning (salt, garlic powder, and dried shallot powder) and my secret soup weapon, Parmesan rinds. The meat tasted like any other ground beef from the grocery store and worked well in the soup.

After cooking with Pound of Ground, I can say it’s not exaggerating its claims to cook frozen ground beef more quickly. The crumbles in each box were separated and stayed separated in the freezer. Once dumped into the pot, they browned just like unfrozen ground beef would have, perhaps taking just a few minutes longer.

As for being the “best new grocery item since sliced bread,” I suppose that’s subjective. But it’s a brilliant idea, and one Pound of Ground executed well.

Read the original article on All Recipes.