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Ground Beef Patties are Perfect Makeahead Meals


Ground beef patties are a great food to make ahead, freeze, and throw on the grill or in the skillet

If you're looking for meals that are easy to have on hand when you're short on time, hamburger patties are a tasty choice. Make them ahead of time, separate with sheets of wax paper, freeze, and they're ready to thaw and cook at a moment's notice.

It's easiest to purchase beef in larger packages and make them at one time. Out of a 5.5 pound package, for instance, you may be able to have 18-19 patties. Plan on about 7 patties for every 2 pounds of meat - this should give you a nice "finished" size when they're cooked. Ground beef does not make the best patties after it has been frozen and thawed - we recommend making the patties first.

Our Ground Beef Patties

For every two pounds:
3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon other seasoning of choice (Cavender's No Salt, for instance)

Adjust the quantities more or less to taste. Patty shapes are a matter of preference - thick and stubby or large, flatter rounds.

The best (i.e., juiciest) hamburgers should not be made from the leanest beef as they can be dry. However, if you're watching fats, by all means use the leanest ground beef you can find.

Grill or fry in a skillet. If using a skillet, there will be plenty of grease pops. If you own a skillet screen, it will help, but the tiny grease droplets will still make a minor mess. On the grill, beware of flareups and if you prefer the charred taste, press down with a spatula to release more of the grease.

Ground beef safety. Always cook ground beef until it is well done. To kill bacteria, ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees.
The grinding process can actually introduce bacteria throughout the entire product (as opposed to steaks, etc., that may only bear surface bacteria). While USDA standards are strict, it is still possible for bacteria to occur, especially if meat is not handled properly. Never let it come in contact with surfaces where any other food has been prepared, especially poultry, fish, and vegetables. The two-hour rule applies, of course, but the less time on the counter, the better. Remember, too, that in warm weather (above 80 degrees), one hour is the maximum any food should be left at room temperature.

Ground beef tips. Bring the patties to room temperature if possible before cooking. Let them rest for about 5 minutes before serving to let the juices run throughout. Cut into the center of a patty - if it's pink, it may need to cook longer. Microwave thawing is great as long as it is done carefully. Do not let the meat partially cook (that's another invitation for bacteria).

While we think grilling is the best method, sometimes stovetop cooking is the only option. Whichever method you choose, there are several ways to enjoy. As the typical hamburger with buns and all the fixings, of course. Sauté mushrooms in Worcestershire sauce and top, or saute onions in olive oil, add a slice of cheese on the patty. They can also be eaten with steak sauce and a side of broccoli for a delicious meal.

 

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