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Nearly half (40-45%) of the beef consumed in the United States is ground beef, and for good reason! A household staple, ground beef is incredibly versatile and delicious.
But in the past few months, ground beef prices have been rising. You would think this would benefit farmers, but that's not the case. In fact, while ground beef prices have increased, farmers and ranchers are struggling to make ends meet. Where is all of that money going? It's going to companies like Brazilian owned JBS, one of the four main meatpackers who control about 85% of the beef in the United States.
According to the New York Times, "While ranchers have been tallying losses, JBS has been celebrating gains — revenues of $18 billion between July and September, which represented an increase of 32 percent compared with the same quarter in 2020."
"In past decades, when beef prices rose, so would payments to cattle ranchers, who claimed over half of what consumers paid for meat. But that relationship began to break down in 2015. Last year, cattle ranchers received only 37 cents on every dollar spent on beef, according to federal data."
To add injury to insult, billions of pounds of beef, much of it ground beef, are imported each year into the United States. Fast food restaurants argue that they need this ground beef to satisfy their customers, but farmers who sell beef directly to consumers often have a hard time marketing their ground beef. (Steak, on the other hand, sells out really quickly!)
How can you help? Order your ground beef online directly from farmers and butcher shops via ChopLocal. The ground beef here is inspected by a state or federal meat inspector, roughly the same price as "grocery store" ground beef, and can be shipped to your door.
And at the end of the day, you know that you're getting high-quality beef and supporting US family farms.
All of our meat comes directly from farmers or butcher shops in the United States. This is especially important with ground beef for a few reasons.
1. The US imported approximately 2.5 billion pounds of beef in 2021, all while US beef farmers struggle to make ends meet.
2. Much of the imported beef is used for ground beef for fast food restaurants.
3. Imported beef comes from countries like Brazil, which are home to dangerous animal diseases and corrupt meat inspection systems.
ChopLocal is home to both grassfed and cornfed ground beef. If you prefer one over the other, use the filters to sort the products and find the ground beef that's right for you.
Because ChopLocal's ground beef comes directly from farms and small butcher shops, not large meat packers, each package of ground beef contains meat from only 1 animal. Larger packing plants mix beef from hundreds of animals into their ground beef, which increases the chances of contamination from harmful bacteria like e.coli.
Ground beef is also called hamburger, minced beef or beef mince.
Ground beef is beef that has been finely chopped wtih a meat grinder. It is an incredibly versatile meat that can be used a variety of recipes.
The beef that is used for ground beef is often less desirable, less tender cuts of beef. Grinding the beef tenderizes it and adds value. Often, fattier cuts are mixed with lean cuts in ground beef, which is another way to add value.
Ground beef can be used for many different recipes. It can be formed into hamburger patties, meatballs or meatloaf. Or, ground beef can be cooked as crumbles and used in chili, tacos, and other delicious recipes.
Ground beef should be cooked to 160 degrees Farenheit, which is well done. Some people prefer to cook their hamburger patties to rare or medium-rare but this carries a greater risk of food-borne illness.
However, according to epicurious.com, ground beef from a butcher shop or directly from a farmer carries a lower risk of bacteria contamination. "Supermarket ground beef typically comes from many cows, and is ground and packaged somewhere else before it's shipped to the store. 'Because they're processing from all these different sources, there's a higher risk for contamination from E. coli,' Underly said of supermarket ground beef.
'What's sold at a butcher shop is freshly ground in-store, 'from one animal, or maybe two to three, not hundreds,' she said."
Ground beef can only be stored for about 2 days in the fridge, which is why many people buy ground beef in bulk and freeze it.
Ground beef can be stored in the freezer for at least 6 months. If you have a deep freeze that is not opened often, ground beef can be stored for a year or more without any problems.
USDA recommends thawing ground beef in the refrigerator. Many people will set their meat on the counter to thaw, but you do run the risk of bacteria growth if the meat becomes too warm.
You can also thaw ground beef quickly in a bowl of cold water. Put the package of ground beef in a sealed ziploc baggie and fill a bowl (or sink) with water. (Experts recommend cold water to keep the outer layer of the beef at a safe temperature.) One pound of ground beef will defrost in about an hour with this method.
If the ground beef is still raw, you can refreeze it as long as it has been thawed in the fridge, guaranteeing that none of the beef reached an unsafe temperature.
If the ground beef is cooked, refreeze to your heart's content!