BUT BEEF IS EXPENSIVE!
Well, sorta – a quick check of the old grocery circular (or, since I don’t have one handy, a quick scan of the Peapod web site) tells met that it’s $3.29 for the “85% lean ground beef.” That’s per pound – so not TOO bad.
But what if you’re looking for a better cut, or a different flavor for your summer grilling experience?
AND, what if you’re either on a budget or just trying to make your food dollars go a little farther?
Some tips for ya – and since we’ve tested them with the family, while we don’t guarantee success, you can increase your chances of pleasing more palates.
- Don’t Buy Pre-Made Burgers of Any Kind
- Bison – not Buffalo – Bison
- Ground Pork Burgers?
- Ground Chicken, Too…
- The meat that DOES gobble
Nothing will guarantee that you’ll have an average grilling experience more than getting meat someone else has made into patties.
It doesn’t matter how expensive you go here – doesn’t matter. You are better off in all instances taking ground meat and making your own patties. Trust us.
Want to be like Alex Trebek at the next party you go to? Just talk about the fact that there’s no animal in North America called the Buffalo. They’re Bison. (Buffalo – like Water Buffalo – are native to Asia and Africa. Or so we’re told.)
(However, in order to make the following sentence correct: “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo,” you will need to cut Alex some slack.)
Anyway, Bison is lean and was the main Native American food source for centuries. It is, however, much more expensive than beef.
If you’re cooking it – medium or medium rare, since there is less fat.
We’ll admit it – we gave this a whirl just because of the price.
A pound and a half of ground pork for $1.48 tells me that it was less than a buck a pound.
(We cheated a little and scored a recipe for meatballs that included egg and raw, shredded potato. Thus our food dollar was stretched even farther.)
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 cup shredded peeled raw potatoes
1 tablespoon onion flakes
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb ground pork
That mixture CAN be used for meatballs – but works great on the grill as burgers.
400 degrees, five minutes a side. Use a meat thermometer – we’ve been trained to look at pork’s color, not its temperature, and that’s a mistake: I’ve had awesome, restaurant-quality pork chops that had some pink in the middle, but were done enough where the germs were cooked. (Here’s a link to a temperature chart for meat.)
The New Frugality Test Kitchen (today, Dave’s house) whipped up a batch of ground chicken burgers that were simply seasoned – salt, black and red pepper, cumin, oregano.
They were gobbled up – but wait, chickens don’t gobble – and only took 4 minutes a side on the grill. (Went with 400 degrees as the setting. Be careful not to put them too close to the heat source.)
Variety being the spice of life and all, we’d recommend this tip for any of the white meats above: The whiter the meat, the more the necessary seasoning. Turkey and Chicken – season lots. Pork is somewhere in the middle. Beef and Bison need less seasoning.