Using a meat thermometer is the best way to ensure your ground beef is cooked to at least 160°F.
While everyone has a preference in terms of juiciness and flavor, recipes commonly recommend an 80/20 lean point to create the juiciest, old-fashioned style hamburgers. Many burger recipes are available in our Recipes section.
The lean point represents lean-to-fat ratio. For example, a 93/7 product will be much more lean than 73/27. The level of fat does have some effect on flavor and juiciness, given fat provides a juicier, beefier flavor profile.
Yes, a food thermometer should always be used when cooking with ground beef to ensure proper doneness. Whether browning for use as part of a recipe, making meatballs or patties, the food thermometer should read at least 160°F before the meat is ready to serve. Practice safely cooking ground beef with a recipe from the Recipes section.
No. Once thawed, ground beef needs to be properly prepared. However, you can freeze many cooked ground beef dishes for future use and added convenience. Lasagna is a prime example. For lasagna recipes, click here.
Yes. There are slight differences in the flavors between the various ground beef lean points. The main contributor to flavor in ground beef is the amount of fat included. Enjoy flavorful ground beef recipes by visiting the Recipes section.
It’s recommended that ground beef be used within 120 days of purchase if frozen immediately after purchase and properly wrapped.
Fresh ground beef purchased in store prior to the “use or freeze-by” date and stored below 40°F should be used or frozen within 1 to 3 days.
Ground beef will begin to brown on the outside and put off an unappealing odor when it begins to turn bad. The best gauge for determining the safety of your ground beef is to reference the “use or freeze-by” date. If it was frozen after purchase, don’t consume after it’s been thawed for more than two days.
Refrigerate leftovers immediately or discard. Consume refrigerated, cooked ground beef leftovers within 2 to 3 days.
Oxygen from the air reacts with meat pigments to form a bright red color, which is usually seen on the surface of meat purchased in the store. The pigment responsible for the red color in meat is myoglobin, a substance found in all warm-blooded animals. The interior of the meat may be purple or grayish brown due to lack of oxygen; however, if all the meat in the package has turned gray or brown, it’s likely spoiling.
Refrigerate or discard prepared ground beef or leftovers containing ground beef immediately.
The recommendation for a safe, minimum internal temperature is 160°F. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that it has reached a safe internal temperature.
Cook time will depend on heat used and how you’re preparing your ground beef. If browning in a skillet with high heat, the average cook time should be roughly 4-6 minutes. If grilling patties, it can take approximately 10-15 minutes, depending on heat and thickness of your patties. Be sure to use a meat thermometer to verify that the internal temperature has reached 160°F prior to serving.
The key to handling ground beef safely is to ensure it’s purchased fresh, stored properly and then cooked to a safe internal temperature.
Finely Textured Beef (FTB for short) is USDA inspected, 100% beef from trimmings separated from fat using an approved, simple process. When making ground beef, there’s meat that’s just too thin to be removed by hand. For more than two decades, Cargill has been safely removing this meat from the fat to provide ground beef at a much lower cost. This is FTB. It contains no fillers or by-products, and enhances the availability and affordability of our ground beef offerings.
Yes. We’re dedicated to treating the animals in our care with respect and as co-founder of the North American Food Animal Well-being Commission, Cargill considers the humane and respectful handling of our animals to be a moral obligation. Our livestock handling procedures were designed in consultation with Dr. Temple Grandin to help minimize animal stress, and we strictly adhere to American Meat Institute (AMI) animal handling standards.
Beef fat (fat with no lean meat) may be added to “hamburger,” but not “ground beef.” A maximum of 30% fat is allowed in either hamburger or ground beef. Both hamburger and ground beef can have seasonings, but no water, phosphates, extenders or binders. Learn how to make a great hamburger in the Recipes section.
The “use or freeze-by” or “sell by” dates are a guide for consumers and retailers, although it’s not a federal requirement for stores to include. While these dates are helpful, they’re only reliable if the food has been kept at a safe temperature during storage and handling. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests that consumers cook or freeze ground beef within 2 days after purchase for maximum quality.
As long as you are ordering 100% pure, ground beef, it’s probable that the ground beef you consume at restaurants is comparable to the ground beef you’d purchase at your local grocery store. Although, depending on the supplier producing the meat, there may be differences in overall quality, production and food safety practices and added flavorings.
Just as conventional ground beef is made from the trimmings of steaks and roasts, Finely Textured Beef also makes use of trimmings. When making ground beef, there’s meat that is just too thin to be removed by hand. For more than two decades, Cargill has been safely removing this meat from the fat to provide ground beef at a much lower cost.
Finely Textured Beef is 100% all-real beef. Since 1993, the USDA has approved FTB as safe for human consumption, just like all other 100% pure ground beef.
No, Cargill’s Finely Textured Beef is not treated with ammonia. In a process similar to separating cream from milk, we use low heat on the beef trimmings to remove the fat, then safely apply a USDA-approved, anti-bacterial solution to help prevent the growth of bacteria. Cargill does not use ammonia as an antibacterial processing aid for Finely Textured Beef.
Today, schools are given a choice in whether or not to use a finely textured beef product in their school lunch programs. Ground beef containing Cargill’s Finely Textured Beef is exceptionally lean, safe and nutritious, and represents the same quality beef as steaks and roasts. The USDA has approved Finely Textured Beef as safe for human consumption – just like any other ground beef – since 1993.
FTB is the shorthand name for Finely Textured Beef. LFTB is the shorthand name for Lean Finely Textured Beef. While their names are very similar, these products are processed via different methods. LFTB isn't produced by Cargill.
Finely Textured Beef tastes like beef because it is 100% real beef.
Because Finely Textured Beef provides 25 pounds of quality beef per animal that would otherwise be wasted, its use significantly extends the overall ground beef supply. Without Finely Textured Beef as part of that supply, ground beef prices would be higher and more variable based on the lean point and/or source grind purchased.
Cargill believes that it's irresponsible to waste 100% pure beef. Many industry experts agree that it's important and necessary to utilize every ounce of safe, high quality protein that comes from beef so that we can feed the world’s population.
FTB can prevent food waste by capturing every ounce of protein from the animal and utilizing it to feed the world. Cargill believes that in doing so, they are contributing to a more sustainable planet.
If FTB is not in the marketplace, more than 25 pounds of quality beef per animal would be wasted. Based on the number of cattle harvested in the U.S. in 2015, reported by USDA, this would equate to over 718 million total lbs. of lean beef, which could produce nearly 2.8 billion burgers.