Canada’s favourite meat
Ground beef is Canada’s most popular meat.
And is it any wonder?
It’s a family favourite,
quick and easy to
prepare, and good
for you too!
Ground beef is the great
’ kitchen chameleon’ – use it in
stir-fries, casseroles, soups and
sauces – or shape it into meat-
balls, meat loaf or burgers.
Dressed up for guests or dressed
down for simplicity – ground
beef is the perfect starter for
so many different recipes!
Inside you’ll find the ground
beef basics – how to buy, store At the Meat Counter
and cook it. We’ve also included What’s in a name? The label name on a package of raw ground beef
refers to its maximum fat content (as regulated by law). In addition, you
what’s new about ground beef may find ground beef labelled with the name of the beef cut used for
and some recipes designed to making the grind (e.g. Ground Sirloin).
inspire you. There are more beef What to buy? With so many ground beef varieties to choose from,
recipes just a click away on our which one do you pick? The chart below will help you decide.
website at www.beefinfo.org. Raw Ground Beef Maximum Best Use
Label Name Fat Content
Extra Lean 10% Cabbage rolls, meat loaf,
So have some fun at mealtime NEW
Extra Lean Ground Round stuffed peppers and
Extra Lean Ground Sirloin casseroles
with ground beef – and best of Lean 17% All-purpose – flavourful lean
all, get your whole family NEW Lean Ground Chuck burgers, meatballs and chili
involved in the making! Medium 23% Burgers and meatballs
Regular 30% Brown and drain for pasta
sauce, casseroles and tacos
• The label descriptions Extra Lean, Lean, Medium or Regular refer to
the maximum fat levels allowed (as in the chart above) for ALL ground
meats (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, veal and lamb).
• Recent studies show that all types of ground beef have
Home Economist, Beef Information Centre considerably less fat than the maximums allowed.
what’s new. ..
at the marketplace
Source Grinds are quality grinds made from flavourful single cuts of beef and are not blended with other beef.
Now available: Ground Round, Ground Sirloin and Ground Chuck. Try Lean Ground Chuck in your next
batch of burgers – it’s the food writers’ choice for the best burgers.
Cooked Frozen Ground Beef is ground beef that has been cooked, drained and then frozen. It’s easy to add to your
favourite pasta sauces, casseroles and soups and it makes for super simple short-cut meals. Also look for
Fully Cooked Frozen Beef Burgers.
Plastic Tray Packs: Some of these packages allow for longer
storage times and are labelled with a “best before” date as a
guide to storage time. Once opened, use or freeze the meat within
Tube/Chub Packs: This packaging is used for fresh or frozen
ground beef. Use or freeze fresh meat chubs within a day. OR, if
there is a “best before” date on pack, use that as your guideline –
once opened, freeze or use the meat within one day. Nutrition Facts
Per 100 g
in ground beef nutrition labelling Amount
% Daily Value
Fat 15 g 22 %
By December 2005 most packaged foods, including raw ground
Saturated 6 g
beef, will have a new mandatory Nutrition Facts table. This 34 %
information will help you assess the nutritional value of foods and + Trans 0.5 g
compare food products more easily. The Nutrition Facts table will Cholesterol 60 mg
list Calories and 13 key nutrients. Here is a sample of the Nutrition Sodium 65 mg 3%
Facts table for packages of raw Lean Ground Beef. Carbohydrate 0 g 0%
Fibre 0 g 0%
Sugars 0 g
Nutrition Matters: Fat values in the Nutrition Facts table are for Protein 20 g
raw ground beef. Cooking reduces that amount of fat on average by Vitamin A 0 % Vitamin C 0 %
one third, since fat drips out when barbecuing or broiling and can Calcium 0 % Iron 15 %
be drained off after pan-frying.
ground beef made easy
simply cooked ground beef
1. Cook ground beef in non-stick skillet over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes,
breaking into small chunks with back of spoon while cooking. Cook until
browned and completely cooked.
2. Drain to reduce fat.
3. Add to pasta sauce, chili, casserole, taco and soup recipes, seasoning to taste.
ground beef takes shape
Use a light hand when combining ingredients and shaping meat
for the most tender, moist results.This basic recipe makes
4 burgers, about 30 meatballs or 1 meat loaf.
1 lb (500 g) Ground Beef To reduce the fat further in
1/4 cup (50 mL) EACH dry bread crumbs and minced onion cooked ground beef, rinse
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce with hot water after
Salt and pepper draining.
Just-right burgers: Cook 3/4-inch (2 cm) thick patties using medium-high heat on
a lightly oiled grill or skillet for 5-7 minutes per side, testing doneness with a digital
rapid-read thermometer inserted sideways into centre of each patty. Burgers are
completely cooked when thermometer reads 160ºF (71ºC).
Easy-cooking meatballs: Bake 1 inch (2.5 cm) meatballs in a single layer on a
lightly oiled, rimmed baking sheet at 400ºF (200ºC) for 15-20 minutes until digital
rapid-read thermometer inserted into the centre of several meatballs reads 160ºF (71ºC).
Our basic meat loaf: Increase ground beef to 1 1/2 lb (750 g) and add 1/4 cup
(50 mL) ketchup to the mix. Place loaf in a 9 x 5-inch (2 L) pan and top with more
ketchup. Bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for 55-70 minutes until digital rapid-read
thermometer inserted into centre of loaf reads 160ºF (71ºC).
f ro z en a sse ts
Consider cooking up convenience when you stock up
on ground beef. By cooking the meat before freezing, you Cook’s Notes: When
will have cooked ground beef ready to add to your adding frozen cooked ground
favourite pasta sauce, chili, soup or casserole recipe. beef to recipes calling for
Dinner just got easier!
browned ground beef, you
big batch cooked ground beef may need to slightly
increase the recipe’s
4 lb (2 kg) Ground Beef cooking time.
4 EACH onions and garlic cloves, minced
1. Cook ground beef in stockpot or Dutch oven, using medium-high heat
for 9-10 minutes, breaking into small chunks with back of spoon until
browned and completely cooked. Drain in colander. Return to pot and
add onion and garlic; simmer uncovered for 12-15 minutes until
vegetables are soft.
2. Spread mixture in a single layer on
several foil-lined baking trays;
cover loosely with plastic wrap
and freeze just until meat is firm
(about 1 hour).
3. Loosen frozen beef into chunks
and scoop meal-sized portions
into freezer bags or sealable
containers. Freeze for up to
Makes about 10 cups (2.5 L)
ko rean beef with lettuce cups
This Asian-inspired ground beef recipe lets you entertain with style and
within budget. It works for family meals too – easy to prepare and
casual to eat.
3 garlic cloves, minced servings:
Half sweet red pepper, diced
1 lb (500 g) Lean Ground Beef
1 tsp (5 mL) minced gingerroot
1/4 cup (50 mL) soy sauce preparation:
1 tbsp (15 mL) Asian chili sauce 10 minutes
1 tsp (5 mL) sesame oil
1 head Bibb lettuce, separated into individual leaves
Wedges of fresh lime cooking:
Toppings: hoisin sauce, chopped green onion, shredded carrot 15 minutes
or cucumber and chopped cilantro or mint
1. Cook garlic, diced pepper, ground beef and gingerroot in large skillet using 179 Calories
medium heat, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes until beef is browned and 16 g protein
completely cooked. Drain if necessary. 11 g fat
2. Add soy sauce, chili sauce and sesame oil; reduce heat to medium-low and 3 g carbohydrate
simmer 3-4 minutes.
3. Transfer to warm platter. At the table, let each person spoon some filling into % Daily Value (DV):
lettuce leaves, top with a squeeze of lime juice and add some favourite toppings. source of iron (13% DV)
Simply wrap lettuce around the filling, pick up and eat by hand. excellent source of zinc (40% DV)
31% DV sodium
Cook’s Notes: If you want a more traditional dish, serve the Korean Beef mixture over
steamed rice with a drizzling of hoisin sauce to complete.
simple meat sauce
Tag this recipe and keep it in the kitchen for your everyday family
meals. Dressed up with just a few ingredients, Simple Meat Sauce
becomes a Rich Beef Ragù that’s perfect for a casual gathering.
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil makes:
1 onion, diced
5 cups (1.25 L)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup (250 mL) diced vegetables (e.g. zucchini and sweet pepper)
1 lb (500 g) Ground Beef preparation:
1 can (28 oz/796 mL) tomatoes 15 minutes
1 can (5 1/2 oz/156 mL) tomato paste
1 tbsp (15 mL) brown sugar
1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried oregano cooking:
Salt and pepper 40 minutes
1. Heat oil in large heavy saucepan using medium heat. Add onion, garlic, per cup (250 mL):
vegetables and ground beef; cook, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes until beef 305 Calories
is browned and completely cooked. Drain. 19 g protein
2. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and oregano. Break up tomatoes with back 18 g fat
of spoon. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 g carbohydrate
for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add a bit more sugar if necessary. % Daily Value (DV):
Serve over hot pasta. excellent source of iron (26% DV)
excellent source of zinc (43% DV)
15% DV sodium
Rich Beef Ragù: When adding tomatoes to the Simple Meat Sauce, stir in 1/2 cup
(125 mL) EACH pitted black olives (chopped) and dry red wine, and 1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried chili
pepper flakes. Serve topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Beef. Flavour at its best
empanadas de picadillo
For a lighter alternative, you can skip the pastry and enjoy this
delicious Spanish-style ground beef as a topping for rice or pasta.
2 garlic cloves, minced servings:
1 onion, minced
Half sweet pepper, finely diced
1 lb (500 g) Lean or Extra Lean Ground Beef
1 cup (250 mL) salsa
1 tbsp (15 mL) chili powder 15 minutes
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
3/4 cup (175 mL) sliced green olives assembly:
1/2 cup (125 mL) raisins 10 minutes
Salt and pepper
4 frozen pie shells, thawed cooking:
1 egg, lightly beaten 10-15 minutes
1. Cook garlic, onion, diced pepper and ground beef in large skillet using medium per serving:
heat, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes until beef is browned and completely 557 Calories
cooked. Drain if necessary. 16 g protein
2. Add salsa, chili powder and cumin; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 34 g fat
3-4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in olives and raisins. Season to taste; 48 g carbohydrate
3. Cut each pie shell in half. Form each half into a ball; roll each out into a % Daily Value (DV):
7-inch (18 cm) round. Use 1/2 cup (125 mL) ground beef mixture for each excellent source of iron (28% DV)
pastry round. Moisten pastry edges with water; fold over and seal with fork. excellent source of zinc (34% DV)
Place empanadas on parchment paper or foil-lined baking sheet; prick and brush 42% DV sodium
tops of each with beaten egg. Bake at 425°F (220°C) oven for 10-15 minutes or
until golden brown.
Cook’s Notes: To make ahead, freeze unbaked empanadas in sealed container for up to
1 month; bake from frozen in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 20-25 minutes.
To make 40 appetizer-sized empanadas, chop the green olives. Cut each pie shell into ten
3-inch (8 cm) rounds; fill each with 1 tbsp (15 mL) beef mixture.
m ake -ah ead me xic an lasagna
Dinner can be ready and waiting in the refrigerator with this make-
ahead casserole. If you like food on the hot side, stir the jalapeños
right into the tomato sauce mixture.
1 EACH garlic clove and onion, chopped servings:
1 lb (500 g) Lean Ground Beef or Ground Chuck
1 tbsp (15 mL) chili powder
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup (250 mL) light or regular sour cream 15 minutes
2 tbsp (30 mL) all-purpose flour
1 can (7.5 oz/213 mL) tomato sauce cooking:
1/2 cup (125 mL) salsa 35 minutes
3 large flour tortillas
1 cup (250 mL) shredded Cheddar cheese per serving:
1/2 cup (125 mL) EACH sliced green olives and crushed tortilla chips 550 Calories
1/4 cup (50 mL) sliced pickled jalapeño peppers, chopped 33 g protein
26 g fat
1. Cook garlic, onion, ground beef, chili powder and cumin in large skillet using 47 g carbohydrate
medium heat, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes until beef is browned and
completely cooked. Drain if necessary. Stir in beans; set aside. % Daily Value (DV):
2. Combine sour cream and flour until smooth; set aside. Combine tomato sauce excellent source of iron (35% DV)
and salsa; set aside. excellent source of zinc (60% DV)
3. Place one and a half tortillas in the bottom of lightly oiled 2 qt (2 L) rectangular 42% DV sodium
baking dish, overlapping slightly.Top with half EACH of the meat mixture, sour
cream mixture and tomato sauce mixture. Repeat layers. Bake at 350ºF (180ºC)
for 30 minutes until bubbly. Top with cheese, olives, chips and jalapeños; bake
5 minutes longer.
Cook’s Notes: To make ahead, cover uncooked lasagna tightly and refrigerate for up to
24 hours OR over-wrap with foil and freeze for up to 2 weeks. Thaw in fridge for 48 hours
before baking at 350ºF (180ºC) for about 50 minutes. Add toppings and finish baking. Beef. Flavour at its best
Foo d Safety S m ar t s
• Cook or freeze ground beef the day you buy it. Raw or
cooked ground beef can be frozen for up to 3 months.
• Never thaw ground beef at room temperature. Thaw in the fridge,
allowing 12-15 hours per lb (26-33 hours per kg). Cook microwave-
thawed ground beef immediately. Thawed ground beef must be
cooked before refreezing.
• Never eat ground beef rare – cook ground beef thoroughly
to 160°F (71°C). Ground beef can look done (i.e. no longer be pink
inside) before being completely cooked. Use a digital rapid-read
thermometer to know your burger is safe and cooked to perfection! Just remember: “Your burger’s done at 71!”
Two colourful questions:
• I cooked a burger to 71°C but it was still pink inside – why? Several factors can affect the colour of
ground beef causing it to remain pink even when fully cooked. For more information visit www.beefinfo.org.
• Why is the ground beef at the centre of my package dark purple while the surface is bright red?
As beef is exposed to oxygen, it naturally develops a red hue. The meat in the centre will turn red once it’s
opened up to the air.
Questions about beef?
Visit www.beefinfo.org or call 1-888-248-BEEF.