How should I store ground beef?

So, you’ve visited your favorite meat counter and picked up a couple pounds of fresh ground beef! Or you stocked up and purchased 25 pounds of frozen ground beef to have on hand for simple meal making. Awesome – ground beef is simple to prepare and full of nutrition. Don’t let that stuff go to waste by improperly storing it!


Fresh Ground Beef                                                                                         

If you purchased fresh ground beef out of the meat case, keep it refrigerated! Get it into the refrigerator as soon as possible after purchase. Your refrigerator should run at 40*F or less to preserve freshness of all foods and slow bacterial growth. Plan to use that ground beef within one or two days.

Frozen Ground Beef

Ground beef that you plan to store in your freezer should be appropriately wrapped:

-          Freezer paper

-          Plastic bags made for freezing

-          Aluminum foil

While this ground beef can be stored for a very, very long time in the freezer, it DOES loose quality over time. We recommend storing ground beef around 6 months. That being said, ALWAYS mark your ground beef with the date of freezing so you can keep track of storage times.

Thawed Ground Beef

The safest way to thaw ground beef is in the refrigerator. Keeping it cold while defrosting prevents the growth of bacteria. Sometimes, people will defrost in the microwave or even in cold water. To do this, you need to first seal the ground beef in a water tight plastic bag. Rule of thumb: after you thaw ground beef, thaw or refreeze after one or two days.

Cooked Ground Beef

Ground beef should be refrigerated quickly after cooking – within 2 hours or 1 hour is the temperature is above 90*. Keep this product in the refrigerator for around 4 days OR store cooked ground beef in the freezer for 4 months. Just make sure that when you reheat any of this, that the internal temperature reaches 165*.

See - simple! How do you keep your house stocked with ground beef?

The One About Ground Beef

Ground beef offers quick, easy and delicious options for any meal and for any occasion. We love it for it's versatility, ease of cooking, and major nutritional value. Ground beef provides 10 essential nutrients including protein, zinc, iron and many B vitamins. This high nutritional value, combined with it's texture and small crumble size, ground beef is an ideal food to give to small children or elderly adults.

It can be grilled, baked, broiled, braised or fried in the skillet. Ground beef is truly a jack of all trades! Some of our very favorite ground beef recipes can be found here.

Ground Beef 85.jpg

Here at Oak Meadow Meats, we grind our ground beef in house, from whole muscle cuts. This gives the meat a rich flavor and dependably consistency.

Traditionally, this cut comes in a range of lean to fat ratios:

70% LEAN

Ground Beef that is not less than 70% lean (usually a 73/27 or 75/25 lean-to-fat ratio) is used for burgers and in recipes calling for browning (crumbles) and pouring off drippings, such as chili, tacos and spaghetti sauce. When properly cooked, it is moist and juicy.


80-85% LEAN

A mid-range lean-to-fat ratio is a nice option for dishes like meatloaf and meatballs, where you’ll be forming a ball or loaf, but you’ll be cooking in a pan or skillet. In addition, 80-85% lean is perfect for making delicious burgers! This ratio is also good to use when draining fat won't be an issue. When properly cooked, it is moist and juicy and has a slightly firm texture.


93% LEAN

Ground Beef that is 93% lean or leaner meets government guidelines for “lean.” If you’re trying to choose lean meats, this is an excellent choice for you. It works well in dishes that require crumbles, like meat sauce, tacos, stuffed peppers or casseroles where draining fat might be difficult.

We carry 85% and 93% lean ground beef. In our experience, they are the two most versatile and desirable.

A meat thermometer is the BEST way to check beef’s temperature. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160F. Color is not a reliable indicator of ground beef doneness. Cooking ground beef to 160F will protect your family against food borne illness, and is especially important when preparing for young children, elderly adults or those with compromised immune systems.

What’s your favorite way to use ground beef? Any cooking or storage hacks we should know about?