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The best ground beef seasoning depends on both the tastes of the chef and the way in which the beef will be used. There are classic seasonings, such as cumin, chili powder and coriander, for Mexican foods. Simple savory mixes that include onion powder, red pepper flakes and Worcestershire sauce can be used for hamburgers or as a base for casseroles. Some Asian and Indian seasonings can be used when beef is being included as part of a larger vegetable dish or stir fry in which ingredients such as soy sauce, vinegar, paprika, turmeric and ginger are used. A large amount of premade ground beef seasoning mixes also are produced, some based on famous restaurant recipes and others imitating the common flavors of particular cuisines.
When making Mexican foods, cumin is often a prime ingredient in ground beef seasoning. This can be accented with onions, peppers and chili powder. Freshly diced cilantro and garlic can add a certain depth to the meat, as well, allowing it to stand out in a dish. For slow-cooked Mexican meals such as chili, ground beef seasoning can include diced hot peppers that will develop flavor as they cook, and roasted spices such as chipotles and toasted cumin seeds.
The taste of ground beef can be used as a platform to highlight other ingredients. A ground beef seasoning mix that consists of onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and red pepper flakes can make meat that has a taste all its own but also can serve to complement any vegetables or cheeses that are added. In preparations such as meatloaf, the meat can be spiced with nutmeg, allspice and thyme to provide a deep, slow-cooked flavor. When used as loose meat or for barbecued burgers, the meat can be mixed with brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup to make sweet and savory beef that will partially caramelize when cooked.
Although it is not often called for in traditional cuisine, ground beef goes very well with Asian and Indian spices. Soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and ginger can create a sharp taste in the meat. Roasted spices such as black mustard seeds, turmeric, coriander and onions with hot red pepper can make a spicy Indian mix suitable for hamburgers or curries.
There are a number of premade ground beef seasoning mixes that are commercially available. These often state their intended use on the label but can range from spicy mixes for chili to subtle Italian mixtures that are perfect for meatballs. Some combinations are unique, such as mixes for Swedish meatballs that can include sweet seasonings such as cinnamon.
It's not surprising ground beef pairs well with Indian spices since it is similar in flavor and texture to ground lamb, which is used a lot in Indian cuisine.
I like to use seasoned salt on ground beef, since that's usually a pretty good, general seasoning blend. It pairs well with nearly anything. There's also a local steak "sauce" around here called Dale's, which serves the same kind of function as soy sauce, but with a beefy taste. I'm also a big fan of Cajun or Greek seasoning for ground beef, as long as it goes with the dish I'm making.
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