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What Are the Best Tips for Cooking Mince?

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  • Written By: Patrick Lynch
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2016
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There are dozens of recipes that mince beef can be used for, including popular dishes such as lasagna and spaghetti Bolognese. The fat levels in lower grade beef are a concern, but the amount of fat can be reduced by rinsing the meat prior to cooking it. Regular beef also shrinks more than its lean counterpart because of the fat in the meat. Avoid cooking mince when it is frozen, as this reduces the flavor of the meat. Do not use a spatula to press the beef when cooking mince as this also causes a loss of flavor.

Ground beef is generally used for mince, and although it is cheaper than full cuts of meat, it also contains a higher level of fat. To remove the fat when using mince in a casserole, rinse the meat before browning. Otherwise, once the meat has been thoroughly browned, pour it into a colander, which should be placed over a sink, and rinse it with hot water. Drain the water and dab the meat with clean paper towels. The fat content is greatly reduced but so too is the flavor.

Premium beef is more expensive than regular ground meat is because lean meat shrinks less when cooking. As the fat in regular beef is heated it drains away, leaving a smaller amount of the rest of the meat. Choosing leaner cuts will result in less shrinkage.

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Storing mince in a freezer after purchase is an ideal way to keep it fresh. Meat tends to spoil if left in the refrigerator for a few days, so freezing the meat ensures its longevity. Cooking frozen mince, however, is possible but not recommended.

The natural beef juices become ice crystals when mince is frozen which means that cooking the mince when it is frozen causes a lot of the juice to be drained off, reducing the flavor. Therefore, it is important to plan ahead when cooking mince. Mince should be removed from the freezer several hours before it is due to be cooked so that the ice crystals will melt.

Using a spatula to press down on the beef when cooking mince should be avoided. This results in all the flavor being squeezed out. It is also a bad idea to poke holes in the meat when it is being cooked. This leads to moisture being lost, which results in less flavor. The spatula should be used to turn the meat rather than press down on it.

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clintflint
Post 3

@bythewell - Mince is just really versatile. I always try to buy it when it's cheap at the supermarket, even if it does mean freezing it, because I don't think it matters in those kinds of recipes, or in things like pasta sauce.

For a couple of years we ran cattle and I actually had a home mince grinder, but that was one of the few things that didn't taste a hundred times better coming from our own kitchen, so I don't mind buying at the shops.

bythewell
Post 2

@pastanaga - Our family minced beef recipe tended to be used when our mother didn't want to cook anything else because it was really easy and quick. It was basically just mince and diced potatoes with whatever else she had in the fridge, broiled up in a pan and served with tomato sauce.

I never liked it that much when I was a kid, because it seemed like a filler meal instead of a real one, but I haven't had it in years now and I actually think I'd like to try it again.

pastanaga
Post 1

When we have home made hamburgers we basically just use mince, which seems to surprise a lot of people. I've seen recipes that called for onions to be added, and flour and eggs and all sorts of other things.

But really, all you have to do is get some nice mince, and use your hands to slap it around a bit, like you would with dough, so that it will stick together well, and then shape it into patties abd fry them.

It can take some practice to get the size and shape right, because they tend to contact into thicker shapes when you cook them, but that's basically it.

I've never had a better burger in a restaurant. This is our standard family get-together meal, along with home cut fries and sweet corn on the cob.

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