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Freezing raw ground beef for hamburgers!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I buy raw ground beef, usually chuck, for making plain hamburgers and cheeseburgers. Usually buy a goodly amount, thinking that I will make patties to put into the freezer. I don't add anything to the raw beef....just plain, unadorned beef patties.

Some of the newly purchased ground beef is used the same day of purchase, and cooks up and taste just fine (3 min. on each side). The rest is portioned off with waxed paper in between, vacuumed with my Food Saver and put into freezer.

Here is my problem.......at that future date, when I want to make hamburgers again. I take them out of the freezer....Have tried thawing first (in the fridge), and have also thrown them into the pan frozen, but they turn out rubbery, tough, and unappetizing. What am I doing wrong? Is it molecular change due to freezing?
post #2 of 15
are you making individual patties and freezing them? if so just try freezing a block of meat, less surface area to be exposed to damage and greater mass to maintain moisture inside. I buy bulk ground chuck 10lbs or so and break em down to 1.5-2lbs bricks. Wrap really tight with the ol plastic wrap and forgeddaboutit. I have only had off tastes with freezer burned or freezer dried meat. best of luck
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #3 of 15
Dont know why you are having problem. I do mine home almost same way. portion out chuck or sirloin. place patty on sheets of WET cling plastic wrap fold over, wrap and press. Then freeze single layer.. Why do WET wrap? It forms a glaze seal on meat. Commercially almost all frozen products are glazed, it protect them from drying effect of freezer.:D
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you Ed.......your reasoning and solution sounds very plausible. Think maybe it is my solution!

Also, Gunnar......am also going to try your method, too.

Thank Goodness for ChefTalk when one needs wiser and experienced advice !!!
post #5 of 15
Two things:

1. If you have a frost free freezer, then that is part of the problem. It sucks the moisture out of the freezer contents contributing to premature freezer burn. I never would buy a frost free freezer.

2. Yes, freezing technically bursts the individual muscles cells of the meat. But it is likely the ground chuck or whatever you're getting at the supermarket was previously frozen anyway, so you re-freezing it probably isn't contributing to the problem (but since the cells are "burst" the frost free freezer can still suck moisture out of your baggies. I don't know about you, but my foodsaver bags lose their vacuum on a regular basis.

3. I grind my own chuck, save it in 1-2lb packages using the Foodsaver. I put a double seal on each bag just to ensure the vacuum lasts. Meat over a year old still tastes great.

doc
post #6 of 15
hey that's a good tip Chefed, I gotta remember that.
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you, Doc. Think that grinding your own is the very best. My freezer is not frost-free, and I do notice that at times the FoodSaver seal looses its vacuum. I always double seal to make sure.

I had forgotten that ground meats sometimes come to the supermarket already frozen, therefore.....guess it is best to grind in your own kitchen. That way you are assured of a coarse grind that is required for good hamburgers. Will do the WET wrap, too!

Thanks so very much, I pick up useful information from each and every post entered !!! Thanks so Much Everyone!!
post #8 of 15
Just a quick question here - which may seem either obvious or mis-informed. But, if a raw meat comes to your supplier pre-frozen, once it's been thawed, surely you can't freeze it again before it is cooked? :eek:

Freeze it after cooking and then just re-heat, perhaps? I wouldn't re-freeze raw pre-frozen meat.

BTW, good hint about the wet cling wrap. Its a bit like freezing fish for the deep freeze - makes a nice case around it so the ice barrier doesn't allow an exchange of moisture. Fish can get so mushy after freezing.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
I know enough to realize that once raw meat has been frozen that it can't...or shouldn't... be frozen again. The problem with the ready-ground meats from the supermarket is that you don't actually know, and they don't tell you!! Have never seen packages marked "prevously frozen"! At least, I have not seen ground meats so marked; only in the freezer section when you are deliberately buying already frozen meats.

Also, some time ago, in the past, didn't they add a red food coloring agent to ground meats to keep them "fresh" looking?? Wonder if they still employ this practice!
post #10 of 15
i AM SURE YOU ARE TO YOUNG TO REMEMBER THE 50S AND EARLY 60S. But working in butcher shops in that era , we used to use a chemical we called DYNAMITE WHICH WAS IN REALITY SODIUM NITRATE. It is still used today in corned beef and frankfurters as a preservative mixed with sodium nitrite but is not added to raw ground beef anymore. The meat got so red you could not put it out right away.
A lot of ground beef today is Frosted.
The markets store it at 32 F. when they first put it out for sale it is a little hard to the touch but is not totaly frozen, this way it does not have to be LABELED FROZEN .. What should be a law is nameing Country of Orgin on the meat as 1 pound of chuck could come from 5 countries, and itis all legal.Tricks to the trade they call it.:lol::lol:
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #11 of 15
Hi Lisbet, All good tips here already. I also portion ground meat in patties then freeze them. (I actually weigh the portion meat so that all the patties are the same weight so they cook up the same). One trick I didn't see here is to freeze your fresh meat patties as quickly as possible. I place only one layer of patties on a wax paper lined steel cookie sheet to freeze (a layer of paper on top helps prevent excessive drying). I have 3 sheets that do not touch going at once. Within 4 to 6 hours (or overnight) the patties a frozen like pucks, I place them is resealable bags and store them in a chest freezer which does not have a defrost cycle. They last longer, very little freezer burn. At hamburger time, I throw the frozen pucks on the BBQ grill, they cook up juicy. (I add spices and secret ingredient in the meat as well before freezing). The last lesson I learned is not to press too firmly the meat when making patties (particularly when freezing) which also makes them pasty and hard once cooked. Enjoy! Luc H.
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Ed: That's it !!!! Sodium Nitrate ! I remember now....have a poor memory for technical terms. (Only wish I were as young as you seem to think I am.)

Luc H: I'll have to try your method, following your instructions to the "letter"!
post #13 of 15
Honey!
Compared to me everyone is young.:D
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #14 of 15
Love to buy ground beef on sale, and when it's on sale, I buy sizeable amount, portion out and individually freeze. Husband likes to do patties when I'm away for dinner and that way, he can get home, take one out, put on the black defroster thingie, an hour later it's thawed. He forms his patty and cuts up lettuce, there you have it. Of course I do bigger zipper bags for meatloaf or ? ? ?
...All anyone ever does is complain....stop griping and start being thankful...be grateful...be appreciative...
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...All anyone ever does is complain....stop griping and start being thankful...be grateful...be appreciative...
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post #15 of 15
Ed - maybe we'll have to rename you "Lazarus" :smiles:


I don't know really what the practices are here concerning ground beef. All I know is that with fish - it must be labelled whether its "Thawed for your convenience" (meaning it's been frozen! d'uh- and probably been pumped full of water to increase the weight), or labelled "Fresh".....which is now making me wonder as to how "Fresh" it is. Not really close to the coast here, so can't get to a fresh fish market. Would love to tho. Aww rats
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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