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Ground Beef: Freshly Ground or Vacuum-Packed?


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Ground Beef: Freshly Ground or Vacuum-Packed?

damian | | Jan 30, 2012 07:06 PM

I'm starting to get into hamburger grilling, and I'm wonder about the differences between freshly ground meat, as found in the butcher's case, and the pre-packaged, vacuum-packed stuff (I'm deliberately excluding the packaged non-vacuum-packed stuff from this discussion, as that seems to be the worst of both worlds; I'm also excluding grinding the meat myself, because, to be frank, I'm too lazy).

To me, the fresh meat looks more appetizing. Perhaps I'm off-base, but to me, the bloodiness of the vacuum-packed meat is unappetizing. I have nothing against bloody meat (I love a rare steak), but the liquidiness of the packaged meat looks unappealing. Does the liquidity affect the taste/texture of the finished burger? I'm guessing it does, because my sense is that the meat needs to be relatively dry to get crispy on the outside (that, at least, has been my experience with steak).

Of course, one might argue that the vacuum-packed meat keeps longer and is less likely to grow bacteria. I'd love not to have to go to the butcher every time I want to cook a burger, but I am willing to cook the meat the day I buy it if it will make for a better finished product.