What’s Your Beef?

      2 Comments on What’s Your Beef?
$1.20/lb ground beef, with onion

$1.20/lb, 1.5 lbs of ground beef, browned with onions


If you are what you eat, then we are certainly not cow. At least not much, anyway. We’re not really big beef eaters, and never were. Hopefully this will bring us good luck in the Chinese year of the Cow, which starts on Monday.

It did not help when we learned of the Canadian mad cow scare, where the brains and spinal cords of cows were put back into cow feed. That’s bovine cannibalism, which is crazy when you think that cows are herbivores. Yes, mankind did lend a helping hand. The Canadian government did not even heed the learnings and warnings from Britain, where there was a huge and disastrous mad cow outbreak. Even Japan warned us. I guess our Japanese isn’t as good as it should be.

The "bonus" portion left over from browning 1.5 lb of ground beef

The "bonus" portion left over from browning 1.5 lb of ground beef

No matter, life goes on. There are hambergers from Johnny’s that are great. The kids eat hotdogs, but only ones with no milk or milk products. Sometimes we’ll get some beef at a resteraunt, which is Ok. It’s not often. A couple of times a year we do corned beef from Brazil  for breakfast. It’s a little salty, but the kids like it.

When we make the conscious decision to cook beef, we look to buying it either at the big box superstore or the local Chinese grocer. No Frills and Price Chopper are convenient and, if you watch what and when you buy, cost effective. The Chinese grocer has a meat counter, so we can get exactly what and how much meat we need, and fresh, not that they don’t package up more than we asked for.

My question is about quality. It’s the little things in life that you need to take care of. After all, this hunk of flesh is going down the hatch of your progeny. If the little weeds start sprouting an errant horn from their cranium, this might not reflect very well on you. There may also be the question of your ongoing reproductive capability.

Beef, once ground and then browned, turns its  fat from a solid to a liquid. Once this is done, if you throw it into the ‘fridge the fat will congeal and resolidify, after which you can break it up and throw it out. It’s not healthy to eat that stuff, oh my dear sweet Mary no, something about those bad saturated fats.

It’s my belief that, barring a high priced and well aged steak, the leaner the beef, the less the fat content, the better the quality. In practical terms this means that when you brown it, there is much less fat left in your pot. Empirical experimentation has led us to believe this is true. The price of beef, however, leads to some confusion. A 2 lb roll of lean ground beef from No Frills or Price Chopper, costs $2.50/lb. When browned, as a token of their appreciation you also receive a significant amount of fat left in your pot, very similar to the photos above. It is also disconcerting that you cannot see the beef because of the plastic wrapper. The same amount of fat, or less, can be had from ground beef from the Chinese store costing $1.20/lb. Buying the $3.00/lb beef at the Chinese store and browning it leaves almost no fat. This may not be a benefit when doing tacos.

We then ask ourselves why buy the more expensive beef at the Superstore when we can get better quality for a better price at the Chinese store.

2 thoughts on “What’s Your Beef?

  1. daviding

    I could afford to lose some weight — most of us could — so it’s not uncommon on the yearly physical checkup to have a doctor suggest that I speak with a dietician.

    Once, I got a dietician who was Chinese. After she ascertained that I had a significant amount of Chinese food in my diet, she made the one suggestion that I buy ground pork in Chinatown, not in supermarkets. My observation is that in Chinatown, it’s really chopped or minced pork, i.e. they take what we would normally eat, and run it through a grinder. In western supermarkets, the ground pork normally goes into sausage, which then tends to higher fat to keep the serving moist.

    I have to say that all of the other dieticians are a bust, so I’ve stopped going to them. One went down the standard route of going down the list of the all of the things that I don’t eat (e.g. dairy products, desserts) and concluding that what I need is better portion control and more exercise. I already know that.

  2. Greg Lowes

    Shopping for meat at a big-box grocery chain is hit and miss. They hit you with high prices, and you miss the quality.
    I discovered a very inexpensive butcher up in Markham. A one-man business run by Reiner – he has had the same shop for over 27 years, and I believe that his German heritage means excellent quality at low prices for us. Look for his shop at the North west corner of Hwy 7 and Galsworthy (1 km west of Main Street).

    His ground beef is just that – ground up steak and roast. Very pleasantly different than what you get at the supermarkets.

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