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Time/Mess Saving Tip for Portioning/Pattying Ground Meat For Burgers

6 Apr

*Note:  I copied this directly from my SparkPeople blog, so just ignore the ‘since you’re on SparkPeople’ statement later on in the post.

 

If you’re anything like me, you might run across a few pounds of ground beef on sale, pick it up, come home and stick it in the fridge with every intention of portioning it out before it goes into the freezer, then realizing almost too late that it’s been sitting in the fridge for days, and you don’t have time to portion it right now, so you just toss the whole thing in the freezer to be sorted later.  When later finally rolls around, and you decide you want to make hamburgers out of that thriftily priced protein, you have to haul out this large, frozen lump of ground meat and wait forever and a day for it to thaw, wash your hands, portion it, wash your hands, patty it, wash your hands, then cook it.

While my time saving idea won’t do you much good if you toss the burger in the freezer, it WILL help you save lots of time & mess if you’ll take the initiative to go ahead and portion it straight away.

First, while portioning, rip off a small piece of plastic wrap and cover the weighing portion of your scale with it.  If you have a scale with buttons, pull off another small piece and cover the ON/TARE button.  Now you don’t have to worry about any nasty bacteria because you can simply remove and toss the plastic wrap when you’re finished.

There’s nothing fancy to this part.  I simply weigh out 4 oz amounts of ground beef until the container is gone, putting each one in it’s own zipper lock sandwich baggie.  The last portion very rarely has an even 4 oz, so I like to have a permanent marker on hand to write down the precise weight (I measure almost everything in grams, for more precise calorie counting, but I’m occasionally neurotic, so…).

After everything is weighed and bagged, simply toss into the freezer for when you’re ready to make burgers.

Again, if you’re like me, you grew up eating ‘Momma Burgers’.  You know the kind I mean; they take 15 minutes (if you’re lucky!) to cook, and by the time they’re done, they’ll give you lockjaw just trying to get a bite that includes both sides of the bun, the burger and all the fixins.  This is the precise reason I rarely ever ate burgers-by-mom once I reached a certain age.  While they were delicious, they were just too much of a pain to try to eat.  Hot dogs were just easier.

I’m going on the assumption that if you’re on SparkPeople, you’re not making ‘Momma Burgers’ (a 4 oz serving would more closely resemble ‘Momma Meatballs’!)  so you’re intending a nice, thin, uniform patty.

Pull out your previously portioned burger and thaw.  Open the zippered baggie (but don’t take out the burger yet!), add your desired spices (I prefer garlic powder and onion powder on mine), reseal the baggie, and smoosh the meat around so your seasonings get worked into the meat to your satisfaction (you may find you need to let some of the air out or allow some in, it’s what is easiest for you).  Once you’ve gotten the seasoning worked through the meat, let most of the air out of the baggie and reseal it.

Now make your patty as usual INSIDE THE BAGGIE.

With this method it is quite possible to never touch the meat after you’ve weighed it out after purchase.  I do, because I don’t feel like taking the time to cut the baggie open as I’m putting the patties on the grill or in the pan, but technically, you don’t have to touch it if you don’t want to.

This saves countless minutes of time, especially if you’re trying to make several dishes while you’re making your patties or your phone rings, or you have little ones who need your attention or help, because they’ll always need it once you’ve put your hands in the burger!

Hope you found this tip useful!

~A

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