The Extra Step To Achieve Finer Ground Beef

Empanadas filled with ground beef
Empanadas filled with ground beef - WS-Studio/Shutterstock

There are quite a few tips to keep in mind whenever you're cooking with ground beef, from paying attention to the cut's lean-to-fat ratio, to understanding the differences in flavor between grass-fed and grain-fed cows. Knowing just how to season and brown your meat properly is, of course, also imperative. But whether you're whipping up meatballs or loaded enchiladas, the real secret to achieving a better-tasting dish lies in the texture of your beef.

Your ground beef's coarseness -- or lack thereof -- can make or break your meal. For dishes like chili, hamburgers, or chunky sloppy joes, for example, coarse and crumbly is the way to go. But if you're making a layered dish, like lasagna or shepherd's pie, or preparing a meaty filling for things like dumplings or empanadas, you should opt for a finer grind. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to achieve a superfine consistency when it comes to raw ground beef, even if you specifically request it from your butcher shop or even grind the meat yourself.

Luckily, there's an easy solution, and all it requires is adding one extra step to your recipe: pulling out the food processor. After seasoning and cooking your ground beef like normal, all you have to do is run it through a food processor to mince those crumbly chunks down even further. Give it a few pulses, and in the end, you'll be left with a perfect batch of extra-fine, evenly ground beef, ready for packing and/or topping.

Read more: Tips You Need When Cooking With Ground Beef

The Finer The Grind, The More Tender And Flavorful Your Meat

Grinding beef in the food processor
Grinding beef in the food processor - Invizbk/Getty Images

While it may add a few minutes to your prep time, here's why this additional step is totally worth taking. For one thing, grinding up the cooked meat will help ensure that the seasonings you used when cooking get better distributed throughout the batch, not only by giving it all another mix, but also by breaking down the pieces so the seasonings aren't clustered on larger chunks. In other words, it practically guarantees a rich burst of flavor in every bite. It also allows you to make sure that the meat's texture is nice and uniform throughout.

That said, an extra run through the food processor will also break down your ground meat until it achieves a softer, smoother consistency that works great when it's layered in lasagna, poured over spaghetti in the form of a Bolognese sauce, or used as a filling in delicate pockets of dough. Indeed, Tasting Table has previously extolled the virtues of giving meat an extra grind to create a better dumpling filling, but this trick also works for empanadas, ravioli, and even stuffed vegetables.

You can also apply this food processor hack to salvage overcooked meat: Getting it down to a finer, almost pureed-like grind will help to improve its mouthfeel and make it perfect for fillings. In that case, though, just be sure to blend it with some oil or liquid to moisten it up.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.