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  • Writer's pictureMcKenna

3 tips to better ground beef

Prep time: NA

Cook time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4-6

I've been very excited to share this one with you guys. Ground beef is a staple in my week, but I'll be honest, eating bland beef makes me quite sad. Anyone else?

There's SO much you can do with beef, it's my belief that it shouldn't be boring!

Think of it like a blank canvas. You can add certain herbs & spices to transport you to different countries, tasting their cuisines. You can add dry or fresh herbs for added flavor & nutrient boost. You can cook beef as a stand-alone feature or a complement to soups, stews, wraps, & much more! It's quite remarkable, really.

In my opinion, ground beef is a stellar protein option for those eating meat. Of course, there are caveats. And, quality is extremely important when it comes to eating meat. But for the sake of today, I won't go too far down that rabbit hole - cue another article ;)

Instead, I'd like to focus on simply preparing good beef. 

Ground beef in cast iron pan

I was recently talking with a friend about how we both prepare meat & she said "I just put heat to meat" ... I froze, lol. That's when I realized that there are probably lots of people cooking beef like this.

So, I thought this was a good opportunity to share my 3 tips for adding flavor to your beef. And, the cool part about this guide? You can apply it to all ground meat! Turkey, chicken, bison, lamb, the list goes on.

As I said to my friend - gone are the days of just heat & meat ;)

tip 1: my secret ingredient...

Apple cider vinegar. I'm telling you, a smidge of ACV changes everything. The acidity helps to break down muscle fibers in meat, tenderizing & beautifully balancing the flavors. You also get a touch of sweetness which almost caramelizes the the meat. It's delicious.

Maybe you've heard of the book "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat" ... the author Samin Nosrat illustrates how to use these 4 elements to master the art of good cooking. Salt to enhance the flavor, fat to provide flavor, acid to balance flavor, & heat which contributes to texture. Samin's rule applies here perfectly. Hence, the acv.

The trick to ACV is timing. Add it too soon & your meat may become a little too tough. Add it too late, you might not get the browning effects. Maybe this isn't revolutionary, but in my deep search for ground beef recipes, I found just one recipe using ACV. So, I think there's some room for a new recipe :)

tip 2: add fresh herbs

In addition to the ACV, consider adding a cup of freshly chopped herbs. They add so much flavor & it's an excellent way to get a handful of antioxidants in. Herbs are especially helpful for the liver & reducing oxidative stress, so load up where you can!

Again, timing matters. You don't want to add them too early because most of these herbs have heat-sensitive nutrients that can degrade if temps are too high. Here's what I'd recommend: cook your beef through, adding the ACV in the last few minutes. Then, turn off the stove & add your freshly chopped herbs. They'll cook just enough with the residual heat.

tip 3: be heavy-handed with your spices

Flavor is the theme here, & spices are flavor's best friend. Whether you're using dried spices, herbs, or a combination, don't be afraid to lather it up.

When I started cooking, I was very scarce on the herbs & spices, but to be honest, I couldn't taste them. Nowadays, I typically hang out around 1 tsp. Of course, start small, taste test, & adjust to your liking. You'll see in the recipe below, I used garlic, paprika, & coriander. For a good rule of thumb, pick 2-3 spices / herbs for a well-rounded bite.

other considerations

Always include the acidic ingredient: While I typically go for ACV, feel free to use something else like lemon or lime. I've been enjoying lime juice on ground beef lately. If you'd like to try for yourself, I recommend adding it in the last 2 minutes of cooking, otherwise, your meat may become too firm. Oh & be sure to use at least 1 whole medium-sized lime! Then taste test & see if you need more.

Get creative with your herbs: I often switch up the herbs & sometimes mix a few. Italian parsley (flat-leaf), curly parsley, chives, cilantro, fresh dill, green onion, are all great options. Whichever you choose, don't be shy with how much you use, in my opinion, too much doesn't really apply here :)

Omit added oil: I find that added oil really isn't necessary depending on the beef you get. Most of the time, I use 85% lean / 15% fat beef, I find it leaves just enough fat to prevent the beef from drying out, without needing more. For anything leaner, you may want to consider adding ghee or olive oil to your beef.

Don't toss the fat: If you notice lots of fat accumulating (aka beef drippings), consider salvaging it! If you're cooking high-quality beef, this fat makes a great alternative to saute your veggies in. Pour it into a jar & store it in the fridge for later - you just might save a little on oil too.

Now, to the recipe...


1 lb (453g) of organic, grass-fed / grass-finished beef

1 cup of Italian parsley, chopped

2-3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp paprika

¾ tsp garlic powder

¾ tsp sea salt

½ tsp coriander

Optional: Repace ACV with the juice of 1 medium lime or lemon


Place your beef in a cast iron pan over medium heat, let it brown for a minute or two.

Break up the beef into large chunks & let it brown for several minutes untouched (4-5min). This is important! It'll create a delicious, brown crust, letting some of its juices escape.

While it's browning, chop your fresh herbs & set aside.

Break the ground beef into smaller pieces & add the salt, paprika, garlic powder, & coriander. Continue breaking the ground beef into the size you'd prefer, this will help to incorporate your seasonings as well.

Continue cooking. Just before the beef is no longer pink, add your ACV or whichever acidic ingredient you choose. Mix together & cook for another minute or two, up until it's no longer pink - keep an eye on it, you don't want to cook it too far past this point otherwise it might be a little tough.

Turn the stove off & add your fresh herbs. Mix together to incorporate.

Let it cool just slightly & it's ready to serve!

Add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime just before eating for more flavor :)

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2 commentaires

09 mars

Definitely trying!! Thank you for sharing!! 😍🥰

12 mars
En réponse à

Thank you for trying!! I hope you enjoyed it :)

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