What does the supermarket put in ground beef to keep it looking purdy?

Discussion in 'Beef' started by pandemonium, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. pandemonium

    pandemonium Master of the Pit

    well i just ground up about ten lbs of chuck roast yesterday and put it in a big tupperware container and today i go to bag it for freezing and the entire middle was brown? wth? it smells good just weird that the outside looked good and red, anyway i have heard they put stuff on the meat to make it look good.
  2. scrapiron

    scrapiron Smoke Blower

    When I worked in a supermarket butcher shop the trimmings that we ground up would do the same as yours. We put nothing into the meat. Break it up a little and it should turn red again. Now the big tubs of meat that was preground might have had something extra added, I don't recall it ever turning brown in the middle.

    Wow, I was no help. Sorry.
  3. pandemonium

    pandemonium Master of the Pit

    never have i had store bought beef turn brown in a day and the date is good btw, they must put something in it
  4. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    I was surprised yesterday when I was at probably the same chain of store you were in and the meat guy told me their ground burger has water added to it. He did not tell me how much or why but did say it had water added so grinding a lb of chuck would yield more meat then buying a lb of their burger
  5. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I cann't recall anything being put into he ground meat but that doesn't mean anything. I have bought a bunch of ground meat with 5 kids and I don't recall any turning brown matbe after a stay in the freezer maybe.
  6. kurtsara

    kurtsara Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Same here, I cut meat at a grocery store for about 8 years and we never added anything to the ground beef, I don't think they can actually, it's 80/20 or 85/15 or what ever you buy.
  7. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When meat is exposed to oxygen it turns the bright red color that you see on the outside. The darker meat on the inside should turn red after being exposed to the air in about 15 minutes or so.
  8. grampyskids

    grampyskids Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Did you have the contair tightly sealedl? If not, the air will causes it to discolor but it won't hurt the meat.
  9. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hmmm.. could it be that the meat stays red when exposed to fresh air containing oxygen and the meat in the middle does not. Maybe the markets have better air circulation in the reefers or they don't allow the meat to "pack" as much. I found this with a quicck Google search:

    The bright red color of ground beef is often used by consumers as a selection factor when purchasing hamburger, but a dark gray-purple color may not necessarily be a bad thing.

    All warm-blooded animals contain a pigment called myoglobin in meat tissues. This pigment is normally a dark grayish-purple but when it comes in contact with oxygen, it becomes oxymyoglobin and reacts by turning a deep red color. Meats that are vacuum-packed have not been exposed to oxygen long enough to turn red.

    It is for that eye-pleasing coloration that most fresh ground beef sold in clear packages at the market is packaged using a clear film that is oxygen permeable. The oxygen goes through the film and allows the meat to turn that pretty red color we associate with fresh beef. This is why it is not recommended to freeze meat in store packaging.

    Coloring can also indicate spoilage. If your package of ground beef is grayish all the way through and does not turn red when exposed to air for fifteen minutes or so, it is most likely spoiled. Usually your nose will tell you right off the bat, as spoiled ground beef will smell sour. It will also feel tacky to the touch. Don't take any chances with spoiled meat. When in doubt, toss it out.
  10. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  11. rambler

    rambler Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

  12. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Hmm looks like I need to ask the meat guy again because he told me they add water I have no idea why or if its mixed with some powdered stuff I have no idea I was surprised when he told me that
  13. bassman

    bassman Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    One thing that may change the color a little is leaving it set overnight. I'm willing to bet there was quite a bit of blood in the bottom of the bucket.[​IMG]
  14. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    What he said. [​IMG]
  15. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'd go back and let him know that it's illegal to adulterate ground product or sell it as 100% ground beef when anything at all has been added. The state inspectors can seize samples on any visit for analysis and can shut down the store if intentional adulteration is found.

    This is entirely correct. The inner ground meat had just not been exposed to oxygen yet and was still in it's native blood color. The oygenation of meat film is standard procedure and approved, but it will allow oxyen to pass so it should not be used for long term storage; repackage into sealable bags or containers.
    Eventually the ground meat will turn bright red completely through if it has not been ground too tightly, as oxygen can seep between the strands of ground meat to oxygenate it. This is why it is 'squiggled' into a package, to allow the oxygen transfer into the package to 'bloom' the meat; eye appeal is buy appeal.

    Now if they're selling soy protein additive ground meat then yes, water and soy protein is added in copious amounts, extending the profitability of the grinds, but also giving a more healthful product too. But, this has to be indicated in large letters on the packaging.

    The third possibility is that they are 'constructing' their grinds; in other words using fatty trim and lean, local bull beef or imported bull beef. Usually from New Zealand or Australia (grass fed). Very lean and tough, but great to add to grinds as it is 90-95% lean. If imported it comes in 60lb. frozen blocks of frozen solid bull beef. You cut it up on the meat saw into slabs, then into sticks to defrost a little before grinding; sometimes very little. Being frozen, it is retaining some moisture and when thawed iwll leak more prominently.
  16. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great post Pops. Good insight on what your looking at at the butcher counter. I may even be inclined to ask my local grocer/cutter what they do in a roundabout way...
  17. smokingohiobutcher

    smokingohiobutcher Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    [eye appeal is buy appeal.]

    Boy is that the truth! Great way to say it POPS
    Some meat cutters pack there grinds tight to fit more meat into the tray. Usually a management based decision. Losely packing ground beef will keep the dreaded "brown beef monster" at bay for a while,and makes for a pretty package.
    Always trust your nose! With all the different variables ( colored lighting,loose packed meat, extra lean frozen bullmeat added)ground meat can look very nice most of the time. If It smells funny?....it might make your tummy feel funny![​IMG] Ever smell some of that prepackaged ground meat that you can get at those big Mart type stores???you know ...the ones that don't have meat cutters on hand to ask questions to?
    Just as you slice open the packaging get your nose right up close and take a whiff[​IMG]??? MMMM does it smell fresh???
    Morel of the story....find a trustworthy butcher or buy your own grinder.[​IMG]
  18. pandemonium

    pandemonium Master of the Pit

    very great information guys, i learn something new everyday
  19. the dude abides

    the dude abides Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    This explains something I've always wondered about. I've tossed Ground Beef before because I've opened a package (the kind with the clear cover) of what looked like a nice red pacakge of meat, but when I take it out of the package and break it apart it's dark inside. I always figured that was some highly labor intensive butcher's trick to use up older meat by surrounding it in new meat.

    I didn't really believe that, but that was the only thing I could think of. Now I guess I know it's just that meat wasn't exposed to the air that the outside was.

    But now I have another question...since it was ground, wasn't all of the meat exposed to oxygen? Meaning since it was all exposed to oxygen shouldn't the package be red all the way through?
  20. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I would have to say it's like re-hanging the beef. Most of the fresh ground meat has never been exposed to the air since it was in a whole or let's say "solid" form. Once ground, the surface area multiplies probably by the thousands and therefore it would all start to change color. Now, w/o too much delay, place it on a non-permeable flat and cover it with the semi-permeable plastic. The meat in the middle is bound to contact it's self and therefore be isolated from the air while the looser meat will allow some air penetration and keep the red like a smoke ring... I'm no expert on this, I'm just building a hypothesis with a little research and my own observation..
    Someone needs to do an experiment now..

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