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Meal Prep Ground Beef (aka How to Cook Ground Beef)

Difficulty Easy

Meal Prep Ground Beef

Recipe by thesal28_wpCourse: MAIN COURSESCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



Every week I meal prep 2 lbs of ground beef or turkey (stay tuned for separate how-to) for my family to eat throughout the week. I keep it neutrally flavored so I can add it to tomato sauce for a quick bolognese, turn it into taco/burrito meat, make Asian sloppy joes, or serve it over brown rice/quinoa for a quick grain bowl. The recipe has few ingredients, but very specific instructions. The key here is mashing the meat into a large disk that covers the entire bottom of the pan, and then not agitating it until a nice crust forms on the bottom. The sear you get on the meat imparts unmatched flavor that you cannot achieve any other way (I won’t bore you with science, but the flavor is the result of something called the “Maillard reaction”). In fact, if you use the technique I lay out in the directions, any recipe you have containing ground beef will be dramatically enhanced.


  • 2 lbs ground beef (80/20, 85/15, 90/10- I don’t recommend using leaner than 90/10*)

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced

  • 4 ribs celery, sliced thinly

  • freshly cracked black pepper

  • 1-1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt (halve amount if using table salt)

  • *1-1 1/2 tbsp oil (your preferred cooking oil), ONLY if using 90/10 beef


  • Place a large sauté pan (12 inch) on stove over high heat. Season beef with 1 tsp Kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Place beef into pan and press into one large meat disk, covering the entirety of the sauté pan. Do not stir beef. Allow beef to cook until a fragrant crust develops. Once this occurs, break up beef to cook remaining sides. If using 80/20 or 85/15 beef, drain some of the fat so that about 1 tbsp fat remains in the pan. If using leaner meat, there should be about 1 tbsp of beef fat in pan. If there isn’t any remaining fat, keep handy your preferred cooking oil (I use olive or grapeseed).
  • Once meat is mostly cooked, push to one side of pan. Tilt pan so that residual fat pools on now empty side. If there isn’t 1 tbsp of beef fat in pan, add your preferred cooking oil. Add onion, garlic, and celery to pan and reduce heat to medium high. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp ov salt over onion mixture and stir. Cook onion mixture until softened and lightly browned.  
  • Stir onion mixture into beef and season with additional salt/pepper as desired.

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