Sorry, it's been a while since my last update. But then today I see this headline in Meating Place: "Chatel Farms launches new beef crumbles." (free subscription required)
Apparently, "beef crumbles" are flash frozen ground beef pieces that come in resealable packages. They are ready-to-use, you don't need to thaw them before using the crumbles in your favorite dish.
At first pass, my thought was, are we really that pushed for time that we can't crumble our own ground beef when making, say, Hamburger Helper or even a scratch recipe?
Wearing my industry hat, I also thought, are these simply the scraps left over in the machinery when ground beef bricks or patties are made? An efficient use of otherwise unusable beef? Or yet another potential food safety hazard from mixing together meat from many different cattle?
I dunno, one would certainly save time using these "crumbles." (Cute name, BTW.) Defrosting ground beef can take some time. Also, unless it was professional blast frozen before it made it to your freezer, ground beef doesn't freeze particularly well at home; ice can form during the slow freezing process and lead to watery meat when thawed.
A quick search shows beef crumbles have been around for a few years (Tyson had them in 2004, proving I still have a lot to learn about beef!). Will have to reach out to others and learn the scoop as to how these came about. Intriguing.
Chatel Farms is a brand name for a privately held beef processor in Augusta, Georgia (the company's site says it's the largest privately held fully-integrated beef processing facility in the Southeast.)