Thursday, May 8, 2008

When The Beef Crumbles

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.)


Anonymous said...

I too was skeptical. I gave it a try when I saw them on my routine trip to Wal-Mart. They were great. They cooked quick in my pan. I am rushed for time with three kids so this option may be great for my family. They tasted great with our pasta and I didn't need all the beef. The re-sealable packaging allowed me to save them in my freezer for later. I will most likely purchase this product again. The comment about Tysons. I did a little looking and found they made a product that was pre-cooked. These crumbles are fresh and not pre-cooked. I imagine that makes the difference. Fresh vs. pre-cooked. So far my first experience was convenient.

Anonymous said...

I tried them as well from Wal-Mart and it was very convenient since you don't have to defrost a whole chunk of meat. I sprinkled it into a soup. The only problem I had was that the resealable package seems to have missing its other zipper half. This was probably a manufacturing error. I cannot seal the bag, but I'll transfer it to another one. I think I'll try another one and then see how it goes.