Hate Browning Ground Beef? Use Your Crock Pot.

Ground beef in crock pot

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I hate browning ground beef.  There.  I said it.  I know it’s not hard but I still hate it.  Anytime my daughter-in-law is handy when I’m browning ground beef, I talk her into doing it.  She’s a master.  She browns ground beef better than anyone I know.

Anyway, I read about a technique where you can brown ground beef in your crock pot.  I hadn’t done it yet because I didn’t believe it would work.  But guess what?  It does.  I used this technique the other day and it was awesome!  It’s especially great if you have a lot of ground beef to brown.  You can easily toss 5 pounds of beef in the crock pot at one time.  Several hours later, let it cool, divide it into one pound servings and pop in the freezer for another day.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Put ground beef into crock pot on HIGH – frozen or thawed.
  2. After about an hour, break up the meat, especially if you put it in frozen.
  3. After about 2-1/2 hours for thawed meat and 3 or so hours for frozen meat, check beef to be sure no pink remains.  If done, remove beef from crock pot.  Rinse (if desired – it removes extra fat and cools the beef down faster), divide into freezer bags, label and put in your freezer for another day.  Or, of course, you can use it immediately.

Ground beef in crock pot

Have you ever browned ground beef in your crock pot?

Comments

  1. Josh LaPorte says:

    Amazing. I almost never use a crock pot but I did try making a Ragú Bolognese this week and after searing the meat, cooking the onion, garlic, and vegetables on top of the stove I dumped them into a crockpot. I then deglazed the pan with red wine and let it reduce a bit and added it plus a couple of cans of San Marzano tomatoes to the crockpot along with seasoning (rosemary, oregano, nutmeg, salt, pepper) and let it simmer all day while I was at work. I usually make this on the stove top and wanted to see how the crockpot handled it. It came out ok; I think that a certain amount of evaporation occurs when this is made on the stovetop which did not really happen as effectively in the crockpot, so it seemed a bit too watery. The advantage of being able to safely let it sit all day while I was out was worth it. I brought it up to a boil on the stove top and let it reduce a bit while the pasta was cooking.

    Does the meat really brown properly in the crockpot? Or does it just go gray? I always hate how meat comes out of a crockpot when it was not properly browned at the beginning.

    • Could you solve the problem of it being too watery by reducing the amount of water in the crock pot? Usually when converting stove top recipes to crock pot you reduce the amount of liquid because it doesn’t boil off.

      And yes, the meat really does brown. It’s not gray, it’s brown. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it myself.

  2. Lizzie Williams says:

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. This is just the technique I’ve been waiting for. I’ve often wondered why so many crock-pot recipes instruct you to brown the meat first (in another skillet or pot or whatever). In my mind, that just totally defeats the purpose of using the crock pot in the first place. I don’t want to have to clean extra pots. I’m bookmarking this for future reference.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. I will have to try it! Have been browning my ground beef for tacos in a pan but I immediately add the water. It gives the meat that fine ground texture like Taco Bell. My boys love it this way & it saves me the hassle of endlessly breaking up the meat. BTW love your blog!
    Julie recently posted…First Impression FixMy Profile

  4. KarynsPlanit says:

    I hate hate hate browning ground beef! It’s always such an ordeal, but this crock pot idea added with freezing it ahead of time for a quick “burger pipeline” is JUST the ticket. This is something I could add to my weekend to do list and not have to worry about it for weeks at a time. Loving this….

  5. I should definitely do this with tons of meat because I too hate to brown ground beef and seem to need it a trillion times a week.
    Andrea @the Distracted Housewife.com recently posted…Giving in to Mt Cushion moreMy Profile

  6. what temp? high or low? I hate to sound like an ad, but I used to hate browning beef or sausage … even worse! but I got the pampered chef mix and chop thing…it really works!!

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