For Bon Appetit, by Claire Saffitz.
For the record, when you brown ground meat in a pan, it should be, well, brown and crispy. If it’s gray and mealy like mom’s taco meat used to be, you’re not really browning your meat. Those are just the facts. Browning your meat correctly will leave you with a crispier, juicier, more interesting protein. Here’s how to show that ground beef, pork, or lamb the respect it deserves.
1) Dry the raw meat on paper towels and let it come up to room temperature. This prevents it from steaming in the pan and moving from cool to hot too quickly. It basically ensures that it cooks more evenly.
2) Add the meat to a hot, lightly oiled cast-iron pan and smash it into an even layer — then don’t touch it. You don’t want to break up your ground meat before it has time to gain some texture.
3) Once you see crisp edges, use a spatula to divide the patty and flip it in pieces. Brown the other side, then break into bits and season. Getting a full brown on both sides is what you're aiming for. That will give you the flavor, texture, and juice factor that will take you straight to the top of the ground beef game.
Now it's time to actually use the technique. Ground meat is extremely versatile, shining in salads, tacos, lettuce wraps, casseroles, and just about everything else. Well, maybe not smoothies. Here are a few dishes that benefit from perfectly browned ground meat:
We're also big fans of this weeknight chicken larb.
Yup. The classic ground beef application. Getting those crispy edges really will change you as a person. They bring a whole new meaning to the word "Taco Tuesday."
This Thai inspired salad highlights the crispy fatty pork with clean cucumbers and lettuce. Basically, it's a way to tell you're body that eating all of this ground meat is actually healthy. Maybe.
More from Bon Appetit: