After having recently read Michael Ruhlman’s post about Steak Tartare, and then watched the video that Peggy, at the Primal Parent, posted of her daughter eating raw (grass-fed) ground beef, I had been intrigued to see if I, too, could stomach this concoction — I mean, even tho I eat all sorts of “gross” meat-related stuff, raw ground beef still just seemed wrong — it’s so deeply engrained in my psyche that ground beef in its raw state MUST be contaminated, even tho I know that the ground beef I buy shouldn’t be — and hence why I buy it from a farmer whom I trust!  (And apparently for a really great deal too — the more I’ve been reading online, the more I see statements like “grass-fed ground beef for under $5/lb is a steal” — and we’re lucky enough in our co-op to regularly manage to order 50 lb bulk orders at $3.50/lb.)

But it just seemed so simple, watching Peggy’s little girl pick up pieces of the ground beef, seasoned with salt and pepper, and eat them.  So I thought — what can I lose?  If  I hate it, I can just cook it!

So one day last week I tried it for breakfast — just ground beef (which had been in the freezer for 14+ days — which Nourishing Traditions says is sufficient to kill parasites — and then thawed in the fridge for a few days), spread out thin on a plate, with liberal amounts of salt, pepper, and olive oil.

And it wasn’t half bad, actually.  I think the biggest thing that bothered me about it was that it was cold;  the mouth feel of the cold ground beef just was a little off-putting, I didn’t love it.  But the flavor was pretty good.

So the next time I tried it, I added a fried egg on top.  Which definitely improved the coldness factor, at least for the areas of the spread-out meat that were covered by the egg, or drenched in the yolk once I cut it up.  This was an improvement, although I don’t love egg whites, cooked or otherwise, so getting the pieces of egg white down was still a bit challenging.

I also tried the raw ground beef with some of my chicken liver pâté spread on top, because the last batch of pâté that I made, I had put in a bit too much salt, and I thought maybe the unsalted ground beef would help even that out.  That was not a successful experiment.  Too many weird textures all rolled into one, with liver flavor on top.  I got a little of it down, but ended up having to put it in the frying pan, which overall was not that much more successful — I managed to eat the rest of it, but it was an arduous process.  And then my pancetta (fried in the same pan) the next morning tasted like liver, which I was none too happy about.

However, I finally hit on a way to eat raw ground beef that is pretty delicious — so delicious in fact that I don’t mind the cold factor so much even!  We had a jar of these anchovy-wrapped capers in olive oil (from Agostino Recca) that had been sitting in our fridge … maybe for years?  I have no idea where it came from, when we got it, or why, but I’m pretty sure J was probably responsible.  (This is why he now has his own shelf on the door of our new fridge — so he can put his treats and experiments and beer all in one place to not to forget about them or lose them in the vast depths.)

Well, I thought, what the hey, I’ll try it.  I opened the jar, and they actually smelled REALLY good.  As you can see in the pic above, they’re wrapped up in tight little rolls — I guess some people even use them as a substitute for a martini olive??  (Never been much of a fan of the martini myself, but anywho…)  I unrolled one on my pre-seasoned ground beef, cut off a little bit of the fish, and ate it with the raw beef.  And it was good — really good!!  So I put about half the rest of the jar (I think it was 4 or 5 rounds) on the beef, and drizzled about half of the olive oil on the beef as well.  I cut up all the little rounds so that I’d have a piece of anchovy or caper with each bite, and then pretty much devoured the whole thing!

Unfortunately, I finished off the jar of the lovely caper-sardine rolls yesterday for breakfast.  And at $15/jar on Amazon (because who knows where we bought this jar or will find another one!), I don’t think I’m going to get any more of that particular brand any time soon.  I might try the Cento brand to see if they’re as good as the Recca ones, although I am skeptical that they will be.  It seems like these things usually cost more for a reason, if not simply because the Recca ones are in glass jars, as opposed to the Cento tins.  (Oh, except the whole things-cost-more-for-a-reason rule doesn’t seem to apply to my ground beef price — because it’s the highest quality stuff out there!  So I guess all rules can be broken some of the time.)

But in the meantime, until I decide to get more anchovy-wrapped capers, I might experiment with some capers and sardines, since we have jars/cans of those (separate from one another!) already on hand.  I’ve never been a huge fan of either anchovies or sardines, but this new ground beef habit of mine might change that.  Moreover, the caper-anchovy-ground beef flavor combination teaches me something about eating raw ground beef — strong, super-salty flavors combine well with it — although not liver-based ones!  I’m thinking that some olive tapenade might be just the thing to try next.  Does anyone else eat raw ground beef — and what do you like to season it with?  I’m open for suggestions!


This post is part of Mangia Monday, Make a Food Friend Monday, Monday Mania, Hunk of Meat Monday, Fat Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Delectable Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Paleo Rodeo, and Hearth and Soul Hop.

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21 Responses to Mystery Meat Monday: Raw Ground Beef

  1. Your post reminded me that when I was a kid I used to love raw ground beef. I watched the Primal Parent video a few days back; you would have thought that would jog my memory…Anyway, you’ve inspired me to try it too. If I add sardines, maybe it’ll make the fish more palatable. I am not a fan of sardines. Also, I wonder if salsa or a fermented veggie would help…

    • Megh says:

      It definitely might — strong, salty flavors — I need to get back on the fermented veggie wagon, I’ve really been slacking in that department lately! We made a whole bunch of them that just finished fermenting this past week, so now I have no excuses whatsoever.

  2. J says:

    The anchovy-wrapped capers came from Eataly (NYC), and were definitely not $15/jar. I think more like $7 or 8. They are also quite tasty in caesar salad which is where the first jar+ went before the rest disappeared into the fridge abyss.

  3. Jodie says:

    I love raw ground beef. I grew up (I’m 52) eating an appetizer my mom made with raw beef(ground round). I would always steal bites of raw hamburger when we would prepare open faced hamburgers(cooked under the broiler). Only recently after finding grass-fed beef have I attempted eating raw again.

  4. megan says:

    raw ground meat +
    pine nuts
    pumpkin seed oil
    egg yolk!

  5. ReneeAnn says:

    I loved it as a kid. I would eat as much as my Godmother would let me. She’s the only one who would let me hang out in the kitchen with her. :)

    I’ve been eating rare steaks lately and thinking about that raw hamburger. Maybe I’ll have to give it a try again. What I ate was plain, with maybe some salt.

  6. Jill says:

    Interesting post — I do not see it at FAT TUESDAY but I think you intended to link it there…

    • Megh says:

      Thanks for letting me know it didn’t show up! I had meant to get it up there, but clearly the first time didn’t work!! It’s up there now :)

  7. You are much braver than I! Thanks for sharing with the Hearth and Soul hop.

  8. Alea Milham says:

    I used to eat raw ground beef as a child. we raised our own cows on grass and it never occurred to me to worry about the meat. All of our meat was stored in a deep freezer after we butchered the cow. My favorite way to eat it was to saute some onions in butter. Mix the onions in, which warmed the meat and add garlic powder, pepper, and a pinch of salt. Thanks for sharing your reactions to raw hamburger with the Hearth and Soul Hop.

    • Megh says:

      Oh, that’s a great idea! I might have to try that — maybe with some fennel, since I’m not eating onions right now — but it sounds delicious! Thank you for commenting!

  9. Mary Korte says:

    I was mixing up some meatballs the other day and just couldn’t stop from tasting the raw mix over and over. It was good, better than when it was cooked. It had ground beef with just a tiny bit of ground liver sneaked in, grated onion, shredded zucchini (lots), eggs, a tiny bit of raw coconut flour to bind it all together and seasonings. I think I used some worcestershire sauce or braggs or something. Anyway, it was really tasty. The texture was a bit pasty but I think it would be good treated like a pate. And yes, tapenade would be great with raw ground beef (it is good with cooked to!)

  10. KNolden says:

    When I was a kid that was a appitizer ‘treat’ we all loved! My Mom would have ground round, raw onions, salt and pepper mixed well. We would eat it on rye bread rounds. They called it tahactase (I don’t know about the spelling…think pronounciation!) We were just talking about this the other day. We will have to make some. I don’t think I have had this since my Dad died 10 yrs ago!

  11. Mike says:

    Just found this post as I was going back to find your chicken liver pate recipe. I eat raw ground beef a lot – my kids even beg for it sometimes. I totally get the anchovies and capers – pickled things are great with raw beef. They’d be good on carpaccio too, if you want something even fancier.

    Normally what I do is add a lot of sour things. I mix in some sauerkraut, salt and pepper, and a lot of lime juice. Then I leave it at room temperature for a few hours to “cure.” More than 3 days in cool weather and it gets a bit past its peak, but at its best, it tastes like salami (which is, in fact, raw ground pork)!

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