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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