Join 3,514 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Tags:

Is ground beef that's packed in a tube as good as the stuff that comes in a tray?
September 20, 2012 4:24 PM   Subscribe

Is ground beef that's packed in a tube as good as the stuff that comes in a tray?

This is a refrigerated item, marked as 93/7, and has the same "no fillers" text as the regular ground beef beside it. Costs $0.75 less per lb. Any more likely to have contaminants? Is it made/processed the same? What about taste? Anyone have experience with similar products?

I tried something quasi-similar long ago--but frozen, like 75/25, store brand--it was ghastly and I don't want to make the same mistake.

I will post the brand and retailer if it's relevant.
posted by aerotive to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
We always ate it out of a tube when I was growing up and it was perfectly fine. I think it's cheaper for them to pack it that way, but it's much more likely to split and get gross meatiness everywhere, or leak.
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:36 PM on September 20, 2012


I get it sometimes at Harris Teeter. Like anything else, depends on the brand. I trust HT's meat department, and I think it's just fine.


I wouldn't buy it at Walmart. But then I wouldn't buy ground meat at Walmart period.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:38 PM on September 20, 2012


I won't say this as fact, but I have read that tube packaged ground beef is potentially safer. Basically less exposure and handling before it hits your kitchen.

That is not to say anything of quality. Other than having your meat ground on demand from cuts of meat (which is safer than either packaged option), I think your quality will be comparable.
posted by shinynewnick at 4:41 PM on September 20, 2012


I do homeless feeds and recently one of my friends used those tubes (commonly referred to as CHUBS, don'tcha know) because it was on sale for $1.99 a pound to make a shit ton of Sloppy Joes. She was able to make 250 sandwiches out what she bought, and let me tell you, it smelled delicious and people were begging for seconds. So it must have been just fine.
posted by HeyAllie at 4:50 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, do let me add that she mentioned that it was fairly fatty beef, which meant a lot of spooning out of grease, but it added to the flavor. It's not meant for someone who wants to cook a lean cut of ground beef.
posted by HeyAllie at 4:51 PM on September 20, 2012


My experience with the tube beef (from HEB) was that the taste was fine, yet I found a greater number of the "bits" that don't really belong but occasionally make it into the meat--those crunchy, cartilage/bone bits, which I didn't care for.
posted by nasayre at 5:04 PM on September 20, 2012


Notice how, in 'tube' ground beef, the fat has a very obvious pink tint? That'd be pink slime, and how 'good' you consider your meat to be depends on your view towards the stuff. Granted, I don't eat much beef, but when I do I personally stay far, far away from any meat that I don't see the butcher cut/grind in person.
posted by item at 5:30 PM on September 20, 2012


That's how both of my local farms package their grassfed, pasture-finished ground beef. So I'd say the quality of the contents might vary, but the packaging does not indicate the quality of the contents!
posted by artemisia at 5:35 PM on September 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


I think the biggest drawback for us & tube beef is that you can't actually see the meat you're buying. Coud be ok, but also might not be.
posted by Kronur at 5:41 PM on September 20, 2012


Ground beef in a tube from a giant slaughterhouse in Dubuque?

That's the sort of LCD food product that gets recalled from time to time.

Plug the store and brand name into the search box here or browse here and see what comes up.
posted by notyou at 6:20 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The packaging, in and of itself, tells you very little. The tubes can be filled straight from the grinder nozzle and sealed by one or two people, whereas the trays require more steps and labor. "Trayer" is in fact a job description in supermarket meat departments.

I will note that the tubes are more common with small country processors and on-farm producers because they are simpler to pack. Also, tubes (chubs) have no air space inside so they freeze well. In fact I don't think I've ever seen unfrozen chubs for sale.

If you want to know where your meat is coming from, you'll need to dig a little deeper. The processor/retailer is going to select packaging based on a number of factors, none of which is necessarily meat quality. Both the grassfed product artemisia mentions and the Sam's club pink slime loaf might be packaged in tubes, but they're hardly the same.
posted by werkzeuger at 7:11 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here in Toronto, I've found that ground beef in a tube is relatively tasteless and lacks texture, with more of a paté texture that the minced/ground beef texture I'm used to, but other people obviously have different experiences. Try one tube and see if you like it.
posted by maudlin at 7:40 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here in WNY Wegmans sells chub packs of ground beef in various fatnesses that's been irradiated so's you can cook it however.

It's like eating ground SCIENCE!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:26 PM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's fine, I buy the exact tube that you're describing all the time. I'm not what you would call picky, but I've never been able to distinguish between ground beef in a tube and ground beef in a tray. As long as the date is kosher, and it doesn't look leaky or broken anywhere, it's fine.

The 75/25 stuff was ghastly because any ground beef below like 85/15 is ghastly, imo, whether you buy it in a tube or a tray or whatnot. It's also a waste of money, because while you pay less for it at the grocery store, at least a quarter of it, if not more renders away into liquid when you cook it.
posted by katyggls at 12:31 AM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


At some stores, even the chubs don't have pink slime. H.E.B. is one of those.
posted by batmonkey at 7:10 AM on September 21, 2012


My understanding, at least at my small local chain grocery, is that the chubs may be packaged elsewhere, frozen, and then stocked in the meat case in either frozen or thawed state. The trays are ground onsite from fresh meat and not frozen. Again, my understanding of local food chain only, may not apply to your store, etc.
posted by cosmicbandito at 7:15 AM on September 21, 2012


The trays are ground onsite from fresh meat and not frozen. Again, my understanding of local food chain only, may not apply to your store, etc.

Not necessarily. There are trays with cellophane covers that are obviously mass produced being sold at stores that obviously don't have meat departments. Trader Joes for example.

It all comes down to who you trust. All meat that you haven't raised, fed, slaughtered and butchered yourself is a risk.

The 75/25 stuff was ghastly because any ground beef below like 85/15 is ghastly, imo, whether you buy it in a tube or a tray or whatnot. It's also a waste of money, because while you pay less for it at the grocery store, at least a quarter of it, if not more renders away into liquid when you cook it.

I think you mean at MOST a quarter renders away, since it's only 25% fat to begin with. It's only a waste of money if it's less than 10% cheaper.
posted by gjc at 7:28 AM on September 21, 2012


Thanks everyone, will go ahead and try it, probably in chili. Will report back here if it's especially good or bad...
posted by aerotive at 11:19 AM on September 21, 2012


If you really want to assay its quality, chili might not be the best way -- the spices and seasonings might mask off flavor. You could pinch off a little and fry it up like a little meatball first.

Have fun.
posted by werkzeuger at 7:22 AM on September 22, 2012


FWIW, I switched to this stuff years ago and haven't looked back since.

It's not as tasteless as turkey, and most people I cook for have never been able to tell the difference. Besides, once you've added spices or a sauce it's all mostly texture anyway. So it may not be the best choice for burgers, but for everything else it should be fine.

If you're wary of the pink-slime type stuff then just buy fresh breast meat and have the butcher grind it for you there on the spot. This works for both chicken and beef products.
posted by Blue_Villain at 6:48 PM on September 22, 2012


« Older I am looking for an inexpensiv...   |  I order many things online and... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.