Hamburger (also known as ground beef) is an inexpensive choice at the grocery store. We recommend watching sale prices at your local grocery store and when the price drops to a lower price point go ahead and purchase several pounds at once and freeze it.
Additionally you can save money on ground beef by grinding your own! We often watch for sales on quality cuts of meat like beef roasts (chuck roast makes for some flavorful burger meat) and then we use the meat grinding attachment on our Kitchen-Aid stand mixer (or a stand alone meat grinder). Then, package the meat up and freeze it for long term storage.
To save even more time we like to cook up some of our hamburger meat, rinse and drain it (to remove fat) and freeze it already cooked. This is great for dumping into soups and other dishes.
In fact, in most dishes that use hamburger in the slow-cooker the recipe will call for the hamburger meat to be pre-cooked. That is because you need to remove the fat and get the meat crumbled for soups, stews and casseroles.
The exception for this of course is going to be dishes like meatloaf, meatballs and other dishes where the ground beef is formed.
Hamburger is usually sold by fat content here in the U.S. You will often find the fat content spelled out on the package in percentages.
- 92% Lean to 8% Fat
- 90% Lean to 10% Fat
- 85% Lean to 15% Fat
- 80% Lean to 20% Fat
The higher the fat content of the meat the cheaper it is in most cases, however when you cook, brown and drain the fat off you are left with less meat. So it may be a better choice to purchase the less fatty meat as you will end up with more meat and less fat.
Additionally, you can substitute ground turkey, chicken, venison, or even bison in just about any dish calling for ground beef. The taste and texture may be a bit different but it should still be tasty!
Crock-Pot Hamburger and Ground Beef Recipes
See a list of all our Crock-Pot recipe in our Recipe Index