My sweet man and I took Saturday to can 24 lbs of ground venison from the deer he got this year to make room in our freezer. One day, when the room isn’t also our geriatric cat’s bedroom as well, I’ll show you pictures of my beautiful canned fruits, veggies, and meats. I have a goal of getting my third buck and canning the whole thing which might be tricky with the shortage of canning lids in the world! Thankfully, I bought a few dozen when the world began tipping upside down which helped with this project!
Anyhoo, we got all of our frozen 1 lb. packages of venison freshly frozen from the butcher and set them in cool water to thaw for a few hours before we began cooking. With all of that meat to brown (cook), we decided to test out several cooking methods to see which were the fastest, easiest, and most efficient — and also to spread the work amongst several appliances. We thought you might like to hear the results!
Method 1 : Baked in the oven! I started with my new favorite because if you don’t do this already, you totally should. This allowed me to cook six pound of meat within twenty minutes without having to babysit a pan on the stove-top! I think every time I need to cook ground beef from now on, I will be doing this because the hands-off time makes it invaluable when I have ten other things going on in the kitchen. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. And then, all you have to do is spread 1-2 lbs. of ground meat onto a baking sheet that has edges. Just make it into a thin layer, and pop it in the oven for around 20 minutes or so, depending on how much meat you use. Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat if you need to drain the grease off (I usually keep it and incorporate it in) and take it from there! You could certainly add your seasonings ahead if you’re making tacos or add salt and pepper if you’d like. It turned out as juicy and yummy as if we browned it on the stove! I just can’t believe I never knew this sooner!
Method 2 : Instant Pot : This was another win because it, too, was hands-off. I literally put three frozen balls of meat onto the trivet with a cup of water in the bottom and set the pot for 25 minutes. I did release the pressure when they were done and opened it to find three giant meatballs! They were a bit underdone in the middle, but I removed them and let them rest and they finished cooking while they cooled! From there, I just used a wooden spoon to break it up as I normally would when browning. Starting from thawed meat, the cook time is only 6 minutes so that would save much more time. And next time I will probably increase my cook time by a few minutes.
Method 3 : Browning on the stovetop. This is probably the fastest when you consider heating up the stove or Instant Pot. When you only have a pound to do, this is still a winner, but you can bet it’s not the only way I will win the ground meat game from now on!
Bottom line, if you are heating your oven anyway, or need your hands free to chop or wash or life, you now have options, friends! I hope this little hack was helpful! Let me know how works for you when you do!