HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


How to avoid a "livery" flavor in ground beef ?

Once in a while, my ground beef tastes, and smells, like liver. Not spoiled, but definitely "livery". What causes this? Is there any way to avoid it? Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Its the actual meat... don't exactly know why, but I've had Tenderloin that also smells & tastes like liver.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Eat_Nopal

      I agree. Cheap cryo-vacced tenderloin is often livery. I think it has something to do with the grade of meat.

    2. I'm not 100% sure what causes it, but I know what you talk about. The way my mother used to counteract it is to use some Tomato sauce when cooking the beef...


      1. I think it's the meat used to make it. Sometimes a butcher may slip a little heart into the grinder, and it will give it that taste.... I don't practice what I preach, but it's best to grind your own meat.

        3 Replies
        1. re: UnConundrum

          They might even slip some liver in it as well. I frequently see a lot of unsold livers sitting in my butcher's case. If there's one thing a butcher hates doing is throwing out meat/losing money. I'm sure some recycle it.

          1. re: scott123

            I dunno if this is the TRUE problem. I personally think it has to do with more 'beefy' parts being added, which affects the overall 'STRONG' taste of ground beef...


            1. re: Dommy

              That's what it is. Some of us are very happy when this is the case. A lot of beef has a very narrow flavor range, sadly.

        2. Depending on the cut used, ground beef can taste livery, especially if there's a "round" cut in there.

          Try to see if you can find ground sirloin or ground chuck instead.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Shazam

            Yes, round tends to be used for leaner mixtures, as it is very lean. It has a pronounced flavor that some of us like (see my discussions of roast eye round in other threads).

          2. I have had this issue as well.

            My best guess is that it has something to do with the blood, and I find that rinsing the blood from the ground beef (an annoying but worthwhile process) really takes out any of that organ-ish taste. However, it does change the texture (I find that it gets softer and more loose). The best way to do it in my experience is to wrap the meat up in cheesecloth and rinse it until the water runs clear, then wring it out as best you can.

            You might try experimenting with kosher and halal beef, if it's available in your area. They are drained of blood immediately, and generally don't have this problem.

            Good luck!

            1. Cook's Illustrated answers this question in their May-June 2006 issue. My short version: the most-used muscles need the most oxygen, so the meat from these parts of the cow contain lots of stored oxygen. When heated (cooked) the oxygen is released, and reacts with acids found in all meat to produce the liver flavor. To fix this:
              They warmed a steak to 70 degrees by soaking it in warm (100 degree) water. A second steak was taken from fridge at 40 degrees. The warmed steak cooked in 13 minutes, the cool steak took 22 minutes. The warmed steak tasted LESS LIVERY. But no mention was made of burger, I suppose it would be worth a try!

              1. I've gotten that flavor in steaks, too. When I asked my meat salesman (Doug, from Prather Ranch) about it, he said the metallic taste comes from the cut's closeness to the liver, which is a concentrated source of iron. So your burger might not contain liver but maybe bits of hangar or flatiron steaks.

                1. I haven't the foggiest idea of what you people are talking about.

                  So my suggestion is, to avoid this taste, find another source of your ground beef.


                  1. I want to try this question one more time, since there's a beef question on the board now (posted by rcsimm). Any more thoughts on this subject?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: BangorDin

                      We just bought and tried to eat a london broil --sliced it onto steaks .. I tried BBQ-ing them and it was terrible.. livery ..so I marinated it and tried again the next night and still awful ,also I cooked it cold..all the wrong things..
                      I agree with the above users ..rinse off the blood first ..and also it may be a cut that is close to the liver ..I agree with f--diva and blue---room... PV

                    2. I had this experience when eating at a Brazilian steak house in S Florida. Tried maybe 6 different cuts off the spits the gauchos brought by. All tasted like liver to me. I went with the salad bar the next time I went back.