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TUBE-o-hamburger?

I've never bought it, but tempted. Has the same fat ratio and packaged meat at a SIGNIFICANTLY lower price.

I realize that when you buy pre-ground meat you NEVER really know just what you're getting, but price per lb is less than HALF what wrapped stuff is going for??

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  1. I've never bought it and now even grind our own meat but at half the price I think it's got to be a matter of "you get what you pay for."

    1 Reply
    1. re: c oliver

      Hi C,

      I agree that in the case of ground beef you get what you pay for. I no longer eat much ground beef, but like you, when I do want it I grind it myself usually from a combination of short rib, brisket and sirloin cuts of beef.

    2. Never bought it, never tempted. Nearly every time there's a burger recall, it's about pre-formed burger patties, frozen and otherwise, and those tubes of meat.

      1. Is there any brand ID to know what you're getting? At my last restaurant, we would get ground beef in 10# tubes, high quality, that's just their bulk packaging. So if your retailer normally has good quality ground beef, it may just be that they are passing the savings of not having to re-package it on to you.

        1. I bought some once. It had large lumps of . . . something . . . in it. Never again. Seriously, like tumors.

          1. It is often the same product. A lot of markets get some of their ground meat delivered that way, instead of grinding their own.

            1. I buy it LOL

              the cheaper ones are usually fattier ratio like 75% - makes tasty burgers on the cheap - not what I would make Bolognese with but if you need to grill up burgers for a not too fussy crowd it works.

              1. I bought some recently, and it's definitely not the same ground meat as the stuff that the same grocery store sells in their trays. The texture of the grind and the way the meat held together in the pan was quite different from the meat I normally buy from the same store. This stuff broke down on its own into much finer pieces, whereas the stuff I usually buy has to be coaxed into not sticking to itself. Depending on what I was making, I might or might not find that texture difference desirable -- I know my mother used to really like that the beef she got when we were in Germany broke down like that for things like spaghetti sauce.

                I don't know if they do other terrifying things to the beef, but to be honest, I don't know if they do other terrifying things to the beef I buy normally, either. I don't buy organic or grass fed or any of the other 'this is fancy' ground beef, so it could all be terrifying.

                1. I have only purchased it twice over the years. The first time it exuded a lot of blood which my SO and I thought was odd and off-putting. The second time I purchased it the meat would not brown in a hot skillet.

                  That was enough to convince me never to purchase it again regardless of the price.

                  1. I have used "tube packed" ground meat products without incident, but some years ago. IIRC, the shop ground and packaged it's own meat. In our region, such service is rare in general supermarkets.
                    If the meat is coming from a large processing plant which then bulk-packages for distribution, then you are purchasing meat from multiple animals. But it's likely the same meat which is being shipping en-bulk to supermarkets for re-packaging.
                    One of the reasons for the lower price is the lack of packaging. Packaging materials and labor probably constitute 50% of the cost of packaged foods of any sort.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: KarenDW

                      For at least one of the big beef companies all of their plants grind into tubes (5lb retail ready tubes or 10lb clear plastic that you'll see them at Sams or Costco) or put the trimmings into large combos that other companies grind and label.

                      One plus if the tubes is if you are buying product straight from the packing house then the meat is only touched once at one plant. Plus the "use by date" is stamped on it the day it is ground and it's typically ground within days. Ground the sooner the better since the shelf life is shorter then boxed beef it needs to move.

                      Every package will have an establishment # on them and you can look it up. If it says slaughter,processing then it should be from a packing house. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/conn...

                      The plant I worked for took great pride in their ground beef. But I'll assume that isn't always the case.

                    2. That stuff is OK, but I wouldn't make burgers with it. A good burger needs a coarse grind and loose internal structure, but that tube stuff has a mealy, dense grind from being packed into the plastic. It's OK for meatballs, meatloaf or kebab, where you're working the meat and mixing seasonings into it.

                      1. Costco grinds its own beef and packs it as chubs. They do not use the pink slime that is part of other commercial ground beef.

                        1. The butcher who handles our annual half cow packs it in tubes. Love it, so much easier to store and find in the freezer. I have never seen it sold that way in a store.

                          1. Nope. Too compacted to make a good burger. Texture is quite wrong.

                            1. Here is an article about the packaging's benefits: http://www.meatpoultry.com/articles/n...

                              1. When we ended up with one last year (my brother likes a value) we sawed through the plastic with a serrated knife to make the patties and those held together ok on the grill. But yeah the texture is very different from a grocery store grind.