Here's the Secret To Making the Most Delicious Ground Beef

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Secrets of the Beef

Internet cooking hacks are all over the place, and though some turn out to be nothing more than a fake rumor, others can serve as game-changers. Take, for example, this easy ground beef hack, which has spread like TikTok-fueled wildfire.

The hack claims that one single pantry staple can make a world of difference when you’re cooking ground beef. I was incredibly curious to try this myself, so I grabbed some beef and tested it out. Here’s what I found.

baking soda in a pantry
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

The Ultimate Ground Beef Hack

Apparently, all you need is a little bit of baking soda — 1/4 teaspoon per pound of beef, to be exact. Proteins in beef bond with each other as they cook, which causes them to lose moisture. Because of this, you can often find a pool of nasty brown liquid in the pan when you start to cook ground beef, and that prevents the meat from caramelizing the way you want it to. 

Baking soda’s high pH level is supposed to prevent the proteins from bonding, and help the beef achieve a better crust with no liquid in the pan.

ground beef on the stove
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

How I Tested This

For the most fair comparison, I decided to cook the beef in two batches at the same time; one with the baking soda and one without. I cooked them at the same time and temperature, side by side. 

Finally, I tasted both, fresh and hot out of the pan, to determine the winner. Read on to learn more about how to add baking soda to your ground beef. 

ground beef with baking soda on it
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

Ground Beef Hack: Step 1

This whole thing is a study in patience. The first thing you need to do is to let your meat sit out at room temperature for about 15 minutes with the baking soda sprinkled on it. Patience, patience, patience.

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ground beef cooking in a pan
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

Ground Beef Hack: Step 2

Next, cook your beef and baking soda with as little restraint as you can. It’s tempting to move it around the pan and break it up, but not touching it also helps create a tasty crust.

Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper, along with any other spices you’re partial to.

Related: Quick & Easy Ground Beef Recipes That Make Dinner a Breeze

two types of ground beef side by side on a plate
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

The Verdict

After cooking both the baking soda-dusted beef and the soda-less beef, I tasted each one. While the difference wasn’t Earth-shattering on my end, there certainly was one. Sure enough, the baking soda portion (on the left in the above photo) crusted up better. With less liquid and better char, the flavor profile of the beef really shoots up a level. 

I’ll do this from now on, no question. I’ve gotta start using that baking soda I bought 10 years ago some time.

Related: Can't Get Ground Beef? This Meatless Burger Fooled Our Tasters