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Old 29-03-2016, 07:39   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: New Albany, IN
Boat: one off highlander 14 (fisher)
Posts: 33
Hamburger Rocks and quick easy chili.

Not "Hamburger Rocks!", an expression of enthusiasm, but "hamburger rocks", a cheap, easy way to preserve ground beef that doesn't require much in the way of special equipment. I make and use these, and if stored in a mason jar with a tight lid, they'll keep for 2+ years. To use them, just put them into what ever you're making, with some water and bring them to a boil, they soften up quite well.

To Make them:

Buy a 5 pound chub of ground beef. Avoid the really cheap stuff like 73% lean, 37% fat, because you're going to cook the fat out, and it'll shrink so much it's pathetic.

Form the ground beef into small balls, I use a 1" scoop deally I found in the kitchen drawer. At this point, you can add salt, pepper or other ground spices--they need to be powdered to keep the "rocks" together.

Take a large skillet, spray it with cooking spray, and heat it up.
The brown the hamburger in the skillet...You're going to brown it for a long time, so watch your heat--you don't want to burn them. Turn them so all sides get browned.

The drippings should be sizzling...I use setting 7 or 8 on our electric stove. The sizzle is your guide, because as the fats melt out or the rocks, they also bring water with them, and that water flashing to steam is your guide to doneness. Turn them often to prevent scorching. When the level of drippings in the skillet stays level, and they are not sizzling even though the heat is on, drain the rocks in a colander, and then rinse them with the hottest water your tap makes.

Spread them out on a cookie sheet--or better yet a wire rack, put them in the oven at about 165-185, and dry them. When they are dry enough they will be hard to the touch, with no "springiness" of softness. If you chew one, it will crush to something close to powder. If you're storing them in jars, just heat the jars in the oven, put the rocks in, and seal the lids. That's it.

I have a small dehydrator that I use instead of the oven, but the oven works fine. When they're ready, they're very dark brown, hard to the touch and without much aroma. A couple of minutes in boiling water restores the texture and flavor.

Here's a recipe for quick, single burner Chili that works out pretty well and is filling and tastey:

1/4 Cup Rice Select Royal Blend Rice Medley: The brand isn't so important, what is important is that this cooks from raw to done in 15 minutes, and used the same proportion of water as Bulgar.

1/4 Cup Bulgar

1/3 to 1/2 cup Hamburger rocks

1 to 2 TBS chili powder

1-2 TBS onion flakes

1-2 Tsp garlic powder or flakes

1 6 to 12 oz can (depending on the eaters) of beans--kidney, black or pinto all work.

Put it all in a pan--including the liquid from the beans, add 2 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. It's pretty good, and of course, you can play with the spices to taste (like adding salt, which I usually don't due to being a fat out of shape old guy who has to watch his salt...) It's filling, and goes well after a chilly days sail! Just mix all the dry ingredients in a zip-lock before you load up.

Hamburger rocks will last for months in a thick zip lock bag with the air pretty much removed, BTW.
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