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Posts Tagged ‘Frozen Hamburgers’

Update: White Castle Frozen

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whitecastle_microburgersI have reviewed a good quantity of frozen “heat and eat” burgers, including these in the past.  Other brands covered include Steak N Shake, Big Az, Fred Meyer (Kroger), Dollar Tree, Walgreens,  and Ball Park.   (Note, I am only referring to completely pre-cooked burgers, not frozen patties that need to be cooked in a traditional method).

I won’t tell you here which was my favorite, you’ll have to read all those older reviews!

My biggest “beef” with these sandwiches in the past, has been the lack of ability to heat them evenly, generally the bun would be hard or the patty still had cold spots or some combination of the two.  I “solved” this for me by heating each element separately, but it still took trial and error.

In the White Castle restaurants, the burgers are cooked quickly on a steam table covered with grilled onions.  “Steam” is the operative word here, and White Castle has goofed around with their prep method for the frozen burgers until they came  up with a solution to my complaint.

The new instructions call for heating the burgers in their (two pack) plastic wrapper, with one end open.  This creates a little steamer “environment” and after 60 seconds in the microwave (for hard frozen ones), the results are very satisfactory, and come very close to the in-store experience.

I dress my White Castles with pickle and a squirt of mustard.  At the restaurants, the burgers are served with a dollop of the grilled onions and a pickle slice, other condiments are up to you.  White Castle has a surprising variety of condiments available, just ask.   There is no USDA establishment number on the packaging, so I can’t tell you where these little beauties are manufactured.  The bottom line is that if you like the restaurant product, you’ll find these a satisfactory substitute to getting in the car, Harold and Kumar aside.  And there are VERY FEW restaurant branded foods in the grocery aisles that can make that claim.

My previous White Castle restaurant reviews:  Little Nibblers Shrimp, Jalapeno ChickenWhite Castle history.

If you’ve never been to an actual White Castle Restaurant, put it on your bucket list.  They are mostly located in the Northern portion of the Midwestern and Eastern United States.  They’re small, they’re inexpensive, and it’s an experience that will stay with you!  Menu.  Locator for both restaurants and retail outlets for the frozen product.

Cooked and Dressed

Cooked and Dressed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White Castle Frozen

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Home Cookin ‘ – Ball Park Brand Flame Grilled Beef Patties

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I’ve tested a lot of ‘heat and eat’ burger patties at home, from the frozen varieties like Fred Meyer Frozen Mini Cheeseburgers, Private Selection Angus Beef Patties, and Trader Joes Kobe Style, White Castle,  to the convenience store types like Big A Angus Charbroil, and the 7-Eleven Cheeseburger,

With the exception of the mini mart burgers, the other patties all come frozen and uncooked.   Ball Park Flame Grilled Beef Patties are frozen and fully cooked, and only have to be heated in a microwave, on a skillet or grill.

If you’re a regular reader, you know even if a product calls gives a choice of being microwaved or some other cooking method, usually I chose to heat on a stove top; tonight was an exception, and I followed the manufacturer’s instructions for microwaving:  microwave safe plate, cover patty with a paper towel, heat 60-75 seconds.

Here’s what the patty looks like right out of the resealable pouch:

Ball Park Flame Grilled Beef Patties

And in nearly less than a minute, “plated”, this burger looks like a hand-formed, quality hamburger:

Ball Park Flame Grilled Beef Patties

I was quite surprised at both the taste and texture of this product. I liked it. I’d buy them again, and you should too.

Ball Park Beef patties come in three varieties, and are packed 6 to a bag, at my store they were $7.99.

Here’s their latest TV commercial to tell you the whole story.

Ingredients:

Pretty standard: beef, water, salt, beef stock, flavoring, oil, starch, corn syrup and lemon juice concentrate.  That last ingredient is a puzzler!

 

 

ball park beef patties

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Fred Meyer Brand Frozen Mini Cheeseburgers

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Fred Meyer Frozen Mini  Cheeseburgers

Fred Meyer Frozen Mini Cheeseburgers

The Kroger Company, one of America’s grocery giant (over 15 store brands, including Kroger, Fred Meyer, QFC, Food4Less, Ralph’s, Fry’s, et al) – has grown a very large stable of store brands, most of which are fairly good and competitively priced.

Do you remember when the first ‘generics’ were launched? Plain white boxes of food with bold black printing? “CEREAL!” the box seemed to scream at you? Or was it “POOR PERSON?!?”. Those days of generics have come and gone, and now “store-branded” is an economical way (generally) to do your grocery shopping.

The closest I come to frozen burgers usually is an occasional pick-up of frozen White Castles.  They run a little under a buck a pop, coming in boxes of six, wrapped in two-at-a-time cello.  It takes a bit to master microwaving these, and I found out the same was true with the Fred Meyer burgers.

Major difference of course, is that the frozen White Castles come with their signature diced rehydrated onions.  The Fred Meyer cheeseburger is condiment free.

Frozen Burgers, Prior to Nuking

It appears that the process of manufacturing these entails the separate frozen patties, but the buns and cheese are ‘split’ from larger pieces (i.e. cheese slice cut in half, larger bun separated into pieces).  It’s not as pronounced as a big fast food chain I went to recently; they started advertising “mini-burgers”, and when served, all they were was one large burger cut in thirds.

The instructions for the snacks say “microwave for 45 seconds, wrapping the sandwich in a paper towel.”   That hasn’t worked for me for White Castles, nor these either.  I would always have the same result – bread heated to the point of being hard, with a still chilled patty.   So I have taken to separating the components (kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?) and microwaving them for different times, the buns for 40 seconds, the meat patties for about 1:10.

Dressed with mustard and dill chips (my choice) these are OK, kids may love them, they are not all that economical (tho cheaper than White Castles), but convenient, I suppose.   The patty has the same texture as most frozen burgers.  I’m not sure what happens to ground beef when it is cooked and flash fried, but there is a molecular change that creates a certain uneasiness in my texture senses.

But that’s just me.

For the real deal, there is nothing like White Castles (or Krystals) at 2am, in a store full of drunks.
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Home Cookin’ – Burgers from Omaha Steaks

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Omaha Steaks, arguably the largest purveyor of meat by mail in the US, was started in 1917 by a father and son from Latvia, as a supplier of premium cut meats to Omaha grocers and restaurants. Today, 1800 employees, two USDA plants, a distribution center and telemarketing operation supply home cooks, restaurants, food services with cuts of beef and other prepared food products.

I had a couple of different packages of burgers delivered to me, they were five days in transit with dry ice, and arrived still frozen solid. Omaha sells a “premium ground beef” patty and a “gourmet” patty, but I am unable to descern the difference from the descriptions on their website, other than price.

They are offering signficant price reductions at the moment, and as an example, you can get 12 4 oz burgers of $9.99,  but shipping will probably add another $12, so it come out to $10 a pound plus.

Eight of the 4 oz “Gourmet Burgers” clock in at $13, well over 50% off.

The burger patties come individually packaged, with their USDA seal (plant 1198a), and instructions to cook to interior temps of at least 160.

I threw one of their regular burgers into a cast iron skillet this morning, sans any seasoning, and cooked it to medium, and it was definitely better than any other frozen patty I have tried.

My only issue would be that the grind is very fine, and I prefer my a little bit more coarse, but that’s not a deal killer, flavor and texture are very good.

As I said above, they have a really great promotion going on, and even the best steaks they carry are 50-64% off as well. The special offers page is online here, and they bonus you with free gifts as well, thereby further reducing the net cost of the meat.


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