By now you have all heard about Boneless lean beef trimmings, AKA Pink Slime, AKA Ammoniated Beef. You have probably heard enough to make you sick. The sudden appearence and uproar about this product has led to some pretty interesting discussion and imagry.
The above image has been credited variously as mechanically separated chicken and as “pink slime” so I can’t say for certain what it is, beyond gross.
Below is more likley the acutal product prior to being mixed into other meats.
It doesn’t look very different from your typical Vienna sausage. The concern over this product is not so much about the process of separating these beef trimmings from their fat, but about the ammonia used to treat the meat as a part of the process. According to research, the incidence of E. coli and salmonella is higher in the fatty cuts of meat used in this process so it needs to be treated in order to make it safe to use. There is information showing both sides of the story. Either way, considering the cost savings per pound works out to only about 3 cents cheaper for ammoniated beef vs. non ammoniated, I can’t see much reason to eat or serve the stuff. There has to be another use for these “waste” cuts of meat.
For me it is just one more reason to grind my own beef for use at home.
And on that note, I am going to offer up my services as a taste tester. I am going to track down some pink slime ground beef this week and make some burgers side by with some non pink slime beef. I will document the process and my taste based findings and let you know the results.
I hope to do articles like this as a semi regular re-introduction of the great series here on So Good entitled “I try it so you don’t have to.” If you have ever wanted to have your own personal taste tester now is your chance. One exception, and it’s an odd one I know, but I don’t like chocolate, so if there is some kind of chocolate monstrosity you have always been interested in trying but were afraid to, I’m not your guy. I will hate it no matter what. Otherwise I will try any actual food product you are intrigued by, assuming I can find it. So please leave your ideas in the comments and I will start working on a list.