I keep hearing about Ground Beef, but I'm from Australia and I've never actually seen it before.
Is it the same thing as Minced Beef? Or different? Is Minced beef an acceptible substitute if they're not the same thing?
Here's a picture of some raw ground beef from the Wikipedia ground beef article so that you can see for yourself. Basically it is beef that has been run through a meat grinder, great for making taco meat, hamburgers, and the like.
I've been trying to do a little research on this this, and I know that "ground beef" and "minced beef" are functionally similar, but I'm trying to verify that they're actually the same thing (as "mincing" and "grinding" are different processes.)
As they're produced from a different processes, it's possible that there might be some slight differences between the two (minor variations in texture). And of course, there's coarse grind vs. fine grind, and occassionally you can get a really coarse 'chili grind'. I've never lived in the UK, so I don't know how much variation there is in the size of minced beef. Also, for good quality ground meat, you need to keep the fats very cold so they don't melt; it's possible that that minced meat doesn't have as much friction involved, making this less likely, but I can't be certain that's the case. (can someone from the UK weigh in on this?)
And we can also throw in the term "hamburger meat" which is ground beef with extra fat trimmings, as well as "meatloaf mix" which is typically a blend of either beef and pork, or beef, pork and veal, and "mincemeat" which is a combination of meat, fruit and alcohol.
You can also get most specialty meat cutters to grind any cut of meat for you. Most ground beef you buy in the supermarket will be made from lower quality cuts. If you grind a higher quality cut you'll have the most amazing hamburgers ever. I never have time to cook a whole chuck roast so I end up having most of those larger cuts put into the ground beef when I purchase part of a cow.
Now that is a tasty burger.
Just for reference, the official U.S. spec from 7 CFR § 319.15
(a) Chopped beef, ground beef. “Chopped Beef” or “Ground Beef” shall consist of chopped fresh and/or frozen beef with or without seasoning and without the addition of beef fat as such, shall not contain more than 30 percent fat, and shall not contain added water, phosphates, binders, or extenders. When beef cheek meat (trimmed beef cheeks) is used in the preparation of chopped or ground beef, the amount of such cheek meat shall be limited to 25 percent; and if in excess of natural proportions, its presence shall be declared on the label, in the ingredient statement required by §317.2 of this subchapter, if any, and otherwise contiguous to the name of the product.
I was pleased that the spec forbid "added water, phosphates, binders, or extenders" and toying around too much with the fat content.
Compare that to the gruesome Fabricated Steak further down on the page.