I have 3.5 pounds of 93% lean ground beef. I want to easily cook it like this:

  • Put tinfoil on a pan.
  • Put all of the ground beef on it.
  • Put it in the oven preheated to 450F for 30 minutes.

Is this safe?

Any remaining questions:

  • You will probably burn it at that temperature. Commented Sep 30, 2015 at 19:37

3 Answers 3


Make sure you use a pan with high enough sides so that fat doesn't overflow. If it's a thin baking sheet with only short edges, especially one that tends to curve/warp in the oven, you could easily dump fat all over the bottom of the oven. But as long as it's a sturdy pan, the fat isn't going to get any higher than the beef itself started out (except for splattering), so if the beef itself all fits in with a bit of space at the top, you'll be fine. If it seems like you're cutting it close, split it into two batches.

Make sure also not to cover too tightly; you want steam to be able to escape. You want it to be covered well enough to keep fat from splattering everywhere, and to keep it from drying out fast and burning on the top or bottom, but you also don't want all the water to get stuck in there until it boils over.

Letting it cook in the fat is really just a personal preference. If you want the final result to be super lean and maybe a bit dry, don't do it; if you want to keep it moist and juicy and don't mind some fat, cooking it in the fat is good for it.

For food safety issues...

All that matters is what temperature the beef reaches. The FDA recommends that it reach 160F. You don't really need a thermometer to check in this case, though: if it's all obviously brown it's fine.

So, yes, that general idea is probably safe, but I wouldn't try to pin the time down now. Just put it in the oven and check periodically until it's done. Exactly how long it takes will depend on how thick the beef is in the pan (i.e. how big the pan is).

  • Can you include the link to "why cover food" from my question, into your answer?
    – user193661
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 3:07
  • @user193661 I just addressed that part of your question here, since the general answers on that question didn't quite cover everything.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 4:13
  • 1
    and if all you have is a thin baking sheet, you can use an extra large piece of foil, extending the edges of the pan. Be sure to fold the excess foil over a few times so they create sturdy enough walls. I have done this several times in the toaster oven. Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 8:38

OPs experience:

I evenly distributed it in the pan, which could easily fit it.
I baked it for 25 minutes at 450F. It was brown all the way through, moderately crisped on top. Juicy and not overdone.
There was only a few millimeters of fat in the pan.


Considering how lean the meat is, there is gonna very little fat coming out of it. Actually its probably gonna end up pretty dry and if you don't put anything else in it its gonna taste fairly bland.

Covering helps stops the top from getting burned and reduces moisture lose, also reduce splatter. Makes for easy cleaning.

No issue at all leaving the fat

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