Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Comparing Costs of Frozen Hamburgers vs. Homemade Hamburgers

I love to grill. I love beef. I am not a man, but I do eat like one. I'm really bad at cooking fresh ground beef hamburgers on the grill. I need my burgers frozen - or else I seem to lose them. In the past, I have just picked up a few of those frozen burgers during the summer. I mean, what's easier than that? But last year I got to thinking "this really isn't a good deal." Well let's check it out...

Now I'm not all fancy. If I were, I'd add stuff to the meat to make it more robust or something like that. Just give me the beef!

Here. I have my 5.59 lbs of ground beef I just got for $8.01, my hamburger press, my baggies and my wax paper (I never use wax paper - as you see, I have Hannaford's brand and I haven't been to a Hannaford's since Christmas of 2007.)

I take the beef and try to make even balls. I had 5.59 lbs of beef. So for quarter pounders, I'd have 22 and some leftover. I just made 23 patties.

I press them in my hamburger press. Ooooh. Ahhh. This was a wonderful gift from my mother a while ago. She buys me weird, useful crap like this.

The discs that came with the hamburger press are freezable, but since I only have 8 disks and am making 23 burgers, I had to use wax paper.

Ta-Da! I have my patties already to put in the freezer.
If you don't take into consideration the material, time & effort cost associated with hamburger making, my hamburgers broke down as the following:
5.59 lbs (23 patties) for $8.01 = $1.43/lbs (or 35 cents a patty)
Now let's compare.....Current Prices for Frozen Beef Patties (Shaw's Brand):

3 lbs Box (12 patties) for $7.99 = $2.67/lbs (or .67 cents a patty)
5 lbs Box (20 patties) for $12.99 = $2.60/lbs (or .65 cents a patty)
***6/11/09 - Updated! 10 lbs Box (40 patties) for $22.99 at BJ's = $2.29/lbs or .57 cents a patty (75/25 Beef)***

The Shaw's burgers are sale prices, but I think they are on sale all summer long. So pretty much, if you don't take baggies and other related hamburger making costs into effect, it's safe to say that if you can score ground beef for under $2.60 a pound, you can make your own patties cheaper. And they taste better.

Now remember there are some other factors to take into consideration here.

- I'm using 80/20 Ground Beef that went on sale for $1.79 for Memorial Day weekend and I had a $2/$10 meat purchase coupon. It's regular price is $3.89/lbs.

- I'm not sure of the quality of the Shaw's basic patties - but I'm sure it's something like 80/20. If you are more concerned with health and opt for 93/7 or 90/10 - you'll definitely be paying more out-of-pocket. I am personally fine with 80/20 - it keeps my middle nice and soft.

- The material cost of making your own is not that much. The quart size baggies are less than 2 cents each and the gallon size one ran me about 4 cents, I believe. I didn't use that much wax paper - but I bought that years ago so who knows how much I paid for that. If you're psychotic, you can take into account the water and soap I used to wash the dishes and I'm still pretty sure that's all under 50 cents.

- So remember - if you're grilling out this summer and just want some basic hamburgers, don't rule out making your own. Find out how much your basic frozen patties are per POUND and compare it to the fresh ground beef!

- Since I'm the queen of convenience, if handling raw beef isn't your thing, I will still like you for buying the pre-packaged stuff. Making hamburgers is one of the few parts of cooking I don't mind. I actually find it relaxing.


Anonymous said...

Becky, my DH is the king of the grill here, to avoid breakage he puts his fresh burgers in "wire grill baskets" you buy them at the store, they have lasted for years and years, usually the little metal hook breaks right away but DH uses a twisty tie to replace.

MaryAnne said...

I really hate handling raw meat, so I think we'll stick with frozen - but it's a fascinating post, and I had no idea that there was such a thing as a hamburger press - looks nifty!