Corned Beef from Choice Ground Round


This untrimmed gooseneck round contains the bottom (flat), eye and heel of round.  It also has some lymph and heavy connective tissue that needs to be trimmed out.  All three sections of gooseneck round are challenging for most cooks to use in a worthwhile manner, and it’s difficult to make profitable further processed items from it as well.  Due to being hard to work with, gooseneck rounds are probably the most underutilized (inexpensive) thick muscle wholesale cut fabricated from market cattle carcasses.  Some Select grade gooseneck rounds are ground whole, to supply 85% lean, in institutional pre-cooked beef patty formulations.  The CAB (Certified Angus Beef) gooseneck round pictured above weighed 30 pounds; the usable portion (27 3/4 lbs.) was 79 1/3% lean.  For optimal palatability, I prefer the starting raw meat component to be in the 20% fat range.  Therefore, gooseneck rounds are workable by themselves; no need to formulate in meat from other sources.


4 1/4 pounds of lean heel of round is in with fat trim.
4 1/4 pounds of lean heel of round is in with fat trim.

22 lbs. of lean —                                                                                                  73.33%

5 3/4 lbs. usable fat trim —                                                                             19.15%

2 1/4 lbs. heavy connective tissue, lymph node and bag purge —  7.52%

30 lbs.                                                                                                                          100%

Starting price per pound was $3.44 ($103 divided by 30).  After trimming loss the useable meat portion was $3.71 per pound ($103 divided by 27.75).  Fat and heel meat went immediately to the freezer to get well chilled for grinding.  The following ingredients were then formulated for this 27 3/4 pound beef batch:

4 1/2 tsp. Prague powder # 1

3/4 tsp. erythorbate

4 cups water

8 tsp. sodium phosphate

4 Tbsp. brown sugar

10 Tbsp. purified salt

5 cloves crushed garlic

To learn to adjust non-meat ingredients for different meat batch sizes click here.

Lean meat was ground once through a 1/2 inch hole size plate.  Fat & heel meat were ground once through a 3/16 inch plate.  All batch components were mixed until sticky, then refrigerated for 2 days.  Meat was hand mixed twice during the holding time to enhance salt-soluble protein extraction (ensure strong cooked product bind).


10 pounds of meat-mix was tightly patted into a Pullman loaf pan and cooked in a covered oven roasting pan, at 180F, to 160F internal (four hours cook time).  Approximately 20 pounds was hand stuffed into 2 large fibrous casings then thermal processed, in the Wolfer Smoke-cooker at the 200F range, for 5 hours to an internal temperature of 160F.  The 20 pounds of smoke-cooked product might be more accurately called pastrami instead of corned beef.


As soon as chubs were pulled form the cooker they were put down in a cold water bath for 20 minutes, then casings were stripped.  Finally, all were chilled overnight before cutting into sections and packaged for freezer storage.


Out-of-pocket costs were just over $4 per pound.  Labor inputs were minimal.  Palatability characteristics were very good.

Conclusion:  This process seems to be a worthwhile way of adding both palatability and value to Choice gooseneck rounds.  This is one more affordable way to eat beef until the cattle cycle swings back around in the consumers favor.  Process game meat in season, then pork & beef the remainder of the year.

Add in’s:

I prefer to eat Choice ground chuck, but fresh Choice ground round is almost as good.  To learn more about types of ground beef click here.  For Choice ground round simply trim gooseneck rounds well.  The only place you should find bone-fragments is on the rump end where the aitch bone was pulled, I also cut off the very end of the heel until 75% lean is showing.  Make sure to leave most of the fat, beef rounds don’t marble much.  Next, grind all usable meat and fat once through a 3/16 inch plate.  Mix it uniformly together in a meat lug then package for the freezer, 4 sandwich size bags in one gallon bag.

Whole eye of round is optimal for home beef jerky production, click here.










Written by George Wolfer

George Wolfer

Been associated with the meat industry pretty much since starting at a Vocational High school Meat Processing program in 1974. Like to learn and teach interesting and worthwhile livestock production, meat processing and marketing practices.

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