Long gone are the days when your local supermarket only offered ground chuck and ground beef as your only options for hamburger meat. Faced with so many choices you need to ask: What is the best ground beef for hamburger patties? We attempt to break that down for you here.
When looking for ground beef the first thing you must consider is the fat content. Anything less than 15% will give you a dry burger. If you must use a lower fat content you should add some moisture to it. In fact McCormicks has a line of products named Mix-ins for just such a purpose or you could just add a little steak sauce or stuff it with cheese to get the job done.
The second thing to look at is the grind. By grind we are talking about how chopped up the meat is. This is what provides the texture of the burger when bit into. A fine grind is not suitable for hamburgers it does not hold together well. Medium grind is what you find most burgers made with and provides a nice texture. Coarse grinds are hard to find but a butcher can do this for you if you order in advance or you can do it yourself with a food processor. Coarse will give your burger more of a steak like texture when bit into.
Tip: When purchasing ground beef from your grocery store just because it is packed in a tray does not mean it is ground fresh in house. In fact most ground beef comes in packaged like that from the manufacture. The only way to be sure that the beef is ground fresh is to ask your butcher.
Now lets rule out all frozen burger patties. These may be handy for feeding large groups but we are shooting for a quality burger here and frozen patties just do not deliver. Preformed burger patties from the fresh meat case are a good option and typically cost about the same as ground meat.
Here are your best ground beef hamburger options:
Ground Chuck: This is the old standby and makes for a great burger option. It is also affordable if feeding a large group.
Ground Sirloin: It is tough to find this with a 80/20 ratio but when you can the results are great. Having a little char from the grill on sirloin just adds to the flavor. A great burger option
Ground Round: Even when ground round is in the form of ground meat it is tough and you can taste the gristle. Ground round should be avoided.
Ground Beef: This could be any part of the cow and is generally inconsistent and fatty even if the label reads 80/20 and is typically a fine grind. Avoid this.
Ground Angus Beef: More expensive than the other meats listed here and I am not sure what cut they use for it. Angus has a unique flavor and is a great option if not adding other flavors to the burger patties.
Ground Brisket: This is the most expensive option on this list. Around here we can get it in preformed burger patties. The brisket also provides its own unique flavor to the burger. This is our favorite option at the moment.
So while there is truly no one best ground beef for hamburgers we hope that this shed a little light on the subject for you.
To me a great burger only needs: lettuce, a thin slice of tomato and a little red onion. This let’s the beef flavor shine. The more toppings you like on your burger the less you can taste the meat.
You can have a butcher grind any cut of beef you want if you are willing to order it in advance and pay the going rate for the cut of beef. It can get expensive but your results may be worth it.
Grinding your own hamburger is easy if you have a food processor. Simply take the cut of meat be it a steak or roast, cut it into 1 inch cubes. Place the cubes into the food processor and pulse it 4 or 5 times check the consistency and repeat if needed. I did this with a ribeye once and the results were awesome!
One final note: The USDA says hamburger should be cooked to 165 degrees. This is because of all of the possible contamination in the processing facility. So if you take the time to grind it at home it is perfectly safe to grill it to a rare if you want.
About the author: Mike is the owner of 4thegrill.com, a Certified Food Safety Professional and KCBS member. I love me a good burger. If your ever in Akron craving a great burger try Bob’s Hamburg.
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