Understanding the Different Types of Ground Beef

Ground beef is a versatile and affordable protein that is used to create a wide variety of delicious comfort foods. However, understanding the labels on packages of ground beef can be confusing. In this article, we will explain the different types of ground beef and their labels, as well as how the fat percentage affects the outcome of your dishes.

What Is Ground Beef?

Ground beef is made by grinding fine pieces of meat sourced from cattle, which helps tenderize tougher cuts. It is one of the most popular proteins in the US due to its versatility and affordability. Ground beef can be used to make everything from tacos to bolognese sauce.

When it comes to labeling, there are different types of ground beef with varying fat percentages. Some ground beef, known as primal source ground beef, comes from specific cuts of beef such as chuck, round, or sirloin. On the other hand, generic labels like “ground beef” or “ground hamburger” indicate a blend of beef from different parts of the steer, sometimes with fatty cuts added to increase the fat content.

Ground Beef Percentages

The lean-to-fat ratio of ground beef is often referred to as the “lean point” or percentage. For example, if the label lists the lean point as 70/30, it means that the ground beef is 70% lean and 30% fat. Each serving of 70/30 ground beef will contain 30% fat by weight.

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The Leanest Ground Beef

The leanest type of ground beef is ground sirloin, which has a lean point of 90% lean and 10% fat (90/10). Some ground beef blends can be as lean as 96% lean with 4% fat (96/4). If you are looking for a lean alternative to ground beef, ground bison is also a very lean option.

Types of Ground Beef

Ground beef can be classified by its source or by its lean point, and often these categories overlap. Let’s take a look at the four types of ground beef categorized by source:

1. Ground Beef (70/30)

Ground beef can refer to two different products. First, it is the common name for any ground beef product, which can include ground sirloin or ground round. Second, if the label simply says “ground beef” or “ground hamburger” with no indication of where the cut is sourced, it is a ground beef blend made from inexpensive trimmings.

Ground beef blends with a range of lean points are available, but 70/30 is a common option. This higher fat content makes it perfect for juicy burgers. However, keep in mind that the meat will shrink considerably as the fat melts.

2. Ground Chuck (80/20)

Ground chuck is sourced from the chuck portion of the cow, which includes the neck and shoulder region. It has a high fat content, making it flavorful and juicy. However, it also has a lot of connective tissue, which can make the meat tough. Grinding chuck meat is a popular way to tenderize this cut.

At 80/20, ground chuck contains 20% fat per serving. This makes it a great option for burger patties and meatballs that benefit from the flavor of the fat without becoming too greasy.

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3. Ground Round (85/15)

Ground round beef comes from the round portion of the cow, which includes the rump, hips, hind legs, and knees. Similar to chuck, this part of the cow contains tough muscle and connective tissue. Grinding beef round into hamburger makes it more tender, but it also dries out when overcooked.

The most common lean point for ground round is 85/15. Although it has less fat, it is also less flavorful than fattier products. This lean-to-fat ratio is best used for seasoned meat mixtures or dishes with added liquid.

4. Ground Sirloin (90/10)

Ground sirloin is considered the leanest type of ground beef. It comes from the sirloin primal, located in the mid-back region of the steer. Although it is more expensive due to the cuts it is sourced from (tri-tip steak, top sirloin, and tenderloin), ground sirloin has the healthiest lean point.

With a fat content of 10%, ground sirloin is an excellent choice for creating healthy menus that limit saturated fat. However, it is important to use it in dishes with added liquid to prevent it from drying out quickly.

Now that you’re familiar with the different types of ground beef and their fat percentages, you can confidently choose the right ground beef for your recipes. Fattier grinds like ground hamburger and ground chuck are perfect for juicy hamburgers, while leaner grinds like ground round and ground sirloin work best for seasoned meats and dishes with added liquid.

For more information on the “Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ” brand and to explore our selection of ground beef, visit Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ.

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