Have you ever wondered what’s the best meat to grind for succulent burgers? I sure have, and owing to my curiosity, here’s my preferred choice of meat to craft tasty burgers.
The best meat truly depends on your taste, but beef or a mix of beef and pork is commonly used to make burgers. You want your burgers to be juicy and not lean, so aim for a 20 percent fat ratio.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Grind Your Own Meat for Burgers?
- 2 What are the Best Meats to grind for Burgers?
- 3 What are the Best Beef Cuts to Grind for Burgers?
- 4 How to Make the Best Meat Mix for Burgers?
- 5 How to Make Burger Patties?
- 6 How to Make Burger Meat Stick Together?
- 7 How Much Burger Meat to Grind Per Person?
- 8 How Long can You Store Burger Meat in the Refrigerator?
- 9 Is Ground Ribeye Good for Burgers?
- 10 What is the Best Grade of Beef for Hamburgers?
Why Grind Your Own Meat for Burgers?
Buying packaged meat at the store is a highly convenient option, but on the flipside isn’t guaranteed fresh or safe for consumption. That said, here are five reasons you should grind meat for your burgers in the comfort of your home.
1. Cost savings
This is perhaps one of the biggest benefits of grinding burger meat at home, and outweighs the cost of store ground meat.
You can always pick up a few cuts on sale or even family packs, and grind the meat yourself, which works out to be much cheaper than buying prepackaged ground meat.
2. Food safety
The exterior of whole muscle meat is plagued with harmful bacteria. After the meat is ground, the bacteria spread to all parts of the meat, and contaminate all of it.
With commercially processed meat, the chances of contamination are extremely high for two reasons—the meat is ground from several different cuts, and possibly hundreds of different animals.
When you grind your own meat, you are in control over the cuts you choose to use, and keep your work area as clean as possible.
3. Tastier meat
The quality of your burgers depends on the meat you choose for the grind. With store-ground meat, you have no clue what cuts were used, but isn’t often the best bits.
Adding to this, commercially processed meat doesn’t always offer the texture you need, and the results are often chewy and dense, so you miss out on rich, beefy flavor.
Plus, when you grind meat at home, you can buy the right cuts for the best flavor and fat content you desire. You can even season the meat after grinding, which is something that you definitely don’t see with store-bought meat.
What are the Best Meats to grind for Burgers?
The best meat to grind for burgers hands down is beef, and here’s why! The name hamburger stems from the seaport town of Hamburg, Germany, where hamburgers were made from shredded beef.
The hamburger arrived in the United States in 1904, and consisted as a cooked ground beef patty tucked away between two halves of bread, typically a round bun—similar to the hamburger buns you see today.
However, it’s not just tradition, but beef burgers are also rich in fat compared to chicken and turkey burgers, which makes them juicer, and more flavorful.
You can even mix beef with other types of meat for burger such as ground pork at a 50:50 ratio, but remember both need to be cooked well to a temperature of 160-degrees Fahrenheit to ensure they’re safe for consumption.
Burgers made from poultry such as chicken and turkey are billed as heathier meat options compared to beef because they’re leaner.
In terms of taste, beef burgers take home the gold, but you can always spice up your poultry meat your way before grinding. Other burger meat options include lamb, fish, chorizo and brat.
What are the Best Beef Cuts to Grind for Burgers?
Selecting the best cuts of beef to grind burgers can be overwhelming, because there are just so many cuts to choose from, but here are your most popular options.
It’s worth mentioning that when choosing the right beef cut for burgers, you should pay attention to the percentage of fat, because it adds flavor to the meat when cooked over the grill.
Speaking of which, you can skip two beef cut options—round and sirloin, because they’re fat content is too low. An optimal fat ratio between 15 percent and 20 percent for good flavor, and to prevent the burgers from drying out when cooked.
1. Beef chuck
Chuck steak is the most common beef option used in burger blends, most notably because it offers a well-balanced flavor, and a great lean-to-fat ratio.
Chuck is the part of meat that comes from the animal’s shoulders, and contains roughly between 15 percent to 20 percent.
You can buy beef chuck chunks at the store, and cut it up into smaller pieces to grind at home.
2. Short rib
Short ribs are a fattier cut of meat that are sourced from the area between the chuck and rib, so you ideally get the best characteristics of both cuts.
To grind short ribs, you will need boneless beef short ribs, which are readily available at your local butcher or grocery store.
Brisket is basically the breast area of the cow, and is super beefy, so you can expect rich flavor. It’s also high in fat content, and also used to make corned beef and pastrami.
Round is the rear part of the cow, and is good to grind if you prefer your burgers lean. Since it doesn’t contain the same amount of fat as chuck, round cuts of beef will have less flavor as well.
Boneless beef round and offers an 85 percent to 90 percent fat ratio. You can boost the fat content of your round beef meat by mixing it with ground pork, which showcases a fat ratio between 20 percent to 25 percent.
Sirloin is a cut of meat that comes from the mid back of the cow, and even though it’s a relatively lean cut of steak, it has good flavor. It has a fat ratio between 90 percent to 92 percent, but is less flavorful than chuck, short rib or brisket.
How to Make the Best Meat Mix for Burgers?
Most of the ground beef sold at grocery stores is coarsely ground, but this isn’t ideal for burgers, because it loses its fat content very quickly when the burgers are grilled.
However, coarsely ground meat isn’t your best option if you ‘re going to fry the burgers in a pan, because they will lose a lot more of their fatty moisture.
Preparation Time and Nutritional Value
You can also combine different cuts of meat to make bespoke burger blends. To give you an idea, combining chuck or ground (70 percent lean muscle with navel brisket or short rib (30 percent fat), or chuck or ground with bacon trimmings for a meaty, smoky and slightly sweet blend.
The nutritional value of your burger blend will depend on the meat you’ve combined, but generally contains 212 calories per 100 gram serving, and 19 percent fat per 15 grams of beef.
Other nutritional facts include 23 percent cholesterol per 70 mg, and 38 percent protein.
The time it takes to grind your meat will depend on your grinder, but most electric meat grinders can grind rough three lbs of meat per minute, which is enough minced meat to make 12 four to six ounce burgers.
How to Grind Meat for Burgers? (The Grinding Process)
- You don’t have to do or add anything to the meat before grinding, so no salt, seasoning or eggs.
Adding to this, chill the meat for approximately 30 minutes before grinding, which makes the grinding process more efficient from a safety standpoint.
- Cut the meat into smaller pieces in about an inch size cubes, and lay them out on a parchment lines baking sheet, and chill along with the food processor blade.
- Once chilled, install the blade in the food processor, add some beef cubes to the grinder bowl, and use one second pulses up to 10 times.
- Make sure you place a collection bowl underneath the grinder output. Repeat the process for the rest of the meat cubes and if the results aren’t properly ground the first time.
If you’re combining two different types of meat for making burger blends, you will have to grind the meat the same way, but separately.
Making the Burger Mix
- Salt and pepper
- Finely chopped onions
- Chopped jalapeno for chilli burgers
You can now add egg if you want to the bowl of ground beef, if you’re scared of them falling apart. But from personal experience, adding an egg sort of makes the burger a mini meatloaf.
Adding an egg does help hold the patty together, and impart some extra flavor.
You can then add the other ingredients to the mix such as finely chopped onions, a little garlic, and lots of chopped jalapeno to make chilli burgers. Lastly season with salt and pepper.
How to Make Burger Patties?
Grinding the meat is the easy part of the process than crafting up perfect burger patties. It goes beyond making the patty shapes, and starts with choosing the right meat with a good fat ratio such as 80/20, 70/30, 90/10, etc.
Once you’ve got the right meat, and ground the meat, start by separating the meat into the size burgers you’ll be making.
Now grab each separated chunk of meat, roll it gently into a ball shape, and set each ball aside. To flatten the balls into patty shapes, you have many options—use a flat plate and tap down on each one over the counter or use a burger press.
The Weston hamburger press is a great option for making large size burgers, and also for stuffed burgers. With this press, you can adjust the thickness of your patties between ¼ pound to ¾ pounds, so you can make the size burgers you want with one device.
If you don’t have a flat plate to tap the burgers, you can use the HULISEN burger smasher for the job. You should place wax paper on the surface and between the burgers to prevent them from sticking, and easily transfer them to the cooking surface.
The size of each patty should be larger than the bun, because it will shrink in size during and after cooking. If you prefer thicker burgers, press your thumb in the middle of the patty to cook the center more evenly.
How to Make Burger Meat Stick Together?
1. Use Premium Quality Meat with high Fat Ratio
The best way to make burger meat stick together, and not crumble during the cooking process is to use premium quality minced beef with a fat ratio of 15 percent to 20 percent, and a good, non-stick frying pan.
2. Add Rapeseed oil
Another great way to keep burgers together is to add rapeseed oil because it can withstand higher temperatures.
3. Add Starch
You can even add starch from canned, drained, crushed chickpeas or black beans to bind the meat together, and for an interesting flavor.
4. Refrigerate the patty
After you make the patties, it’s a good idea to let them sit in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes before throwing them on the grill. Keeping the patties in the fridge will ensure some of the moisture and liquid in the mix to bond closely with the meat and keep the patties together when you grill it.
5. Add Egg to the Mix
As a last resort you can add a little bit of whisked egg into the meat mix to keep the patty nice and together. As I have mentioned before, if you add a lot of meat, it will end up being a meatloaf instead, so add as little egg as possible.
Whatever you do, refrain from adding too many extra ingredients to the burger patty mix, because these will add too much moisture, and make the patties fall apart.
How Much Burger Meat to Grind Per Person?
Depends on how many burgers each person will eat, and the size of the burgers! You will ideally need 6 ounces of ground beef per burger. You may be also be tempted to make larger burger patties, but these won’t cook well, as the temperature will not go through the patties.
The table below shows the amount of burger meat to be ground for various number of person and number of burgers per person.
How Long can You Store Burger Meat in the Refrigerator?
One of the key reasons to grind your own meat is because it’s as fresh as you can get. But if you want to make and cook the patties later, you can store burger meat in the refrigerator for three to five days, and a lot longer—three to four months in the freezer.
When buying beef from the store to grind at home, it’s highly recommended that you ask the butcher to cut the piece you want from the animal, or be sure to check the sell-by and expiration dates at the store.
Is Ground Ribeye Good for Burgers?
Ribeye is a section from the rib section of the cow, and is sometimes used to make ribeye steak burgers. Ribeye is however expensive, and not an easy to grill cut of meat for burgers, because it’s high fat content.
Ribeye is best cooked as a whole steak, and to medium-rare finish. The flavor from ribeye burgers is also less tasty than burgers made from chuck or brisket, so you may have to apply some extra seasoning.
What is the Best Grade of Beef for Hamburgers?
There are a total of eight different grades of beef set by the USDA including prime, choice and select. Prime grade ground beef is used by most leading burger restaurants to grind for hamburgers. These burgers are high in flavor, tenderness, and unmatched richness.
Choice grade beef is a notch below prime grade, but has slightly less fat and marbling. Even though it’s less juicy, it’s the most widely available grade sold in grocery stores, and produces exceptional results when cooked properly.