Which Part of Beef is Best for Burgers?

We live in a world in which you can easily buy some plastic-wrapped burger patty from the supermarket next door and prepare your own signature burger. Right?

But if you are taking things seriously in the kitchen, like really seriously, you should invest more in searching for the best hamburger fillings. As long as you are here, it is time to get all the important information about the best part of beef for your delicious burger.

This way, you can head to the local butcher shop and ask for the ideal cut and create the perfect burger blend.

Best Beef For Burgers – A Honest Debate

Let’s be honest for a second. Sometimes it is hard to get all the advice from the professional chefs and not end up making a disaster in the kitchen. However, if you do take burgers seriously, we need to discuss more about the star of this fast-food dish, which is beef.

To be truly honest, there are many conflicting recommendations and opinions regarding the best type of beef for this task.

While some believe that the best method is to buy top steaks and then grind them up, others will tell you to respect the following ratio: 70% lean to 30% fat ratio.

I am almost positive that when you hear about percentages, I bet you wish to quit and buy an already packed burger patty. But please try and stay focused just for a little while longer. I will tell you everything there is to know about the matter and I will do it using very comprehensive words.

So after practicing a lot with the burger fillings, it’s time for you to have some simple, easy explained tactics to obtain a delicious burger and look for the best part of beef for burgers.

Choosing a Cut of Beef

Choosing a Cut of Beef
J G Melon

When going to the butcher shop, you need to keep in mind that you want a full-flavored piece of beef (1). As such, you can choose to go for the chuck, which is the best part, or the brisket. However, if these cuts are not available, you can choose the round.

For instance, the leaner part is great for increasing the fat content in the final burger patty. Furthermore, you can ask for the short-ribs, which will increase the intense beef flavor and won’t allow the fat to melt out.

Adding these short ribs to the final mix will help to bump up the beef flavor.

I recommend you rely on the butcher’s experience too, as they have the best advice in mixing the most flavors types of beef. Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions, as most of the butchers will be enthusiastic about helping you get the best meat.

Top Things To Look For When Choosing The Cut of Beef

Beef cut for steak
J G Melon

When choosing the cuts of beef, you must first decide:

  • How will you cook the burger? (2)

The best part of beef for your burgers depends on the way you decide to cook that meal. Do you enjoy your burgers rare? Or do you prefer the meat well-done? Once you answer these questions, it will be easier to know the quantity of fat you need to look for.

  • Percentage of Beef Fat (3)

While some might be scared of fat meat, well, there is no reason to worry. In small quantities, fat is what keeps our brains healthy, and when it comes to burgers, fat gives juiciness and flavor.

  • For a rare burger, you need to have around 10%-20% of fat
  • A medium cooked burger should have approximately 20%-30% fat
  • The juicy, the more fatty burger has close to 40% fat

The rest of the patty should be out of lean cuts. So, in a few words, if you want to have a nice combination of fat and lean, you should use the chuck. Another option would be to mix some leaner cuts or round with higher fat content, like brisket, ribs, or navel.

In a nutshell, don’t skip the fat. Fat provides that nice moisture and flavor for your meat, and as long as you will be cooking it on a hot grill, the nice fat will prevent the burger from drying out.

Personal tip: Try to avoid round and sirloin, as they are too lean to make burgers juicy, and look for chuck instead.

You can use eggs as a binding agent, but as long as you have the proper patties, you will not need them. For texture, choose a coarse mince, and you will avoid the paste-like consistency.

  • Coarse Grind

When shopping for burger ingredients, consider the coarse grind as well. What is the grinding grade you should look for? The question is very important because choosing the correct coarse grind means getting that perfect coarser texture for the future meatball.

Consider getting a coarse grind with beef and pork. If you choose ground turkey and chicken, you might run in a finer grind, as ground poultry tends to have more cartilage parts.

The finer the grind, the more palatable the bits will be. However, keep in mind that a finer grind will produce a mushy texture. Needless to say that no one looks for this texture at their burger.

Forming the Beef Patty

Forming the Beef Patty
J G Melon

Here are the main tips when forming the beef patties:

  1. Keep the extra ingredients to a minimum when mixing the meat. Otherwise, you risk the patty falling apart. The seasoning should be simple. You can go with just salt and pepper or for a special seasoning.
  2. The best time to season the meat is before you cook it, so make sure you add salt, pepper, and whatever other spices you use before exposing the meat to heat.
  3. Be gentle when shaping the patties. Otherwise, you risk overworking the mix of meat.
  4. Choose to put an indent into the middle of the burger before cooking it, so the final result is a flat patty.

Steps in Shaping The Beef Patty

  • Mixing Meats

Just because chuck is the top part of beef for burgers, it does not mean the patty should contain only this ingredient.

You can also use some ground pork and use the fat content of it. This way, you will obtain the best fat balance (4), and the pork will contribute to the final flavor. You can mix beef with turkey or chicken too, but these meat types are less fatty.

  • Grind The Meat By Your Own

A great trick to obtain nice flavors is to grind the meat by yourself. Buy some good quality pork from the butcher, and grind it along with leaner beef or poultry.

Don’t forget about getting that 15-20 percent of fat content. If you look for a spicy result, add a part of ground hot sausage and three parts of beef.

  • Grilling Your Patty

Unlike steaks, which are best cooked as medium-rare, burgers need more timely cooking. You want the internal temperature of your burger to be around 150 to 160 F.

To obtain the best final result, I recommend you cook at a medium temperature on the grill rather than fix the grill at a high temperature.

  • Final Fixings

The final fixing is just a matter of personal preferences. The final fixings refer to the following elements: cheese, condiments, and, eventually, toppings.

If you prefer cheeseburgers, put the cheese right on the patty, and let it melt during the last minute of cooking.

You can choose cheddar, bleu, pepper jack, brie, or Havarti as top cheeses for burgers. On the other hand, the condiments can include mayo, ketchup, BBQ sauce, mustard, truffle aioli, or any other condiments you enjoy.

Personal opinion: My all time favorite sauce in a burger is a mix of chipotle mayo aioli. It is smoky, it is spicy and it has garlic. What is not to love?

Kraft Mayo Chipotle Aioli (12 oz Bottle)
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To make sure the bun stays in place, apply these condiments to the top half of the bun.

When it comes to toppings, get some inspiration from the list below:

  • Pickles
  • Mushrooms
  • Sauerkraut
  • Jalapeños
  • Chili
  • Fried Eggs
  • Caramelized onions

Final Thoughts

When it comes to choosing the best beef part for burgers, there is no key-ingredient, but everything stands in good mixing. Try to obtain the proper fat ratio, as well as nice spices.

As a final piece of advice, don’t push the meat patty down to speed the cooking time process but leave the meat to push out its most precious, juicy flavors.

Finally, add your favorite toppings without overloading the flavors.

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