Burgers are a staple of American cuisine. With their juicy, flavorful patty, and crispy toppings, they are the perfect meal for any time of day. The best meat for burgers is beef, right? Wrong!
Many different types of meats can make delicious and juicy burgers. But with the different choices to choose from, how do you know which kind of meat is best? We will explore the different types of meat that make up this delicious dish and help you decide which one will make your burgers taste like heaven on earth!
How to Choose the Right Meat for Burger
When it comes to making burgers, there are various meat options that you can use. Each meat option has a unique flavor that will enhance your burger in a specific way. The best burger is one that has been carefully balanced and combined with the perfect blend of flavors to create a unique taste sensation.
Below, we will explore the factors to consider when it comes to meat choices used for burgers.
When choosing a lump of meat for burgers, a good starting point is to think about the fat percentage. The fattier the meat, the juicier and more flavorful it will be. However, you don't want the meat to be too fatty, or it will become greasy and taste unpleasant. Aim for a lump of meat with a fat percentage of around 20-30%. This is considered the best fat percentage for a beef burger.
If you are looking for a standard burger, then ground meat is the way to go. Ground meat is made by grinding up the meat of your choice with a grinder or food processor.
The type of ground meat you select to use will directly impact your burger's flavor. A good starting point is to combine different kinds of ground meat to create a unique flavor profile.
For example, you could use beef and pork, lamb and beef, or turkey and chicken.
This will give your burger a more complex flavor profile with a range of different textures.
Ground pork is an excellent substitute if you don't want to use ground beef. It has a similar texture, but it is much leaner than ground beef which makes it healthier too! You can also add flavor with spices like sage or garlic powder.
Ground Turkey is an excellent choice for your next party because it is low in fat and high in protein. A chicken breast offers the chance to get creative with your cooking style without sacrificing taste since they have a mild flavor.
If you are looking for a burger with a bit of a salty and smoky flavor, you will want to use cured meat such as capicola, bacon, pancetta, or prosciutto.
You can also try using your favorite type of ham as a slice of burger meat, giving your patty an extra layer of flavor.
Choose a Cut
You will also need to select the proper cut of meat for your burger. This will be determined by how you want to cook it, what flavors you are looking for and which type of meat you are using.
For example, if you want to grill your burger, then you will need a cut that is suitable for grilling. This could be a steak such as flank, skirt, ribeye, or a cut of ground meat pre-formed into a patty.
Specific cuts of meat are more suitable for certain cooking methods such as pan-frying, grilling, or broiling. The type of cut you choose will also directly impact the flavor profile since different cuts can enhance or reduce certain flavors.
Choose the Grind
You must ensure that the meat is ground to the right consistency for burgers. The grind should be around ¼ - ½ inch in size, which will ensure that your burger cooks evenly and holds together well.
Start with a coarse grind for the best texture, then gradually increase the grind's coarseness to create a more textured patty.
If you are using a pre-formed patty, you will need to ensure that the grind is consistent throughout the patty. This will allow it to hold together well during cooking and prevent your burger from falling apart as you eat it.
It is best to avoid using a too fine grind as this will make your burger dense and tough.
How Coarsely Should you Grind your Burger?
- Fine Grind: This is ideal for making burgers that are juicy and tender, with a smooth and uniform texture. This is achieved by using a fine grinding plate.
- Medium Grind: A medium grind is ideal for slightly coarser texture burgers. You can achieve this by using a medium grinding plate or by using a sharp meat knife. This type of grind is perfect for making burgers with a bit of chew, such as a pub-style burger.
- Coarse Grind: This type of grind is ideal for burgers with a more chunky texture and meaty flavor. You can achieved this by using a coarse grinding plate or by knife. The coarse grinded burgers have a rustic feel, such as a backyard BBQ burger.
What are the Best Cuts of Beef for Burger Grind?
Once you decide on the type of meat you want to use, choosing a good quality product is essential. This will ensure that your burger is flavorful and juicy.
Since the most common and favorite type of burger is made with beef, it's essential to know which cuts will make the best patties.
Below are some of the best cuts of beef to use for burger grind.
The chuck is an inexpensive cut containing a good amount of fat, making it perfect for burgers. It is a tough meat to cut, so it's best to grind it yourself or ask the butcher to assist you.
A chuck is an excellent option if you are looking for a juicy and flavorful burger.
The sirloin is a lean cut, and it's also very tender, which makes it perfect in burgers. However, it would be best to make sure that the meat is ground fresh, or it can become dry and tough.
The short rib is a fatty cut of meat perfect for burgers. It has a good amount of marbling which makes it very flavorful.
The brisket is an excellent cut for making burgers because it's a tough cut of meat that needs to be ground. It has incredible flavor, and it is also leaner than most other cuts.
The ribeye is a luxurious cut of meat that you can use for burgers. It's high in fat, and it's also very tender.
Another great cut of meat for burgers is the round. It's a lean cut that becomes very juicy when it's ground.
If you want an extra flavorful patty, then you might want to consider using a T-Bone cut. It's the tenderloin and strip loin combined, and it has a lot of marbling, making it perfect for burgers.
Different Mixtures for Burgers
If you want to make things interesting, you can also try using different mixtures for your burgers. Bear in mind that an excellent lean-to-fat ratio is needed when combining the blends.
For example, you could use the following mixture for burgers: 70% ground beef, 20% ground bacon, and the final addition of ground pork, ground ham, or sausage.
You can also use a mixture of beef and veal, which is an excellent choice for your next burger patty.
Another excellent mixture for burgers is a combination of ground beef and ground lamb, which will give your burger an aromatic flavor that you won't be able to get enough of.
You can also make use of ground chicken, turkey, or duck for a different twist on your burger. In addition, you could also use ground chicken or turkey with pork.
If you want an exotic twist, mushroom and beef are delicious options.
Ground chicken or turkey with ground beef is also an excellent burger.
The sky is the limit when it comes to different mixtures for burgers, so feel free to experiment and find the perfect one for you.
Some great combinations for burgers are:
There are endless choices for creating the perfect burger, so get creative and have some fun with it!
Which Cut/Mixture is the Best One for Burgers?
People have different preferences and opinions regarding burgers, so there is no one perfect mixture or cut of meat that will work for everyone.
However, the cuts and mixtures listed above are some of the most popular and common options for burgers.
If you want to know which cut is best, it comes down to personal preference.
The most common and favorite type of burger is made with beef, so it's essential to know which mixtures and cuts are best for beef burgers.
Most Popular Beef Burger Mixtures
Best Cuts for Beef Burgers
Ground beef is also a trendy choice for burgers, as it's easy to work with and has a lot of flavors.
The different mixtures/cuts listed above are excellent burgers, so it depends on personal preference.
However, you should remember that you should be using a mixture of lean-to-fat ratios for your burgers.
The right mixture is 70% ground meat and 30% fat, but you can also use a lower amount of ground meat and increase the fat content.
Now that you have selected the right cut, ground the right way, and added your favorite spices to your mixture, it is time to add some flavor.
Why You Should Grind Your Meat for Burger Patties
Many people use store-bought ground beef for their burgers, but grinding your meat is a much better choice.
When you grind your meat, you have complete control over the quality and type of meat in your burger. The benefits of grinding include;
It is much cheaper to grind your meat than to purchase pre-ground beef. It's also much less expensive, as you can buy meat during sales to save even more money.
When you grind your beef, it is much easier to monitor the fat and ensures that you are getting the healthiest burger possible. You can also choose to use organic meat free from hormones and antibiotics.
Nothing beats a burger that is made from fresh beef. Even the cheapest cuts of meat will taste much better when you grind them yourself, and the texture and flavors will be much better.
How to Grind Your Meat for Burger Patties?
When grinding your meat, there are two options: using a food processor or a meat grinder.
Using a Food Processor
If you use a food processor, you will need to trim the meat into small pieces to fit in the machine. A food processor is a good option if you only want to grind a small amount of meat.
Using a Meat Grinder
If you use a meat grinder, you will need to cut the meat into cubes about an inch in size. You can use a knife to chop the meat, but this process will take longer.
You should freeze the meat for about an hour before grinding, as this will help to keep the machine from clogging.
What is the Best Grade of Beef for Burgers
The total number of grades set by USDA is eight, and they are determined by the animal's age and the amount of marbling (intramuscular fat).
The most common grades for ground beef are designated as "Select" and "Choice."
When it comes to beef grades, there are eight in total:
When it comes to burgers, you should use ground beef designated as "Choice" or higher. This will ensure that you get a high-quality burger with good flavor and texture.
When handling ground beef, you have to ensure that you put necessary measures in place to prevent bacteria growth.
Bacteria thrive in the presence of moisture, and since ground beef contains a high percentage of water, it is essential to take precautions. You can store freshly ground beef in the fridge for one to two days or in the freezer for up to four months.
Ideally, it would be best to cook your burgers within a few hours of grinding the meat.
The safest way to ensure that you have safe ground beef is by cooking it thoroughly, as this will kill any bacteria.
The temperature of the meat should reach at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit or 71 degrees
Celsius for 15 seconds to ensure that all bacteria have been killed.
The most important thing is to have fun and experiment with different mixtures and cuts until you find the perfect one for you. Now that you know about the best cuts that you can use for burgers, it is time to get in the kitchen and start cooking!
- Also Read: Best Woods Pairings for Smoking Meats
FAQs for Selecting the Best Meat for Burgers
Do you still have questions when it comes to picking and preparing beef meat for your burgers?
Here are some of your most frequently asked questions answered:
How to Make your Own Burger Meat without a Grinder?
If you don't have a meat grinder, you can still make your own burger meat.
Start by cutting the beef into small cubes and removing any excess fat or connective tissue.
If you have a food processor, you can use it to grind the beef to the desired form but be careful to avoid over grinding as it can turn into a paste form.
If you don't have a food processor, grab a sharp knife and start to finely chop the beef until it reaches your desired consistency.
Then you can continue to season it and go to the other step of the process.
Tip: Remember, when you use your hands, always use safe food handling practices by washing your hands and any utensils that come into contact with the meat thoroughly with soap and hot water before and after use.
How Much Burger Meat per Person?
The amount of meat you need per person will depend on several factors, but as a general rule, you will need about 1/3 to 1/2 pound (150-225 grams) of meat per person. This will also depend on the appetite of each person.
It's always a better idea to have some extra burgers, so prepare more than you think you'll need.
How to Make Burger Meat Stick Together?
In order for you to make burger meat stick together, you can use a combination of ingredients that act as a binder. Here are some ingredients that help the meat stick together:
- Eggs: Adding an egg to your mixture can help the ingredients stick together. It is recommended to beat the egg and then mix it into the meat before making the patties.
- Breadcrumbs: Another alternative are breadcrumbs. Mix in about 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs per pound of meat.
- Cheese: You can also add cheese to the mixture, which can also contribute to the flavor. Use a shredded cheese like cheddar or mozzarella for best result and mix in around 1/4 cup per pound of meat. You can combine the cheese with some finely chopped vegetables as well.
- Worcestershire Sauce: Adding Worcestershire sauce to your mixture will help it stay better together and also add extra flavor.
- Chill in Refrigerator: Chilling your patties in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before cooking can also help them hold their shape better.
How Long is Burger Meat Good in the Fridge?
If you have put raw burger meat in the fridge, it is usually safe to keep it for up to 2 days. After that, it is recommended to either cook or freeze to prevent from spoiling.
If you put a cooked burger, it is generally safe to keep it up to 4 days refrigerated. After that, it is best to discard since meat can go bad.
In both cases, always use your senses to determine if the meat is still good. If you notice an off odor, unusual texture, or unusual color, it is best to discard it.
Can You Freeze Burger Meat?
Yes, you can freeze burger to extend its shelf life. Freezing your meat can help it to stay fresh and also prevent it from spoiling.
You can freeze burger meat for up to 3-4 months without affecting its quality. After this period, the meat may still be safe to eat, but it may lose its freshness.
How to Thaw Burger Meat?
The best and safest way to thaw your burger meat is by using the refrigerator.
This method may take longer but ensures that the meat thaws evenly. Just place the meat on a plate and leave it overnight or for at least 24 hours.