Better Beef, Better Burgers: The Best Beef for Burgers
The hamburger may seem like one of grilling's most straightforward meals. But there's more than meets the eye to this humble patty of ground beef and spices. Not all burger meat is created equal, and your choice can make a significant difference in the flavors once your perfectly grilled patty lands between the buns.
The secret to a great burger is great beef. So let's take a closer look at how to pick the best beef for burgers on the grill.
What Makes A Beef Good For Burgers?
There are a few factors to consider when selecting your burger beef. Most importantly is fat content. Pre-ground ground beef packages indicate its beef to fat percentage, typically between 70/30 and 90/10. More fat means a juicier and more flavorful burger, but also one that's less healthy than leaner mixes. Experiment to find the right blend for your taste and cooking method. For example, burgers cooked in a pan may require less fat than ones cooked on wood pellet grills where fat “cooks off”. It's crucial not to go too lean, which can result in a dry, crumbly burger.
Different cuts can also impart different flavors to your burgers, from intensely beefy to smoky, grassy, and more. Typically, you'll find the best quality with freshly ground beef, but excellent results are achievable even with the prepackaged version at your regular grocery store.
The Best Beef For Burgers
So, what types of beef should you keep an eye out for the next time you're at the butcher? From the grillmasters at Brisk It Grills, here are our top picks.
Ground chuck is among the most popular burger cuts and makes up a good deal of prepackaged ground beef. This cut comes from the shoulder of the cow, providing a flavorful mix of muscle and fat. It's often found as an 80/20 mix, which makes it among the best beef for juicy burgers. This is also one of the best beef for smash burgers.
Ground sirloin represents some of the higher-end ground beef and provides a rich, beefy flavor to your burgers. It'll typically cost more than other types of meat and is less commonly found pre-ground. It's fairly lean as beef cuts go, meaning you may benefit from adding some additional fat to keep your burgers juicy.
Round is a somewhat polarizing cut to use for ground beef. While many enjoy its flavor, others find it too lean and dry. This can present a problem if you're buying pre-ground beef without the chance to add additional fat. Still, it remains a popular choice.
Blends and Exotic Burgers
While most burgers fall under the above groups, there are plenty of more unusual or exotic cuts of beef used for burgers, either on their own or as part of a blend. Brisket is a popular choice, with the cut providing a buttery or smoky flavor to burgers. If you’re preparing burgers on a smoker, brisket would be a great choice!
Wondering what the best beef combo for burgers is? While we don’t like to be biased, mixing in short rib with any ground beef can add to the richness of your burgers, and fatty bacon will impart smokiness and a subtle porkiness when used in moderation. Experienced burger pros can mix and match to create the perfect blend unique to their grill.
Best Beef for Thin Burgers
If you prefer your burgers to be a little on the thin side, you can use any of the above-mentioned types of beef. Just be sure when you’re molding your patties to make them thinner. This is a popular method for creating famous “fast-food” style burgers, which usually feature a thin patty.