How to Choose the Best Meat for Hamburgers

It’s almost time for summer. That means backyard fun and delicious family BBQs. Besides the grill, the main star of every get-together is burgers. Nobody in your family will be able to say no to them. This is especially true if you choose the best meat for hamburgers. Meat will not be one of your big purchases in life, however, by buying good meat can fulfill both needs: health and pleasure.


Instead of buying from the supermarket, you should consider grinding up your own meat. It’s the best (and cheapest) way to get some seriously juicy burgers.

If you don’t have a way to grind your own, you’ll need to pay attention to the fat ratio when you go to the store. You can also buy meat online.

Feeling a bit lost? Check out this guide to learn how to find the best meat to grind up for hamburgers.

Best Lean Meat-to-Fat Ratio

When you’re browsing through hamburger meat at the store, you’ll find that all the packages contain fat to some degree. It’s labeled as a lean meat-to-fat ratio.

The main ones that you’ll come across are 80/20, 85/15, and 90/10. The first number is the amount of lean meat in the package, and the second number represents the fat.


Out of all these percentages, the best option for burgers is 80/20. It comes out super flavorful and juicy.
The 90/10 ground chuck is too lean. If you make burgers with it, they’ll still taste good, but they won’t pack quite as much flavor.

The 85/15 option is a happy medium. It’s not so lean that it doesn’t work for burgers, but it’s not as good as 80/20 ground chuck.

How Coarse Should the Meat Be?

For the most part, when you grab a package of hamburger meat from the store, it’s going to be coarsely ground. It will work on the grill, but it’s not the best.

When you use the coarse grind, it allows for too much fat to drain out. Your burgers will come out dry. If you want your grilled burgers to be juicy, you’ll use a finer grind setting.

The Best Cuts of Meat to Use

There are a lot of benefits of grinding your own meat for your hamburger patties. Getting a bunch of your favorite cuts, on sale to grind down, is much cheaper than buying packages of ground beef.

Freshly ground meat tastes a lot better than the packaged stuff, and it’s healthier for you. The problem is choosing the right cuts to throw in the grinder.

Chuck Steak

Chuck steak is the most prominent meat that shows up in ground beef. It has a decent lean-to-fat ratio that makes it pack plenty of flavor.

Most stores use chuck steak as a base and mix one or two other types of meat with it.


Round beef is probably the leanest meat that you can buy. It also won’t cost too much for you to get your hands on.

You’ll add it to a mixture that’s over saturated with fat to balance things out and add in more protein.

Sirloin and Tri-Tip

Sirloin and tri-tip beef is also pretty lean. It has a delicious flavor, but to get the texture right, you’ll need to add it to a few other types of meat that are higher in fat.

It plays well with chuck, short rib, and brisket.

Boneless Short Rib

Unlike some of the meats that we’ve talked about so far, boneless short rib is high in fat.

It can bring a lot of flavor to your burger. If you add it to your meat mixture, the results will be nice and juicy.


Brisket is also high in fat. Out of all the meats that we’ve been over, this one might have the beefiest flavor. It’s a great option to add to an overly lean mixture.

Mixing Meats

Again, chuck steak is the best thing to grind up into hamburger meat. Since it provides a good balance between lean meat and fat, it’s a good base for hamburger patties.

We’re here to tell you that you don’t have to mix it with other cuts of beef, though. Ground pork makes a good addition. The burger will taste like a bacon burger without having to use actual bacon.

You can also toss in ground turkey, chicken, and venison. Most of these meats are too lean to stand on their own as a good burger, but when combined with chuck steak and round beef, it creates the perfect balance.

Buying From the Store

If you don’t have a way to grind your own meat, that’s okay. You can buy packaged meat from the store.

If your local grocery store has a butcher counter, you should take advantage of it. If you don’t have this option, go with the store-wrapped packages.

The case-ready wrapped meat comes from a factory somewhere. You have no idea what goes in it.

Buying Online

If you don’t like the beef options at the grocery store, you can head to an online butcher shop. You’ll have a lot of meats to choose from.

You can also get catering from They’ll bring the burgers right to your family BBQs and events.

Finding the Best Meat for Hamburgers

With summer right on the horizon, it’s almost time for backyard BBQs. You can buy the best meat for hamburgers at the store, or pick your own cuts of meat and grind them.

When you grind it up yourself, you’ll know exactly what goes into your burgers. No matter which option you choose, we hope that you’re able to use this guide to grill the juiciest hamburgers this season.

For more delicious summer cooking tips, visit the Food section of our blog.

[All images were downloaded from unsplash]