What Is Market Ground Beef? Experts Explain

Are you a fan of burgers, meatballs, or tacos? If so, chances are you’ve consumed ground beef at some point in your life.

But have you ever wondered what exactly is in that package of Market Ground Beef at your local grocery store?

In this article, we’ll dive into the definition of ground beef, its fat content, and the different types available on the market.

Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a curious consumer, read on to learn more about this versatile and popular meat product.

What Is Market Ground Beef?

Market Ground Beef is a type of meat that is obtained from cows and is commonly used to make burgers, meatballs, tacos, and other dishes. It is made by chopping fresh and/or frozen beef from primal cuts and trimmings. Trimmings are small pieces containing both lean and fat that come from a beef carcass as it is cut or “fabricated” into beef primals, subprimals, or individual cuts.

By law, the maximum fat content in any ground beef is 30% (70% lean). No water, phosphates, binders, or other meat sources may be added and still be labeled as ground beef. If a ground beef label has an added label identifier such as ground round, sirloin, or chuck, the lean and fat used in the product can come from only the primal included in the name. So ground round can only contain lean and fat from the round, sirloin from the sirloin, etc.

There is no added percentage lean/fat requirement for a ground beef product from a specific primal. Although most products seen in stores would display ground chuck as either 80 or 85% lean and ground round or sirloin to be even leaner, the legal requirement is that those products are at a minimum 70% lean. It is up to the consumer to read the label to be sure they are purchasing the product that best fits their expectations and expected usage.

If a package is labeled simply as hamburger, it has to meet all of the already mentioned requirements with the exception that it may contain 100% fat trimmings (no lean) from other than the primal sources.

What Is Ground Beef?

Ground beef is a type of meat that is finely chopped using a knife, meat grinder, mincer, or mincing machine. It is commonly used in many recipes, including hamburgers, meatloaf, meatballs, and bolognese sauce. It is important to note that ground beef is not the same as mincemeat, which is a mixture of chopped dried fruit, distilled spirits, spices, and historically minced or ground meat.

When purchasing ground beef in the market, it is essential to understand the different types available. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines ground beef as ground fresh and/or frozen beef from primal cuts and trimmings containing no more than 30 percent fat. However, the fat content can range as low as 7 percent. Ground chuck and ground sirloin are made by grinding up a chuck roast or sirloin steak, respectively, while “hamburger” can have fat added from other sources.

Ground round and ground beef consistently rank last in blind taste tests due to their tough and chewy texture and livery taste. In contrast, tasters prefer ground chuck and sirloin for their flavor and texture. Ground sirloin is favored for dishes in which other ingredients add much-needed fat, while chuck is preferred in hamburgers. When purchasing ground beef in the market, it is important to read the label carefully to ensure that you are getting the product that best fits your expectations and intended usage.

The Fat Content Of Ground Beef

The fat content of ground beef is an important consideration when choosing which type to use in your dishes. Ground beef can range from 25 to 30 percent fat, with around 70 percent lean. This makes it the most flavorful type of ground beef, but also means that it will cook down the most. Regular ground beef, which is the most commonly used type, has a maximum fat content of 30 percent.

It’s important to consider the fat content of ground beef because many of the calories in ground beef come from fat. A 3-ounce serving of cooked 85% lean ground beef contains 13 total grams of fat, with 5 grams being saturated fat. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat consumption to 5% to 6% of daily calorie intake, which translates into about 13 grams of saturated fat per day if you eat a diet of 2,000 calories per day.

If you’re looking for a leaner option, extra-lean ground beef has no more than 10 percent fat, while lean tops out at 17 percent and medium has at most 23 percent. However, these types of ground beef may not be as flavorful or moist as regular ground beef. It’s important to choose the type of ground beef that best fits your expectations and intended usage.

Types Of Ground Beef Available On The Market

When it comes to purchasing ground beef at the market, there are four major types to choose from: regular ground beef, ground chuck, ground round, and ground sirloin. Regular ground beef is made from a variety of cuts and has a fat content of up to 30%. Ground chuck is made from the shoulder area of the cow and has a fat content of 15-20%. Ground round comes from the hind leg area and has a leaner ratio of 10-15% fat. Ground sirloin is the leanest option with a ratio of 90% lean meat to 10% fat.

It’s important to note that the lean-to-fat ratio for each type can vary, so it’s crucial to read the label carefully before purchasing. Additionally, ground sirloin can be more expensive due to its lean nature, but it’s a great option for those looking for a healthier meat. While ground chuck is preferred for making hamburgers, ground sirloin is great for dishes that require additional fat from other ingredients. Overall, understanding the differences between these types of ground beef can help you make informed decisions when cooking and purchasing at the market.