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Old 08-30-2005, 07:09 PM   #1
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Home Ground Chuck

I have heard that chuck is a good meat to grind for hamburgers because it has a 20 percent fat content.

Should you cut away any or all of the white stuff before you grind or is that contributing to the desired fat content?

Thanks for your advice!


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Old 08-30-2005, 08:07 PM   #2
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It depends on the amount of fat the butcher leaves on the meat. That can differ a lot from place to place. You do need the external fat along with the intra-muscular fat to reach the 20% level for your ground meat.

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Old 08-30-2005, 08:42 PM   #3
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Yeah but,

OK, Does anybody know the range of the fat percentage of the red part of chuck? It contains a lot of finely, marbled (threaded?) white stuff. Of course it depends on the ...

How do pros determine the percentage of fat in ground meat?

Or... Is it best to cut off all or part of the white stuff at home if you want to end up with appx. 20 percent fat content?
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Old 08-30-2005, 11:32 PM   #4
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We often grind our own chuck, it is so much better than the store ground option.

We eyeball the amount of fat.

Have never had a piece of chuck so marbled that we did not need to add some of the white firm fat.

Saw one of those things the inspectors used years ago; at that time, as I remember, they just weighed the meat patty, cooked it to death, and weighed it again. But that was a long time (40 years or so) ago and things may be quite different now.

I find I have a tendency to underestimate the amount of fat, so I always add a bit more than I think is necessary.

When I used to work in grocery stores, again many years ago, they would just eyeball it also. Never saw anyone test anything. How they do it today I have no idea.

When making hamburger or sausage, we always fry up a small test piece.

If it needs more fat can always run it through the grinder again.
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Old 08-31-2005, 12:14 AM   #5
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The 20% fat content is not an absolute number - it's an approximation.

Trim the excess (hard) fat and then looking at the "lean" here's a simple general rule for you:

USDA Select grade chuck is about 14% fat (4g fat per oz)
USDA Choice grade chuck is about 17-18% fat (5g fat per oz)

So - to approximate 20% fat:

For each pound of Select grade add an ounce of hard fat
For each pound of Choice grade add half an ounce of hard fat

Personally - if I'm grinding a chuck roast to make hamburgers I just trim off any really big chunks of fat and grind away - doesn't matter what grade, the fat will cook out. If I'm going to use the gound meat in some other dish where I want leaner meat - I trim most the external fat.
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Old 08-31-2005, 08:43 AM   #6
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I actually grind my own sometimes (normally I let my butcher do it) and the entire reason is that I don't like a lot of fat in my meat. I buy Prime cuts of beef (eye of round etc.) where the meat is tender and flavorful and does not need a lot of fat. I trim out most of the visible fat and then grind it. As an earlier poster indicated there is always marbeling in the meat and that is enough fat for cooking anything grilled or any other way.

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