Ground Meat

Ground MeatGround meat seems like a pretty self-explanatory thing. It’s meat that’s been put through a grinder to be used as burgers, meatballs, or in a pasta sauce. But, there is more to it than that. For example, ground beef is available in as many as five different versions, depending on how much fat you want in your meal. And, of course, almost any meat can be ground and used in your recipes from turkey to rabbit to buffalo. Depending on the grind, your options on how you use that meat can be endless, too.

Below are some of the most popular ground meats, their fat content, and popular uses:

Ground Beef
80/20: Generally comes from the chuck area of the cow which is located up by the shoulder. Contains 80% muscle and 20% fat. This grade is considered the best option for juicy burgers and accounts for the bulk of ground beef consumed.

85/15: Typically comes from the chuck area of the cow. But, can also come from the round cut towards the back of the cow. While still juicy, this grade contains less fat which may be a better option for those who want a tasty but leaner burger.

90/10: This grade has the least amount of fat and generally comes from the sirloin area of the cow. The sirloin is where cuts like filet mignon come from and for that reason, the 90/10 grade tends to be more expensive. The smaller fat content makes it the healthier option. But, you need to be careful not to overcook the meat and dry it out. However, this grade can be a great choice if you plan to mix it with ground pork for meatballs since pork tends to be fattier than beef. The flavor will still be there, but with less fat. The same would be true if you wanted to make a meat ragu for pasta.

Ground Buffalo
Leaner than ground beef at a 90/10 ratio, buffalo or bison has great flavor and is an obvious choice as a beef substitute for burgers.

Ground Pork
Usually made from pork shoulder, ground pork is often not labeled with a fat ratio. In general, ground pork contains 15% fat. Perfect for pork burgers or for mixing with other meats for meatballs, meatloaf, or pasta sauces.

Sausage Grade Ground Pork: can contain up to 20%-30% fat and is generally sold as bulk pork sausage.

Ground Turkey
Ground Turkey Breast: This is essentially fat-free, which means you have to be careful when cooking it to prevent drying. It is also ridiculously versatile so you can use it for anything from tacos to burgers—though you may have to add a little fat for the burgers.

Ground Turkey Thighs: Also called ground turkey dark meat, it is 85% lean which means it has a 15% fat content. The fat content makes it great for turkey burgers, meatloaf, or meatballs but may not be the best choice for those looking to cut back the fat.

Check out some of our favorite recipes using ground meat: 
Amy’s Spaghetti and Meatballs
Juicy Lucy Burgers
Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta
Mom’s Meatloaf
Dirty Rice (Cajun Rice Dressing)
Moroccan Kefta Kebabs
Bison Chili
Turkey Chili
Turkey Tacos Picadillo
Spicy Turkey Burgers
Turkey Burrito Bowls

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