Demystify Ground Beef: Understanding the Grinds

Burgers with grilled onionsWe understand it can be confusing—there are a lot of choices when it comes to Ground Beef. So let’s break it down and explain the common grinds and what dishes and recipes they’re best for.

  • 80% lean/20% fat Ground Beef is probably the highest fat option you’ll find at your grocery store. This grind will make a delicious, decadent burger on the grill. One beautiful thing about grilling is that some of the fat will naturally drip away from the burgers while cooking.
  • 90% lean/10% fat Ground Beef is a nice option for dishes like meatloaf and meatballs, where you’ll be forming a ball or loaf, but you’ll be cooking in a pan or skillet.
  • 93% lean or leaner Ground Beef meets government guidelines for “lean.” If you’re trying to choose lean meats, this is a great choice for you. It works well in dishes that require crumbles, like meat sauce, stuffed peppers or casseroles where draining fat away might be difficult.

But if you want the ultimate, easy-to-remember, most healthy tip for Ground Beef—just choose 93% lean or leaner. Seriously, it won’t let you down and it averages out to 150 calories per 3-oz cooked serving. If you make a burger from lean Ground Beef, just add a little love to the meat with an egg white and some bread crumbs. It will keep the patty juicy and moist while ensuring that it doesn’t fall apart on the grill.

If you’re interested in learning more about lean beef, please contact the MN Beef Council at You can always visit for more timely story ideas and delicious recipes.

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