Ask Jen about ground beef

raw hamburgers

A few weeks ago, my best friend and I were discussing ground beef; you know, like most 30-­something women do in their spare time. We were talking about the annual party that she and her husband throw in the summertime, when she asks me to settle a debate between them. She wants the juiciest, best-tasting grilled burgers, and her hubby is gung­ho on using a leaner, healthier ground beef.

So, 70% or 90% lean ground beef for the best grilled burgers? When stuck between the BFF and the grill master, I chose neither. Here’s why:

First of all, just in case you’re un­American, grilled burgers are our rite of passage. And to some, he who grills the best burger wins. In case you didn’t know, the percentage on the ground beef package is a ratio; lean beef to fat. 70% lean ground beef has 30% fat, also written as 70/30. 80% lean ground beef has 20% fat (80/20) and so on.

Newsflash: The fat content is what makes the burger so juicy and delicious. More fat equals more flavorful juiciness. So, bring on the fat, right? Sure, if you don’t mind buying bigger jeans.

Now, on the flip­side of that coin, if you go super­ lean with your ground beef, say goodbye to that nice, juicy flavor. Sometimes it’s so dry that even Fido passes it up.

There goes your bragging rights, and your guest turn­out for next summer’s shindig.

I chose 80­-85% lean ground beef for my burgers. I mince up some sweet onion (not too much), mix it in with the beef and pat out some 3/4″ thick burgers. If you’re checking your temperatures, I like mine at about 160­-165°. And by the way, please don’t smash your meat. You want to keep that liquid flavor packed into the burger. Smashing it just dries it out.

Try it and tell me what you think! Get ready for grilling season, y’all!

Go make something awesome,

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