How to Buy Hamburger Meat

A hamburger is ground meat, usually beef, shaped into a patty and fried or grilled. Often served on a bun, the ground beef patty is the most popular sandwich served in the United States and many other countries around the world. But this ground meat is not is not exclusive to forming patties, it is also found in many other popular dishes such as meat loaf, spaghetti sauces, pizza and sloppy-joes. For the best recipe outcome, you need to buy the best hamburger meat.


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    Check the freshness date. If you are using the hamburger for patties, buy the freshest meat in the case even if it costs a little more. For hamburger used as an added ingredient, take advantage of the older meat nearing expiration date if there is a worthwhile price reduction. The meat will not be spoiled if it is older, it just won't be as fresh.
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    Check the fat content. For hamburger patties, a ratio of 80 percent lean to 20 percent fat makes a juicy patty. When used as a raw ingredient, such as a pizza topping, a lower fat hamburger may be desired to prevent excess fat floating on the surface.
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    Check the feed source of the animal, particularly avoiding meat with the words "grain fed" or "corn fed." A large percentage of cattle in the United States is fed corn or other grains to fatten them for market. Since this is not a natural food source, it can stress their systems. To combat this, the cattle rancher will often administer antibiotics. Some also add growth hormones as cattle are sold on the hoof, by weight.
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    Look for grass fed or organic beef. This meat has less saturated fat and cholesterol. This meat is not as fatty as grain fed beef, so do not cook it too well-done or you risk it drying out.
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    Compare prices. If ground meat is selling for a higher price per pound than a roast, buy the roast and either ask the butcher to grind it for you or grind it yourself at home.
    • Most large grocery stores have butchers on call, but if your store does not, you can buy a hand-cranked meat grinder for not too much money.
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  • Ground beef with more than 20 percent fat is usually not a bargain no matter how low the price. Take into consideration how much fat you will be discarding, or throwing away, when comparing price.


  • While many advocates of organic feeding claim that it reduces the chances of the meat containing E. coli and other bacteria, this is not a proven fact. Scientists and others are divided on the issue and to date, there is no conclusive evidence for either side of the issue.

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Categories: Meat