What’s the Best Meat to Fat Ratio for the BEST Burgers on the Block?

Apr 1, 2023

Is where it’s at!

Especially when it comes to steaks, chops and burgers.

But how much fat is TOO much fat? When is fat just adding calories and nothing but grease flames on the grill?

Let’s look into this.

If you buy a fair amount of ground beef, you’ve probably noticed some numbers in the description of what type of ground beef it is. Such as Ground Chuck, Ground Round or Ground Sirloin for instance.

These numbers, 90/10, 80/20 and 70/30 for example, let you know what percentage of the grind is lean meat, and what percentage is fat.

The first number being the meat, the second number, the fat.

How do they know?

Actually, there are small machines that can do this job quite quickly and accurately.

The most common method, is the fat drip method, which takes a pre-determined weight of raw ground meat, cooks it, and renderers away its fat.

The percentage of fat loss is then a ratio of its lean.

The other, more modern method, is scanning.

This device scans the ground meat and then, through a computer algorithm which understands what constitutes lean, fat and moisture, can, in less than a minute, tell you exactly what percentage of lean meat that there is to fat.

Why pay for fat?

Good question.

There are a couple of very good reasons why fat matters, and why, at least from an eating and flavor perspective, you should be glad it’s there.

It adds a TON of flavor.

Although lean beef has flavor of its own, the salinity and simple flavor of beef fat, is part of what makes beef taste like… well?


Secondly, the fat in beef gives you that “juiciness” and fabulous “mouth feel” of eating a truly mouth-watering burger.

You may not want to hear it, but when it comes to meat, and especially red meat,

Fat, is where it’s at.

Is there too much of a good thing?


Setting cholesterol aside, which, we admit, IS a big concern for some people. Too much fat stops paying dividends at a certain point in ground beef.

Today’s shoppers, (including at Cattleman’s), are typically given a few choices. They begin at 75/25 (meat to fat), and generally proceed in 5 % increments up to 90/10, which, of course, would be the most lean.


Choosing a burger blend of 75/25 gives you a great deal of flavor and juiciness. The downside of this choice is:

  • Shrink (you lose a fair amount of its size and volume as the fat, and juices render off.
  • The potential of grease flair ups on the grill, or, in a hot pan.

This blend is best cooked over medium heat, which helps to preserve all its goodness and avoid shrinkage and flair ups.


This blend is the “sweet spot” for most restaurants and consumers. It gives you enough fat for flavor, enough meat to keep the burger’s shape and volume, and generally, avoids most of the grease induced  “pyrotechnics” on your grill.

85/15 and 90/10

Both of these blends are good choices to limit your fat intake while still receiving just enough fat to give you some juiciness and fat flavor.

It’s also a good choice for use in a cooked, ground beef recipe, such as in a pasta sauce, where you would otherwise be straining off the grease from the top of the sauce anyway.

If choosing either one of these blends, avoid overcooking your burgers (they will become dry), and, just before grilling, lightly spray the surface of the patty so that it will not stick to the grill grates.

Knowing your beef “grinds”, can help you to choose just the right one for both you and your family and give you one of your most satisfying and rewarding summer’s grilling seasons.

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