Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chains >
Dec 21, 2008 03:40 PM

Does Mc Donald's and Burger King use Real Beef

and If so who uses better beef and how does it compare to a good burger joint that is know for excellent burgers? I got very very ill from green meat from a bronx fast food burger joint 6 years ago and very skeptical and have never eaten at a fast food since. anyone have any stats? thanks

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Depends what your definition of Real is.

    1. Nope, no real beef- they actually use a combination of opossum and sawdust.

      1 Reply
      1. re: nimeye

        nimeye: I laughed and believe you!

      2. Yes, Mickey D's and BK meat that comes entirely from cattle. No possum, kangaroo, or worms. it's the lowest-quality, lowest-cost beef available. Safe (as opposed to contaminated), and pure (as opposed to adulterated), but nasty. Just because it's beef doesn't mean it's good.

        Keep avoiding the fast food places. Your palate will thank you.

        1 Reply
        1. re: alanbarnes

          Yes but with BK coming out with the little burgers which I would love I have been thinking about it. I think they are called sliders so where can you get a great real yummy high quality slider? Thanks I won't go to those places I can't stomach it.

        2. Burger King Burger Ingredient List:

          Beef - simple enough
          Salt - for flavor
          Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil - cause you need some trans fats silly.
          Flavorings - hmm?
          Beef Fat - fat is yummy
          Beef Stock - stock is yummy too?
          Dextrose - sugar. doesn't everyone but sugar on a burger?

          They used to add a lot more stuff so be happy it's just what you see here. See for yourself here:

          If you want 100% beef, it's White Castle. Or, fresh ground from the butcher.

          22 Replies
          1. re: billyparsons

            FYI, the "Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil" is actually an ingredient in the "encapsulated salt" they use, so it's about 10% of the volume of the salt that's used or effectively a trace amount. As for the other ingredients, they're not that "out there" and dextrose, again, is probably in trace amounts, likely as part of the "flavorings" -- seasoning blend. You're really stretching in trying to make what's essentially just a beef burger into something more ominous. BK and McDonald's beef is no more or less healthy than any other burger joint's.

            1. re: ferret

              Sounds great ferret.

              How many times did you ever add sugar, in trace amounts, to your burgers though? And I never even thought of adding trans fats to salt, did you? I think it's ridiculous to add iodine to salt, much less trans fats.

              From a health perspective, of course they're fine. Just wanted to play a bit on this post.

              Since you saw the BK site, have seen what goes in to the buns? Now thats good reading...

              1. re: billyparsons

                You're just trolling for an argument now.

                Coating salt in fat prevents the salt from drawing out moisture from the meat and drying it out. The fat breaks down during cooking and releases the salt, flavoring the meat.

                As for how many times I've added sugar to my burgers? Every time I make them, it's one of the ingredients in a seasoning blend that I use. And since it's commercially available and seems to sell well in stores, I'd assume that a great number of people are adding sugar to their burgers.

                As for

                1. re: ferret

                  That's one of the problems one faces when using bottom of the barrel beef. Dryness. They buy the Equivalent of USDA Select or Standard beef, then try and artificially enhance it by adding beef fat, beef stock and needing encapsulated salt.

                  I've never had to add commercial seasoning blends to my burgers at home or in a restaurant setting. What we do instead is work with different cuts of beef to find the flavor-fat ratio we look for. If I ever went to a barbecue and saw them adding a package of "Hamburger Flavor Seasoning", I'd have to say I'd be a little taken back. I never even knew they made a spice blend designed for burgers!

                  I like the taste of quality beef too much to wanna add a seasoning mix with sugar. But that's just my opinion.

                  Just for the record, I don't go to Burger King because years ago I cracked a tooth on a burger. They used to add Silicon Dioxide and I must have bitten in to a clump of it. Never again. I do like McDonalds and love my White Castles though.

                  Over and out...

                  1. re: billyparsons

                    "That's one of the problems one faces when using bottom of the barrel beef."

                    It's hardly "bottom of the barrel beef." Again, you're going out of your way to paint a picture of some "Soylent Green" food processing. They don't likely use anything different than your standard grocery store ground beef. They just buy it in volume and use it sparingly. No, it's not the same as you'd make at home or what you'd get at a steakhouse where they grind steak trimmings into their burgers, however, there's not a soul around who'd expect it to be made to that standard. Eating a fast food burger won't harm or kill you.

                    1. re: ferret

                      Actually it defintely can harm you, especially when it is green meat of which had in NY, 6 years ago and will NEVER eat that again. There is no exuse for green meat at all. I almost and could have died.

                      1. re: ferret

                        Can't vouch for accuracy here, but I've been told a major source for McDonalds beef is dairy cows that have passed their milk-producing years. The meat is so lean that it has to be ground with suet. We're talking Commercial- to Cutter-grade beef here (the grades are Prime, Select, Choice, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter, Canner). It won't harm you, but it certainly isn't good meat.

                        1. re: alanbarnes

                          Thanks I love your posts and appreciate your comments!

                        2. re: ferret


                          I see you took a little "whipping" there so I'd like to chime in.

                          My use of "bottom of the barrel" was really just a play on words. Think about this for a second. Only 3 countries "grade" the quality of beef solely by the amount of fat "marbling" content. The U.S., Japan & Korea.

                          If you're a fitness buff, would you consider a steak with more fat higher quality? I’d say probably not. So if BK buys low quality beef, all that means is that it's probably from an older steer and it's devoid of marbling. So what. Does that diminish its quality and protein value? Nope. Just taste (which is subjective anyway).

                          My only gripe is when they adulterate beef to make up for shortcomings. Does anyone ever go to BK and order a burger plain and take the buns off? If they did, it s*cks. I've done it (remember Atkins 10 years ago?). Everyone surely adds their little dab of ketchup and pickles. Hell, I even used to pop a few onion rings under the bun.

                          BK used to add Silicon Dioxide. Basically sand. I found that appalling and actually used to call their hotline on a regular basis asking them why they had to add sand to their burgers (after I chipped a molar). I'm happy to see it's out of the formulation now. I also used to ask why they had added hydrogenated oil into the Angus Burger (not the same as the salt version). Not sure what ever happened there.

                          Big business will get away with almost anything if left unchecked. Sometimes it takes a little guy like me to call an 800# 50 times to complain to make a difference. And before you ask, yes, I do have better things to do.

                          But to get back to one of your comments for a moment. BK’s meat is not the same you would find in stores. Your basic 80/20 blends in the meat counter don't need to be "fixed" by adding additional beef fat & stock. You know that. Even in the “poorest” of neighborhoods, I doubt you could find standard/commercial USDA grades. Your basic home cook won’t know how to “fix” it prior to cooking.

                          Good points though. And I know why the hydro oil surrounds the salt. I just thought that in this day and age, with all the health information coming out, they should really make an effort to keep the word "hydrogenated" off the ingredient list. Whether it's "trace" or not.

                          Peace out Ferret.

                          1. re: billyparsons

                            My point is only that the quality is fine for what it is -- it's nothing mysterious or odd or different than you'd get at most food service facilities (elementary/high school/university). It's all about lowest price per serving. You'd have to be pretty unsophisticated to assume that it's the same quality as a homemade burger with higher-quality beef ( I happen to go to a butcher who makes 1/2 lb. burgers from steak trimmings at nearly $6/lb).

                            As for "fixing", it's no different than poultry processors injecting chickens and turkeys with brine -- water costs less than meat and the brine enhances the juiciness. Adding stock to burgers enhances the "beefiness".

                            Again, these are sandwiches that are being sold for $1-$3 dollars and there's obviously a market for them. They're neither evil nor heavenly.

                            There are tens of millions of frozen pizzas being sold in this country every year that taste much like the cardboard box they came in. If people weren't interested in the value they wouldn't buy them. By that standard McDonald's and BK are pretty good.

                            1. re: ferret

                              One final note though...

                              "McDonalds' hamburgers are made with 100% beef (scroll down to the "beef patty" ingredients). It is USDA inspected. The restaurant adds salt and pepper after cooking. That's it. No additives or preservatives. No filler. No beef flavor enhancers."

                              Wonder why BK doesn't follow suit. And they flame broil!

                              1. re: billyparsons

                                I once got to take a tour of a supplier to McDonald's who made burgers for them. I saw the meat being ground, made into burger patties and then immediately frozen and packed into boxes for shipping. From what I could see, nothing else was added to the meat. It was very interesting, actually. We also saw other things being made, like ketchup and the sauces for the chicken nuggets, etc.

                                1. re: billyparsons

                                  "It is USDA inspected."

                                  With the extremely few and very random inspections that are done on US beef, this statement does nothing to reassure me. Especially if you've done any reading on the corruption in slaughterhouses, including inspections. That's why I don't eat "grocery store beef" nor fast food burgers.

                                  1. re: billyparsons

                                    That's probably why McD's burgers are decidedly tastier. That and they're griddled/fried rather than flame broiled.

                                    I once had a couple of quarter pounders from a McD's outside Cinci that were fresh off the griddle and were actually excellent. Juicy and beefy with a good amount of cheese. I guess the planets were completely aligned.


                                    1. re: Davwud

                                      McDonalds beef is better because they grow their own. The company controls their beef from the time it is born on the large ranches they own in Argentina until it winds up in the wrapper at your local outlet. I am not sure where BK gets their meat, but I am sure it is USDA certified.
                                      One of the things that strikes me as odd is how much better or more natural, the Angus burgers from all of the chains tastes as compared to their standard fare. Is the meat that much better, or is there some other reason for the real taste??Hmmm......

                                      1. re: redbonesrock

                                        According to McDonald's they source primarily from the US, with "a very small percentage" from Australia/New Zealand. None from Argentina.

                                        Perhaps the beef at a Buenos Aires McDonald's is locally-sourced?

                          2. re: ferret

                            Hello, Ferret, a very interesting discussion. I am after a home-made seasoning blend for burgers. It must be subtle enough as to not interfere with the natural flavor of the beef.

                        3. re: ferret

                          ferret: Are you a scientist? because I am very allergic to MSG and I think it hides in so many things becaue I am very careful but still get migraines from strange things and I am not sure if it is the food or not.

                          1. re: nbermas

                            Three major causes of migraines:

                            1. MSG
                            2. Aspartame
                            3. Traffic on the Tappan Zee bridge at 8am (NY)

                            1. re: nbermas

                              Glutamates are present naturally in many foods, including tomatoes, soy, mushrooms, etc. If you are getting migraines, see a doctor. They can be a symptom of something more serious.

                              1. re: nbermas

                                Therre is no such thing as an allergy to Glutamate. You would be allergic to yourself if that were true.

                                1. re: nbermas

                                  MSG "allergies" have largely been proven to be a total myth. As mojoeater says, foods like parmesan cheese, tomatoes, and mushrooms have naturally occurring "MSG". You might get migraines from large amounts of sodium -- but not MSG.

                            2. The original comment has been removed