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What cut of beef for burgers?

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We would like to grind beef for hamburgers but are having problems in finding a good cut of beef. We used to buy chuck but it's hard to find. I see a lot of eye of the round which is very lean cut and unsuitable for burgers. I hope a butcher reads this and offers advice.

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  1. Ask your butcher for equal parts sirloin, brisket and trimmed oxtail.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      So many combos to choose from. I like chuck, sirloin, brisket and short rib. Oxtails sound good but a PIA to clean before grinding. I'm lazy

      1. re: scubadoo97

        Ask your butcher to trim the oxtail.

    2. Interesting that chuck is hard to find, in my experience it's one of the easier cuts to find. I like my mixture simple -- half chuck, half sirloin.

      1 Reply
      1. re: darrentran87

        Same here exactly.

      2. Brisket ground with some good bacon and jalapenos. Trust me.

        1. My personal favorite (though I don't actually bother to do this on a regular basis):

          Hangar steak mixed with beef fat at a ratio of about 4 or 5 to 1. Can't really top it for beefy flavor.

          But other than that, chuck and sirloin are both good, as is a mixture of the two. Sirloin generally needs fat added if you make burgers from it alone. Haven't tried it with brisket.

          1. I've tried brisket, mixed with short rib and without, chuck, and others I can't recall. So far, our hands down favorite is ground grass fed flank steak. It's incredibly juicy and flavorful, considering how lean it is. I like it best when I use the finest grinding disc, holds together better.

            1. This is a little indulgent, but sometimes we like to buy ribeye and grind it at home in the food processor, and it makes the most tender, juicy and beefy burgers. It's bananas how good a ribeye burger can be...

              7 Replies
              1. re: inaplasticcup

                And these days you can find ribeyes at about half the price of flank and skirt steak. Indulgent yes but sounds great

                1. re: scubadoo97

                  Wow, really? Right now I'm showing at Costco, skirt about $4/lb, flanks about $5, and Rib Eye (Boneless) about $6.50, all Choice. If I could find Choice Ribeyes at half that I'd load up the truck tomorrow. What part of the country are you in? I'm moving...

                  Even at the supers I'm seeing Flanks at about $8 and Rib Eyes at $11 or so. Are you really seeing Rib Eyes for less than Flanks or Skirts of the same grade? I've never seen this anywhere.

                  Generally my strike price is when Boneless Chucks hit $2, I buy as much as I can without cleaning out any single store (I think that's tacky) and do a big grinding session at home with my KA grinder. I no longer trust the "butcher" behind the counter at our local super because they never grind it right and I always come up short (detailed in another thread).

                  Failing that, our local Costco Business Center frequently has "Special Trim," "Shoulder Clod" or "Flap Meat" for around the $2 price in the large cryopak and I'll grind up a batch a few times a year in various sizes for various uses.

                  1. re: acgold7

                    Here in Fla. I'm seeing Flank at around $8-9/lb, skirt at $9-10/lb and ribeyes on sale which is often at $6-7. So not half but no doubt cheaper

                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      That's really interesting. Regional variations, especially on the skirt. Hm.

                      Do you suppose there might be a higher demand for skirt in your area because of a relatively higher Hispanic/Latino population? I remember when I was a kid, growing up in L.A., they couldn't give the stuff away. In the "pre-Fajita" days, it was like .39 a pound.

                      1. re: acgold7

                        I read an article recently that stated that most of the skirt steak is being shipped to Japan

                        http://www.houstonpress.com/2009-06-1...

                        "In 1988, the U.S.-Japan Beef and Citrus Agreement reclassified outside skirt, the cut that started the fajita craze, as tariff-free offal. The Japanese, who used to pay the equivalent of a 200 percent tariff on U.S. beef, now buy our outside skirt steak with no tariff at all. They are currently importing 90 percent of it."

                        1. re: scubadoo97

                          That article should be required reading. It answered all the questions I had and a few I didn't. Fascinating stuff. Thanks for posting it.

                2. re: inaplasticcup

                  That reminds me, I used to do this with filet, on the meat grinder attachment of my KA. I have the chain of a filet in my freezer, it was going to be for tacos, but I bet it'd make good burgers. End of summer burgers, yum.

                3. Thanks for all suggestions. Someone mentioned filet. We ground filet not long ago and weren't too pleased. We love hanger steak and I'll use it for burgers. Thanks again!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: serbianbelle

                    Filet doesn't have an fat and it makes a very poor burger. Filet is very tender but because burger meat is ground tenderness isn't an issue. Marbling is also not an issue so don't waste your money on prime beef for burgers.

                    Go with chuck or brisket. You can use some sirloin but since sirloin is very lean it makes a very dry burger, especially if cooked more than medium.

                  2. For me it's mostly chuck with trimmings from brisket, sirloin, ribs and most importantly...a small percentage of not-too-lean pork.
                    Also, best not to grind the meats, but rather chop them in the food processor. And pan frying or grilling is best.
                    Hamburgers made any other way just don't cut it for me anymore.

                    On the grill, I also sometimes like a "21" style burger which is made with a panade, a bit of egg, some finely chopped onion, and some rosemary and thyme (with the patties liberally salted & peppered on both sides just prior to grilling).

                    Just plain ground beef is to me a fairly boring hamburger. And I need a roll other than the typical soft whitebread Wonder Bread style of bun. A brioche, a good Kaiser roll (hard to find these days), or a garlic toasted Portuguese roll brings it all together.

                    It's quarter to midnight, and now I'm craving a burger.
                    Damn.

                    1. I made a nice burger with Chuck, Short Rib, Bacon & Pork Butt. The bacon added extra flavor!