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Jan 9, 2012 05:51 PM

What % Fat Ground Beef for Spaghetti Sauce

When you use ground beef in your spaghetti sauce, what percent fat do you use?
Does higher fat content equate to more flavor or just more greasy mess to clean up?
If it is greasy, I would spoon off the grease while cooking but would the sauce have more flavor?

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  1. I believe higher fat content = better flavor but I remove the fat by preparing the sauce, refrigerating it to solidify the fats in a layer on top of the sauce then spoon off the fat before using the sauce as an ingredient. It's a little more trouble but I like the results.

    2 Replies
    1. re: todao

      sounds like a great system

      1. re: todao

        A customer of mine made too much sauce at home one day and knowing he and his wife wouldn't eat nearly enough of it [they weren't into freezing] he brought me a bowlful.

        I'd already eaten so took it home.

        The result was very very good.

        I asked him what he'd done, I thought I was the cook after all ;:+/

        He'd used a higher fat ground beef mixture for the flavor but his wife was highly opposed to so much fat so his solution was to brown the meat add water to the skillet and when all pink was gone, he'd quickly drain almost all the liquid off.

        Not sure that'd help here but I found it interesting and the result, full of flavor, don't ask me how he got that much flavor into his sauce, but he did \?/

      2. You might want to think about braising beef in tomato sauce until it falls apart. Much more flavor than ground beef, which I never use in spaghetti sauce because it provides so little flavor...browned mushrooms/onions and mushrooms and/or much smaller quantity of browned Italian sausage adds much more flavor IMHO.

        3 Replies
        1. re: escondido123

          i like pork neck bones in the sauce, sausage and more pork added later. will sometimes make a beef shank or shoulder braise in tomato sauce too.

          i don't like ground beef in sauces.

          1. re: escondido123

            I've never thought to braise beef ahead of time to make pasta sauce
            I'm going to try it
            I can freeze some for the future, also
            thanks a lot

            1. re: escondido123

              I"ve copied and pasted your suggestion into my recipes and will use it

            2. I almost never use ground beef. I prefer ground lamb or bison. It seems much more savory to me. I also add oil cured or salt cured black olives.

              1. It doesn't really matter, use as fatty a meat as you like. When the beef is finished browning, remove it from the pan and eyeball the amount of fat that is left. You can pour out whatever is not needed for sauteeing the onions and carrots and other aromatics.

                2 Replies
                1. re: RealMenJulienne

                  thanks, I also sometimes add a little chicken livers

                  1. re: sylvan

                    yes, chicken livers enrich a sauce well.

                2. When I make spaghetti and meatballs, I use 95% ground beef for the sauce (which I cook first) and 85% for the meatballs. Unlike many people, I cook the meatballs in the sauce without browning them first. In this way, the sauce, itself, is lower in fat, but meaty. Then when I cook the meatballs, there's some extra flavor in the sauce from the higher-fat meat, but I spoon the excess fat off the top of the sauce before I serve it.