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What cut of beef should I buy to grind at home for burgers?

If I want to avoid 'pink slime' enhanced ground beef at the supermarket, what cut of meat should I buy to grind at home for best hamburgers?

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  1. Chuck is the most common cut for burgers but you can use brisket, sirloin and even eye of round if you prefer your burger leaner.

    1. We use a combination of chuck and sirloin. Last time we also added some flap steak and the results were measurably better. Brisket also adds a ton of flavor.

      1. 2 parts sirloin
        2 parts chuck
        1 part oxtail.

        1. First ya gotta ask the meat cutter (not a butcher because s/he did not slaughter the animal) if the beef is ground at the store. I would use chuck or round. More expense cuts should be braised, stewed, roasted or grilled.

          BTW, I don't know if this is still true, but decades ago old dairy cows went to the slaughter house to be used as ground 'beef.' There's a big difference between meat from beef cattle and dairy cattle. The former is fattened, the latter is kept lean and angular. The two kinds of cattle, of course, are for 2 different purposes.

          1. America's Test Kitchen just did this one...they used 100% "flap meat".

            I am going to be on the lookout, to try it.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Monch

              What in tarnation is 'flap meat?'

              I just looked up on Wikipedia. The description reminds me of Steakums.

              1. re: ChiliDude

                Flap meat is great for carne asada.

                1. re: ChiliDude

                  Flap meat is commonly sold in markets and restaurants as "steak tips." Usually marinated. I don't know if this is a New England regional thing. Recently, it's been fancified and called a "bavette steak," and sold in "bistro type places." Bavette costs more than steak tips..:) Steak tips are very common in casual restaurants or bars/pubs. Certainly work well for carne asada.

                  I usually buy in 1-1 1/2 lb long kebab type cuts but ideally I can buy a 3-4 lb steak, and repackage it into 1lb+ packages.

                  A little chew and a lot of flavor. I cooked some last night, chipotle and other pepper rub, charred rare with chimichurri sauce. I find it a step down in flavor and price than skirt steak, (which I love) but easier to keep rare because of it's thickness. If you like skirt, you'll probably like flap

                  I've never had it ground for burgers, prefer chuck/sirloin. Would like to try brisket or short ribs.


                2. re: Monch

                  Flap is good, flank is good too.

                  1. re: Monch


                    I mean this in no awful way, but I got that episode DVR'ed and the one where Kenji made the Shake Shake burger. Friends come over to watch them shows.

                    I thought they said flap too and that is what I got. I live in Manassas VA and I shop at Shoppers. They had flap. $4.99 per pound. It looked like a crapy piece of meat, and when I ground it once, it was bright red. I would never in the past bought such a fatty piece of meat. It had fat running all through it.

                    I think it has less then 10% fat. That shows you what I know. I didn't even add butter like they did. It was good.

                  2. I always use 100% chuck. I find it has the right fat to meat ratio. Grind it once thru the coarse cutting plate then twice thru the fine

                    1. we use chuck, brisket and short ribs.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: rasputina

                        Thank you all for the replies. I just realized this question has been answered multiple times here already. Sorry about the repetition! I should work on my search skills.

                      2. Chuck is the most common and it is very good but try skirt steak...it's killer. I haven't tried it yet but beef short ribs sounds like it might be good.

                        1 Reply
                            1. Alton Brown recommends half chuck, half sirloin for the "Burger Of The Gods." The nice thing is that his method uses a food processor and doesn't require a meat grinder.


                              8 Replies
                              1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                I think he did this figuring more people have a food pro than a grinder so his recipe would appeal to more people.

                                1. re: scubadoo97

                                  You don't need either. Simply chop up the meat with a butcher's knife. In fact, I find doing it this way to be superior to either a food processor or grinder. A coarse chop is better than a fine one, which is what you get with hand-and-knife.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    Now that I think about it, you are right. I would chill the meat to slice it thin across the grain in the beginning, but then it would be a breeze. The food processor is nice as is the grinding attachment to the KA. But if you want the best burger, doing it the hard way gives you all the control and it has to be better.

                                    Additionally, and I think this is key, anyone who can keep a sharp knife and has access to beef can "grind" their own burger and experience for themselves the true goodness of an old fashioned burger (prior to the pink stuff).

                                    You are a little more then 114% right.

                                      1. re: ArtH

                                        Personally I like the texture of meat from a grinder better than chopped for a burger. A medium grind/one pass for me

                                        But it's all good

                                        1. re: scubadoo97

                                          I agree scuba - I prefer it ground rather than chopped or food-processed, one pass on a medium die. My husband likes a double pass. To each his own.

                                    1. re: scubadoo97

                                      Yep. I agree about him making it more attractive to folks who don't have a grinder., scubadoo. I'm one of those people ...

                                    2. re: eclecticsynergy

                                      We think the Alton Brown recipe using sirloin and chuck lightly ground in a food processor is great! He suggests a little kosher salt and let chill for two hours in the fridge after mixing. Try it......

                                    3. We use rump steak with some smoked bacon in mix.
                                      You could also add minced veal.

                                      1. Why grind it at home? I have never had a butcher refuse to grind a cut of meat I was buying. Less mess if he does it.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Querencia

                                          You have more control over the cleanliness and safety (regarding bacteria) of the meat before and after it's ground if you grind it at home, thus, allowing for lower internal temperatures and juicier hamburgers.

                                        2. The best combo I've done is equal parts brisket, sirloin and dry aged short ribs