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Apr 9, 2012 06:58 AM

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.