% Fat in Ground Beef
There are good portion of us here who buys their beef already ground rather than grinding it ourselves. I have been buying mine lately from a small family owned grocery store with a very good butcher. They proudly proclaim they grind their own ground beef fresh several times a day. Just like all stores, they label their ground beef by the percentage of fat it contains.
My question is, how do they determine the beef is 80%, 85%, etc.? More importantly, how do I know if it's if it's accurate? Is there any way for me to check at home if my 85% ground beef is really 85% beef? Can you take a certain amount of raw beef and weigh it? Or should I just trust them?
Most shops that house- grind their beef have special devices to measure the fat in ground beef- I think Univex makes one, as does Hobart. They are pretty easy to use- put in a small meat sample and the thing goes through a couple of heating cycles, the fat loss is measured, and voila- the machine tells you the % fat in the meat. I suppose you could get a used one on eBay if you really wanted to know. If you are that distrustful, you can always switch suppliers.
They weigh the amount of meat, and then they weight the amount of fat they add. Just a quick calculation.
If you are questioning their veracity on ground beef (which is more than likely inspected somewhere along the line), then you probably shouldn't be shopping there anyway.
I wasn't questioning the honesty of this place, but just the question in general.
I'm not sure what you mean by, "They weigh the meat and the weigh the fat." A pound of meat weighs a pound and a pound of fat weighs a pound. And some of the meat they grind already has fat in it. Is there a certain volume they use to determine the fat to meat ratio?
re: al b. darned
If they're grinding 10 pounds of meat, they'll want to end up with about 8.5 pounds of meat, and 1.5 pounds of fat to get 15% fat.
While a pound is a pound, it's still only a pound if the scale says it's a pound -- so it all has to be weighed.
Chococats response below tells you how they measure the fat already present in the meat.