HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >

Discussion

Ground Chuck = Boring Burger

I finally went to one of the best butchers in the South Florida area for Ground Chuck, only to bring it home and found it to make a boring, slightly bland/dull burger.

Does anyone have another cut to recommend me to try that actually tastes like restaurant-quality?

Pat LaFrieda's original blend is next on my list to try. After that. I'm giving up.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I like the following blend in 2:2:1 ratio

    Brisket : Sirloin : (deboned) Oxtail

    (All trimmed and cubed)

    6 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      These three cuts make a very flavorful burger. And getting the meat out of the oxtail was not as big of a chore as one might think. The ratios we use are 1:1:2 (the Blue Label Burger Blend http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...). We'll have to try ipsedixit's ratio next.

      1. re: BigSal

        I love the use of sirloin in burgers.

        DT

      2. re: ipsedixit

        You never fail to confound me, ipse. Last time I posted a ground beef ratio like this, you told me it was meatloaf.

        1. re: mamachef

          Hmm, I don't believe I've ever said different cuts of beef in and of itself makes for meatloaf as opposed to burgers.

          I think what I said (or meant to say) was adding fillers (e.g. breadcrumbs, eggs, etc.) to ground meat -- either just one cut or multiple cuts -- makes for meatloaf and not burgers.

          If I gave you a different impression, that was my bad. Sorry.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            Just a gentle poke, ipse, and it was a few years ago. But what I proposed was just a meat ratio/grind - no fillers, because I agree that adding anything at all except salt and pepper disqualifies it as actual hamburger. :)

        2. re: ipsedixit

          Does the part of the brisket come into play? I get the sense that markets often sell a flat cut of brisket but rarely the fattier point cut, which I think gets grounded up or who knows what.

        3. We grind our own chuck and it's fantastic. Did you see them grind it? Coarse? Only once?

          1. Ground up beef short ribs makes a tasty burger.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mels

              I use a ratio of 60% chuck to 40% short rib.

              1. Ground flap meat or skirt steak makes a great burger.

                1. We've been getting ground "primeburger" from a local small grower who sells at the farmer's market.

                  He suggested that we mix one pound of his ground pork, and one pound of the beef if we were cooking burgers; the pork added some fat and moisture to the mix.

                  I don't know if they still qualify as hamburgers, but they sure are good.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kitchengardengal

                    Pork burgers have won out here over beef burgers ever since we started grinding them.

                  2. my grandmother made the greatest burgers - she went to the store and had them make up some fresh ground round for her. thats all she would use.

                    14 Replies
                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                      I don't know what round steak was like WAY back then :) but it's SO lean nowadays. This from the person who oversmoked some yesterday :(

                      1. re: c oliver

                        yes, but i like my burgers with 12% or less fat. they taste so much better that way. you get the meat flavor without ending up with a mouth full of burger grease. And if they are cooked properly they are not dry at all. Those 20/80 burgers that some people seem to love just make me want to gag.

                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                          This is a bit strange to read as I have never once ended up with a mouth full of burger grease.

                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                            Those 20/80 grinds in the supermarket are way out of bounds for me. I find 15/85 perfectly acceptable, 10/90 is too dry for me. I am not sure if I have easy access to those in-between percentages.

                            How do you cook your 10/90 properly? Can you do that without grilling outdoors?

                            I like the ground chuck I get from a butcher. The OP might like a ground chuck-sirloin blend. I believe that's what Alton Brown did on Good Eats.

                            1. re: Steve

                              the general ground beef from costco is 12%. While I like the low fat content I'll freely admit it's not the tastiest beef around. Their premium (organic?) is about 15%, which is acceptable fat wise and does have more beef flavor.

                              as for cooking, either pan 'frying', broiling, or using my foreman grill all work great. I always cook medium rare, meaning pink in the middle.

                              because my dad had gallstones, I grew up on a very low fat diet. All meat was broiled, fat on meat was either trimmed off before or after cooking, when ground beef was browned, mom used a turkey baster to suck off the excess grease. I think I was in my teens before I realized a baster could be used to put something into/onto a dish rather than remove it. All dairy products were low fat. Growing up on skimmed milk, whole milk left a very unpleasant fatty feeling in my mouth, my cousins in particular thought this was crazy. The same is true for 20% ground beef. For most people it seems normal, but when you get used to the lean stuff, the fattier meat it isn't pleasant.

                            2. re: KaimukiMan

                              KM, you've pointed me in a good direction. Next time I grind beef I'm going to separate the fat from the meat and weigh each. I always kinda think it's 15/85 but I honestly don't have a clue. It could be less fat. And the round steak I smoked was probably about 1/99 :)

                          2. re: KaimukiMan

                            I have experienced similar to what you describe.

                            I usually have a big clue, when forming the burger patties. If there is grease on my hands, that must be scrubbed off, then I will very likely not have the best "burger" experience. That is how I can usually tell if the butcher took my chosen Sirloin to the back, then substituted his/her Ground Chuck, and charged me for the Sirloin. I do enough burgers, that I can usually tell well, just by kneading the meat, and forming the patties, what I really got.

                            Besides not being dry, mine do not shrink up to something that McDonalds would likely serve.

                            Hunt

                            Edit - this should have been in Reply to your "12% or less fat" comment, but things went bad with the posting. Sorry about that.

                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              Bill, all I ever make beef burgers from is chuck. I grind myself. Get very little shrinkage, no grease on my hands. And, goodness, don't "knead." I handle them as little as possible, barely handling them along the edges to form the burgers. Just a few thoughts. If your butcher is substituting for the sirloin s/he may be doing you a favor...if you handle it correctly.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                Because I work seasoning into the burgers, there IS handwork in my kitchen.

                                Obviously, you have gotten a much better grade of Ground Chuck, than I ever have.

                                Heck, even the butcher's "American Kobe" Burgers are not all that good.

                                Hunt

                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                  Ooh, I put nothing in or on the burger til it's cooked.

                                  I just shop at Safeway and the like. And then when it's on sale.

                                  But again I grind our own meat. Might want to try that.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    We do have the Kitchen-Aid mixer/grinder, but I have always let the butcher (when I trust them) to do a double-grind. Maybe we will set up the grinder, when the kitchen remodel is done?

                                    I add all of my seasonings, and spices, plus a bit of red wine, before forming the patties and cooking. Only the condiments are added after cooking.

                                    Hunt

                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                      I read here of double grinding but I never do that either. One coarse grind and form patties.

                              2. re: Bill Hunt

                                You have a butcher who's "substituted" for you, and you continue to patronize that person? I surely wouldn't.

                                1. re: mamachef

                                  Actually, we do not return. Sorry if I mislead you on our patronage.

                                  Hunt

                            2. Neck and skirt is my favorite grind for burgers, tho I tend to grind it myself. The neck is very sweet and I l;ove the texture of the skirt. The blend of 50/50 has just enough fat for a jicy burger without any greasy feel.

                              1. No idea how old you are, but the traditional "hamburger" from the old days when butchers ground "hamburger" in the shop after they cut and trimmed the whole steers they bought already dry aged were made up of the trimmings from steaks such as T-bones and Porterhouse, the fat cap off of standing ribs of beef, then a little lean beef thrown in to reduce the VERY high fat content... The flavor was magnificent!

                                That combination of products for "hamburger" continues today in SOME SEGMENTS of the meat industry, but the big question is how and where to find it.

                                You might try calling a grocer such as "Whole Foods" and asking how and where they source their "hamburger," and what the content (cuts of meat) is, as well as maybe the fat content.

                                Orrr.... Any store that sells pre-packaged frozen grass fed beef "hamburger" should meet the bill for you perfectly!

                                Even though "ground chuck" and "ground round" have been butcher shop staples for at least a century and possibly longer, neither has EVER packed the flavor punch of good old fashioned "butcher's scraps" hamburger!

                                Good luck!

                                23 Replies
                                1. re: Caroline1

                                  I don't use hindquarter beef, but if you buy a whole shell of beef for cutting into shell steaks, have the butcher cut the tails and grind...this is wonderful for burgers

                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                    By shell do you mean a boneless striploin?

                                  2. re: Caroline1

                                    Thanks! I'm 20 btw. This is a very interesting post that gives me quite a lot to think about. Shake Shack and Steak N Shake-- both of my favorite hamburger places-- uses either T-bones or Porterhouses, so your comment really strikes home with me!

                                    I have had burgers that were like umami BOMBS going off in my mouth that were so good that it felt like I was in beef heaven.

                                    And the very mediocre-tasting burgers that I keep bringing home to cook are nothing close!

                                    1. re: SmallSteps3000

                                      A quick google doesn't indicate that either SS or SNS use the cuts you reference but rather more traditional blends.

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        I could have sworn someone on here told me Steak N Shake uses T-bone?

                                        1. re: SmallSteps3000

                                          from Wiki - "The corporation's slogan "Famous for Steakburgers" refers to its most prominent food item, the "Steakburger", so called because it was originally made from a mixture that included T-bone, sirloin, and round steaks. Today's "Steakburger" is[3] a "100% pure beef patty", a USDA ground beef product category[4] ranked inferior to hamburger." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steak_%2...

                                          although it IS still a darn good burger compared to the competition, but they are a bit cagey about it.

                                      2. re: SmallSteps3000

                                        Ahhhh, to be 20 again! But that was 60 years ago, and I'm not convinced I'd really go back given a chance. On the other hand, there is NO WAY I would give up what I know about food! Sooooooo...

                                        If you want some fun, and would like to ride a REAL nostalgia wave (time travel with me!), here's an idea for you, but it requires a bit of a history lesson for you first... '-)

                                        The most important thing for you to know is that if you live in the United States, it is VERY VERY difficult to get delicious beef, but it was not always this way. The end of World War II brought a HUGE population explosion, and just trying to feed everyone resulted in ruining America's beef supply, seemingly forever! Dry aged grass fed beef used to be the norm. Well, there wasn't anything else! Soooo....

                                        The most important thing for you to know today is that BLACK ANGUS or RED ANGUS are NOT great tasting cattle! But they ARE a hell of a lot easier for cattle ranchers AND meat packers to handle! Angus have no horns, they're not very aggressive so they don't gore each other or the cattlemen who raise them, they're very compact of body (which importantly also means calving is easy peasy), and because they are so compact, they fit so nicely in the meat packing plant! What could be better than that, unless you want something that tastes spectacular? So that's Angus cattle in a nutshell. And the rest is PR!

                                        But if you'd like a taste of GREAT beef but can't really afford Grade A-5 Japanese Kobe (who can????), and you're willing to stroll down another road entirely, one of my very favorite beeves in the whole wide world are Charolais cattle, a beef from France, and it is (for a reason) the great French beef favorite (50 million Frenchmen can't be wrong, can they?).

                                        I get absolutely NO credit for this and have NO connection with these people, but I do buy my (occasional) beef from them because it tastes so unbelievably good! So if you want some hamburger that tastes like beef should taste, this is it:

                                        http://tinyurl.com/mphccnl

                                        The shipping ain't cheap for a few burgers, but if you can't afford a hundred bucks worth at one pop, then pay the shipping and just get a pack. These really are exceptional hamburgers! And SAVE the fat! You can cook cheap burgers in it next time and have them taste ALMOST as good!

                                        Enjoy! (I hope) '-)

                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                          Thank you Caroline. I always learn so much from you.

                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                            This is tremendous! I can't wait to buy and try! Thank you!

                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                              Just ordered some today! *Crosses fingers* You give me so much hope.

                                              1. re: SmallSteps3000

                                                I truly hope you love it as much as I do! Be sure to tell us what you think. Even if you end up thinking I'm nuts for thinking its good beef! (But I doubt that's gonna happen!) '-)

                                              2. re: Caroline1

                                                Breed does make a difference to flavour, but in this case Charolais vs. Aberdeen-Angus isn't the best example. Nothing prevents an Aberdeen-Angus type cow from producing good-tasting meat. It's a beef-cattle breed, designed to produce high carcase yield, but the flavour when raised well (particularly when grass-fed), is reasonably good. Meanwhile the Charolais is actually a "mixed" breed, with a slight leaning towards a dairy cow - designed to produce milk as well as meat, and the flavour in the limit may not be as good as strictly beef breeds.

                                                BUT, for a farmer to choose a Charolais at all probably indicates they're not in the volume trade - if dairy, they'd probably be using Holsteins (with the highest milk output), if beef, Aberdeen Angus (with the highest carcase yield). So, they're on average more likely to be putting care into their animals than a random sample of an Aberdeen Angus breed.

                                                Even better breeds exist, for instance, in Scotland there is the Highland cow, with a phenomenally small yield but incredibly rich-tasting meat, and there is the well-known Longhorn whose meat is also very good tasting, if slightly leaner. Wagyu, is as is known optimised for very high levels of intramuscular fat; the flavour can be good but in the limit isn't at the level of, say, a great Highland, and they're typically not grass-fed - this would tend to defeat the purpose of the breed in the first place. However, since it's a "prestige" breed, the type of farmers who typically raise them are likely to be aiming for a much higher-end market, and probably put a commensurately greater level of care into the animals.

                                                It thus all comes down to sourcing, who the farmer is, and how much they care about the quality of the meat. The priorities of the farmer have a more significant impact that the choice of breed - although the two are interrelated.

                                                I realise of course that it's rare that you're in the situation of being able to know who the farmer actually was when buying meat - but this sort of information is the sort that we ought to be demanding of our butchers! It's unrealistic to expect supermarkets to supply that information, but then again if you're buying at the supermarket you get what you get.

                                                1. re: AlexRast

                                                  Wrong! Absolutely wrong!

                                                  http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/ca...

                                                  You should educate yourself before passing on so much short-term post WWII feed lot propaganda.

                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                    Could you specify "wrong" about what? Your comment is testy, and I actually don't know what you mean to contradict.

                                                    For example, the poster is not writing from an American location, but most of the article that you cite is about American development of the Charolais breed.

                                                    For another example, are you saying that breeds don't matter, or the sourcing?

                                                    1. re: Bada Bing

                                                      Sorry it has taken so long to reply, BB. I had a very long, detailed reply written last night, but when I tried to correct a spelling error prior to hitting "send," not only did I lose what I had written, but my browser closed as well. WHEN will I learn NOT to try to respond on my tablet PC? My fingers aren't spindly enough...! <sigh> So that also means you're in luck, because my penchant for details is deflated now...

                                                      So... IN MY OPINION....!!! He is presenting inaccurate information based on what I know of the Charolais breed, the Aberdeen Angus breed (aka "Black Angus and Red Angus in this country) and making statements he seems to think are carved in stone, thereby giving what I THINK is wrong information for those who don't have knowledge of the facts.

                                                      Where he lives, whether NYC or Nairobi, doesn't change the cattle industry in the U.S. or any other part of the world.

                                                      So now, a few facts. IN THE UNITED STATES, up through and including a couple of years after World War II, shoppers, whether housewives or restaurateurs, knew the breed and cut and price of all beef they had to choose from. Certain breeds of cattle brought higher prices because 1. they had richer beef-ier flavor, and 2. they were dry aged a longer period than lesser breeds. For premium quality meats -- the kind we get in a handful of restaurants in America today, the beef was dry aged for 21 days or more. The longer the carcass hung, the greater the weight loss, which correlated with maximizing flavor and tenderness, and those were the most expensive cuts. Cheaper meats and less desirable breeds were sometimes only dry aged for four days or so.

                                                      The breeds of beef I remember being available from my childhood were Texas Longhorn, Charolais, Aberdeen Angus, Holstein, and the rather exotic breeds of fighting bulls my mother purchased every Monday morning in Tijuana, Mexico, during World War Two when meat was strictly rationed in the U.S. Mother was a regular customer of a butcher who always had a carcass or two of the brave bulls who had met their end in front of wild fans in the bull ring the day before. Mother's butcher always saved a shoulder roast for her, which she loved because it was pre-pierced by the matador and provided the perfect place to bury garlic! That, by the way, was excellent beef.

                                                      Here is a link to a Power Point presentation that covers the history of beef cattle breeds and their development over the past hundred or more years. If you have difficulty accessing it, keep trying if you're interested because it is very concise and accurate information. Those who are unaware will also learn the critical importance of Charolais beef to the American (and world, to some extent) cattle industry. Here's the link:
                                                      http://tinyurl.com/nxdcmxu

                                                      There is absolutely no denying that the prime reason I so like the flavor of Charolais beef is because that was the richest flavored table beef of my childhood, dry aged, and delicious. Today you have to look for a high end cattleman who specializes in the breed. I offer a link to one such cattle rancher in a previous post.

                                                      What the link above does not make absolutely clear is that the REASON Aberdeen Angus beef plays such an important role in American beef industry today is NOT because it tastes better, but because of far more pragmatic reasons from the beef industry's viewpoint.

                                                      1. The Angus breed is a naturally/genetically polled breed (no horns) with the end result that it is impossible for the critter to gore its peers OR the cattlemen who raise it. Name an Angus steer "Dilemma" and you will NEVER be tossed on it's horns!

                                                      2. Compared to other breeds of cattle, it is very compact. Other breeds tend to be long of body, greater differentiation of body segments, and much longer from head to buttock. That translates into having to hang such carcasses at a greater height in the slaughter house, makes it more difficult for the butcher to reach without a stool or ladder, and generally is a lot more inconvenient to dress down than a compact animal such as an Angus.

                                                      3. Because it is so compact in size, one of the benefits of that is that the breed has a higher success rate in live births and survival than most other breeds.

                                                      The bottom line is that a cattleman can keep more Angus in a feed lot per square meter than most other breeds. The slaughter house and butcher benefit from the compactness of the animal. And finally, it does have a good muscle to skeleton ratio, which is an important factor for a profitable "bottom line."

                                                      BUT... Angus beef does NOT hold it's place in the American beef marketplace because it is the best tasting breed of beef. The beef industry could care less about flavor. The proof of that? Wet aged beef! In today's world, it is always and exclusively about money.

                                                      Bada Bing, I hope this answers your questions. And I hope you and others will keep fiddling until you can open and read the Power Point slide show. It really is worth the time.

                                                      And yes, sometimes I do get a bit testy when I think shaky information is being passed along.... Been like this since I was three...! What a brat! '-)

                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                        I'm grateful for your further information here. And I know you have a long history of smart and useful commentary. So, thanks. My previous response was simply announcing my sense of unclarity about the context and basis of your points, which you have really filled out well.

                                                        1. re: Bada Bing

                                                          Bless your heart! After re-reading my post, I decided it may only have made sense to Alex Rast, and no real guarantee of that, and I wanted it to make sense to everyone. The sole thing I hate most about the world today is the degradation and contamination of our foods. It was such a lovely planet before all of the money-grubbing changes were made that are the reason we have so many problems with our food supply today. I fear for the future.

                                                          Anyway, glad I was able to shed some light on a really interesting subject. If anyone wants "real" beef, go grass fed dry aged Charolais beef. It's what your grandparents ate! '-)

                                                        2. re: Caroline1

                                                          Sorry for causing contention. I think you misunderstood me here.

                                                          On the point of uses of various breeds (in this case the Charolais, I agree there are differences in local practice and perception. The view from England sees the Charolais more as a mixed breed, in accord with the statement

                                                          "Selection developed a white breed of cattle which, like other cattle of continental Europe, were used for draft, milk and meat."

                                                          from the Oklahoma State site which I agree is very good.

                                                          But in truth my point was never really about breed at all - but rather that at least as much, if not more, depends on the treatment and raising of the animal involved as the breed it descended from. And thus that there is no "magic bullet" - no automatic test you can apply when choosing your beef to find one that's good. You have to try different sources and find one that you like.

                                                          I certainly didn't mean to cast doubt on the quality of your source. In fact, no doubt it's very good - in part probably precisely because the practices using in raising and processing the beef are of an entirely different calibre from what you would find for typical mass-market beef.

                                                          In fact, I agree with you Caroline1, that when a beef cow or steer, of *any* breed, is subjected to intensive feedlot practices and then wet aged, the result is going to be poor-quality beef only slightly more flavourful than gruel (if that)

                                                          Now, while it probably is the case that Aberdeen-Angus breeds of cattle, due to prevailing circumstances in the USA (and elsewhere) have the highest probability of having been raised in this manner - and thus that a *random* sample of Aberdeen-Angus beef, without any sourcing information, will be, on average, worse, that doesn't mean that an Aberdeen-Angus will automatically be worse - and for the same reason that a Charolais or in fact any other breed will automatically be better. But breeds other than Aberdeen-Angus probably do have a better chance of having been raised and processed with care and thus if you have no other information, and if you know something about the breed, preferring another breed may give you a better probability of getting good beef.

                                                          What I do want to make sure of is that people don't make the mistake of equating breed blindly with quality - exactly what clever marketing in the USA has managed to do with its promotion of the Angus brand. I want to emphasise again: if you want good beef, take the time (as Caroline1 seems to have done) to find a reliable source.

                                                          I'll comment separately below on the other post regarding fillet.

                                                          1. re: AlexRast

                                                            Agreed, and sorry for the misunderstanding. I can only hope that you cannot imagine what is done to too much of our beef supply in the U.S., only to have it sent to market as fit for human consumption. One of our major problems is that our government cannot/will not afford to pay enough meat inspectors to ensure that cattle have been taken off growth hormone and antibiotics for an adequate length of time prior to slaughter to ensure the levels of those "supplements" are reduced to levels that won't trigger intolerances in people whose systems cannot handle them. Food in this country can be risky all across the board. Pity!

                                              3. re: Caroline1

                                                I am fortunate to have a friend who deals in wholesale hanging meat who grinds scraps from the sirloin including the strong flavored sirloin flap.

                                                I think he adds fat to the mix on the last grind as there are distinct BB sized pieces of fat throughout which doesn't melt away as fast.

                                                He will eat it raw in front of you which brings comfort to med rare burgers.

                                                Both my daughters go Ape Sh*t over it. They eat the burger over potato chips so the blood drips over the chips. Wait until they go on their first date :-)

                                                1. re: Tom34

                                                  Sounds like you've got an inside track! And pity the poor guys who take your daughters on hamburger dates in high school... They don't have a chance!

                                              4. I usually add a bit of ground veal and pork into my burger patties. So in essence they're almost meatloaf patties sans fillers.

                                                1. Buffalo burgers are a change from regular ground beef.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: DonShirer

                                                    Yes ! A local store sells bison meat, non-medicated, for like $10/kg. It's leaner, but more intense flavour.

                                                  2. We have had the same experience in both Phoenix and Denver.

                                                    We now always buy Top Sirloin, and have that double-ground.

                                                    As I always have a few strips of Thick Cut Applewood Bacon, above the burger patties, there is enough fat, falling down.

                                                    We have tried every level of "Ground Beef," or "Premium Hamburger Patties," available and have been totally unimpressed. If we deviate from our norm, then we are horribly unimpressed.

                                                    Hunt

                                                    22 Replies
                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        In reality, and with the Applewood Smoked Bacon above, it is not - at least for us.

                                                        Hunt

                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                          So you cook the bacon on top of the burger, thereby 'infusing' some fat into the burger?

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            On my 36" Lynx grill, the bacon is on the rack above, dripping down onto the burgers. The bacon is not placed onto the burger patty, until serving.

                                                            Normally, I start the bacon on that upper rack, maybe 5 mins. before the first patties arrive, so that they are starting to render a bit.

                                                            Usually, there are tiny "flare-ups," and those are welcome for the cooking of the burgers.

                                                            Maybe just our tastes, but the burgers are moist, very flavorful, lean with a nice char on them - rare+ to med-rare on the inner - warm but still pink.

                                                            Hunt

                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                              To me "rare+ to med-rare on the inner " isn't "warm but still pink." But thanks for sharing.

                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                Rare, Medium-rare, Medium, etc., are rather subjective, and why I always discuss the level of doneness with my server, based on their kitchen.

                                                                To me, cold-pink is not rare+ to medium-rare, but that is just me. I do not like cold insides in my burgers. Warm, pink is what I shoot for. One might have their own pet names for that level of doneness.

                                                                Hunt

                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                  I don't know how anyone could get cold-pink.

                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                    That's why I like "warm-pink."

                                                                    Hunt

                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                      Our burgers are done about four minutes on one side and three on the other. Parts can be red. Always fantastic.

                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                          I like for the middle to be a bit more, than tartare, which I would consider to be coolish, or at least room-temp, and not warm. Again, personal tastes.

                                                                          Hunt

                                                                        2. re: c oliver

                                                                          cold pink is easy. hot coals or very hot pan, blacken the outside, the inside is virtually raw. I love eating LEAN raw ground beef, but not with the outside charred. Nothing like some good quality beef fresh ground served raw on rye bread with a little butter and coarse salt.

                                                                          i know i know, i don't like greasy burgers but i will eat it raw with butter on the bread. go figure.

                                                                          sorry hill food, i didn't see your reply. exactly. but minus the egg for me please.

                                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                            The description for what you are getting reads like it would actually be considered a cold, red interior. If completely cold on the interior but blackened on the exterior then that would be called a "black and blue" preparation, the rarest of rare. Red is used to describe the center of rare or medium-rare. Pink is used to describe medium or medium well cooked meat and that interior is never cool or cold unless the entire burger has been cooled after cooking.

                                                                  2. re: c oliver

                                                                    I wonder how a little bacon fat mixed into the lean Top Round would be, flavor wise I mean, not health wise?

                                                                    1. re: Tom34

                                                                      That is sort of what I do - Applewood Smoked Bacon, dripping down on the burgers, which are below, and closer to the heat.

                                                                      For me, it's a "twofer," in that I get the bacon fat on my burger patties, and then the crisp bacon on the finished burgers.

                                                                      Hunt

                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                        you are evil and must be punished. LOL

                                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                          Evil? Yes, and without equivocation. Punished? Well, my see does see fit to dole out daily doses, so that should do...

                                                                          Hunt

                                                                      2. re: Tom34

                                                                        Tom, do you mean bacon "drippings" or meat? A friend of mine once told me about mixing cold butter into the meat while grinding.

                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                          I was thinking a little liquid bacon grease/fat dribbled and mixed in before the 2nd grind. A little partially cooked broken up bacon probably wouldn't hurt either.

                                                                          If I am grinding lean cuts I add some fat that I save from trimming whole striploins.

                                                                          I never thought about butter but I am sure it would make it moist and rich.

                                                                          1. re: Tom34

                                                                            I only grind once, coarsely.

                                                                            My, actually Batali's, Italian sausage recipe has 2 parts pork shoulder to 1 part pancette. Being the cheapskate that I am, I sub bacon. Just feed them through alternating. Mmm.

                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                              I have yet to get into making sausage but that combination sounds good. My guess is that the majors use the gnarly scraps for sausage and homemade with clean quality meat would be much better.

                                                              2. I buy dry aged ground chuck from a butcher who grinds it in front of me. I season it with some combination of Worcestershire, soy & dijon and grill it on electric grill over hardwood chips... Extraordinarily good burgers, to my mind.

                                                                1. I found that as well so I started experimenting with all sort of cuts, then all sorts of animals, and mixing them together.

                                                                  Mixing beef/veal, bison, pork, lamb, elk, poultry etc. in differing varieties and quantities can really, really liven up your burgers. Just remember to balance the fat content. For example bison is low on the fat so mix it with something fattier.

                                                                  1. Maybe that "best butcher" was using grass-raised beef, which will be leaner and would need to be cooked differently?

                                                                    I generally buy what my market labels as "Certified Ground Chuck." Not sure what the certified part means.

                                                                    1. I traditionally use grass finished beef which is much leaner then that from the stockyards, and have found that mixing 1/4 cup of olive oil into the ground beef works quite well.

                                                                      1. Cheap beef, burgers or steaks, that are going to be cooked in a frying pan get the following perk-it-up treatment on both sides.

                                                                        --Shake some soy sauce over them
                                                                        --Then some garlic powder
                                                                        --ending with some shakes of chinese hot sesame oil

                                                                        At the end of cooking, make a pan sauce. If the meat is doused with enough assertive flavors, you won't notice the blandness as much.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Sharuf

                                                                          My burgers which are cooked with nothing are far from bland and i use the cheapest chuck i can find.

                                                                        2. I have found the most flavorful ground beef to be the 80/40 chubs wrapped in opaque plastic (check Wal-Mart if your regular grocery doesn't have, but if you ask they might be able to order it for you). Sometimes in one-pound packages, but more often in 5 or 10 pound packages; make individual patties and freeze, but be sure to save some out for meat loaf! (Be sure to poke your finger through the middle of each patty so it doesn't "hump up" when cooked.)The flavor comes from the higher fat content and the meat itself could be anything from plate to porterhouse: scraps! My hamburger meat of choice for more than 50 years!

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                              no, 120 is the new standard. it's the Spinal Tap mix.

                                                                              1. re: dereuff

                                                                                Have you ever tried grinding your own. No mystery as to what it is & so much fresher.

                                                                              2. Cut isn't the issue. A good bit of chuck, well-minced, ought to make for a splendid hamburger - there are other parts of the cow that will do a nice job as well (another favourite is brisket), but in any case there shouldn't be any real problem.

                                                                                Did you make your hamburger patty using the meat alone, or did you add something to it? If so, it may be the additions that killed it: a good bit of mince stands out wonderfully on its own; additions usually only make it worse.

                                                                                But more probably, it's simply that the quality of the meat itself was unspectacular, which would have meant that no matter what part of the cow you'd chosen, the result would have been fairly uninteresting. A good test is to buy, from your chosen butcher, a very mild cut such as a fillet (tenderloin in the USA), as an ordinary steak or roast, and then make it in a similarly simple fashion (grilled or roasted). If it doesn't taste dense with flavour, exploding with meatiness - such that you can almost taste the field in which the cow grazed, then you've not got the best meat. If, however, it does, then by all means buy some mince, make an absolutely plain patty, and then try that.

                                                                                13 Replies
                                                                                1. re: AlexRast

                                                                                  What you suggest -- using tenderloin (fillet) to check out how flavorful a butcher's meat is -- is wrong on two counts. Number one is that in the United States, the kind of butcher shop where that would be meaningful is extremely rare and hard to find in this day and age.

                                                                                  But more to the point is that the fillet/tenderloin is THE MOST FLAVORLESS cut of meat from ANY breed of cattle with the possible exception of true Kobe Japanese raised purebred wagyu Grade A-5 beef, (http://www.huntspoint.com/tajima-japa...) and at those prices, I doubt anyone is going to take up your advice.

                                                                                  The problem with your recommendation is that FAT is what gives all cuts of beef it's flavor specific to that breed of cattle. It is also why cuts of the fillet/tenderloin are often wrapped in bacon, or in the case of larger or whole tenderloins, the cut is often larded.

                                                                                  A "hamburger patty made of pure ground fillet will produce a dry, not very flavorful hamburger! BAD NEWS!!!

                                                                                  Sorry! '-)

                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                    Sorry again. This is going to take some explanation, I think. - I knew there was a risk of being misunderstood here because I was trying to say something subtle.

                                                                                    First, absolutely I am NOT recommending that you mince fillet to make a hamburger. That would be a pointless waste.

                                                                                    Nor am I saying that tenderloin is the most flavourful - as you say it's in fact very mild.

                                                                                    But it is precisely that mildness that makes it a good test for the source of your meat. Because intrinsically a fillet has a mild flavour, if you find a source that produces fillet of extraordinary flavour, you can be certain that the other cuts they do - e.g. chuck or anything else - will be even more flavourful, and thus really first-rate. If a mild cut tastes strong, then a stong-flavoured cut will taste amazing.

                                                                                    You're not using the fillet to make a hamburger, you're using the fillet to test your butcher. The fillet you would buy would not be minced, but rather left whole and prepared in a simple way that likewise didn't develop much additional flavour - so that you could really gauge the general flavour development of the beef.

                                                                                    A pair of additional points I think bear comment.

                                                                                    "Number one is that in the United States, the kind of butcher shop where that would be meaningful is extremely rare and hard to find in this day and age. "

                                                                                    And so it is in England as well. A truly wretched development. But that's my point - since such places are now so rare, it's worth taking the time to search for one where it *is* meaningful - and all the more reason to support those kinds of butchers! Because if we don't give them our custom, they're going to die, and then something of the joy of food would be lost, possibly irrevocably. We should also be encouraging aspiring butchers that it's economically feasible to run a "premium" trade specialising in flavour quality - by buying.

                                                                                    ..."and at those prices, I doubt anyone is going to take up your advice."

                                                                                    It is certainly true to say that authentic Kobe beef carries a price premium which is as much the result of it being an aspirational product (i.e. one that people buy to show that they've "arrived" - at least economically) as the actual quality of the meat involved - which, notwithstanding, is excellent. I do think it's regretful that precisely for that reason - high price and aspirational image - a lot of this beef ends up in the hands of people who may not be the ones who would appreciate it the very most.

                                                                                    But on the other hand, I also have to say, quality *does* come at a price, and you can't expect truly good beef to be cheap. Because people have become used to supermarket prices based on mass-market raising and processing techniques, many suffer under entirely unrealistic expectations of how much a really good bit of beef should cost. In the UK, for example, I'd expect a really good bit of chuck to be at least £25/kg - around $17/lb. More premium cuts would be even more than that. If those prices give sticker shock let this be a reminder that meat has historically been a luxury good - eaten occasionally and with reverence rather than idly and indiscriminately. So if good beef (or any other meat) is too expensive to afford every day, then maybe it's better not to have meat every day and buy quality when you can.

                                                                                    1. re: AlexRast

                                                                                      Ahah! I understand your concept now, but I still find issues with it. In my opinion, your method is doomed not to work because, at least in the U.S., there is little chance that the meat supply of any given butcher is going to be stable enough for your method to work reliably. In this country butchers rarely know whether the meat their supplier delivers to them is from the same cattle ranch, let alone the same breed or animal. Pardon the pun, but in the U.S., no matter how you slice it, buying beef is very much a pot-luck affair. Sad but true.

                                                                                      1. re: AlexRast

                                                                                        "The kind of butcher shop where that would be meaningful is extremely rare and hard to find in this day and age."

                                                                                        At $4K for rent, another 2K for utilities plus all the other expenses associated with running a business these days you won't find many either.

                                                                                        Then factor in working (6) 16 hr days, much spent in a cold refrigerator. Oh, and did you ever look at a real Butcher's hands? Most could make an orange explode just by squeezing it. Hell, most kids today sit inside pressing buttons on an IPOD while someone from south of the border cuts the lawn.

                                                                                        Then factor in that grandma from several generations ago is long gone and the average consumer hasn't a clue what to do with many of the cuts contained on a side of hanging beef. An outlet for same is needed or we are talking about a lot of not so cheap ground beef.

                                                                                        Then lets look at consumer spending habits. At a nice steakhouse a consumer will drop $50.00 or more for a nice steak and then walk into a market and pinch penny's. Side by side in the case....1 nicely marbled high choice steakhouse quality steak at $8.99 lb and 1 poorly marbled bottom choice steak at $7.25lb. Guess which one sits in the case all day. Now put an organic, grass finished steak from a small local rancher in there at $21.00 lb and see how long that sits in there. The same is largely true for chicken and seafood.

                                                                                        I know a German butcher who opened his shop in the mid 1960's and stuck with hanging beef up till the day he retired several years ago. He and his wife arrived at the shop by 5:30 am and didn't leave until 9:30 pm. Today he is a millionaire many times over but he will quickly point out that most of his money was made in the 60's & 70's. After that the immense buying power of supermarket chains combined with the low labor & transportation costs of boxed beef started to dramatically cut his hanging beef margins. The only reason he didn't shut down years earlier is because he was afraid of waking up at 4:30 am with nothing to do.

                                                                                        1. re: Tom34

                                                                                          The problems I find with your comments are that I AM that grandmother of several generations ago you are talking about AND I don't think there are ANY "average consumer" types who spend much time on these boards...

                                                                                          FYI, I have a stand-alone genuine old fashioned butcher shop about a mile or three up the street from me that carries most of the traditional cuts of beef of yore, so the lights aren't out on that count yet. You can look the place over here:
                                                                                          http://www.hirschsmeats.com/

                                                                                          Grass fed beef is making a come-back. I can have grass fed beef delivered to my door twice a month, and I can buy a carcass or individual cuts. They only do "to your door" deliveries locally, but they do ship nationwide, so if you'd like to try some grass fed, dry aged organic ANGUS beef, you can order it here:
                                                                                          http://www.burgundypasturebeef.com/pu...
                                                                                          Yup. An average on-the-bone rib eye steak that weighs in at around 1 1/8 pounds will cost you around $22.00 plus shipping.

                                                                                          BUUUUUUTTTTTT....

                                                                                          If you're a "grandma of several generations ago" like me, then instead you'll buy the organic grass fed natural grazing dry aged Aberdeen-Angus 2 inch thick cut beef shank, cryovac those puppies, slap 'em in the sous vide machine and let them swim for a day or two in 140F water, then take 'em out of the bag, either pop 'em into a really hot cast iron skillet or char 'em up with a kitchen blow torch, and for $4.99 a pound you will have a STEAK as tender or more so than the $18.99 a pound on-the-bone rib eye!

                                                                                          The key to eating well does not come with either age or youth. Nor does it come with a thin or fat budget, excluding those poor souls drowning in poverty. It comes wholly from knowing how to cook! And a sous vide machine couldn't hurt either...

                                                                                          Life is full of options! Pay attention! :-)

                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                            Caroline1, I have thoroughly enjoyed the incredibly educational exchanges here between you and several others. Yea or nay, I learned a great deal and loved the concise writing and excellent research.
                                                                                            Thanks, all. Oh - craving a state-of-the-art burger now.....can't decide what to grind...:)

                                                                                            1. re: mamachef

                                                                                              What a heart-warming post to start my day! Thank you, Marci! And out of all of the "Best Meal I Ever Ate" responses that I've ever read on Chowhound profile pages, yours is my favorite! Talk about great seasoning, you've mastered that art! '-)

                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                You'se a doll. :) And that was a damn good sandwich, I tell you what. A little neighbor boy has completely stolen my heart, and he come over frequently. He LOVES to help cook and insists on an apron. If I still wore a toque, he'd probablly nab that, too!!
                                                                                                Have a beautiful day, good lady.

                                                                                            2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                              I agree Caroline but we (Hounds) make up an extremely small % of the overall population. The majority shops price and independents can not come close to competing with the buying power of the chains. Another chronic problem independents have is that the chains will put high value cuts of meat on sale at cost to bring shoppers into the store. End result is customers are paying less for a steak than the independent butcher pays. Its pretty much the same broken record for seafood now that the big supermarket chains have huge high volume seafood departments. Almost all of the small independent mom / pop seafood shops that were around years ago are gone.

                                                                                              The same holds true at the wholesale purveyor end. Giants like Sysco & US Foods will target an independent purveyor's long term customers by selling BELOW cost. With restaurant margins being so close today many owners will take the bait. Six months later the independent and the "service" they provided is gone & the price goes up. A classic example is what happened to the vibrant Philadelphia wholesale fish market which was largely gobbled up by one company. If you own a restaurant you are pretty much at their mercy, "This is what we have, this is the condition its in, this is what you will pay for it and these are the terms for quantity and delivery. Take it or leave it.

                                                                                              1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                All of this supply and demand stuff is pretty obvious, but the fact is that supply and demand has little to do with whether we can obtain what our individual taste buds will consider a good hamburger. What DOES impact on that is what is being done to our food supply across the board to change, modify, and increase the yield of the plants and animals that make up the supply of things we eat daily, regardless of whether we grow them ourselves, buy foodstuffs grown/raised by others, or forage.

                                                                                                Taste and smell are the most powerful and accurate memories that human beings possess. Some of us have more acute abilities than others in that area, but we do all have them. If you have ever (a common experience) smelled something and suddenly your memory blooms into a former time when you smelled the same aroma (often it's an exciting experience that can transport us to a very special moment in our past), THAT is a triggered link associated with taste and smell. It's what allows us to say things like, "My god, this apple pie is delicious! It tastes just like Aunt Martha's!"

                                                                                                When our world and our food supply are modified, far too many of those associations are lost. And those associations are exactly what provide great cooks and chefs with the ability to make great dishes that can be enjoyed again and again over time. However.... At 80 years of age, and being blessed/cursed with an acute sense of taste and smell, I can tell you that there is not much that still tastes the way it tasted fifty years ago, give or take a couple of decades either way!

                                                                                                Two of the flavorings I have used in savory meat dishes for decades are Noilly Pratt white vermouth and Courvoisier VSOP cognac. NEITHER of those taste as they did in the past, which means when I'm making a savory sauce to go with a prime cut of beef, it is impossible for me to duplicate the flavor of my original recipe. I can ONLY approximate. And so it goes pretty much across the board, unfortunately.

                                                                                                The point I was trying to make in my post that you're responding to is that it is still possible to find sources that will allow you to get close to the beef profile flavor you prefer as an individual. It may require resourcefulness and it may require a cash outlay at an irksome level, but it pretty much is still possible. And sometimes duplicating a great taste experience is a truly rewarding endeavor. It gives us a sense of continuity in our lives, and that's a reward worth pursuing.

                                                                                                That said, what DOES seem to be impossible is to get the folks trying to supply our demand to keep on providing us with the "heritage" flavors and quality we want! After a lifetime of "industrial strength" food modification, controlled breeding to develop cattle that are best for the breeders' and distributors' profit lines, but not so much for the consumers taste buds, I can tell you that "better living through chemistry" is bull shit! SYNTHESIZED...! <sigh>

                                                                                                Good luck to us all in finding our own great burger blend! Mine lies in the pastures where Charolais cattle graze. '-)

                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                  As I have posted many times, when the stars all line up perfectly and the rain was perfect, grass was perfect & the rancher had vast experience with genetics and dozens of other issues, grass finished beef is among the best beef in the world.

                                                                                                  As one multi generation rancher pointed out right here on CHOW, it took them 10 years of painstaking experimentation to put out a good grass finished product and he readily admitted they have a ways to go. The feedlot has dominated for so long that much was forgotten about grass finished.

                                                                                                  I for one have no problem with the flavor of highly marbled properly aged feedlot beef. In fact I love it. Neither do the folks who drop hundreds of dollars everyday at the likes of Peter Luger. Its an individual preference. Grass finished is a growing niche and your right, the more support the ranchers get from the consumers the more the niche will grow and the better the ranchers will get at producing a "Consistent" product.

                                                                                                  I do agree though that there are many health benefits to grass finished but in all honesty I am far more concerned about nitrates and other things in processed foods and many farmed raised seafood products. Whole other subject.

                                                                                                  As for those old fashioned meals that my mom made, the last time I made pork / sauerkraut / dumplings my whole house took on the smell and the family freaked. When I was growing up those smells were heartwarming, as a good rewarding "as much as you could eat" meal waited. Same for ham and cabbage. Colon cancer not a hot topic back then either.

                                                                                                  Many issues we have today didn't exist back in the day of lard and butter. Neither were necessarily good for you but it seems they didn't cause cancer either.

                                                                                                  Caroline, keep cooking and teach them young ins about what you can do with very little. Most of my mom's cookware is in the basement and to this day I can't throw it out.

                                                                                                  1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                    I'm beginning to fear you may somehow be in agribusiness because of your seeming avoidance of issues concerning the damage that is being done to our health simply because the feed lot beef business *IS* getting better at producing a "consistent" product. This very real problem is one hell of a lot more dangerous than nitrates/nitrites in the long haul.

                                                                                                    The "consistent" products of the American and Canadian beef industry has graciously given us mad cow disease; modified cattle through their diet to give us beef that promotes and/or causes hypertension, various other heart diseases; and a plethora of other major health problems from the estrogens, growth hormones, and antibiotics that feed lot cattle recieve as subcutaneous implants, injections, and doped food.

                                                                                                    However, the good news is that the incresed public demand for pure and simple grass fed beef (as in NON-feed lot) is supporting the cattle ranchers who do NOT want to harm their cattle, and is slowly regaining a larger and larger share of the market. There is a TON of information out there on the web, and much to be gained through consumers educating themselves. If consumers want better and healtheir food, the best way to convince the suppliers in your "supply and demand" paradigm is simply to buy the products they know to be healthy and beneficial to eat and DON'T buy the bad stuff! Vote with your wallet! It's the ONLY thing agribusiness listens to.

                                                                                                    As for your mom's cookware, if you and/or your family don't use it and you don't want to sell it, why not donate it to a free soup kitchen that feeds the homeless? God knows in this age and financial climate, there are (thankfullly!) plenty of them out there that need all of the help they can get. Many of them are pretty short on good cooking equipment. I suspect your mom would approve.

                                                                                                    Good luck!

                                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                      No I am not in the Agribusiness but I am practical enough to know that feeding 300 million people in the US and many more abroad can't be done in an affordable manner on the Green Acres farm in Hootersville. Are there some things that need to be re-evaluated and tweaked, certainly there are. Do professional opinions differ, in most cases they do. Do professional opinions change, well, look no further than the poor maligned egg or butter vs margarine. Do I agree there are some things in our food chain that need scrutiny, most definitely. The AMA would argue that most important of all is something "WE" as individuals need to police, (1) Caloric intake balanced with caloric burn (2) Sensible balance of food groups.

                                                                                    2. I have finally tried both Pat LaFrieda's and 5 guys... Pat La Frieda, you mostly taste Chuck-- well at least I did. You would do better just sticking locally. You could also taste the brisket and a tiny bit of shortrib.

                                                                                      5 guys on the other hand-- did not have as pronounced of a chuck flavor. Either this was due to their fat to meat ratio or from other meat ratios (maybe even a brisket or sirloin, it seems).

                                                                                      That being said... I've pretty much narrowed it down.

                                                                                      Studying the tests of Kenji from Serious Eats and following up with my own quests for beefy goodness... the leading cause of flavor SEEMS to either be the cut of meat and/or a GOOD amount of fat.

                                                                                      This is nothing new to any of you here, however by "GOOD amount of fat" I mean much much more than the mere 20%. 20% that keeps getting mentioned here. 20% simply does not cut it for someone like me. Most of your best burgers from places like In and Out come with beef that has up to 30+% FAT!

                                                                                      Sure enough, when I added much more fat to my meat ratio, I tasted an outstanding amount of tenderness, liquid retention as well as an increase in umaminess.

                                                                                      Now, to retest using this new fat ratio using different cuts of meat, individually :
                                                                                      shortrib, brisket, chuck, sirloin and finally prime rib.

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: SmallSteps3000

                                                                                        I am not a fan of the flavor of chuck. I prefer sirloin but add additional fat.

                                                                                        I do a double grind but I don't add the additional fat (Left over from trimming striploins) until the 2nd grind which leaves the fat in bigger pieces. I think this slows the melting process during the cooking so more of the fat stays in the meat and less ends up in the fire.

                                                                                        1. re: Tom34

                                                                                          Thanks, Tom34! I've been following your great posts on beef for a while and this is exactly what my father told me also!

                                                                                          I think sirloin would be awesome. Can't wait to start

                                                                                          1. re: SmallSteps3000

                                                                                            Thanks Small Steps. Chuck lends its self to burgers because its plentiful, reasonable and has a nice fat %. Because its so plentiful It also falls into the category of what else are you going to do with a billion lbs of it. I didn't like the flavor of it in roast form or burger growing up & still don't.

                                                                                            Getting some extra fat to mix in your sirloin blend should not be hard. Let us know how you made out.

                                                                                      2. I disagree. I typically use chuck because the price is right and it comes out juicy. My butcher seems to have the right blend.

                                                                                        I make them big, half pound. Put in a skillet and season with s+p, and balsamic vinegar.

                                                                                        Had them last night with melted cheddar and jalapeños.

                                                                                        Try bison or lamb. Sirloin is too dry.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: CCSPRINGS

                                                                                          Your right about chuck being the most popular. The 15% to 20% fat content of chuck does make them juicy and the fact that chuck is plentiful on the animal helps with the price. What also helps with the price is that "comparatively speaking", there is not as much demand for chuck steaks or roasts so something has to be done with it.

                                                                                          Chuck also comes from a working part of the animal and it has a distinct strong flavor which most serious meat eaters can pick out blindfolded. Many go as far as to describe it as having a "Liver like flavor". Like anything else, some love the flavor of chuck, some are neutral to it and some don't like it which is the camp I fall into.

                                                                                          Sirloin on the other hand has a much milder flavor and is more desirable for steaks and roasts which is why it costs more. It is also much leaner and can make for one dry burger. HOWEVER, fat is dirt cheap and often free and when enough is added to bring the sirloin grind to the same 80/20 ratio as chuck it is just as juicy but tastes like steak. The down side is the milder flavor will not stand up well to strong toppings.

                                                                                          1. re: Tom34

                                                                                            Interesting re the liver flavor. I really loathe beef liver and love ground chuck. Different strokes.

                                                                                        2. I don't know why yoy want "restaurant quality." I'm using 100% Estancia grass-fed ground chuck at home, and it turns out better than any burger I've ever had in a restaurant. I don't do a blend because I make only two burgers at a time, so buy just 2/3 lb every time I'm making them.