Ground beef is like an addicting drug. It’s used for BBBQ hamburgers, grape jelly meatloaf, tacos, lasagna, Shepard’s pie, and so many other delicious dishes.
Furthermore, ground beef is a cheap meal that can feed at least 4 people depending on how you cook it.
Even if you only add a pound of ground beef to your dish, the smallest amount of ground beef will add so much beefy flavor.
I could go on and on singing ground beefs praises. However, the important question is, what part of the cow ground beef comes from?
But before we answer this pressing question, let’s discuss how ground beef is actually made.
How Is Beef Made Into Ground Beef?
Interestingly enough, while putting this article together, I came across the question is their cow poop in ground beef. There is no cow poop in ground beef!
Ground beef is made by cutting a whole beef muscle-like chuck into smaller pieces.
The chuck is then placed into a meat grinder and ground into smaller pieces.
Ground beef can also contain beef fat trimmings, which are ground several times, so it blends seamlessly into the ground beef.
What Part of the Cow Is Ground Beef?
There are multiple parts of the cow used to make ground beef. Therefore ground beef could be any large muscle of the cow.
However, the most popular cuts of beef for ground beef include chuck, round, brisket, and sirloin.
The flank cut sits on the bottom section of the cow’s belly beneath the loin.
Flank also goes by the aliases beef steak, flank steak fillet, bavette, jiffy steak, and London broil.
The scraps from these flank cuts can be used to make ground beef.
However, proceed with caution when buying ground beef made from flank cuts, as they can be very tough.
The chuck primal is on the upper part of the animal and stretches from the neck all the way to the animal’s 5th rib.
Bone-in chuck cuts are the preferred cut for ground beef as they are not overly fatty and are very flavorful.
Check scraps can also be used to fabricate ground beef. Chuck is most commonly used to make 80-85% lean beef.
Like flank cuts, plate cuts are also on the underside of the animal’s belly. However, they are closer to the ribs.
Skirt steak and hanger steak are popular plate cuts. However, stew meat, short ribs, and pastrami can also be fabricated from plate ribs.
The scraps of plate cuts are usually used to fabricate ground beef. Be careful when purchasing ground beef made from plate cuts, as they are tough and fatty.
Cuts of sirloin sit near the back of the steer in the loin region. To be specific, the loin primal is separated into 2 cuts of beef: the sirloin and the short loin.
The sirloin runs from the hip area to the socket ends of the pelvis. Sirloin is a tender yet flavorful cut of beef.
Although the scraps of sirloin are used to make ground beef, this is a great option, especially if you prefer lean ground beef.
Round steak cuts are the back of the cow. The round primal stretches from the top of the leg to the hind shank and the rump.
Although one would imagine the meat from the round is tough, it’s actually lean and tender.
Ground beef can be fabricated from round steak cuts or scrapes. However, proceed with caution when buying ground beef made from round cuts.
Round cuts are relatively low in fat, which means they will dry out in no time, and no one wants to eat dry ground beef.
Ground Beef Fat Percentages
Now that we’ve discussed the different parts of the cow ground beef can come from, let’s discuss the different fat percentages of ground beef.
Ground beef can also be categorized into groups based on its meat-to-fat ratio.
Although this may seem irrelevant, understanding the fat percentage will go hand in hand with what part of the cow ground beef is.
All of the cuts mentioned above are broken down into specific types of ground beef with specific fat percentages.
Essentially this batch of ground beef contains 70% meat and 30% of fat. 70/30 ground beef is considered regular ground beef and is made with scraps and trimmings from the cow.
Fat adds a lot of flavor to ground beef. Therefore 70/30 beef has a beefy flavor that’s best for BBQ burgers or taco meat.
Ground chuck, specifical scraps from the chuck roast, which sits in the back of the shoulder, is used to make 80/20 ground beef.
If you are purchasing 80/20 ground beef from the store, it is almost always labeled as lean ground beef. 80/20 ground beef is perfect for meatloaf, burgers, or meatballs.
Typically, 85/15 ground beef is fabricated from the round primal. Specifically, beef cut from the rear of the cow close to the tail is used to make 85/15 ground beef.
While 85/15 ground beef is certainly tender, it is not as moist because of its low levels of fat.
Therefore, 85/10 ground beef is best for chili, meat sauce, or any ground beef dish that contains sauce.
(0/10 ground beef is usually fabricated from the sirloin. Sirloin is used to make extra lean ground beef and contains less than 5 grams of fat per every 100 grams of ground beef.
90/10 ground beef is even less juicy than 85/15 ground beef. Therefore, it will need a lot of seasonings like herbs or spices.
In addition to this, it will also require additional oil to endure the ground beef does not dry out.
Now that you know what part of the cow ground beef is, you can confidently purchase the right type of ground beef.
Furthermore, you have a deep understanding and appreciation, which will shine through the next time you prepare a meal using ground beef.
In addition to this, you can also pass the information you learned in this article to your friends and family.
You might also be interested in the following:
- What Part of the Cow Is Tri Tip
- What Part of the Cow Is Barbacoa
- What Part of the Cow Is Sirloin
- What Part of the Cow Is Prime Rib
- What Part of the Cow is Ribeye
- What Part of the Cow Is Filet Mignon
- What Part of the Cow Is Oxtail
- What Part of the Cow Is Corned Beef
- What Part of the Cow Is Brisket
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.