A Home Cook’s Guide to Ground Beef
We all have our own approach to buying ground beef. Some like it lean; others like it with a little more fat. Some of us only pause long enough to notice if it’s grass-fed beef — and others simply grab whatever we happen upon first, as long as it’s more or less a pound.
In all of those cases, there’s so much more to the story! Especially at Gelson’s, where we carry the Certified Angus Beef Brand (CAB) of USDA Prime and Choice beef, which is unrivaled for marbling, flavor, juiciness, and tenderness.
Here’s another thing that sets us apart: Our meat cutters prepare our ground beef fresh in-store multiple times a day, using trimmings from our CAB prime, CAB choice, and grass-fed beef cuts. That kind of freshness and quality is truly unusual in this day and age, when a lot of supermarkets are buying tubes of ground beef that arrive at their store when they’re seven to 14 days old.
Preparing our ground beef ourselves also means we can offer a greater variety than most other supermarkets and even specialty butchers. In fact, we offer seven different types of ground beef! Sound a little overwhelming? No worries, our Senior Director of Meat and Seafood Operations, Sean Sáenz, has put together this handy guide for you.
This grind is prepared with 100% CAB prime beef — which means it has trimmings from all the very best cuts of meat we offer. It’s beautifully marbled, so it’ll be super tender and taste amazing. Use this when you’ve got a recipe where the meat really shines and you can take advantage of that lush fat content. Looking for a luxe burger? Prime makes the juiciest, most scrumptious, steak-house quality burger you’ve ever had!
Our grass-fed beef comes from antibiotic- and hormone-free, grass-fed cattle. It’s a nice, lean ground beef, and because it’s prepared with 100% sirloin trimmings, it’s going to be much more flavorful than your everyday ground mix. It’s perfect for vegetable beef stews and pasta sauces, like a ragu, where you’re looking for a hearty texture and full, meaty flavor, but you don’t want a ton of fat.
Our grass-fed ground chuck (shoulder) has a slightly higher fat content than the grass-fed sirloin, so it’s going to be more tender and juicy. Use it when you want a little more fat to enhance the flavor and texture of the dish, like in a big, cheesy plate of nachos. It’s also the grind to use if you want to make a grass-fed hamburger.
Our ground sirloin comes from all the sirloin cuts, including the top sirloin, so it has all the qualities of a great sirloin steak. It’s higher in protein, lower in fat — about 90% lean on average — and it has a hearty, meaty texture. That makes it terrific on the grill, where a fattier meat can flame up.
With less than 10% fat, this is the one for folks who are looking for the leanest, healthiest option — and prefer a firm burger patty that’s chewy and rich, but not too juicy or messy. That dry quality makes it wonderful for casseroles and stuffed things: Think calzone, shepherd’s pie, and cabbage leaves.
This is a customer favorite, probably because it’s such a nice compromise between the super lean and the higher fat grinds. In fat content, it’s comparable to a marbled rib eye, so it makes a great burger, lush nachos, and fantastic meatloaf and meatballs — it’s firm enough to hold together, but it has all the juice and fat it needs to stay moist throughout the cooking process.
When it comes to burgers, this is our most popular grind. Burgers with 20% fat love a hot skillet: They char up beautifully on the outside, and stay juicy on the inside. It’s also the one to use for recipes where you want the meat to stand out, like in tacos and a long-cooking Texas chili.