Ground beef is an economical, easy-to-prepare standard ingredient in thousands of recipes. A steaming pot of chili, a meatloaf, or deep-dish lasagna casserole may come to mind, not to mention the wonderful charred taste of a grilled hamburger. It can be cooked and frozen for quick access or fried in a skillet and added to last-minute entrees.
While the terms hamburger and ground beef are generally interchangeable, there is one particular difference. Hamburger may have “beef fat” and seasonings added during the grinding process; ground beef will have no fats added. It may, however, include seasonings, which must be listed on the label if processed at a state- or federally-inspected facility.
Ground beef originates from tougher cuts of the cow, including chuck, flank, and round. Ground sirloin, however, is tender, lean, and more expensive. The grinding process acts as a tenderizer. To be classified by the U.S.D.A. as ground beef, it must be at least 70% lean.
In general, packages labeled “chuck” will be the highest in fat.
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