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Hot take: Premium ground beef doesn't matter

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    After consuming the ground beef from 1200 pound calves my dad slaughters at the local slaughter house I totally hate and detest the ground beef at wolly world, regardless of fat content. Now I just ground bacon ends with my deer meat fitty/fitty and add black and red pepper to the mix before grinding. Maybe I can add some black bear to the mix next year.


    • Andrrr
      Andrrr commented
      Editing a comment
      Curious minds (mine) want to know, what don’t you like about it and what drives that difference in flavor? Diet maybe?
      Last edited by Andrrr; March 9, 2021, 11:02 PM.

    • Jerod Broussard
      Jerod Broussard commented
      Editing a comment
      Andrrr it's hard to describe. The stuff from dad is a super fine grind, you can see and taste all the fat, but browning the meat in a pot there is no grease to drain out after browning. The wolly world stuff is a grease draining fest. The texture for burgers infinitely better.

    This is why I grind my own. I have ground pichana, chucks, shorts, whole briskets, points, flats and all over them map. I even pulled a Jerod and added bacon to the brisket grinds. Geeze man! That’ll have you trippin.

    Whatever is on sale, looks good or whatever I have already paid for.

    I see what you are saying and mostly agree. I haven’t been a huge fan of painted hills. 3lbs of that I still have. However the painted hill tonight was AMAZING. I just made a version of SOS with scratch stock and chunkage (mushroom, onion, fennel and tomatoes) and let it simmer after a good browning. I ate it over farro. Tomorrow is my Monday so I basically cleaned out the fridge.

    Painted hills was MONEY tonight.

    Honestly I’m just not a fan of pre ground meats. I certainly won’t by hamburger but sometimes buy ground beef or specific cuts ground.

    70/30 is a world apart from 80/20. IMHO fat at that level is like the Richter (spelling??) scale.


    • rickgregory
      rickgregory commented
      Editing a comment
      Well one of the reasons I did this was the Painted Hills is mostly kind of... OK. Nondescript. It's beef.

      I think of someone has a variety of cuts around it makes sense to take some of the scraps etc and grind them. but I don't usually have that many and as I noted above, if I buy chuck, it's more than the CAB Prime ground beef. I could grind a prime Costco brisket, but... that would save me $0.70/lb. Not worth the work for a single guy.

    I haven't done the experiment, so I can't say. But I WILL say that I made Wagyu burgers last week, and Mrs Mosca commented that they were really good, which is something she doesn't say often about burgers.

    I'd put the sweet spot somewhere above the supermarket pack, and somewhere below Wagyu. The Wagyu I used was 30% off at D'Artagnan, putting it at $7.69/lb, a solid price for a premium product. I wouldn't pay $10.99/lb for it, but chuck/brisket blend is $7.99 locally from the butchers case.


      I have done some side by side tests with standard grocery store 80/20, some Porter Road ground beef, and SRF American Wagyu ground beef. There were definite differences in all three but beyond that it is just a preference issue.

      The SRF ground beef had a smoother "silkier" texture in the mouth which wasn't bad at all and I can see how some people could like that. The grocery store beef tasted just like what it should taste like. In my mind the Porter Road beef was the best of the bunch. It had a beefier flavor and had a bit coarser grind than the others which made for a more pleasing texture.

      When I see the SRF stuff on sale for $5 a pound (and sometimes there is a $1 or $2 off sticker on the packs) I buy it. And when I order Porter Road and need a few more bucks in the cart to get free shipping or something I will throw in a pack or two of ground beef. But I have no aversion to the grocery store beef. If I really want a good burger or am cooking for other people I would usually just grind my own though.


        i normally would agree but i have been buying a lot of hamburger in 1lb tubes and i find that they have a weird taste that goes along with them. they are fine for tacos but for hamburgers i can always taste a lingering flavor of whatever they seal in those tubes to keep he meat from going bad. i am hoping to find a tube meat that doesn't have this issue.

        i have had a lot of tube meat (shush!) so it's not some one off thing. maybe i should start getting it from the normal meat trays like i used to but it's hard to turn down $1.88/lb for hamburger!


        • rickgregory
          rickgregory commented
          Editing a comment
          tube... meat. I'll refrain from the obvious jokes.

          When I say it doesnt make a difference I'm comparing to reasonable supermarket stuff. If you go very lean (not 80/20 but 93/7 and yes, I've seen that) or probably with very cheap stuff I imagine there's a difference.

        • Mosca
          Mosca commented
          Editing a comment
          Shoot, around here 95/5 is common.

        • Red Man
          Red Man commented
          Editing a comment
          I kinda doubt the tube is what’s causing the off taste in $1.88/lb beef.

        Wagyu chuck has more marbling than choice chuck so ground wagyu chuck would have more fat and flavor than ground choice chuck (I know that is obvious, but stay with me). But I don't think ground beef is usually sold by the cut of beef in a standard grocery store, as it is marketed based on the fat ratio. If different cuts of wagyu are blended to achieve 80/20 and the same is done for choice beef, then both have the same amount of fat and should be much more similar in taste. So I would think if you buy something specifically marked as 80/20 that it shouldn't make much difference what you buy, whereas buying ground wagyu chuck that may be closer to 70/30 (totally made this up for the example) vs ground choice chuck that is 80/20 would be much more noticeable.


          Yeah, I think we have to control for fat percentage (and we have to assume the labels are roughly accurate as to that) or we have two factors changing, the quality of the meat and the fat content.


            I agree with most of you, other than a textural difference, good old 80/20 ground chuck or even better, ground brisket, is my go to. A couple of months back I did a stuffed meat loaf out of Mishima Reserve American Wagyu ground beef and actually really liked it, so unless you tell me what's in it I'm not too sure I could tell you. So I guess I agree with the original premise, may not be worth the extra cost.

            One thing to remember, and I know I do harp on this a lot, wagyu is genetically disposed to produce a monounsaturated fat (Oletic) that is better for you . The downside is controlling the fat content because it renders into liquid much easier than convention beef fat found in our cattle. Just sayin', if eating a little healthier is of concern, that's one reason to buy wagyu ground.


            • JoeSousa
              JoeSousa commented
              Editing a comment
              One of the barbecue restaurants here saves their good brisket trimmings, grinds them up, smokes the patties, and then sears them off when they are ordered. One of the best burgers I have ever tried. I talked to the pitmaster and he said they are probably end up around a 60/40 blend.

              It is also a great way for the restaurant to use up some of the trimmings that they might normally throw away.

            100% agree! I’ve had a few Kobe burgers over the years, and they’re honestly nothing to write home about. Proper fat content, toasted bun, and quality condiments and veggies make a great burger!


            • Mosca
              Mosca commented
              Editing a comment
              I ate Wagyu cheeseburgers 5 days in a row last week. The first one was dressed with LTOP and thousand island. Next one I skipped the pickle, the next one was LT and grilled mushrooms and onions... the best one was the last one. Cheeseburger on a bun with grilled mushrooms. The less I put on it, the better it was.

              Again, I didn’t compare. Over my life I’ve eaten regular supermarket & fast food burgers over premium burgers by a ratio of about 3000:1. No complaints with any of ‘em.

            Every Tuesday the local Fresh Market has choice chuck ground that day ( or so they say) for 2.99/lb. Not sure what the fat content is, but that is what I buy. Cheaper and easier than buying my own roast and grinding it up. I have taken some homemade bacon and ground it up and added it, man was that good.


              When it comes to grinding meat it isn't just about controlling the fat content. Grocery-store ground meat is tightly packed. It's dense. When I grind it myself, especially for burgers, I form the patties as loose as possible. The texture of a loosely formed burger is fantastic. Plus, if you want to mix partially rendered bacon bits into your burgers it's much easier to do so with consistency when the grind is really loose.


                I just buy the cheapest 70/30 out there and smash the heck out of them on the flat top. For me, burgers are supposed to be cheap.

                I'll spend good money on steaks and brisket.


                  Picked up some ground beef from Costco today. 88/12 for $3.29/lb. Also bought a USDA Prime full-packer brisket for $2.99/lb!

                  Wish I had a meat grinder to make some brisket burgers!!!


                    I think grind and then fat content are probably the two most important things for a good burger, Then the selection of cut(s). As long as you're buying decent meat with a decent fat content you'll be fine. I prefer to grind my own, usually just Choice chuck, because that way I control the grind and can add fat if I feel I need to. But, man, grinding up an untrimmed try-tip? Dayum, that makes a silky burger. Totally different texture than ground chuck. I want to make Picaña burgers some day, but I just can't bring myself to do it.


                    • HouseHomey
                      HouseHomey commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Pichana will need another mix in. Sirloin can get mealy/dry after mid rare. So, so good though. I would highly recommend it mid rare a most. Then decide if you want a mix. A great sear above rare and pushing mid rare is an excellent burger with grilled red onion, mustard and a softer bun.

                    maybe this has already been stated but when yiou buy ground waygu what parts of waygu are you getting? are waygu chin meat included? lips? or is it guarahteed all is premium cuts?



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