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Buyers’ Guide to Ground Beef

Fire River Farms delivers delicious ground beef, both bulk and patties, precooked and raw, with superior quality assurance.

Ground beef recipes are used 60% of the time when Americans cook beef at home. Consumers carry this preference when they’re eating out too, so it’s no surprise that bulk ground beef represents the largest portion of beef related products sold.  

How Ground Beef is Made

Ground beef is essentially finely grinded or chopped beef. According to USDA regulations, ground beef consists of chopped fresh and/or frozen beef with or without seasoning and should not contain more than 30% fat.  No added water, phosphates, binders or extenders are acceptable. 

Ground beef is made only from the skeletal muscles of the cow and the fat comes from the meat trimmings. No additional fat can be added.  

Lean Points of Ground Beef

According to the American Meat Institute, when beef is cut into steaks and roasts, there are smaller pieces left over. These pieces are called “trimmings” and some are lean while others have more fat. The lean and fat trimmings are blended together in various ratios to produce the various lean points of ground beef (e.g. 80/20 ground chuck).   

Bulk ground beef comes packaged according to lean percentages. The most common lean types are:  

  • Ground Beef (70% lean / 30% fat) – This type is the juiciest and has the most flavor. It’s typically made from brisket or shank.  
  • Ground Chuck (80% lean / 20% fat) – Also known as “lean ground beef” because it has less fat than regular ground beef. Ground chuck comes from the shoulder of the cow and is often used to make a quality hamburger patty due to the meat being tender and rich.  
  • Ground Round (85% lean / 15% fat) –  This ground beef is made from the lower end of the cow and is referred to as extra lean ground beef. It’s light flavor profile, makes ground round a frequent addition to sauces.   
  • Ground Sirloin (90% lean / 10% fat) – A healthier option and can also be labeled extra lean ground beef. Ground Sirloin is made from the midsection of the cow and is often used in sauces and chilis.  

Blends of Ground Beef

Restaurant operators that buy in bulk have a lot more options to customize their ground beef than consumers. Most consumers are limited to smaller ground beef quantities, like the popular 1-lb roll and a minimal variety of blends. When buying bulk ground beef, operators can choose from a wide variety of custom blends and can mix and match to create a one-of-a-kind burger. 

Fire River Farms offers a range of primal-specific cuts and blends, from chuck and sirloin to specialty meats like Angus. For a ground beef that meets your specifications and helps differentiate your menu, contact your Sysco Sales Consultant to learn more about Fire River Farms ground beef.