Exploring the Basics: What Exactly is 80/20 Ground Beef?

Are you a fan of ground beef? Well, if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably heard of 80/20 ground beef. But what exactly does that mean? In this article, we’ll explore the world of ground beef and answer all your burning questions about the 80/20 ratio. Get ready to beef up your knowledge! (See what I did there?)

What is 80/20 Ground Beef?

You have likely found yourself in the grocery store or at the butcher’s counter pondering over the various ground beef options at some time in your life. This is because there are many different types of ground beef and different leanness levels.

When it comes to 80/20 ground beef, you are getting about 80% lean meat with about 20% fat content. While many people choose to go with meat that has a lower fat content for health reasons, you may want to reconsider for a few reasons.

It is important to keep in mind that while you do not want to purchase meat that has more fat content than lean meat, the more fat content you have the better the flavor. However, there is a limit to how much fat you want in your meat cuts since you will lose more during the cooking process.

Overall, 80/20 ground beef gives you the perfect ratio for the best flavor profile and the ability to hold together when creating your favorite meals. In addition, this blend also provides you with a level of juiciness that prevents the meat from drying out during the cooking process.

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Does 80/20 Ground Beef Mean It is Less Healthy?

Many people equate the leanness ratios to the health factor that they hold overall, which means they avoid those with higher fat content. While it is true that the ratio is equal to the amount of lean meat to fat, it does not necessarily mean that you are taking in more calories.

What it does mean, however, is that, yes, there is more fat content in 80/20 ground beef than 90/10. However, it is the proportion of fat to calorie that is important. For 80/20 ground beef, it means that 20% of the meat overall comes from fat content.

While more and more people have the desire to be more health conscious when cooking in the kitchen, you should also keep in mind the dishes you are cooking. This is because while you may be saving yourself from higher fat content overall, you may be sacrificing the quality of the dish.

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What Dishes is 80/20 Ground Beef Good For?

Most people know that for various dishes you may want to cook in your kitchen, you need to vary the type of meat cuts you purchase. This is because some recipes call for a higher fat content while others need less fat.

Overall, the fat content you purchase in your ground beef will depend entirely on the dish you are preparing. For many dishes, you will want to maintain the flavor profile by using the 80/20 ratio of ground beef.

Wondering which dishes are best with 80/20 ground beef? Keep reading to find out.


When it comes to making burgers, the leanness of your ground beef matters since, with a higher fat content, you lose some during the cooking process. This is why the 80/20 ratio of ground beef is the best for making your burgers.

Additionally, 80/20 ground beef has just the right amount of fat content to keep your burgers moist, which helps to maintain the overall flavor profile. This will keep you from serving burgers that are dried out or have a bland flavor.

Overall, most kitchen experts recommend that you use 80/20 ground beef or even ground chuck to create the perfect burger. This is because the amount of fat in the meat means that your burgers will stay intact and will have a better overall flavor profile.

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If you are looking for another dish that cooks best with 80/20 ground beef, then look no further than a good hearty meatloaf. Since this dish has a longer cook time, you will need to use ground beef which has a higher fat content to avoid food shrinkage.

In addition to keeping your meatloaf from shrinking, you should also consider that since the dish cooks for longer periods, the chance of it drying out is increased. With an 80/20 blend, the meatloaf will stay moist throughout the cooking session.

Some kitchen experts will disagree with using 80/20 ground beef for meatloaf and recommend using a different ratio. This depends entirely on whether or not you are using other types of meats to blend with your ground beef.


Although most people use a blend of different types of meat to create the perfect meatball, others enjoy using pure beef. If this is the case for you, make sure that you are using an 80/20 ratio to avoid the meatballs being too dry.

While meatballs do not cook quite as long as meatloaf, you still want to avoid food shrinkage as well as flavor maintenance. Using 80/20 ground beef will give your meatballs the perfect moisture and flavor profile to produce the perfect meal.

Keep in mind that for the best flavor profile for your meatballs, kitchen experts recommend that you use a variety of meats. This will change the expectation of your ground beef ratio if you are using another meat, such as pork, that comes naturally with a higher fat content.

What are the Differences in the Different Leanness Levels?

If you have gone to the butcher’s counter or grocery store to purchase your ground beef, then you have likely encountered having to decide between the available different types.

Between the choice of ground beef and ground chuck as well as the various leanness levels, it can be quite overwhelming to choose the right one. While, in most cases, the type you choose depends on the dish you are preparing, it can still seem like a daunting task.

Keep in mind that choosing the right ratio of ground beef may depend on the dish you are preparing, it also depends on your personal preference. Knowing the difference between the various leanness levels can help you make the best decision when you are at the grocery store or butcher’s counter.

Not sure what the differences are between the different leanness levels on ground beef labels? Read on below to learn more.

80/20 Ground Beef

Many recipes that call for ground beef or ground chuck often do so with the expectation that you will choose 80/20. This is because when it comes to the flavor profile, this type is known to hold the flavor throughout the cooking process.

The reason for this is due to the higher fat content that gives your dishes the perfect amount of moisture and is less likely to cook off easily. This is especially important when you are making a dish that requires you to maintain the size of the portions.

This type of leanness for ground beef is the perfect amount for making burgers since it will produce ones that are moist and juicy. It is also important to note that, in most cases, the fat content holds the burgers together to reduce the amount of food shrinkage during the cooking process.

90/10 Ground Beef

This blend of ground beef is known to have 90% lean meat that is mixed with about 10% fat content. Since it has a lower fat content, it is the perfect choice for meals that come with other liquids.

Because of the lower fat content, using this blend for recipes that come with other liquids means that you will not have to worry about serving dried-out meat. Since the lower fat content can burn off easily during the cooking process, this leanness level is not ideal for burgers since you can also lose flavor.

90/10 ground beef is most often called for in recipes such as casseroles or pasta dishes where they combine nicely with sauces. These dishes also rely on not having an excess amount of grease hanging around after cooking them.

70/30 or 73/27 Ground Beef

Depending on the butcher or grocery store, you may see either of these labels on your ground beef choices. While these are mostly the same thing, it is important to note that they contain the highest amount of fat content that is allowed by the USDA.

70/30 or 73/27 ground beef comes with the highest amount of fat content which is great for recipes that call for a greater flavor profile. You will need to keep in mind, however, that because of this, you will likely experience more food shrinkage during the cooking process.

The advantage of using this level of leanness is that you will not have to worry about the ground beef drying out. This means that whatever you cook with this blend, the dish will have a higher flavor profile and will have plenty of flavor of moisture and juiciness. 

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Hope Davis

Born in Denver, Colorado as the oldest of 5 children, I learned at a young age that the grill was one of the best ways to prepare food for a crowd. And during the winter storm months, when the snow was likely to knock out the power to our house, the propane grill was a lifesaver! You wouldn’t believe the number of things you can cook on a grill when necessary. With parents who couldn’t tell salt from pepper unless you told them, I spent my late teen years making my own seasoning mixes and marinades to dress the meat before barbecues. It wasn’t long before I developed a secret marinade that people still beg me to make for them today! When I was 21 years old I bought my first smoker. Picked up some cedar chips for making a cedar plank salmon...and well, the rest they say is history! I’ve been grilling and smoking all kinds of creations ever since and I’m always excited to share my passion with others through my favorite medium--writing!

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