Ground beef

Ground beef

Ground beef, beef mince or hamburger meat (in North America), or mince or mince(d) meat (in the rest of the English speaking world) is a ground meat product, made of beef finely chopped by a meat grinder. It is used in many recipes including hamburgers and cottage pie.


In many countries, food laws define specific categories of ground beef and what they can contain. For example, in the United States, beef fat may be added to hamburger, but not to ground beef if the meat is ground and packaged at a USDA-inspected plant. A maximum of 30% fat by weight is allowed in either hamburger or ground beef. Both hamburger and ground beef can have seasonings, but no water, phosphates, extenders, or binders added. Ground beef is often marketed in a range of different fat contents, to match the preferences of different customers.

Ground beef is usually made from tougher meat and leftover meat created when the sides of beef are carved into steaks and roasts. About 17-18% of US ground beef comes from dairy cows.

Cuts of beef

Although any cut of beef may be used, chuck steak is one of the most popular choices, due to its richness of flavor and balance of meat and fat. Round steak is also frequently used.

Culinary use

Ground beef is popular as a relatively cheap and quick-cooking form of beef. One of its most well known uses is in American hamburgers. It is an important ingredient in meatloaf, sloppy joes, taco, and Midwestern cuisine. Italians use it to make meat sauces for, for example, lasagna and spaghetti bolognese. In the Middle East it is used to make spicy kofta and meatballs. The Scottish dish mince and tatties uses it along with mashed or boiled potatoes. In Lancashire, particularly Oldham, minced meat is a common filling for Rag Puddings.

Raw lean ground beef is used to make steak tartare and is popular as a sandwich dressing in Belgium, where it is known as filet américain ("American fillet").

Food safety

Food safety of ground meat issues are due to possible bacterial contamination. Undercooked Jack in the Box hamburgers contaminated in this manner were responsible for four deaths and the illness of hundreds of people in 1993.

Due to these concerns, some ground beef is now irradiated. This practice has received mixed reactions from consumers .

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