A lot of us, especially those of us who are health buffs, love eating lean ground beef. But, lean ground beef, because of the lack of fat, gets less tender than you would want it to. How do you add fat to lean ground beef? You’ve come across the right article, in that case!
The best fat to add to ground beef is always beef tallow. The best way to add the fat is by mixing them in the food processor while the meat and fat are both cold. This will make sure that the fat is properly distributed into the meat.
Adding fat to lean beef meat is a very common practice. This is often done when making burgers, mince, or even meatballs. Without adding any fat to the ground beef, the meat will get dry when it is cooked.
So, for most recipes, this step is just as important as it gets. Moreover, although beef tallow might seem the best fat to add, various other types of fat work just as well as tallow does and might be more easily accessible!
In this blog post, we will discuss all the fat types that can be added to lean ground beef and the best way to add each. Lastly, we will discuss removing some fat if you add some excess. So, let’s get your meat juicy! Happy reading!
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What Does Adding Fat To Lean Ground Beef?
Before we talk about adding fat to lean ground beef, it is important to understand what fat even does to lean meat. Quite often, not just with ground beef but even steak, chefs prefer steak with at least some fat in it rather than using completely lean meat.
Because many people are turning to healthy food and less fat, it may seem odd that people would still want to add fat to lean meat. Well, not really! Fat, to food, is just as important as everything else that is added to it.
Talking about lean ground beef, it has almost no fat in it. Fat creates moisture in food while it is being cooked. So, when fat is added to lean ground beef, it naturally creates moisture in the lean meat.
This, in turn, makes the meat juicy while cooking. It also makes the meat more tender than it would be otherwise. Lastly, depending on the type of fat you add to the meat, the fat can also add a lot of flavor to lean ground beef.
What Type Of Fat Can Be Added To Lean Ground Beef?
The type of fat that you add to your lean ground beef creates a huge difference in its overall texture and flavor. You may wonder if there is anything other than tallow or oil that can even be added to lean ground beef.
Several different types of fat can easily be incorporated into lean ground beef. It all depends on your personal preference, availability, and also the sort of flavor profile that you are looking for.
I have mentioned some fat you can easily add to your lean ground beef. The options go way beyond just beef tallow and are much more accessible! So now, based on the results you would get with each of these, you can choose which fat works best for you!
1. Beef Fat
The best thing to add to lean ground beef is fat. Beef fat, particularly back fat, should work well with ground beef. It adds a lot of moisture to the beef and is rich and similar in flavor to the actual ground beef!
2. Bacon Fat
Bacon fat, also known as ‘lard,’ is extremely flavorful. Lard is so commonly used in many recipes just because of all the extra flavor that it carries! If you have some bacon drippings handy, this can be a great place to put them to use.
Butter is something that you will have in your kitchen. So, there is no easier fat to add to ground beef than butter! However, you must ensure that the butter is as cold as ice while you add it! Butter will elevate the flavor and make the beef tender and juicy.
Sausages are packed with a lot of fat, along with all the minced meat. Adding sausages to lean meat is a common thing. Ground sausages add just the right amount of moisture to lean meat and some flavor, depending on the type of sausage. If you are being adventurous, you can also go for chorizo or other such spiced sausages that are fatty.
5. Pork Mince
Yet again, a common way to add a lot of fat and flavor to lean meat, especially burgers, is to add pork mince. This is often done with gamey meats like elk and venison to add flavor and because they are generally lean.
Don’t have any excess bacon grease but do you have bacon at home? Then that’s great news! Bacon can also be added to lean ground beef to give it moisture. Chopped pieces of bacon into the lean meat render a lot of fat while the meat is cooking, making it juicy and flavorful.
Last but surely not least on our list is cheese. Cheese is fatty and flavorful and is something that you might already have in your kitchen. Soft cheese works well, like feta cheese and cream cheese. However, be careful while cooking them as exposure to very high temperatures can burn the cheese.
Steps To Add Fat To Lean Ground Beef
One thing to remember here is that meat can be very tricky to work with. Unlike other things we are used to cooking, meat needs to be handled a certain way. If you handle the meat properly, chances are that you will get the desired result that you were expecting.
So, choosing the right fat to add to lean ground beef is important. But, adding it correctly and in quantity is just as important a step. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to add fat to your lean ground beef.
Every step has been explained in as much detail as possible so that it is easier for you in every way. Now, without further ado, let us start the process right from the beginning!
1. Choose The Right Fat
The first step while adding fat to ground beef is to choose the right type of fat. This depends on a lot of things. Based on the flavor profile you are looking for and also accessibility and dietary requirements, you can decide the type of fat you would like to add.
Remember that even cooking temperatures must be kept in mind while choosing the right type of fat! Some types of fat, like cheese and butter, tend to smoke much faster than other types. So, if something needs to be cooked at a very high temperature, choosing the fat with the lowest smoking point is best.
2. Decide The Quantity Of Fat To Be Added
Once you have decided on the right type of fat for your ground beef, the quantity has to be decided. Of course, you must do more than just add any amount as you please, as that will ruin the overall quality and texture of the lean ground beef.
There are complicated ways to decide how much fat to add to your lean ground beef. But, if you go by the rule of thumb, then in most cases, a 1:2 ratio of fat vs. lean ground beef works best in the case of all types of fat.
3. Mix The Fat With The Lean Ground Beef
Once you decide on the right type of fat and quantity to be added, you can add the fat. While adding fat to lean ground beef, regardless of the fat type, one thing stays the same for them all!
The fat and the meat should both be as cold as possible! Adding liquid or semi-liquid fat will completely ruin the consistency of the lean meat. So, the best way to do this is to chop up some ice-cold fat into small pieces.
Then, add the lean ground beef to a food processor. Here, make sure that the food processor is also cold. Then, at a low speed, begin adding small amounts of fat to the mixture with the food processor.
Here, ensure that the food processor is off at a very high speed, as that will also create a lot of heat. Once all the fat is added, the ground beef will reach the correct consistency. Take it out of the food processor and let it cool for a while before cooking.
How To Make Lean Ground Beef Extra Juicy?
Meat can be much trickier to work with than you may have thought. Unlike various other types of food, with meat, following certain guidelines is important to get the right texture. Just a little here and there, your beef will end up being as dry as gravel!
Of course, no one would want that after putting in all the effort! So, while cooking with lean ground beef, certain small tips and tricks have to be taken into consideration. It may seem like a tough task and a lot to remember, but trust me; it is far from that!
These easy tips and tricks will ensure that your meat is cooked perfectly and remains juicy and tender throughout the process. These tricks can easily be used for burgers, mince, or meatballs made with lean ground beef.
1. Don’t Overwork The Meat
The most fundamental mistake people make with lean ground beef is overworking it. You may mix the fat into the meat with your hands if you like, but here, you must be extra careful.
If you use it too much, the heat from your hands and the food processor can melt the fat. This, in turn, ruins the texture of the lean meat and makes it dry. So, work with the meat as gently as you possibly can!
2. Increase The Heat As Per The Fat
Certain types of fat can take high heat well, while others can’t. This is especially true for fats like cheese and butter, which have a lower smoking point. If the flame is too high, the fat will eventually burn.
This will leave a bad flavor and take away the meat’s juiciness, which is something no one wants! So, decide the heat of cooking your meat based on the type and amount of fat you have added to your lean ground beef.
3. Don’t Flip Burgers More Than Once
Another fundamental mistake many people must correct, especially with burgers, is flipping them too often. Flipping the burgers too often will eventually overwork the meat, just like it would while mixing the fat in.
So, although it may seem tempting, try not to flip your burger more than once to retain all that juicy and fatty flavor. Moreover, try not to press your burgers down, too, as that will do the same thing. Instead, start with thinner patties for even cooking.
How To Remove Excess Fat From Lean Ground Beef?
Calculating the fat added to lean ground beef can be a task. Sometimes, you may add a lot more than needed. If you realize it then and there, before mixing it in, then great! You can remove the excess fat as it is.
However, if you have already mixed the fat in and think it’s too much, you can still remove some of it. You will have to cook the beef in a non-stick skillet. Once you see the fat rendering from the beef, transfer it into a strainer and wash off the beef. This way, you can eliminate all the excess fat you would like.
This article has helped you understand how to incorporate fat into lean ground beef as we have reached the end. As I mentioned, and I don’t think I can mention it enough, work carefully with meat.
Overworking is the first enemy of lean meat and should be avoided under any circumstances. Rest assured, if you follow all the steps and methods properly, you will surely enjoy some delicious, juicy, and tender lean beef.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can olive oil be added to lean ground beef?
No, it is best to add fat that stays so in solid form, as liquid fat will ruin the consistency of the lean ground beef.
Should you add salted or unsalted butter to lean ground beef?
Unsalted butter is the safer option, as it won’t create issues with seasoning later.
Can you wrap the beef in bacon and cook it?
Yes, wrapping ground beef in bacon and cooking it is quite common, especially with burgers.
Why does the food processor need to be cold while adding the fat to the lean ground beef?
The food processor has to be cold while adding the fat; that way, it will mix in better with the beef without ruining its texture.
Can the fat be mixed into the lean ground beef by hand?
Yes, if you prefer to mix them by hand, you can do so. However, work the meat appropriately and handle it as gently as possible.
Does minced pork add to the flavor of lean ground beef?
Yes, pork mince is full of fat and is very flavorful on its own. Adding that to lean ground beef will surely add a lot of flavor.
Is this practice common with other types of lean meats too?
Yes, adding fat to other lean ground meat is also very common. Some common types of meat where extra fat is almost always added are elk and venison.