Round steak is the cut typically used for the leanest -- and most expensive -- ground beef in your grocery. You can grind the steak at home as well, or ask your butcher to grind it for you. Typically averaging around 11 percent fat, ground round needs special treatment when you cook it, so the hamburgers don't become overly dry. Round steak is a good all-around cut for making hamburgers that are lean, yet flavorful.
All Rounds Are Not Alike
A beef cut labeled as round steak typically includes only portions of the four main muscles in the round, or hind, section of the cow, and not from the rump or ankle. If you don't find a steak labeled, "round steak," choose a cut from the four muscle cuts with the most fat marbling, which translates in cooking to the most tender, juiciest and flavorful hamburger. Top round is the most tender, followed by sirloin tip, bottom round and eye-of-round.
Grinding It Out
While a meat grinder attachment on your mixer makes grinding round steak easy, you can also use a food processor if you're careful not to over-grind. With either appliance, place both the meat, cut into 1-inch pieces, and the blades or grinders into the freezer for about 15 minutes prior to grinding. Aim for a coarse grind or fine mince, and pulse the food processor so you can control how finely the meat is ground.
Keeping It Juicy
A juicy hamburger needs enough water and fat to keep it from drying out. If your round steak is on the lean side, add about 2 tablespoons of water or oil into each pound of meat when you're forming the patties. Wet your hands to keep the ground meat from sticking to them, and form the patties with a slight dent in the middle of the burger so the burger stays flatter while cooking and forms less of a bulge in its center.
Keeping It Safe
Ground beef is sometimes unsafe because grinding allows harmful bacteria, such as salmonella or E. coli, to penetrate throughout the meat and possibly multiply through mishandling or improper refrigeration. Use your ground steak directly after grinding to minimize the risk. Keep the meat safe by cooking it thoroughly, until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted sideways into each patty registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The Deluxe Food Lover's Companion; Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst
- Bon Appetit: For a Healthier, Tastier Burger, Skip Supermarket Patties and Grind Your Own Meat
- Fine Cooking: The Science of Grilling Burgers
- U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service: Ground Beef and Food Safety
- Photo Credit Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images