Ground round and ground chuck are two types of ground beef sourced from different parts of the cow. While it may seem that all types of ground beef should be interchangeable, there is actually considerable variation in flavors and textures. Knowing the difference between them can help to ensure that you get the right ground beef for the dish you want to make. Below we will look at ground round vs. ground chuck and the ways to use them.
How do ground round and ground chuck differ?
Ground round can have varying degrees of fat but is usually lean. The ratio of lean meat to fat is often 90/10, which means 90 percent lean meat and 10 percent fat. This is similar to the lean-to-fat ratio of ground sirloin. Because it does not have much fat, patties made with ground round will usually not shrink much on the grill.
Ground chuck usually contains about 15 or 20 percent fat. Patties made with ground chuck will be more flavorful, but are also likely to shrink when cooked.
What parts of the cow provide ground and ground chuck?
Ground round comes from the round primal cut. The round primal comes from the rear leg and rump of the cow. Because the muscles from this part of the animal do a lot of work, they can be tough. There is also a lot of connective tissue since the knee and hip joints are in this area. Along with being relatively tough, meat from the round is also lean. This is because most of a cow’s fat is deposited on its front side with the rear providing meat that is relatively low in fat.
The chuck primal cut consists of a large portion of the cow’s front half. It includes the shoulder, parts of the neck and ribs as well as some of the upper foreleg. It makes almost a third of an entire side of beef. Like the round primal, the chuck gets a lot of exercise and contains a significant amount of connective tissue. In its whole form, meat from the chuck can be very tough and will take a long time to cook.
Which is better to grill, ground round or ground chuck?
Lean meat is easier to grill than fattier meat since there is less melting fat to drip onto coals or onto your burner. Melting fat results in additional cleanup and can cause flare-ups. Ground chuck has more fat, so patties made with it can be a little more difficult to grill. You will have to pay attention to the temperature of your grill and be ready to move the patties when necessary.
Which is more expensive, ground round or ground chuck?
Both ground round and ground chuck are relatively inexpensive, but ground round comes in at a lower price. It’s often 25% less the price or more.
When should you use ground round and when should you use ground chuck?
Ground round’s leanness means that it may not be ideal if you plan to make burgers. Fat is what makes your burger patties juicy and flavorful. With ground round, it is more likely that they will be dry and tasteless. It may be wise to not use it on the grill at all unless you are watching your weight and specifically want a low-fat burger. Use it for spaghetti sauces and tacos that will have multiple toppings, as the dryness will not be as noticeable in these dishes. If you do use it on the grill, try to not to cook it beyond medium rare. Note that this degree of doneness involves a certain amount of risk as it may not be sufficient to kill bacteria.
Ground chuck is the ideal meat for burger patties that are to be cooked on the grill. You can cook it past medium rare without it becoming excessively dry.