At The Daily Meal, we love burgers. We like to grill burgers, order them at restaurants, and eat as many as we can get our hands on…but our favorite thing to do with burgers? Tell you all about them.
Longtime resident Restaurant Editor Dan Meyers publishes an annual list of the 101 Best Burgers in America, and our team of editors and staff writers has published a plethora of articles and recipes on the subject.
In the past, we’ve collected tips and snippets of advice from burger experts like butcher Pat LaFrieda, who works with New York City’s top chefs devising signature burger blends; Govind Armstrong, executive chef and owner of 8 oz. Burger Bar and critically acclaimed Los Angeles restaurant Post & Beam; and Johnathan Waxman, the chef/owner of Barbuto restaurant in NYC.
We consider ourselves to be authorities on burgers, with our own ideas about buns, condiments, cooking techniques, and more — but one thing we've never paid enough attention to is the makeup of the burger patty itself.To rectify this, we reached out Jamie Schweid, president of Schweid & Sons, of Carlstadt, New Jersey — purveyors of quality ground beef and nothing else — because to be a real burger aficionado, it is crucial to understand the characteristics and flavors of the different cuts of beef that can be blended into a burger patty.
The Schweid family has been in the butchering business since the late 1800s and have zeroed in on ground beef over the past century. Schweid taught us that the traditional American burger is made primarily from pure chuck (from the upper inner shoulder of the animal), but there are many other cuts of beef that can contribute to an overall richer and meatier flavor.
One important fact to consider when blending ground beef is the ratio of fat to lean meat. “Consumers for years have been buying meat that is too lean, which in turn lacks juiciness and flavor,” Schweid says. “Buying meat with fat is where the flavor lives.”
When purchasing ground beef, Schweid recommends looking at 75/25 to 80/20 fat to lean ratio first before looking at the cuts of beef.
Here is the ultimate guide to cuts of beef suited for blending into burger patties and their flavor characteristics; as Sam Schweid, Jamie’s grandfather, used to say: “If you put only good meat into your burgers, only good things will come out.”