Best Types of Hamburger Meat

Sometimes we crave lean burgers; other times, we want the handheld equivalent of a dry-aged steak. The cuts and styles of beef featured here are available in most markets and can be used on their own or blended together. Buy ground meat, or ask your butcher to grind it for you; many supermarket meat counters are equipped for the task. See our Guide to Building the Perfect Burger »

Brisket

This is one of the most flavorful cuts for burgers. Look for brisket labeled “flat cut” if you like a leaner grind; ask for the fattier “second cut” or “nose cut” for all-out richness.

Dry-Aged Beef

Including some ground dry-aged beef (from cuts like the rib eye, pictured) will give your burgers a concentrated, steak-like flavor.

Grass-Fed

Less fatty than corn-fed beef, the meat of pasture-raised cattle produces a lean hamburger with a clean, mineral flavor. You can add a bit of ground fat to your blend for more flavor.

Wagyu

In the U.S., Japanese Wagyu cows have been crossbred with those of other breeds to produce unsurpassably tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef. Ground Wagyu makes for a seriously luxe burger.

Short Rib

Short ribs are meaty and tender and make for a particularly sumptuous burger. Ask your butcher to grind boneless short rib, also called chuck flap tail.

Sirloin

Sirloin cuts are amply marbled and full of beefy flavor. When you want the flavor of the patty to stand out, go with top sirloin, tri-tip, or knuckle.

Ground Hamburger

What’s labeled “hamburger” in the supermarket is typically a blend of trimmings from various steaks and roasts. Often, the fat percentage is indicated on the label.

Round

The hindquarters, or round, has little intramuscular fat. Once ground, it makes for a lean patty that takes well to rich accompaniments.

For more tips on building the perfect burger:

See our favorite seasonings »

See 9 great cheese options »

See 25 favorite toppings »