December 20, 2014
Cutting the Fat in Ground Beef?
Ask the Experts

Cutting the Fat in Ground Beef?

by Berkeley Wellness  |  

Q: When cooking ground beef, if I squeeze out the fat and then rinse the cooked meat in hot water, will it be as low in fat as ground turkey?

A: Not as lean as ground turkey breast, but almost as lean as regular ground turkey. Cooking removes about one-quarter of the fat from ground beef—even more if the meat is crumbled, well cooked and then well drained.

Rinsing the cooked meat is sometimes recommended because it can get rid of as much as half the remaining fat. Just place the meat in a strainer, press out some fat, and rinse it with hot (not boiling) water. You can do this only for recipes that call for crumbled meat, such as spaghetti sauce and chili. The meat does lose some flavor and texture.

Even “lean” ground beef is high in fat (especially saturated fat)—about 20 percent fat by weight, which supplies about three-quarters of the total calories. Cooking will bring the fat content to perhaps 15 percent by weight, depending on how you cook it. Regular ground turkey, which contains dark meat, averages about 8 percent fat by weight when raw (a little less when cooked). But ground turkey breast is only 1 to 2 percent fat. You can’t beat that.