Why It's Important To Use Well-Marbled Meat For Your Burgers

Of the amazing plethora of foods we can choose to eat on any given day, there's one old standby that seems to be enjoyable on almost any occasion. Whether we're extremely hungry or just a bit peckish, whether we're dining alone or eating with friends, and whether it's lunch, dinner, or sometime past midnight — it's the humble hamburger. Ideally, a moist, juicy beef patty that's well-seasoned and served on a bun with a variety of toppings ranging from melted cheese to sliced tomatoes to crisp lettuce and beyond. 

A great burger is pretty hard to beat and consistently ranks among Americans' favorite foods (via Reader's Digest). A straightforward, no-frills burger can many times be just the ticket, but part of what undoubtedly endears the hamburger to so many palates across the world is its versatility. Burgers can be flavored with zingy ranch seasoning, topped with herbed yogurt, or even tucked inside tortillas for a quesadilla burger. But whatever style of burger is your personal fave, you're going to want to choose well-marbled meat when you make yours at home.

Beef fat means more juiciness

If there's anywhere in your diet you'll want to resist the urge to go low-fat, it's with the beef you choose to make hamburgers with. In a burger, fat equals juiciness, so unless you want to slap a hockey puck between two buns, then well-marbled is the way to go when you're selecting your beef. That term, by the way, simply means the soft fat that runs between the muscle fibers in a piece of meat, according to MasterClass. And if you're heading to your butcher in order to select the cuts of beef they'll grind into burger meat for you — a great idea, according to Food & Wine — well-marbled is what you should ask for.

As the fat in a piece of beef melts, explains MasterClass, it creates juiciness — exactly what we all look for in a hamburger. "You want to find a meat that has a good amount of marbling, that's the key to making a juicy burger," lauded burger chain Shake Shack's culinary director Mark Rosati told Food & Wine. He suggests choosing a combination of chuck and short rib, though you can play around with additions such as brisket and hanger steak, all of which boast excellent marbling. But whatever the cut, ensure you can see a good amount of fat, and avoid lean cuts for this particular mission. "Don't buy something like filet mignon," Rosati notes, "because once it cooks it's gonna dry out and become like leather."