Choosing Lean Ground Beef
Why it’s bad: Nothing is sadder than a dull, dry burger or meatball, which you’re virtually guaranteed to get if you use lean beef. Fat bastes the meat as it cooks, keeping it rich and moist. When you opt for 90 percent lean ground beef, there’s simply less of the good stuff to make the food tasty.
Do this instead: Go with ground chuck, which is typically only 80 or 85 percent lean. And don’t worry about the extra fat, says Kamozawa: “A lot of it drains off during cooking—as much as 15 percent. So the 80 percent beef you start with can end up being closer to 90 or 95 percent lean as long as you drain the fat from the pan.” And as the fat drains, it loosens the interior structure of the meat, so you end up with a less dense—and therefore more tender—burger.