Is it cheaper to make ground beef at home and the benefits


ground beef meat
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases made on our website. If you make a purchase through links from this website, we may get a small share of the sale from Amazon and other similar affiliate programs.

Ground beef is used in many recipes. From bolognese to lasagna, tacos, everyone’s favorite meatballs, and we could go on. Packaged ground beef is very convenient to buy, but do we actually know what we are buying. On the other hand, when making ground beef yourself, you know exactly what is in the mix, but it takes time and effort. So is making ground beef at home really worth it or is it better to buy packaged ground beef from the store. We did a research and found out if it is cheaper to make ground beef at home.

It is cheaper to make ground beef at home. You need to buy cheaper cuts, like brisket, boneless back ribs, flat or roast. If you get the cheaper cuts, you can save up to 300$ a year if you are a family of four.

Statistics show that an average American eats 222lb of ground meat a year. If we put this into the calculation, you can see that you could save up to 75$ a year if you would make your own ground beef at home from cheap cuts of meat.

Savings for making ground beef at home calculated on average consumption basis per person
WeightGround Beef 80-89% – average USDA priceHomemade cheapest cuts (Brisket, Flat, Roast)DifferenceMonthly saving per personYearly saving per person
1lb (454g)$4.33$3.99$0.34$6.29$75.48
Ground Beef 80-89% – average USDA priceHomemade cheap cuts average priceDifferenceMonthly saving per personYearly saving per person
1lb (454g)$4.33$4.15$0.18$3.33$39.96
Ground beef 80-85% – average online store priceHomemade cheap cuts average priceDifferenceMonthly saving per personYearly saving per person
1lb (454g)$6.10$4.15$1.95$36.08$432.90

Is ground beef really made of scraps and how to make it

How is ground beef made? Some consumers are surprised that ground beef isn’t made from grinding the whole muscle. The truth is that ground beef can be made from whole muscle cuts and trimmings. Not every piece of meat is suitable for the butcher to display in the display counter. The fact is also that somewhere between 15% and 20% of the carcass is trimmings.

For example, thin pieces of meat that lay over the ribs or little cuts of meat that are cut off when preparing, for instance, wellington beef. It would be a shame if butcher would throw these cuts away. These cuts, also called trimmings that can’t be used for any other purposes, are used for ground beef.

manual meat grinder

How to balance and combine beef cuts to get the right lean to fat target for ground beef

Ground beef is classified by lean to fat ratio. For example:

80/20 – meaning 80% lean meat, 20% fat

85/15 – meaning 85% lean meat, 15% fat

90/10 – meaning 90% lean meat, 10% fat

Different cuts of meat are ground together to achieve the right balance of lean to fat ratio. So, get a cut of meat with low fat ratio and a cut of meat of higher fat ratio and combine them to achieve the desired lean to fat ratio. When combining leaner cuts like the shank and fatter cuts like the plate, you can balance combinations and get specific lean to fat target like 80/20 or 90/10 ground beef.

Example:

  • The plate is a perfect example of a thin piece of meat with high fat ratio. The plate consists of 50% meat and 50% fat (or 50/50 meat).
  • The shank is a perfect example of a leaner cut of meat. It consists of 90% of meat and 10% of fat.

You can buy ground beef at your local store or purchase separate cuts of meat and ground yourself.

I’ve written a complete “is it cheaper” analysis of the most popular foods cooks make at home.

(BREAD, PIZZA, PASTA, FRIES, BEEF JERKY, LASAGNA, CHEESECAKE, GRANOLA BARS, GLUTEN-FREE BREAD, MAYONNAISE, GNOCCHI, GUACAMOLE, GROUND BEEFBROWNIES, HUMMUS)

I outlined the costs and buying guides for the ultimate savings.

Pros and cons of homemade ground beef

PROS

  • You know exactly which part of the meat you will ground.
  • Ground meat is made fresh and can be immediately stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • You balance lean to fat ratio.
  • Homemade ground beef is cheaper. The first saving is made when you buy meat in bulk from a local farmer, and the second saving is made when you ground beef yourself. You can save up to 75$ a year if you make it at home from scratch.
  • Any cut or trimming can be used in ground beef. If you buy meat in bulk from local farmers, you will get a lot of trimmings and cuts that are hard to use in everyday dishes. You can easily blend this trimmings into ground beef.
  • Can easily be vacuum frozen.

CONS

  • It takes time and effort to ground beef. First, you need to cut the meat into pieces, assemble the meat grinder, and in the end, you need to clean everything.
  • It doesn’t freeze very well if it is not vacuum packaged.

Pros and cons of fresh store ground and butcher ground beef

PROS

  • You can choose parts of meat that go into the mixture.
  • You decide on the lean to fat ratio.
  • Freshness can be easily checked by the color of ground beef (you are looking for bright red color).
  • You can choose between fine and coarse ground beef, depending on the recipe you are making.
  • Can easily be vacuum frozen.

CONS

  • It is more expensive than prepackaged or homemade ground beef if you don’t buy cheaper cuts.
  • It doesn’t freeze very well if it is not vacuum packaged.

Pros and cons of prepackaged store-bought ground beef

PROS

  • Very convenient.
  • Labels indicate best before date.
  • Longer shelf life.

CONS

  • It is more expensive than pre packaged or homemade ground beef.
  • Not knowing which parts of meat are in the blend.
  • Bacteria can form quicker.
  • The mix can be made from many different animals.
  • Usually, only trimmings are included, and very few whole muscle parts.

prepacked ground beef

How to cook ground beef

Cooks make a variety of dishes with ground beef, from hamburger patties to meatballs, sauces, and baked dishes.

If you are not making hamburgers, ground beef is best if you pan-fry it or make it together with onions and spices.

First, you seal the meat off on some hot olive oil. By doing that, you are removing the fat. The fat will render out and start to cook the meat. In the frying process, the water will always be released from the meat. You always need to evaporate the water, so the meat starts to sizzle in the pan and starts to get some brownish color. It’s a long and slow process, but the results pay off at the end.

What temperature and how long to cook ground beef

The temperature really depends on what dish you are making. But to be safe, ground beef should be cooked on at least 160F (71 C).

The cooking time also depends on the dish you are making, but the rule of thumb is the longer, the better, especially if you are making a sauce. For example, I have been making bolognese sauce for around 35 years, and the sauce that cooked the most time was always the best.

When making hamburgers, some prefer the meat to be red in the middle. We recommend you use a food thermometer when you make medium-rare ground beef to ensure the meat reaches temperature at least 160F (71 C), which can happen in a few minutes.

How to cook ground beef without oil

Ground beef can be cooked without oil. If you cook it without oil, it is best to get a bit higher fat to lean ratio. Fat will help cook the meat.

Put the meat into a hot pan. The meat will release water at first. When the water evaporates, the fat will start to melt and replace the oil you would put in at first. This way, the meat will cook in its fat.

Cost and savings if you make ground beef at home?

The price of ground beef made at home depends on a few factors.

Buying beef in bulk from the farmer

If you buy meat in bulk from a local farmer, the meat’s price will surely be lower than if you buy it in a store. Getting large parts of the animal is beneficial as you can decide on the cuts you want to make and use in your cooking. Certainly, you won’t ground whole muscle meat because you will use it for steaks, files, cubes, and roasts. You will grind trimmings that present at least 10-20% of the entire meat for grinding.

Buying beef cuts from store

The price will depend on the cut you buy if you buy whole meat cuts from a store. Since ground beef is usually made with cheaper cuts, you should get those. But if you want to make top of the class beef burgers with lean organic grass-fed beef, steak cut beef, and ground it at home; then the price will be very high.

You can also choose cheaper cuts and asking the butcher in the store to ground them for you. This way, you can see what goes into your ground beef, and at the same time, you are getting cheap, freshly ground beef from the cuts you want.

Manual and electric meat grinders

To make ground beef at home, you must have a meat grinder. Electrical or manual meat grinders are perfect for doing this job. Meat grinders are excellent for grounding meat and for things like sausages, bones, chickpeas for falafel, cookie dough, vegetables, and more.

Average beef retail prices

To calculate the price difference between homemade and store-bought ground beef, we took the average prices from the USDA website (updated June 2020). We also calculated an average online price for ground beef per pound and compared it with homemade ground beef made from trimmings and cheap cuts.

To calculate the average price of cheap cuts, we took the following cuts into the calculation:

CutPrice per lb
Rump Roast$3.99
Brisket, Flat$3.99
Chuck/Shldr/Arm Steak$5.54
Beef Backribs$2.22
Sirloin Steak$4.99
Average price$4.15

Savings if you make ground beef at home

The first table below shows the average price of ground beef 80-89% is 4,33$ and the average online price 6.1$. These prices are compared to the cheapest cuts and average prices of cheap cut.

Homemade ground beef is cheaper than store-bought ground beef. For example, if you are a family of four and are buying ground beef online, you could save up to 1700$ a year if you make it at home.

Savings for making ground beef at home calculated on average consumption basis per family of four
WeightGround Beef 80-89% – average USDA priceHomemade cheapest cuts (Brisket, Flat, Roast)DifferenceMonthly saving per family of fourYearly saving per family of four
1lb (454g)$4.33$3.99$0.34$25.16$301.92
Ground Beef 80-89% – average USDA priceHomemade cheap cuts average priceDifferenceMonthly saving per family of fourYearly saving per family of four
1lb (454g)$4.33$4.15$0.18$13.32$159.84
Ground beef 80-85% – average online store priceHomemade cheap cuts average priceDifferenceMonthly saving per family of fourYearly saving per family of four
1lb (454g)$6.10$4.15$1.95$144.30$1,731.60

An average American eats 222lb of ground meat a year. If we put this into the calculation, you can see that you could save up to 75$ a year if you would make your own ground beef at home from cheap cuts of beef.

Savings for making ground beef at home calculated on average consumption basis per person
WeightGround Beef 80-89% – average USDA priceHomemade cheapest cuts (Brisket, Flat, Roast)DifferenceMonthly saving per personYearly saving per person
1lb (454g)$4.33$3.99$0.34$6.29$75.48
Ground Beef 80-89% – average USDA priceHomemade cheap cuts average priceDifferenceMonthly saving per personYearly saving per person
1lb (454g)$4.33$4.15$0.18$3.33$39.96
Ground beef 80-85% – average online store priceHomemade cheap cuts average priceDifferenceMonthly saving per personYearly saving per person
1lb (454g)$6.10$4.15$1.95$36.08$432.90

I’ve written a complete “is it cheaper” analysis of the most popular foods cooks make at home.

(BREAD, PIZZA, PASTA, FRIES, BEEF JERKY, LASAGNA, CHEESECAKE, GRANOLA BARS, GLUTEN-FREE BREAD, MAYONNAISE, GNOCCHI, GUACAMOLE, GROUND BEEFBROWNIES, HUMMUS)

I outlined the costs and buying guides for the ultimate savings.

Best electric meat grinders for meat, bones or even cookies

#1 WINNER Kitchener Elite Electric Meat Grinder

>> Check price on Amazon <<

#2 Electric Meat Grinder, Aobosi 3-IN-1 Meat Mincer & Sausage Stuffer

>> Check price on Amazon <<

#3 ALTRA Stainless Steel Electric Meat Grinder, Meat Mincer & Sausage Stuffer

>> Check price on Amazon <<

Best manual meat grinders for ground meat or cookie dough

#1 Weston Manual Tinned Meat Grinder

>> Check price on Amazon <<

#2 VBENLEM Manual Meat Grinder

>> Check price on Amazon <<

* The prices for ingredients and products in our tables are average prices take from various websites. The prices are not taken directly from Amazon.
* Pro family chef utilizes affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of our product links, Pro family chef will receive a small commission at no cost to you. This helps support us, and allows us to keep providing tips, reviews, guides, and content for you.

is it chipper to make ground beef at home from scratch

Rok Jurca

I am a kind of person that would sneak a taste out of grandma’s pot when I was barely tall enough to reach it. I grew up in kitchens full of love and liveliness and have spent my whole live learning, experimenting and succeeding in the art of cooking. At Pro Family Chef, every day is an opportunity for a new meal and a brand new flavor. I created this website to connect people that love to cook, with the products designed to make their cooking easier, hassle-free and rewarding every time.

Recent Posts