When buying GF ground beef (I usually buy other cuts) and I have a choice of "lean" percentage, I divide the price per pound by the lean percent and then buy the "cheapest" one. I figure I'm buying the protein. This seems like a good value approach, unless I'm missing something?
I have two options at Whole Foods: 85 lean, or 93 lean. I always choose the 85. In fact, on the off occasion when 85 isn't available, I get really really cranky.
It depends what I'm using it for. Most of the time, I want the 85% lean, because I want the CLA and other healthy fatty acids. If it's going into chili or some other soup and I don't plan to pre-brown it, I get the leaner variety, usually 90%. I do that simply because the fat that separates in chili and soups is off-putting to me.
when i buy it from the farm, it's 80/20. i think the trader joe's ground beef i get is 85/15. honestly, i dont really pay attention too much haha
My local provider does not add any fat to his beef, it just gets ground up as it is. I don't know the percentage, but they don't shrink much in the pan. Compared to regular supermarket beef which leaks out lots of water and fat in the pan.
If I am paying the price of grass-fed (and I usually do), I do not buy "ground beef". I get a cut that I want (usually 2/3 chuck, 1/3 sirloin or 1/2 Tri-Tip, 1/2 Hanger) and I ask the butcher to grind it up.
Don't worry about the fat content, worry about the quality of the cut.
Rule of thumb: if grass-fed, get the fattiest cut. If conventional, get the leanest cut.
I usually buy extra lean or lean, depending what is available or on sale. 7% fat. Here is some good info: