comments 27

Do you drain ground beef? Why?!?

Drain Ground Beef? Why? | DadCooksDinner.com

Drain Ground Beef? Why?

Q&A with a Commenter on my Quick Chili in an 8 Quart Pressure Cooker video:

COMMENTER: I’m surprised you don’t drain your ground beef.

DadCooksDinner: What? Why in the world would you do that?

COMMENTER: To drain off the fat. After cooking. Everyone does it.

If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?

Every now and again I get asked “Why don’t you drain your ground beef?”. I was surprised the first few times I was asked. I had never heard of such a thing.

Do I drain my ground beef? No! Why would I? Sure, it may get rid of some of the fat. But I want that fat in the recipe – fat is flavor.

Speaking of flavor, I’m not just draining fat. I’m draining all the juices that escaped the meat – that’s even more flavor down the drain.

If you worry about fat, buy leaner ground beef. “Ground Beef” is usually 70% lean, 30% fat. Maybe I could understand draining that. But, why not buy 80% lean ground chuck instead? Or 85% lean ground round (my favorite for chili), or ultra-lean 90% to 92% ground sirloin?

Why throw out all the flavor?

Ahem. Sorry. I’ll stop ranting, and ask a question:

Reader survey: Do you drain ground beef?

So, it’s time for a survey. My question to you, dear readers:

Do you drain ground beef? Yes or no. If yes, why? Why?? WHY!?!?!?!?

Please let me know in the comments. I promise I’ll stop yelling.

Today is the last day to order the DadCooksDinner limited edition t-shirt. Orders close tonight, Thursday, September 29th at 11PM EST. If you want one, this is your last chance!

Click here to check them out. [Teespring.com]

Related Posts

Pressure Cooker Quick Chili (with Canned Beans)
Pressure Cooker Frito Pie
Pressure Cooker Cincinnati Chili
My other Pressure Cooker Recipes
My other Pressure Cooker Time Lapse Videos

Enjoyed this post? Want to help out DadCooksDinner? Subscribe to DadCooksDinner via eMail and share this post with your friends. Want to contribute directly? Donate to my Tip Jar, or buy something from Amazon.com through the links on this site. Thank you.


  1. I used to drain it, but I haven’t in years. If it’s something I don’t want the extra fat in like say tacos, I just buy leaner beef. I agree you’re draining away some flavor.

  2. I’ll admit I usually drain it. There’s usually a noticeable price difference between 85 and 90 % ground beef and for a lot of our purposes, we don’t need the extra fat/grease. Tacos, spaghetti, and such where the extra grease is more apparent often call for some draining. I can see the point of your argument, though. Probably worth a little consideration for the future, but a lot of times that extra fat isn’t really desired, even at the expense of some flavor.

  3. Nope – not a drainer. I generally buy ground sirloin, so there’s not much fat to drain.

  4. Martha Doane says

    I do not drain ground beef. I agree that it is foolish to pour away the flavor. I do skim fat off stock because grease on soup is unpleasant. I render down extra fat trimmed off pork or beef (brisket etc) to use when frying. I figure I paid for those products and do not want to waste.

  5. My mom was a drainer, and that’s what I learned. However, about 10 years ago I started buying mostly the 90% ground beef, and decided to stop draining.

  6. Mike in Austin says

    Not just “no” but “hell no”! For a less greasy mouth feel, I’ll add a little masa to my taco meat. It also adds a more Mexican flavor. I usually use 80/20 ground chuck.

  7. Yep, I do. I buy the 93% fat-free stuff and then drain after cooking. If I don’t, I notice that whatever I’m making is greasier in taste and texture and I don’t like it.

  8. I do not drain my ground beef, for the same reasons as you, it takes away flavour. I tend to buy lean or extra lean, so there’s never very much fat anyway

  9. Carolyn says

    I do not drain my ground beef. Of course we use 96/4 beef so there is very little fat to drain. My son always drains the fat but he uses 80/20 hamburger.

  10. Razzy 7 says

    Depends upon what ground meat I’m using. If it’s 90-10, for example, I wouldn’t drain it. If it’s a high fat to meat ratio I would. The flavor is in the juices that come from the meat, not the actual fat. I sometimes use a fat separator, where the fat separates from the juices and I pour off the fat and keep the juices.

    I just bought what is going to be a handy tool from QVC. It’s item # K-45776 Set of 2 Grease Strainers with Bowls and Lids. Look up that item number on QVC and watch the video. These strainers have several different uses and will be very handy I think.

    • Actually, some flavors dissolve in fat some in water and some in alcohol. So fat does carry flavors from the food.

  11. I’m sad to say I’m not a natural cook, so I follow directions. So I drain the fat (and the juices!). So, I trust you MIke, and what you say makes perfect sense. So, I won’t drain it for a while and see how it goes. 🙂

  12. Your rant makes perfect sense. I usually drain some of the fat, leave some. There was a fear-of-fat period when I even WASHED it after draining. I never thought to just buy leaner ground beef. Duh.

  13. I don’t drain mine. We get grass fed beef, and there’s lots of good stuff in the fat!

  14. Marilyn says

    Hi, I’m with you. I could never understand why. So, no, I don’t drain my beef. I used to find that some beef seemed to have more broth/ water than others and that it would water down my sauce but not so much any more. If a recipe specifically asks that I do, I drain it off into a separate bowl, remove the fat drippings and save the broth for gravies or soups.

  15. Aaron Friedman says

    No, not beef. I usually use 85-15 from Costco. If I’m using very fatty ground pork as well though I will occasionally.

  16. Rachel C says

    I used to drain ground beef years ago when I was buying the cheapest 70-75% lean variety, but I haven’t since I started buying 85-93% lean. I know it’s more expensive, but if you’re draining off and throwing away all that fat, then you’re paying for fat that you’re throwing away, so why not pay a little extra for meat you’ll actually eat all of, you know?

  17. Depends on the amount of grease in the pot. If it is excessive, I’ll spoon some out or use tongs and paper towel to get some out.

  18. I never drain ground beef after cooking (unless my better have is watching). My wife ALWAYS drains ground beef — she call’s all of it “FAT!”. I’ve tried to explain that most is water and flavor, but to no avail.

  19. Addie Calvitt says

    Hi Mike, thank you for sharing so many great recipes!

    No, I do not drain my ground beef after cooking. I prefer to use the 93% or 94% lean ground beef for this very reason.

  20. Charlie says

    I drain most of the time because I find that the meat ends up being really greasy and there isn’t a lot of flavor gained.

  21. TRees says

    Happy New Year! Am multi-tasking while making chili. I am not draining the ground beef; i have before, but has been awhile since I made chili. Never paid much attention to the draining, just did it automatically. However, tonight I thought, why do I have to? Checked this site, and definitely NOT draining the beef. Now I’m really hungry for this New Year’s Day Night treat, and with some red wine or a few cold beers. Thanks for the info and for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *