The Ideal Lean-To-Fat Beef Ratio For Simple Salisbury Steak

Salisbury steak is a nostalgic dish filled for many, whether this stems from memories of eating mom's recipe as a kid or just those old-school T.V. dinners. It's a simple, filling, flavorful comfort food, but one key factor can have a major impact on the quality of the final product.

The ratio of fat in the ground beef used to create the patties is extremely important for Salisbury steak. While it's easy to find ratios ranging from the relatively fatty 70/30 to the ultra-lean 95/5, a perfect Salisbury steak requires meat roughly in the middle of that range. Mashed recipe developer Jessica Formicola suggests using 80/20 ground beef in her simple Salisbury steak recipe; this will include enough fat to keep the patties moist but not so much to create an overly greasy result. If 80/20 isn't available, 85/15 will also work, though you won't want to go any leaner than that.

Just about every butcher or grocery store will have this blend, but you can also make it yourself if you'd like extra control over the mixture. We recommend using beef chuck or round steak, two of the most popular and best-suited cuts for grinding.

Better health and better flavor

In addition to creating the right balance of texture and flavor in your Salisbury steak, using the moderately lean 80/20 blend comes with other benefits, too. It has less saturated fat than fattier mixtures — an important benefit for your cholesterol, per the American Heart Association — and it has fewer calories in the same serving size. At the same time, it's less expensive than the leanest blends, a critical factor for many, as food prices have risen in recent years.

While it's fine to tweak the fat-to-meat ratio up or down by a few points according to your taste (or what's available), thinking that the exact combination doesn't matter is a common ground beef myth. While you might be tempted to grab a fattier blend to boost flavor, that's not necessary with this recipe, thanks to the indulgent yet simple onion-and-mushroom gravy that's packed with umami-rich, subtly sweet flavors. So don't be fooled — the path to delicious, homestyle Salisbury steak starts not in your kitchen but at your butcher or supermarket meat case with the right choice of ground beef.