Years ago a study in the Journal of The American Dietetic Association found a simple “rinsing” process can reduce the fat content of cooked ground beef crumbles.

Additionally, a “blotting” process was determined to be effective in reducing the fat content of hamburgers, meatballs and meatloaf.

While not widely publicized, information found in this study ultimately helps people consume lower fat ground beef without necessarily purchasing the high priced reduce fat ground beef found in stores.

By following a few easy steps, you can reduce the fat in your favorite recipes which call for cooked ground beef.

Try this technique next time you cook chili, sloppy joes, spaghetti or tacos.

Brown ground beef thoroughly in a skillet until the meat is no longer pink and break beef into smaller pieces.

Heat about four cups of water in the microwave on high for about five to six minutes; ideally the water should be very hot, but not boiling (if using a thermometer, a range of 150-160 degrees is sufficient).

Place three layers of paper towels on a large plate. Drain the fat from the meat in the skillet and transfer beef crumbles to the large, lined plate. Let the beef “sit” for about one minute and blot the top of ground beef with additional paper towels.

Finally, place beef in a strainer (over the sink or bowl) and pour your hot water over beef to rinse fat off. Allow the beef to sit in the strainer for about five minutes to fully drain.

The process to reduce fat in ground beef burgers, meatballs and meatloaf is very similar. Using a skillet, cook the beef until the center is no longer pink and the juice runs clear (not pink).

Remove patties or meat and set on a large plate lined with three layers of paper towels. Let the beef stand for one minute, turning over at about the 30-second mark. You can also blot the sides of the meat to further reduce the fat content.

Additionally, a product such as meatloaf should be roasted on a rack in a shallow pan so the fat drips away while cooking.

Researchers compared the fat content of a three ounce serving of 80/20 ground beef crumbles utilizing the traditional “blotting” technique versus the “blotting and rinsing technique.”

The portion that was only blotted contained 191 calories and 11 grams of fat while the portion blotted and rinsed contained 130 calories and 5 grams of fat.

Ground beef patties were also analyzed. The patties not blotted contained 228 calories and 15 grams of fat while the patties which were blotted contained 217 calories and 14 grams of fat.

Clearly, there is more benefit to following the blot and rinse steps when cooking with ground beef crumbles, however, any reduction in calories and fat can be viewed as a positive outcome for overall wellness.

Carey Stites is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and a Registered Dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition. Carey is currently the Registered Dietitian working with Wellstone in Harker Heights. Contact her at

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