Facts, Terms & Trends

Terminology: Master the Beef Lingo

A little unsure as to the meaning of some of the terms thrown around in the beef world? Read on for some meaty definitions:

Lean to Fat Ratio

This ratio will appear in “slashed” numbers, with the lean content before the slash and the fat content after the slash – such as 75/25, 80/20, etc. For example, “80/20” means 80% lean and 20% fat. The combined number will always equal 100%. Note: burgers with less than 15% fat will be drier and less tasty.


Scoring product can be used to achieve a variety of functions, including decreased cook time, increased surface area and enhanced aesthetics and texture. It also helps prevent cooking defects, giving you more servable patties and less waste. Types of scoring include:

  • Knife – produces narrow score marks and helps reduce delamination caused by fat or grease trapped inside the patty
  • Waffle – produces a wider and squarer pattern, creating a more uniform shape for consistent cooking
  • Rolled – creates a patty with a unique, hand-formed appearance that gives off a higher-quality aesthetic appeal
  • No Perforation – some patties feature no scoring at all


A “natural” product is one that contains no artificial ingredients or added colors and is only minimally processed. “Minimal processing” means that the product was processed in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product. The label must include a statement explaining the meaning of the term “natural” (such as “no artificial ingredients; minimally processed”).


The term “certified” implies that the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Agriculture Marketing Service have officially evaluated a meat product for class, grade or other quality characteristics (for example, “Certified Angus Beef®”).

Certified Angus Beef® is a registered trademark of Certified Angus Beef, LLC.

Angus, Wagu (Kobe)

A breed of cattle that is associated with higher quality. If labeled “Angus,” 100% of the raw materials used must come from an Angus source, unless qualified (for example, “Angus and Beef Patty”).

Chuck, Sirloin, Ribeye

The cuts of meat that must be used as the raw material source.

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