What Kind of Beef Does McDonald’s Use in Their Burgers?

McDonald’s is one of the largest fast food chains in the world, with over 38,000 locations globally. They serve around 68 million customers every single day. With such a massive operation, a lot of questions arise around where they source their ingredients from and what goes into making their iconic burgers. One of the most frequently asked questions is – what kind of beef does McDonald’s use? Let’s take a deep dive into the details.

The Beef Blend

McDonald’s uses 100% real beef without any fillers, additives or preservatives in their beef patties. The patties are made from a blend of various cuts of beef including chuck, round and sirloin. These pieces are sourced from multiple cattle suppliers and ground together to get a consistent flavor and texture in every patty. The exact blend is a trade secret that gives McDonald’s patties their signature taste.

Fresh vs Frozen

Most McDonald’s burgers like the Big Mac, Cheeseburger, McDouble etc. use frozen patties that are cooked from frozen. The beef is frozen immediately after grinding to lock in flavor. It is kept frozen for 2-3 weeks before being shipped to restaurants.

The only exception is the Quarter Pounder line of burgers that are made with fresh beef patties cooked to order. The fresh patties are formed in restaurants daily and cooked on demand.

So while the beef blend itself is the same, Quarter Pounders tend to taste slightly different as they skip the freezing process.

The Supply Chain

McDonald’s sources its beef from multiple approved suppliers like JBS, Cargill, Tyson etc. in the US. The company spends around $2 billion annually on beef in the US alone. McDonald’s has 5 domestic beef suppliers and 3 international suppliers that meet its rigorous standards.

To ensure food safety and quality control, McDonald’s suppliers have to follow stringent protocols. There are regular third-party audits of suppliers’ facilities and robust traceability systems in place. McDonald’s also conducts in-house verifications of supplier farms and plants.

Why Does McDonald’s Beef Taste Different?

Some customers feel that McDonald’s burgers don’t taste the same anymore. There are a few reasons for these perceived differences:

  • Switch to fresh beef: When McDonald’s changed some burgers to fresh never-frozen patties, it altered texture and juiciness.

  • New cooking procedures: McDonald’s updated their cooking methods in 2018 to sear burgers on a hotter surface. This enhanced flavor but changed the taste profile.

  • Regional tastes: The beef blend and seasonings are tweaked for different regions. A McDonald’s burger in India may taste different than one in the US.

  • Supply fluctuations: With multiple suppliers, there could be subtle variations in the beef from batch to batch.

  • Subjectivity: Taste is highly personal. What some customers remember as the “classic” taste, others may perceive as changed.

Quality Standards

McDonald’s states that they only use beef from cattle that were raised responsibly without any artificial hormones or steroids. They adhere to humane practices and work with suppliers to continue improving animal welfare. McDonald’s audits suppliers against these standards regularly.

In the US, McDonald’s only uses beef from cattle born and raised in the US. Their beef does not contain any fillers, extenders or additives. Beef suppliers have to meet food safety standards that exceed regulatory requirements.

Sustainability Efforts

In recent years, McDonald’s has made efforts to source beef more sustainably. Some initiatives include:

  • Partnering with WWF to drive sustainable grazing practices
  • Funding research to quantify the environmental impact of beef production
  • Supporting progressive farmers and ranchers through McDonald’s Flagship Farmers program
  • Experimenting with new grazing methods that can capture carbon in soil

The bottom line is McDonald’s uses a proprietary beef blend for their classic burgers made from various cuts of whole muscle beef. While mostly frozen patties are used, some burgers do get fresh never-frozen beef cooked right in the restaurant. McDonald’s has strict standards for suppliers and is working to improve sustainability of their beef. So when you bite into a hot McDonald’s burger, you can be assured you’re getting 100% real beef.

McDonalds: Behind the Scenes of the Menu | Good Morning America | ABC News


What beef does McDonald’s use?

McDonald’s assures customers on its website that “every patty is 100% real beef with no fillers, additives, or preservatives.” The company uses leftovers from cuts such as chuck, round, and sirloin to craft its burger patties, grinding and shaping them into the perfect hamburger.

Why do McDonald’s burgers taste different?

Fewer burgers are placed on the grill, which somehow results in a hotter, juicier, tastier burger, and the diced white onions are added to the beef patties on the grill as they are cooking, rather than afterwards at the prep table. The cheese has been “tempered” longer to make it meltier as well, Schafer says.

Is McDonald’s meat lab grown?

In a viral video series, a woman called out McDonald’s, claiming the burger chain was using lab-grown meat in their burgers. Her claim was debunked.

What grade beef does Burger King use?

Like all fast food chains, Burger King, uses 100% Grade A beef.

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