8 Fast-Food Chains That Use Pure Ground Beef for Their Burgers
You know that old idiom often attributed to Otto von Bismarck about laws and sausages, right? Basically, what he (is supposed to have said) is that if you enjoy sausages and you respect the law, it's best you do not see how either of them is made. As it turns out, the same maxim need not be applied to most fast-food burgers.
A refreshingly large number of the fast-food chains we researched genuinely use nothing but 100% pure ground beef for their burger patties. Many didn't always use pure beef, but here in 2023, the picture is a better one.
Now, said burgers are often then loaded up with salt, slathered with sauce, topped with cheese and bacon, and more—o don't for a second think we're calling these healthy eats. We're just giving credit where credit is due because these burger joints could have cut corners by using fillers and additives and pink slime and such, but they don't.
That's right, McD's is on the straight and narrow when it comes to ground beef. Per the company's own site, "every patty is 100% real beef with no fillers, additives or preservatives." They season the meat with "just a punch of salt and pepper" (and yes, we're assuming that was a typo and was meant to say "a pinch") and "otherwise nothing else is added." We're taking the chain on its word here.
Little surprise that the "guys" who don't even have freezers at their restaurants, only refrigerators, use "100% fresh beef [with] no fillers or preservatives," right? Five Guys is even committed to sourcing fresh, 100% pure beef from farms that are as close as possible to the restaurants.
Yep, just like McD's, Burger King uses 100% beef patties in its Whoppers, Cheeseburgers, Rodeo Burgers, and more. Per the chain's website, at BK "beef patties are made with 100% beef with no fillers, no preservatives, no additives, no nonsense." Now, what you'll find in the Chicken Fries? That gets a bit more… cloudy.
Like Donny says of In-n-Out in The Big Lebowski, "those are good burgers." And if he was referring to the meat used to make the patties, he was right there, too. Not only are this classic California chain's burgers made using only "100% USDA ground chuck" for the patties, but that's been the way things are since In-n-Out was founded back in the late 1940s.
Wendy's makes a big deal about how their ground beef is "fresh, never frozen," and it turns out they could also accurately tout the fact that their burger patties are 100% real beef. Per the company's site, the "beef is 100% real" and it is delivered fresh (never frozen, e.g.) to each restaurant several times weekly. That's how this real beef manages to be fresh, never frozen. FYI, Wendy's really wants you to know their beef is never frozen but is indeed fresh.
Shake Shack is serious about high-quality burgers, which is good because you pay a pretty penny for that quality. Their "100% all-natural Angus beef" patties are sourced from cattle never treated with hormones, and by the way, the chicken is 100% all-natural and hormone- and antibiotic-free, too.
Like Wendy's, Whataburger always uses ground beef that is fresh and has never been frozen. The Texas-based chain's patties are made from 100% pure ground beef without additives or fillers, and those patties are served on a legitimately large five-inch bun. And that's how things have been since the first location opened back in 1950.
Perhaps "Largeburger" would be a more accurate name for this chain, for its base burger patties are a whopping third of a pound, which makes them bigger than those on, say, the Whopper. Like the Whopper, an In-n-Out burger, and many more, the burger patties from Fatburger are made with 100% pure, fresh ground beef. And ironically, given the chain's name, the burgers are made with lean ground beef.