Rinsing Browned Ground Beef

I drain and rinse ground beef after cooking to eliminate some fat and calories, but I'm not sure how much is rinsed away. Is 80% lean beef (drained and rinsed) as lean as 95% lean beef? —L.A., Woodridge, Illinois

In a word, yes. Research from Iowa State University has shown that rinsing pan-fried ground beef with hot water can reduce the fat content by a whopping 50%. The study found that 4 ounces of 80% lean ground beef that was pan-fried, drained, blotted with paper towels and rinsed with hot water contained 121 calories and 5 grams of fat—roughly the equivalent of 95% lean beef, undrained. By comparison, 80% lean ground beef that was drained and blotted (not rinsed) provided 177 calories with 10 grams of fat. Interestingly, researchers found that rinsing 90% lean ground beef did not provide significant calorie or fat savings over the 80% rinsed beef. We recommend that readers who adopt the rinsing method use the more economical 80% lean ground beef except in recipes where blotting and rinsing are not practical, such as in meat loaf or stuffed peppers. In that case, we recommend 90% lean beef.