The Beef Behind Five Guys’ Burgers: Is It Grass-Fed?

As one of the major fast food burger chains, Five Guys prides itself on using high quality ingredients and not cutting corners. Their juicy burgers and crispy fries have gained a cult following among burger lovers. But when it comes to the beef, many customers wonder – is Five Guys grass-fed? Let’s dig into what makes their patties so tasty.

The Five Guys Beef Blend

Unlike other chains that stick to a single type of beef, Five Guys actually uses a blend of 3 different cuts in their burgers:

  • Chuck – This comes from the shoulder area and contains a lot of connective tissue which makes it juicy. Around 50-80% of the Five Guys beef blend is chuck.

  • Sirloin – Taken from the hip and rear-end area. Sirloin adds tenderness and beefy flavor. It makes up about 20-30% of the patty.

  • Brisket – The chest area which gives moisture. Brisket comprises around 3-5% of the blend.

This customized mixture allows Five Guys to craft the ideal burger texture for grilling – tender and resilient.

But here’s the important part – while the company uses this signature blend, they don’t disclose whether the cows are specifically grass-fed. The type of beef seems to vary across locations

Why Grass-Fed Matters

So why does it matter if cows eat grass instead of grains or corn? Here are a few reasons grass-fed beef has gained popularity:

  • Nutrition: Grass-fed beef is higher in antioxidants like vitamin E as well as heart-healthy fats. It contains more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3s.

  • Humane: Cows evolved to eat grass. Grain-based diets can cause health issues for cattle and lead to inhumane feedlot conditions. Grass-fed is perceived as more ethical.

  • Sustainability: Pasture grazing cows reduces some environmental impacts compared to intensive feedlot systems.

  • Taste: Some people insist the complex, grassy flavors of grass-fed beef make it more delicious and tender than conventional beef. The difference is subtle though.

So in light of these benefits, grass-fed seems objectively “better”, right? Well, it depends who you ask.

The Debate: Grass-Fed vs Grain-Fed Beef

There is much debate around which type of beef tastes best and is better for health and the planet. Here are a few key points around grass-fed vs grain-fed:

Taste and Tenderness

  • Grass-fed advocates claim it has a richer, “beefier” flavor. Grass-fed cows have more developed muscles since they graze over large pastures, leading to better marbling.

  • Grain-fed proponents argue feeding cows corn and grains right before slaughter results in a tender, buttery consistency. Since the cattle don’t move as much, their filet mignon and cuts are more tender.


  • Grass-fed has a better fatty acid profile. It contains more anti-inflammatory omega-3s and antioxidants like vitamin E.

  • Grain-fed has more marbling and monounsaturated fats. Some claim it’s a healthier fat profile, but evidence is mixed.


  • Well-managed grazing mimics natural ecosystems. Rotating cattle fertilizes soil and increases biodiversity.

  • However, grass-fed cattle may produce more methane from digestion. Also, converting land to pasture contributes to deforestation in some cases.

Animal Welfare

  • Cows are able to exhibit natural behaviors when grass-fed such as foraging and moving. This reduces stress and infections.

  • However, grain-feeding reduces land usage and allows more efficient feeding of large cattle populations. Barn conditions are improving with higher welfare standards.

As we can see, there are many complex factors at play. The “best” option depends on your priorities – the environment, nutrition, taste or animal ethics. There are merits to both grass-fed and grain-fed beef.

Back to Five Guys

So does Five Guys actually use grass-fed beef? The answer seems to depend on the location. Some customers report Five Guys using grass-fed, while others say it’s conventionally raised.

On their website, Five Guys states:

“We have always served fresh ground beef and preserve its flavor and quality by not freezing it prior to cooking. We currently purchase only fresh ground beef with no additives, no fillers, no preservatives in order to maintain quality and freshness.”

Based on this, it seems they don’t mandate grass-fed beef across all restaurants. Their focus is simply on fresh, unfrozen beef with no extra ingredients.

Of course, you can always customize your burger and ask for a grass-fed patty. Some locations may be able to accommodate this request depending on their supply chain. Five Guys prides themselves on catering the burger to each customer’s preferences.

The Verdict? It’s Still Darn Good Beef!

At the end of the day, Five Guys beef is widely praised for its juicy, delicious flavor. Food critics claim they simply use “good beef” regardless of the feeding method.

By blending different cuts of chuck, brisket and sirloin, Five Guys crafts a memorable mouthfeel. Even without the grass-fed label, you can expect a satisfying burger made with quality beef.

Of course, it’s up to you to decide what factors matter most in your burger. If grass-fed beef is a priority for your health or ethical values, Five Guys may not be the best option.

But if you mainly want an indulgent, tasty burger, their fresh beef patty should still hit the spot! Sometimes a delicious fast food treat hits just right.

So next time you’re craving a burger, enjoy your Five Guys without guilt! Their beef blend has enough tender, beefy flavor to satisfy your carnivorous side. Plus, you can load it up with all the free toppings your heart desires.

The Most Concerning Thing About Five Guys’ Burgers


Does 5 Guys use processed meat?

Five Guys Burgers and Fries has become known for its smashed-style burgers with all-you-can-eat toppings. The chain prides itself on using fresh, never frozen beef patties made by hand in-house every day.

What percentage ground beef does Five Guys use?

“Five Guys uses 80/20 ground chuck-high quality ground beef containing only steer and heifer meat, which does not include any cow meat or fatty trimmings. We do not use ammoniated procedures to treat our ground beef. This means that there is NO “pink slime” in our burgers.

What is the Five Guys controversy?

On March 1, an account named Wall Street Silver posted an image of the receipt, allegedly taken from Reddit, alongside the caption: “Five Guys prices are out of control. $24 for one person.” The receipt shows the customer paid $12.49 for a bacon cheeseburger, $2.89 for a regular soda, and $5.19 for a small fry.

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