Keto Meats: What Is the Best Meat for a Ketogenic Diet?

Keto Meats

Keto meats – What is the best meat for a ketogenic diet?

When most people think “diet” they picture “lean.” Lean cuts of meat, skinless chicken, and all the fat trimmed off completely. Baked chicken and broiled fish with veggies become the center of every (boring) meal. Even many low carb diets tout this approach to healthy eating.

But people following a ketogenic diet know a little secret. As long as they keep their grams of carbs in check, they can go hog-wild with meat! And we mean literal hog, in this case. We’re talking bacon, the greasier the better. Thick juicy steaks marbled with fat. Butter and cheese on everything!

That’s because ketogenic diets have one goal and one goal alone: get into ketosis and stay there. This alternate fuel-burning system of your body holds the key to weight loss. Normally, your body burns glucose for fuel. And glucose comes from carbohydrate breakdown. No matter the amount of complex, whole grain carbs you choose, to your body they all end up as sugar. Anything eaten in excess is then converted to and stored as fat.

This is one reason that traditional calorie-restriction diets are so tedious. And why people yo-yo with weight loss from them. In comparison, following a ketogenic diet encourages you to eat all kinds of yummy and satisfying foods!

On a ketogenic diet, fat is king. In fact, 70% of your daily caloric intake should come from fat. Your body then flips into a ketogenic state. As long as carbs are limited, fat is chosen for an energy source. The by-product of this kind of metabolism are ketones, and the more you make, the more fat your burn.

Of course, protein needs to be consumed as well. But different from other low-carb diets, only moderate protein intake is recommended. Typically just 20% of your daily caloric intake, to be exact.

For those of you new to ketogenic diets, or taking notes, a precise macronutrient composition is needed. Fat: 70%, protein 20%, and carbs 5%.

Now that we’ve stressed the importance of fat on a ketogenic diet, let’s talk about protein sources. Fatty cuts of meat are definitely the best. But do you know which of those top that list? Read on for the best meat to eat on your fat-burning journey!

The Best Keto Meats

In order from most to least grams of fat per serving, here are the fattiest meats to eat!

1. Pork Belly

A 4 ounce serving of pork belly has 585 calories, 10 grams of protein, and the most fat of all. 60 grams per serving, to be exact!

A lot of keto pork belly recipes call for crunchy cracklings. But if you have a slow cooker, you can make flavorful and hearty stew quite easily. Or if you have time on your hand, you can really let your culinary skills to test by simmering it on the stove for hours. It’ll make one unforgettable melt-in-your-mouth pork belly that’s worth every effort.

2. T-Bone Steak

The classic bone-in steak has 490 calories, 40 grams of protein and 35 grams of fat per 6 ounce serving. 

If you’re looking for a way to top off the fat content of your keto meat recipes, grab your butter. This recipe for Garlic Butter Steak does exactly that and is restaurant quality. Better yet, it just about doubles its fat content!

3. Lamb chops

For a 4 ounce serving, lamb chops have 335 calories, 30 grams of fat, and 20 grams of protein.

Pan-searing lamb chops deliver them succulent and crispy at the same time. There are tons of awesome keto lamb chop recipes online, but my favorite is chops with a dry marinade. In my experience, it seems to really bring out the flavors well. It’s also an easy and fast thing to make on a weeknight too. You can go from pan-to-table in under 30 minutes. 

4. Ribeye Steak

Ribeye has 360 calories, 32 grams of protein, and 25 grams of fat per 6 ounce serving. 

Just like the Butter Steak recipe above, this cut of steak goes really well with a creamy sauce. You can also do a classic ribeye steak with a slice of butter on top. Serve alongside some cauliflower faux-tatoes… Be sure to have extra sauce or butter to drizzle over it all!

5. Chicken Thighs 

A 4 ounce serving of chicken thighs has 280 calories, 25 fat grams, and 14 protein grams.

Heavy cream, bacon, and broth make this Smothered Chicken Thigh recipe a fat-lovers dream! It’s also a one-pan recipe, making cleanup that much easier on a full, happy stomach.

6. Porterhouse steak

This cut of steak has 360 calories, 23 grams of fat, and 30 grams of protein.

A mushroom-heavy cream sauce is a perfect accompaniment to a porterhouse steak. This Keto Beef Stroganoff using the drippings from the pan to make a super-rich and meaty sauce. 

7. New York Strip Steak

For a 6 ounce serving, a rib-eye steak will deliver 330 calories, 21 fat grams, and 34 grams of protein.

Fat content more than doubles in a fried steak recipe! With herbs and parmesan cheese, you’ll love this steak for Keto.

8. Ribs

6 ounces of ribs contain 400 calories, 20 grams of fat and 20 grams of protein.

If you think you need a grill or a smoker to make baby back ribs, think again! There are actually make keto rib recipes that use your oven instead. Super tender and no mess—try bringing to your next potluck!

Remember Your Ratios

Any card-carrying keto follower knows that it can’t be all meat, all the time. Remember, the aim of a ketogenic diet is to be protein-moderate, getting most of its calories from fat.

And as the list above shows, protein and fat amount often equal each other in meat-centered dishes. 

The way to balance your daily macronutrient ratios is to include plenty of other high-fat foods in addition to meat. Sources of fat can come from dairy and even plant-based foods, too. Ketogenic meal replacements can provide a lot of extra fat calories as well. Try an avocado smoothie with collagen peptide powder for one idea!

Keep the overall grams of net carbs low by watching serving sizes. Beware of added sugars or artificial sweeteners in marinades and bottled sauces. 

Keto breakfast options make a great place to experiment with adding extra fat. Particularly if you know you’ll be having a protein-heavy meat dinner. Bacon is one meat where its fat content outweighs its protein. Start your day with some bulletproof coffee with lots of heavy creams, plus cheesy eggs and bacon. For a snack later on, try using a combo of cream cheese, vanilla extract, and unsweetened almond milk for a keto pie smoothie! 

That way, by the time dinner, rolls around and those steaks are sizzling away, you’ll be in good, balanced keto shape!

Tina Alexandre
Tina Alexandre

Co-founder

Hi, I'm Tina, a mom, and wife who loves to write about nutrition and dieting. When I'm not writing, I also enjoy baking healthy pastries with my 7-year-old daughter.

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