Ground beef can come from any edible part of the cow. According to the New York Times, a large portion of the meat from a cow is used in making ground beef. The parts left over after the expensive steaks, roasts and chops have been removed become ground beef.
The cuts selected for ground beef vary from one processor to the next. Some combine parts of many different cows, while others produce ground beef that originated from one animal. Approximately 38 percent of the meat on beef cows and 41 percent of the meat on dairy cows is used to create ground beef.