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GROUND SIRLOIN - Having the Butcher Grind It

Last year I was dismayed when the last of the grocery chains in L.A. stopped grinding beef in the store. Now all chains grind and package beef in regional centers and ship to the individual markets. But, for me, the taste and quality have noticably and seriously fallen off and I stopped buying all ground meat.

After this happened I tried switching to Whole Foods but they don't carry my favorite grind: Ground Sirloin. Trader Joes only carries pre-ground for obvious reasons and also doesn't carry ground sirloin.

So, I am trying to face the fact that I am going to have to buy the meat and have it ground for me at the store.

Has anyone had experience asking the market to custom grind? Do I need to specify that they add fat and how much? I've noticed sirloin on sale this week in the markets and want to try this now but am a novice at this sort of thing. What do I need to know.

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  1. I find a small chuck roast or package of boneless beef ribs in the pre-wrapped meat section that has the right amount of fat and take it to the butcher and requst they grind it. In your case, find a good top sirloin steak and do the same. They do so happily in most supermarkets.

    1. hi SilverlakeGirl,

      i find that if i use my trusty old hand meat grinder(found at garage sale 5$) ijust grind my own whatever. be inventive.

      2 Replies
      1. re: thecatfish420

        I gave away a new, unused one that I got with Blue Chips Stamps (yes, that old) not too long ago. Now I regret it.

        I'll check eBay.

        1. re: SilverlakeGirl

          If you happen to have a Kitchen-Aid mixer, the meat grinder attachment works really well. I used it originally for specialty cuts - like pork shoulder and veal, to make chicken gallantine and terrines - but I can make a much better burger than even the Costco ground beef by selecting my own beef from the sirloin and the round.

      2. I Don't live on the Left Coast . Wow that's wild! Supermakets do not grind beef. That's LA for you. Do you have any butchers shop in LA .
        As for home grinding all your meat gridng tools should be very cold (Place all metal objects in the freezer)and the meat very cold also. You should pass the meat through the grinder 3 times.
        As for your meat chocies:
        Chuck is the best for bugers it has the right fat to meat ratio
        Ground Round is any cut from the leg Top , Bottom, Eye round. Very Lean
        Sirlion in usally fron the knuckle . Very lean
        Butchers usally do not use Top butt sirlion for ground beef.
        It is saved for steaks. I also won't use tender lion , strip , flank , or rib. Unless you like to griding expensive cuts of beef.

        2 Replies
        1. re: FAL

          Well, the development has been rather recent. Ralph's stopped some time ago ... then Von's stopped. There are better chains like Gelson's and Bristol Farm. Gelson's which I use now is $9.49 a pound for Ground Sirloin which is way more than I wanted to spend.

          I asked the butcher at Gelson's about the fat content in Ground Sirloin and he said it was about 7%-9%. The other 7%-9% grinds were MUCH less expensive. Now I have to find the sirloin. So, if you don't use sirloin steak then what cut of sirloin do you use for Ground Sirloin?

          Oh, I see you said knuckle. How am I going to find knuckle!

          1. re: SilverlakeGirl

            Look for a cut called Sirloin Roast. That is the knuckle.
            Better yet look at the cut of meat your self. If you do not see alot of fat that is lean cut. Also you can get a piece of beef and trim the fat also. Just because a butcher shop say's it is a certian cut of meat that doesn't mean that it is. The grinder hind and blends everything . Pass the meat throgh the grinder 3 times rule. I worked in a few butcher shop in NYC over the years and I have learned alot on the trade itself. Like i said in the above posting. Check out cuts from the leg . The leg muscle is very lean not a lot of fat in the leg. Here is a web site www.beeffoodservice.com/cuts

        2. If you have a Costco nearby, try their ground beef. Unfortunately, it comes in rather large packages, but can be frozen. It is made from all meat cuts...sirloin, chuck, tenderloin, etc. If you must have a certain cut, just chop it in your food processor.

          1. Consider buying the meat and grinding yourself...

            1. I buy ground beef at the Butcher and they grind it right when you buy it. It is much fresher that way.

              You can specify how you want it groud; I like very course for Chili, and ground twice for Meatballs and Meat Loaf. You can also have them grind two or three cuts together, like Chuck and Round. IMO Sirloin is way too lean and doesn't make a very good Burger.

              1. If you have a Kitchenaid mixer, purchase the grinding attachment. It works great. I can never find a course chili grind here in California like I could always get in Texas. So, I just buy a boneless chuck roast and use the course disk, works great.

                1. Do you have a food processor? You can just cut the meat into chunks and pulse it until it's the texture you desire.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: bryan

                    I wouldn't recommend a food processer. It's almost impossible to get the right texture to ground beef. It tends to be either chunky or pasty.

                    1. re: scott123

                      I do it all the time, it's just a matter of icy cold beef and pulsing it. Works great for me.

                      1. re: bryan

                        Chopped meat (in a food processor) is a completely different animal than ground meat. You can take every precaution possible in processing the meat and it will still come out slightly different than grinding. To the hamburger purist, processing doesn't work.

                  2. The biggest problem with mast-produced, centrally ground and distributed beef is the rising incidence of salmonella and ecoli contamination. You would not believe how many incidents there are every day requiring recalls from major meat and other processed food producers that you never hear about. I am particularly suspicious of those prepackaged hamburgers and ground chicken and turkey. Instead I go to local butchers and get meats ground fresh from them rather than the supermarket. I also have a kitchenaid grinder attachment that I have every intention of using one day!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Ellen

                      I think you guys have sold me on the Kitchenaid attachment. I think the end result will be better than meat ground in the Cuisinart.

                      Thanks all.

                      1. re: SilverlakeGirl

                        Have to agree. The KA grinder produces a much better quality grinder than pulsing in a food processor.

                    2. Yes the kitchenaid mixer does have a good meat grinder attachment and you will be amazed at the great taste when you make hamburgers right away after grinding. Just like when you make freshly ground coffee at home.

                      1. I wouldn't get too caught up on the cut of beef. The quantity of fat you're adding and grinding it fresh is what makes the difference. As long as you compensate proportionally for the missing fat in the leaner cuts, most of the cheaper boneless roasts taste fantastic when ground fresh- far better than pre-ground.

                        Get what's on sale, and, regardless of what cut you buy, purchase plenty of extra fat. I know of no roast you can buy that clocks in with the desired 20%+ fat. The fat is the key to making the most flavorful, juiciest burger.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: scott123

                          Do I need to specify which kind of fat?

                          1. re: SilverlakeGirl

                            Nope, just beef fat. Any supermarket that trims meat should sell it. If your supermarkets have switched to pre-packaged meat completely and don't trim anything... then it's Whole Foods for the fat. If you do end up going to Whole Foods, call ahead- earlier in the day, so they remember to set some fat aside while trimming. If memory serves me correctly, they usually throw fat trimmings away (they throw an amazing amount of trimmings in the garbage).

                            Assuming your supermarket sells fats, sometimes it helps to get there early in the day, as some places only sell a package or two of fat and it goes quickly- at least, that's the case in my area (NE US)

                        2. I have the grinder attachment for my mixer. It's great. I never buy ground meat.

                          1. It is a shame big stores are doing away with their butcher, but hopefully the smaller stores and the family butchers, will cut and grind for a long time. Fortunately, there is a few still around my local area, but their operational hours clash.

                            Now my largest gripe is the GB sold in those bulk rounds -aka- chub packed. My last chub of Ground Chuck resembled strings of red/white steel wool. Perhaps it may be tendons or bull meat, but whatever, it is poor grade for eatin. Those cryovac packed are a shade better but as much as $1+ a pound extra for fancy packaging.


                            1. If you grind your own meat, you can also do mixtures like part lamb/part beef with some fresh parsley and garlic passed through the machine will give you perfect kibbe meat, etc.

                              Unfortunately, I don't have room for a KA w/ attachment right now.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: bolletje

                                Right-O. I usually like to grind in some pork or andouille or something in with my burger meat. Or if I'm making some bolognese sauce or something, some pork and veal along with the beef. Any seasonings you're going to put on your meat might as well be put in while you're grinding it.

                                Just remember to put your meat cubes in the freezer for 30 minutes or so - makes the grinding much easier.

                                Maybe it's just my grocery store, but I don't save any money by grinding my own. If anything, I spend more. It's worth it for the freshness though.