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Pointers needed on meat grinding w/KA grinder

I splurged yesterday and bought the grinder attachment for my KA stand mixer. The manual is pretty basic so I'd like to get some pointers before I start grinding away. I am primarily going to use it for grinding meat and prefer using leaner cuts of meat. I generally use ground pork for stir fries like braised eggplant w/garlic. Turkey for meatballs,sloppy joes and tacos. Fattier ground beef for bolognese and lastly I love Susan Goin's amazing pork burgers for the occasional indulgence. I really don't know where to start, which combinations of meats work well or what cuts of meat to look for. I eventually want to make sausages too. TIA for your help.

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  1. When I was in Quebec, I bought duck meat balls in tomato sauce (for pasta). It was a local company that produced gourmet products. It was so good. I'm tempted to also buy that attachment so I can grind duck breast and make a pasta sauce.

    1. Use pieces of bread to push the last portion of the meat out of the grinder. This will also help to clean it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Antilope

        Antilope, That is SUCH a cool idea. The only downside to the KA grinder is the stuck meat. If you do a piece of bread up front before starting meat, does it fill that area at the interior of the mouth that requires chopsticks to clean? If so, what an awesome use for those frozen bread heels that just arent right for making crumbs.

        To the OP: there's lots of great advice in previous threads for this beloved tool:

        http://www.chow.com/search?search%5Bq...

        1. re: FoodFuser

          You can try putting some bread through first, but I have a feeling the meat will push it out of the way and take its place. Putting bread through at the end will push most of the meat out of the grinder.

      2. General use tip:
        Cut your meat into chunks that will fit nicely into the mouth of the grinder. I usually do rough rectangles about 3 inches long and 1"x1" in cross section. Then lay them out on a cookie sheet and freeze them until they are firm. Not rock hard, but firm to the touch. Stick the worm of the grinder in the freezer too. It works much better to have everything cold. The grinder can get a better hold on non-squishy meat I think, and the friction of the grinder warms up the fat and it turns into a big squishy mess if it isn't really cold to start out.

        I highly recommend pork shoulder/butt/picnic for sausages or anything else that requires a fatty grind. Not sure on lean meat...

        2 Replies
        1. re: wawajb

          Good tips....I use chuck for beef grind....or round if you want leaner..

          1. re: wawajb

            Depending on you KA mixer the motor may or may not be able to handle partially frozen meat chunks. Mine did for quite a while then really started to strain. But I do agree that partially frozen meat works well to keep the fat from melting and coating the inside of the grinder cavity. Also recommend that the parts of the grinder be kept in the freezer for a while prior to grinding and you can even run an ice cube through between batches to help chill it down.

          2. Concur with the above post - I've heard to keep things cold.. meat in fridge, and grinder assembly in freezer.. you can heat things up quickly forcing them through small holes..

            1. Yep, cut your meat into large strips (wawajb's dimensions are pretty much what I do) and partially freeze. I recommend freezing on a piece of foil or parchment, as meat frozen directly on a plate or cookie sheet can sometimes be difficult to remove.

              Also, if you do not have time to freeze your meat, I highly recommend you wear an apron or use your hand to shield the front of the grinder. I discovered the hard way just last week why freezing the meat is such a good idea -- I ground about a pound of sirloin steak and ended up splattered in bloody meat juice!

              Oh, and for sausages, it's easiest to start with non-link sausages, so you don't have to fuss with casings. I make Italian sausage to use in pasta sauces and I make breakfast sausage (Jimmy Dean knockoff) for biscuits and gravy.

              3 Replies
              1. re: TorontoJo

                For splatters: keep a rubber band (the thick ones used to group broccoli bunches) on the exit port of the grinder, just behind the screw-on chuck. When it's time to grind, simply use it to hold a flap of plastic wrap from 11 to 1 o'clock. Draped over the front, and attached only from the top, it deflects all the juicy splatters.

                1. re: FoodFuser

                  I have done exactly that FF. I don't get splatter from my Tasin grinder but I did from the KA. After a few shirts were splattered with blood it hit me to do exactly as you do. Actually I didn't use a rubber band to think of it but just draped the plastic wrap over the threads before screwing the retainer ring on.