Fresh Ground Burger Help
I just got a meat grinder and I'm looking forward to putting it to good use. I would love to try fresh ground beef, turkey and lamb burgers. Does anyone have suggestions on the best cuts of meat to use for each one? Does anyone add fat to the mixture while grinding? Any tips are appreciated. Thanks
For beef hamburgers chuck is by far the best single cut to look for. Buy a big chuck roast on sale is best. Clean it good to remove any tissue that's not meat or hard fat. This will include silverskin, grissle and gelatenous connective tissue found between muslcles. You will get an apporximate 80/20 lean to fat ratio.
I typically add fat when grinding beef and, sometimes, I even add the spices or herbs at the same time. The amount of fat I use (I buy suet for this ingredient) depends on the amount of fat that might already be present in the meat. I try to shoot for about 20% fat and I use the fat content label on the meat package to determine whether I need to add fat or just leave it alone. But only if I intend to use it in the next day or two in a particular recipe. Once you become familiar with the process (which won't take long) you'll develop your own preference for which cuts of meat to use. For starters, I might try two parts of chuck to one part sirloin. Grind them separately then combine them into one mass and don't worry about over-working the mixture.
Remember to use standard safety practices to prevent cross contamination.
I second Scubadoo for the chuck. For turkey I prefer about half and half thigh and breast. I've never done lamb, but I would guess shoulder would be better than leg, unless there's too much connective tissue. Be sure to have the meat very cold and put grinder parts in the freezer for 15 minutes or so just before grinding. The colder the better.
Grinding your own is absolutely the way to go. How many of you have noticed that store-bought ground meat is tasteless compared to say, 20 years ago?
For regular hamburgers, I like to use a combo of chuck/sirloin/pork with the following ratios:
40% Ground chuck
50% Ground sirloin
10% Ground pork