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How do I make ground beef?

Okay, don't bap me if this is already covered here but I couldn't find it quickly and am heading to the store first thing in the morning. One of our local groceries has large chuck roasts on special. I've been considering grinding beef for hamburgers. Is this the cut I want? Will it have enough fat? Is there something else I should know? And, if you want to weigh in on technique, that's fine too. I'll be using my KA standmixer for grinding. Thanks all.

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  1. Chuck roast is my first choice for making hamburgers. Great flavor and just the right amount of fat. Cut it into chunks, push it down the tube, and you're good to go.

    5 Replies
    1. re: alanbarnes

      Do you pre-form the burgers if you're going to freeze some? Or I could do like I do with sausage and just freeze in 8 and 16 oz. packages. Thanks, alan. PS: We got some snow the last few days. Yay.

      1. re: c oliver

        Having a stack of pre-formed burgers in the freezer is pretty handy. Put waxed paper between the patties so that you can separate them later. It's easy enough to crumble them up if you want to use the meat for something else, and challenging to shape frozen ground beef.

        Glad to hear there's snow on the ground up the hill. I need that stuff to water my lawn come summer.

        By the way, is it one of the regional chains that's having the sale? You've got me hankering for hamburgers now...

        1. re: alanbarnes

          Safeway and it ends tomorrow. So we're picking up vodka and red meat. Those are two of the two main food groups, right?

          1. re: alanbarnes

            Do you make your patties a certain # of ounces?

            1. re: c oliver

              I like 'em around 6 ounces, but will go up or down a little depending on the size of the roast.

      2. Make sure your grinding gear is nice and cold and the meat is chilled when you grind. Pop the grinder parts in the fridge for an hour before you grind. Grinding will create some friction heat, which can melt the fat in the meat. So work fast and grind cold.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Shane Greenwood

          great suggestions SG, and you can stick your chunks of cut up meat in the freezer for 20-30 mins. to further increase the chill factor. Question for the OP: were these the "7 bone" chuck roasts @ Safeway (I'm in CA...) or a boneless chuck? And how much were they per lb.?
          TIA, Adam

          1. re: adamshoe

            Alright, don't hold me to this :) cause I'm "old." I'm pretty sure they are NOT 7-bone. I'm also pretty sure they're boneless roasts not bone-in. Price? I want to say $1.49/# but I won't swear to that cause they also had pork shoulder roasts that I KNOW were THAT price. Could I possibly be more vague??? Sorry about that.

            1. re: c oliver

              I'm "old" too!!! I think I saw it but it was like 10 lb. packs. I was to ascared to buy that much, but next time, I will. I usually get the "7 bone" chuck @ Safeway when on sale and give the bones to our Pooch and grind up the rest. But the boneless sounds much easier. I like to leave some fat on my meat (around 15-20 %) cuz I think it makes for better burgers, meatloaf, chili, etc. Adam

              1. re: adamshoe

                I KNOW it wasn't the "value pack." It was large but not 10# - maybe 6 or 7.

              2. re: c oliver

                No, it's a KA. Everything but the blade and the grinder plate can go in the DW. Molto easy. Adam
                edit- this reply is for lupaglupa @ 6:19 pm Adam

          2. You might want to try asking the in store butcher to grind it for you - most places will do that for free.

            7 Replies
            1. re: lupaglupa

              Oh, I WANT to grind my own. It's so easy and satisfying.

              1. re: c oliver

                I'd be up all night cleaning the grinder!

                1. re: lupaglupa

                  I don't have that problem with pork. Is beef that different? I just rinse it out and then soak in hot, soapy water. No problem.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    After the last of the meat is ground, try running two slices of white bread or a stale hamburger bun through the grinder. It not only cleans the remaining meat out but now you have the bread crumbs needed for your next meatloaf. Makes for a really easy wash job.

                    1. re: redbeccaz

                      My grinder comes apart so easily, it's easier to clean than even my FP. So many people seem to have problems grinding meat that I've never experienced.

              2. re: lupaglupa

                Only problem with having them do it for you is that part of your roast will be left in the grinder and part of what ever else the ground before yours you will take home.

              3. Just thought: do you add any seasoning before making into patties? Salt or pepper? Or nothing and then it's more useable for things other than burgers. Although honestly I NEVER use ground beef for anything :) Oh right - meatloaf.

                1 Reply
                1. re: c oliver

                  I usually just salt lightly after making the patties, but last time i made a panade (milk soaked bread) and added it before i formed the buggers. Keeps the meat nice and moist even if you grill 'em for too long. Adam

                2. You'll want to prepare for some spray out of the nozzle of the grinder. Just tiny splotches, but it can spread over a really wide area. You might want to tape a sheet of paper towel so that it hangs off the front edge of the grinder feed dish. Even with the paper towel, some gets past, so I face the grinder toward a nearby wall so I only have one area to scrub.

                  I didn't think of any of this first time I used my mixer to grind meat, and it happened to be pointing at a filled dish rack. The process was just slow and subtle enough for me not to notice for a few pounds.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: selfish shellfish

                    I posted this above but I've not had this problem with pork. Why would I with beef. I put a big bowl under the grinder attachment and it just comes out perfectly. I'm getting confused.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Hm. Dunno. Seeing as how no one else has had a similar experience, maybe something's wrong with my grinder attachment. Or maybe I've been doing something wrong all this time.

                      1. re: selfish shellfish

                        If you are getting spray you either have too much moisture or your temperature is too warm and it is spraying melted fat. Try cooling everything down as cold as you can get it without freezing and make sure all the parts and meat are dry.

                    2. re: selfish shellfish

                      I use to get this spray with my KA attachment. :Like you I would use a piece of plastic wrap and place it over the threads and fold it back before putting on the locking ring. This would drap over the die and act like a spatter shield. Came up this this idea after messing up a couple of tee shirts. My new grinder doesn't do this

                      1. re: scubadoo97

                        That. Is. Brilliant.

                        I thank you. My cabinets thank you. My wife (who's generally the one who finds the meat stuck to the cabinets) thanks you.

                    3. Chuck for hambers and general cooking, just cut in large pieces and ground. I usually use that. If I want something for lean ... honestly I use some turkey and mix with it. To me the flavor is great. I know ... probably not what is preferred but I like it. I guess it is what each person likes. I use a small tupperware I have put a small piece of parchment or wax in between. Use a ice screen scoop 1 scoop and press, next piece of wax paper. Makes several burgers at a time. Freeze 4 per ziploc, great go to meal. I can't tell you the weight but usually 1/3 lb sometimes 1/2 lb, just depends what else I am having or who I am serving. Weighed them once. I don't weight anymore but can't usually tell what they are. I like a nice healthy burger.

                      Seasoning. Never season your beef ahead. My rule. Also season when you cook.

                      I also love the beef ground more rough for a goulash. Great with fresh tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, celery, peppers and some good cheese and topped with some bread crumbs and baked. A great comfort food. Still great food.

                      I also like to make almost a cube steak, sauted and braised and cooked for a couple of hours to simmer and get tender.

                      Meatballs are another great use. One of my favorites.

                      1. I've ground all chicken, pork turkey, beef and lamb. Pork seems to be the most stickey. But I have my butcher do it. It's free and sure saves time for me. I've don't have enough time.

                        1. Okay, Alan et al, I'm grinding beef in about an hour for hamburgers for tonight's dinner :) Any final tips? BTW, the roasts are "chuck crossrib roast boneless" and they were $1.99/#. Wish me luck :)

                          12 Replies
                          1. re: c oliver

                            Oh, no, not the cross-rib roast. Anything but the cross-rib roast. Aaaaaaahhhhhhh....

                            1. re: alanbarnes

                              Yeah, tell me about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I unwrapped it and there was, like, 0.01% fat (that's probably overstating it). I ground up a little over a pound and then mixed in some cooked pork fat (the liquid kind not cracklin's). Argh!!!! We'll get through it some how, I'm sure ---- the rarer the better for us. Grilled onions, cheese. AND the dogs will love it, I'm sure. What a nightmare. If I'd been with my husband I would have checked it out more closely than I obviously didnt the other day :) Now what the heck do I do with the remaining 6 or 7 pounds. Oh well, only up from here, right?

                              1. re: c oliver

                                Oh, and I'm chilling them in the fridge. And will cook them on one of those little grill thingies with the holes in them? To keep it fron falling through the grates of the grill since it has no fat in it. Holey moley. But it will be a fun memory???

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  Is Safeway still open? Today I picked up some (unspecified) chuck roast that was a little too fatty for my tastes, and it was only $2.49. It might be perfect mixed with the cross-rib roast.

                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                    Too late for tonight but I can hit it tomorrow and grind them together. Thanks, alan. What IS your favorite? I SO owe you that burrito :)

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      Eh, you gotta wing it. If you can't find a chuck roast that has the fat/lean balance you want, it's easier to buy a cut with a lot of surrounding fat and trim some off. If i were a better planner (or if my dogs weren't such good beggars) I suppose it would be possible to freeze the extra fat.

                                      Another option is to talk to the guy in the meat department. They throw away a fair amount of fat that they trim off the roasts. I only make tamales when pork shoulder is on sale, and the guy at my local Bel-Air gives me the pork fat he trims off for free. I render it into lard and give him some of the tamales, so everybody's happy.

                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                        That's a good idea about getting the trimmings. And, yes, the dogs ARE good at begging.

                                        1. re: alanbarnes

                                          Cool idea alanbarnes. My butcher and I trade favors. I give him smoked salmon when I make it and he give me bargains ... meat bargains that is, :)

                                      2. re: alanbarnes

                                        I'm now wondering if I saw the 7-bone at Safeway in Kings Beach but Bob saw the crossrib in Tahoe City which is way, way smaller.

                                  1. re: kchurchill5

                                    Oh yeah. This is becoming almost funny.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      How many dogs ... dinner, lol. Just kidding. I hope it worked out for you. I have ground my own with sucesss. NOW ... I have the person called a butcher do it ... haha. Just so much easier. But me and friends do make our own brats every year. Yes from scratch. However we do have the meat pre ground, seasoning and everything else is done from square one. It is a whole day process and alot of fun.

                                      I know off the subject but just on the same idea of grind meats it can be fun and frustrating ... hang in there. Grinding your own chicken and turkey is great freeze and use later. I did that for a bit then my butcher became my best friend literally ... we dated. got good deals.

                                      No ... just kidding... Not Alice from the Brady Bunch, for those of you old enough to remember that. Really just got tired of it and buy mine pre ground. However. I do sometimes ask for some meats fresh ground or a coarse ground meat which they usually will do.

                                2. A few last minute tips:

                                  If the cut of beef is very lean, consider adding some pork fat. You can sometimes find fat trimmed from pork shoulders at Safeway or other chain stores. Or grind with a bit of pork shoulder.

                                  To get those last bits of meat out of the grinder, grind some chunks of bread (stale is best), raw potato, or leftover rice to push out the meat. Makes cleanup a little easier as well.

                                  The best way to keep the meat cool, especially when using a KA: after cutting into chunks, chill the meat. You can leave it in the freezer til it starts to freeze around the edges. Don't let it freeze solid, though. Chilling the grinder parts won't hurt, but the KA parts are going to warm up after a minute or two anyway.

                                  1. I'd like to try grinding my own too, just so I can do a mix. Stanley Lobel of Lobel's does 3/4 chuck and 1/4 hanger

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Jack_

                                      The grinding part is - obviously, considering tonight's debacle - the easy part. But this makes me stronger, right? I swear my husband is more stressed over this than I am :)

                                    2. Soooo, dinner is done...and it wasn't bad but certainly left some to be desired. The only reason it was okay is because we cooked it to medium rare. Sprinkled a good bit of salt on after cooking, spread mayo and Dijon, sharp Cheddar. So the meat flavor was pretty nonexistent. Will buy 7-bone tomorrow and add to the grind. Thanks all. Whew :)

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        I still love my butcher. But seemed like a good experience over all.

                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                          Granted, we had plenty of wine during the process :)

                                      2. The key thing to consider is keeping your machine cold. Warm grinding plates make for mushy, poorly cut meat. To do so in a KA you need to limit volume. I don't think you should process more than 3-4 pounds at a time and that is the high end of the limit. The KA is not designed for industrial processing. It is a good grinder and cuts cleanly if cold.

                                        If you have more meat, clean the parts (most go in the dishwasher) and then rechill and start over.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: JudiAU

                                          You're not the first to say this but, at least with pork, I've not had a problem. My sausage recipe (actually Batali's) make six pounds. I start with the meat fresh out of the fridge and don't chill any of the grinder parts.

                                          On a separate note, I was the OP here and wound up with tri-tip which was too lean. So I froze it and have now gotten about a pound of beef fat that was trimmed by the butcher. I have approx 5# of tri-tip and am thinking 1# of fat is probably a good ratio. Any opinions on this? This will just be used for hamburgers. Thanks.

                                        2. What great timing on this post! I just bought the grinder attachment for my KA this past weekend and was wondering about the particulars of grinding my own meat, especially for burgers.

                                          I prefer my burger medium-rare but only rarely *(ha!) get to have them. I'll only order them that way at a place where I know/trust the cook/chef and where they grind their own beef. Many years ago, I worked in two different grocery stores. I even dated the butcher in one of them. I would NEVER feel safe eating ground meat from a grocery unless it was fully cooked. I'd like to also make the point that I'm not a germaphobe by any means. I eat sushi, raw eggs, carpaccio and a number of other "risky" foods. I still, with reckless abandon, enjoy spinach and peanut butter. BUT - medium-rare, ground meat from a grocery store? Not a chance.

                                          1. Is it possible to get good-textured ground beef using just a standard Cuisinart-type food processor? Or do I need to go out and find me a grinding attachment for my mixer?

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: BobB

                                              You can run definitely do beef in the food processor. But what you get is a little different, texture-wise. Start with relatively small cubes of well-chilled meat. Work in small batches, and use quick pulses, checking texture frequently.

                                              The results are going to be a little more irregular than ground beef, but that can be a good thing, texture-wise. The main thing is to avoid over-processing; beef mousse has limited culinary value. Better to feed a couple of oversized chunks to the dog than to ruin the whole batch by completely pureeing it.

                                              1. re: BobB

                                                On one of the Good Eats shows, that's what he uses. (I bought an electric meat grinder from
                                                One Stop Jerky Shop, mail order


                                                to use to grind up to make my own cat food.)

                                                1. re: walker

                                                  The main problem with using a food processor to grind meat is you need to be very careful not push the on button to long and turn the meat into mush. With a grinder, you get consistent results. That said, I agree with alanbarnes, if you do it right the results can be better with a food processor. Same if you chop by hand, but if you are preparing more than a pound or two a grinder is the way to go.

                                              2. Finally. I made ground beef last night. Safeway had HUGE 7-bone chuck steaks on sale so I picked up a 6 pounder. Made them into 6 oz. patties per alanbarnes suggestion and that was the perfect size. Added some salt to the mix, nothing else. When ready to cook the virgin batch, just salted a bit more and pepper. Afraid to overcook, they were insanely undercooked between rare and almost raw!!! But because I knew what had and had not gone into it, I felt perfectly safe eating it. Even that undercooked, it was the best burger I've ever had. My freezer won't ever be with them again. Thanks, alan, and all others for suggestions.