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Meat in a Food Processor?

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I saw yesterday's NY Times article about how ground beef is processed and it got me thinking about an old Good Eats episode in which Alton Brown ground his own beef in a food processor. I keep thinking that the texture would be wrong but really like the idea of making my own ground beef. Has anyone tried grinding beef in a food processor? If so, can you share tips for which blade to use and other secrets for success?

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  1. i use the steel blade. cut beef into about 3-4 inch chunks and put aobut 4-5 of them in at a time. pulse until you get the consistency you want. (go by feel, rather than by eye, as the meat looks less chopped than it really is sometimes.) i use this for a rough, "chili" type grind, mostly, as we're not big on burgers, but it works great for ragus, too.

    1. I use mine often to make burgers. Meat cut in 1-2 inch cubes. The attachment I use has two flat, sharp blades. Nothing off about the texture.

      I find that chuck makes the best tasting burgers because of the fat content.

      1. I am reminded of Bourdains Les Halles recipe for steak tartare where he writes "do not dare use a food processor on this dish- you will utterly destroy it.

        Grinders don't operate at the speed a food processor does, and don't create the same heat.

        If you are hell bent on doing it pulse it in small batches like Chez Cherie recommends.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Brandon Nelson

          Just replying in case someone stumbles across this and is confused. Steak tartare is made from chopped or minced raw beef. As food processors are typically used to randomly slice meat at a very high rate, the coarser textures obtained in a food processor are typically inconsistent. This is especially true of beef, and other meats. Since tartar very much a texture thing, and food processors being inferior to the knife when achieving coarse textures, it is obvious that the food processor is not the solution for preparing meat for tartare. A food processor will, however, work reasonably well for "ground" beef of various textures. That said nothing beats a high quality meat grinder.

        2. I do this all the time now - use chuck boned out and most fat removed - works best if semi-frozen - pulse it in short bursts until as fine as you like. Go through it a bit, there may be bits of unprocessable material (sinew, etc) that is nasty if cooked. Safer than commercial ground beef with bits of who knows how many cattle in it.

          1. It comes out sort of mushy but not terrible, and so easy.

            2 Replies
            1. re: coll

              I happy with the old fashion meat grinder. At least I know what I am getting when I grind my own meat. Tried ground meat from the butcher and was dissatified with the texture.

              1. re: classylady

                I have a meat grinder too, but they are so hard to clean and sterilize after use. Plus I think it's cast iron so I have to oil it and bake it in the oven after cleaning. I do use it sometimes, but only for large amounts.

            2. Food processor works great for me. Cut into stew-sized chunks and pulse, checking frequently. If you do it just right it is very good, but it easy to make something more akin to pate.

              1. Tried it myself (once) after watching Alton do it.
                It's been too long to remember exact details, but the bottom line is that I ended up having to replace the spindle that the blade mounts to. (BTW, It wasn't fun trying to get replacement parts for an old Cuisinart) I seem to recall thinking, "I should have partially frozen the meat first and also cut the meat into smaller chunks". I've yet to work up the courage to try it again - and an old fashioned hand crank grinder is still on my "wish list".

                2 Replies
                1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

                  Do try it again, it is a breeze!

                  1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

                    Yes I watched the same program. I froze the beef partially,and cut it into small pieces,and then pulsed the meat. i used a thin sirloin steak which had hardly any fat. Came out great. when I made a meat sauce with it,I used a small amount of canola oil to replace the fat.What a different taste from store bought already chopped meat.

                    Try buying aGaida de larentis food processor. good luck

                  2. Steel blade, the method works well. I used it for both beef and lamb burgers.