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Grinding your own Hamburger [Split from Midwest Board]

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[This post was split by the Chowhound Team from this post on the Midwest board: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6570...


I don't want to sound snooty, but I just started grinding my own meat and I'll never go back to prepackaged ground again. I ground up ~5 pounds of beef and bison chuck and it took maybe 10 minutes between cutting the roasts and grinding.

At worst, I'll buy a piece of chuck and have the butcher grind it for me.

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  1. Believe me saying you grind your own meat doesn't make you come across snooty in the least. I recently also started doing this after my mother gave me my grandmothers antique meat grinder. Sure it takes some time (and a little elbow grease) but it yields a certain satisfaction as well as a finished product you can take pride in.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Fudist

      I have an electric grinder, which makes the whole process quick and easy. And because of how much it breaks down, clean up takes almost no time either. I know a lot of food processors have a grinder attachment. If so, I'd HIGHLY recommend people picking one up.

      After doing a few fresh grinds, it is very easy to see how bacteria can accumulate and get into your meat. Even if the grinder is still going and cutting, a lot of sinew, fat, etc can get caught in the screw. If that stays there for more than a few minutes, it will start to spoil. I shudder to think about how much this happens in a normal industrial plant.

      Here is a link to the NYT article, BTW.


    2. Snooty, NO
      Frugal, Yes

      I have been grinding my own meat for more than 40 years. When I established my first apartment, my mother warned me never to buy preground meat at the market. Who knew how old it was and what cuts were really in the mix.

      I like to be able to grind the cuts I want and vary the fat content according t the cooking method. If I'm making burgers on the grill, I want 85/15, if in a frying pan 90/10, and if I'm making meatloaf I want 93/7 so the fat doesn't accumulate in the pan.

      I also like being able to grind in onions, or bread when making meatballs or meatloaf-it saves work.

      It is very important to take apart and thoroughly clean the grinder after every use.

      I don't recomment the grinder attachments that fit onto kitchenaids, as they are not well balanced and the machine can tip forward as you are puching meat down with the wooden pusher.

      I have both electric and hand crank grinders. I like the electric for beef, I use the hand grinder for cookedliver and fish.

      9 Replies
      1. re: bagelman01

        I've never had the problems you mention with my kitchenaid attachment. I highly recommend it. I do have the heavier professional model mixer so that might be what's solving the balance issue.

        1. re: bagelman01

          "I don't recomment the grinder attachments that fit onto kitchenaids, as they are not well balanced and the machine can tip forward as you are puching meat down with the wooden pusher"

          I've been using my KA this way for many years. The grinder attachment is one of the best things KA ever made. The K/A mixer out grinds a lot of dedicated counter top grinders. I have made loads of venison sausage in mine.
          I have never had my machine tip but you can't blame any machine for user error. If you have to push down that hard with a plunger then you didn't cut the flesh into strips small enough for the opening. I rarely even need to use the plunger.
          I almost never buy pre-ground meat.
          I can run it through the KA and get a better product for less $.
          The K/A grinder asttachment gets a thumbs up from me. I can't imagine owning a K/A and not having that tool.

          1. re: Fritter

            As usual, I'm with you, Fritter. I cut my meat in the kinda/sorta shape of the feed tube. I don't push, just guide and sometimes don't use it at all. I use this alot and love it. And, yes, we are now burger SNOBS. We do NOT order burgers out. Anywhere. And not for a health reason, just for the pure taste.

            1. re: c oliver

              I'm in the burger snob camp as well. I just find it hard to enjoy meat that I didn't grind. Where's the pleasure in that?

          2. re: bagelman01

            I've never had the tipping problem with my KA. Maybe you were pushing down too hard.

            Anyhow, you bring up a good point about the onions in your meatloaf. So much stuff that you add to whatever you're grinding can be run through at the same time. I make a lot of sausage, so all my herbs, garlic, etc, etc. are efficiently ground into the mixture. It's a great device.

            Definitely not snooty.

            1. re: bagelman01

              At first glance, I read your mom's advice as "Who knew how old it was and what cats were really in the mix." That made for a quick double-take. It's consistent with the overall theme, though.

              +1 on taking the grinder apart and cleaning it between uses. If the parts are dishwasher-safe, all the better; it's a good way to make sure they're sanitary.

              As for the KitchenAid, I don't see how you could cause it to tip forward. The chute lines up pretty well with the front of the base. It seems easier to tip the mixer over on its side than to tilt it forward, but either way it's going to take a **lot** of force.

              My main complaint about the KitchenAid is that the height isn't ergonomic - if you attach the grinder to a mixer that's sitting on a standard kitchen counter, the meat tray is nearly five feet off the floor. But when you're working with fairly small (<5#) batches it's not that big a deal.

              1. re: alanbarnes

                Good point in last paragraph, ab. Also a good excuse for 6' tall Bob to do that job instead of 5'6" me :) Loving that.

                1. re: alanbarnes

                  The last paragraph is so true! The last woman to use my kitchen was 6'5" tall and she had the island built to fit her. At 5'4", I am at a distinct disadvantage. So the mixer is on the island, the grinder tray really way up. I place a bowl to catch the ground meat on the island top below the spout and climb to the second step of a 3-step stool. I suspect this is a fairly comical sight, but the resulting burgers are well-worth it.

              2. Venison, Beef & Pork regularly find it's way into my grinder....There is no comparison!

                3 Replies
                1. re: Uncle Bob

                  What cuts of pork do you grind for ground pork? And do you think I can use a food processor instead (don't have a grinder or stand mixer w/grinder attachment and don't really want to get one at this moment either).

                  1. re: nofunlatte

                    I bone out Boston butts for ground pork ~~~ I have never done so, but it is my understanding you can use your food processor to "mince" the beef, pork, etc. It's not a true "grind" so I can't speak to the texture..


                    1. re: nofunlatte

                      I use 4# pork shoulder to 2# bacon. I use a grinder attachment on my KA but you can use your FP. Just pulse very carefully so you don't wind up with puree. Make a small batch and see what you think. Small investment, big reward.

                  2. How cool! I too have an antique meat grinder from my Nana, maybe I should dust it off and use it!! Only problem, it has to be screwed into a surface like a table, and is not as attractive on the dining room table as I thought it might be!! And for some reason my dear husband refuses to let me screw it into his workbench in his mancave, so therein lies the problem.

                    Good advice, from bagelman, re the attachments to kitchenaids.

                    I have never had a problem with the ground meat I buy in the supermarkets near me, always fresh, but you're right, you can better control what you're getting. Good for you for being wise.

                    1. So, does anyone have suggestions as to how to estimate the fat/meat ratio? I have the kitchenaid, and so far have just used it for hash. I had a so-so burger at a local pub last night, and that made me open this thread and get moving grinding my own. I'm leaning toward using chuck, but have heard that boneless short ribs are terrific, too. The short ribs would probably be a bit rich, though. Anyone willing to share their magic ratio?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: bear

                        No magic involved...For making venison "burger" I use 20/25% beef fat...75/80% lean venison.
                        2 lbs of beef fat...8 lbs of lean meat for 10 lbs of grind ~~~ Grind the fat first...then the meat...mix well, and grind again. For ground beef chuck, I try to select chucks that have a good bit of fat in/on/around them..Probably ones that you would not select for pot roast. Chill, cut up to fit your grinder head, and grind twice.. No extra fat or magic ratios...Just 100% pure ground chuck...

                        Have Fun!!!

                        1. re: bear

                          For beef, alanbarnes turned me onto 7-bone chuck roast.

                          1. re: bear

                            Chuck roasts tend to be around 20% fat on average. I just cut one up and cleaned it up well. Removing all sinew, silverskin and soft fatty connective tissue between muscle groups. Kept some of the hard white fat but not all of it. The meat had some good intramuscular fat or marbling as well. I ground it with salt and pepper and loosely formed some 6 oz burgers that we had last night. Fantastic, flavor and texture. They were super juicy. Just can't beat grinding your own meat.

                          2. I have my mother's hand-cranked meat mincer. There are three different cutting blades, for three different degrees of coarseness.

                            I have yet to buy the meat grinding attachment for the KA mixer.

                            I only use the food processor when grinding for steak tartare.

                            To those who've never "ground their own," I can only say you don't know what you're missing!

                            1. This post and the "Jungle" post have inspired me. I'm going to finally take the KA grinder out of the box and use it. I have a fairly well marbled chuck roast at home. Is it better to have the meat partially frozen for grinding? I vaguely recall reading that somewhere.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch

                                No need to have it partially frozen. It is best to keep any meat you are grinding cool. If it were partialy frozen that may make it harder for you to cut it up into grinder size strips.

                                1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch

                                  I do put the metal KA parts into the freezer before grinding. For sausage, where it is really important that the fat not melt, I chill the pork pieces after they have hung out with the flavorings in the fridge for a while.

                                  But to make hamburgers, I have found that I don't need to freeze the beef if I am grinding less than 10 lbs. I do keep it chilled in the refrigerator until ready to grind, but have stopped bothering with the freezer step.

                                  1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch

                                    Partially frozen might be a stretch, but certainly extremely cold....It Want hurt to place the grinder...knife, plate, etc. in the freezer too. You will need to grind twice to evenly distribute the fat within the grind. ~~~ Sometimes when I'm grinding several (15-20 +) lbs, I'll break the grinder down, and clean it...while doing this place the first grind back in the freezer until you are ready to start up again...

                                    Have Fun!!

                                    1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch

                                      We got our KA mixer some 27 yrs ago. I find the motor strains when grinding partially frozen meat and I get some machine oil in the meat. I only use it for very small jobs just because it's so easy to clean.

                                      I have moved on to a dedicated electric grinder that is much more powerful

                                      One tip when using the KA grinder is to drape a piece of plastic wrap over the end to block the blood splatter. I don't get this in my other grinder but the KA spits out blood more than other grinders. I take a piece of plastic wrap and drape it over the top threads and fold it back, then screw on the locking nut. Now I have a splash shield.

                                      1. re: scubadoo97

                                        I wonder if it's the age of your KA grinder. Mine's about 5y.o. and I have no problem with the motor straining and certainly no "blood splatter."

                                      2. re: Ima Wurdibitsch

                                        Thanks for all the great advice! I can't wait to try this. I've been craving a medium rare burger and there is only one local place I feel comfortable ordering it that way.

                                      3. So, my son and I bought a three pound chuck roast, cut it into strips, and put it through the KitchenAid coarse tip twice. Awesome burgers. Next time we'll try putting it throught the fine tip just once and see which way we prefer.

                                        This was so easy. By the way, no blood or spatters, and no tipping.

                                        Thanks for the help!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: bear

                                          I use the coarse grind and only do it once. I hadn't thought about the no tipping part. Another plus. It DOES make the best, doesn't it?

                                          EDIT: Oops, you were talking about the mixer tipping which I have never had a hint of that. I thought for a moment you were talking about tipping in a resto :)