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Mar 5, 2010 11:35 AM

Trimming chuck for grinding

I have been experimenting with grinding my own burger for the last couple of months and I believe I have eaten a whole cow. I have experimented with different cuts, but I like the flavor and fattiiness of using just plain old chuck. Here is what I do...

Toast a soft sesame seed roll; I don't mix anything into the burger except sea salt and fresh ground black pepper right before I make the patty (about 6 oz of ground chuck); hit both sides with olive oil; put it right away on high heat; cook for 3 minutes; flip the burger cover with cheese and the top half of the bun; cook an additional 2-3 minutes: finish with a little mayo on the bottom bun.

It is softest, juiciest burger I have ever had. It is so tender, I could not put it on a grill without it falling apart and going through the grate which is ok with me. I like them cooked in a pan. I am ruined for eating burgers out forever. It is almost perfect. Here is the problem...

I have tried to remove anything that will result in chewy bits, but I find it hard to remove the silverskin without removing the large pieces of fat which I love and cutting off some of the meat. Is there a trick to this? Should I buy the chuck at a butcher and ask him/her to do it for me?


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  1. what other combinations/blends have you tried? chuck, while standard, is the least interesting to my mind.

    1 Reply
    1. re: tommy

      I have tried brisket untrimmed, sirloin, short ribs, ribeye in various 50-50, 33-33-33, and 25-25-25-25 combinations. I prefer chuck.

    2. I find that the silver skin usually gets wound around the blades and never makes it into the meat. I use the KA grinder attachment. adam
      P.S. I love ground chuck! Always salt the meat and chill or semi-freeze before you grind....

      11 Replies
      1. re: adamshoe

        Ok maybe this is my problem. I am not really grinding. I am chopping. I use a Cuisinart. Up until 2 weeks ago I was using a 3 cup food processor which did a marvelous job even though I had to do 1.5 lbs in about 4 batches. I now have a 14 cup. So that is why I am probably not seeing a lot of posts on trimming since the KA or other grinder probably takes out the tough stuff. I am just not willing to spend $200 for a KA and then a grinder attachment on top of that. I am hoping to find a used hand grinder somewhere. I don't grind anything but beef for hamburger.

        I do semi-freeze for about 1/2 hour. Tonight I didn't have any fresh beef and drug out some cubes I had chopped up and frozen a couple of weeks ago. It wouldn't chop until I added in some that I had ground yesterday. It then worked perfectly.

        I don't salt before chopping because I usually chop a little more than I am planning to use right away and find that salt in the meat for a day or two makes for meat that is a little less juicy. So I salt and mix right before I cook. I like the flavor of S&P all through the meat and not just sprinkled on both sides.

        1. re: lisaress

          I paid $59 for a Waring electric grinder and I'm very happy with it. I like chuck, but have also made really tasty burgers from skirt steak. I've had the problem with the softness and falling apart, too, so next time I plan to grind into a strainer lined with cloth or paper towels. I like a bit more firmness.

          1. re: mcf

            Does your grinder keep the silverskin from getting into the ground beef? They probably sell skirt steak in my area (PA dutch country) but call it something else. The beef I ground tonight was gristle-free and I didn't trim anything from it. Maybe I chopped it finer?

            1. re: lisaress

              Does your grinder keep the silverskin from getting into the ground beef? "

              It ends up wrapped around the grinding spindle inside the machine. Depending on how much there is, you might need to trim, not sure how much.

              I've tried both coarse and medium so far on my grinder. Still too much water left in the meat, hence my plan to blot/drain in the future. I bought the grinder after reading reviews, and it's reall small, easy to store and clean, and hasn't ever strained to produce a couple of lbs. quickly.

              1. re: mcf

                Except for the silverskin issue, I am really happy with the food processor and the texture that I get. I hadn't thought about draining it. Mine doesn't seem like it would have anything to drain, but I go from semi frozen - to grinding - to the howling hot pan pretty quickly. It might still be semi frozen and not have the ability to drain until I cook it.

                1. re: lisaress

                  I think the softness and falling apart is from liquids that haven't dried out of the meat the way pre ground may. I'm hoping that blotting and draining will firm it up. I love the flavor, but so far, not the texture.

              2. re: lisaress

                A lot of connective tissue get's wraped around the shaft between the blade and the screw drive but I don't like to put in anything that I don't want in my ground meat.

            2. re: lisaress

              It took me a while to find this, but DON'T salt the meat before you grind


              1. re: niquejim

                Yeah - I don't salt before I grind either, but I do like the S&P all through the patty. So I mix it in right before making the patties. Whatever is leftover, I leave unseasoned until I make the next batch. I will want to make patties for the freezer for convenience and so I don't waste. I will have to try mixing in the S&P and freezing vs freezing them unseasoned to see which I like better. I'm not there yet - pretty much eating it all as I go.

                1. re: niquejim

                  regarding salting before grinding, i would suggest doing whatever you think tastes better. i don't think that this "experiment" was very scientific, regardless of what they'd have you think. it's all about what you like, and there are no absolute rules. it's this type of pseudo science that got people thinking that searing seals in juices.

                  do your own taste test. it doesn't take long, cost much, and it probably won't involved dropping a heavy cast iron pan on your burger.

                  1. re: tommy

                    I've done it both ways and never had dry ground meat when using chuck. The seasonings get into the meat through and through if you pre-salt. I usually don't do it because I'm grinding at least 2-3 pounds or more at time and some will be frozen for other applications, so most always season after grinding.

            3. I find it easy to trim chuck for grinding. An average boneless chuck roast is a collection of different muscles. I usually seperate them and remove any silverskin or jiggly tissue that I don't want to grind up. If you remove the silverskin and have meat attached you can scrap it clean and use that meat for the grinding or collect the scrapings and make a little burger out of it. I do this when cleaning a tenderloin as well.

              1 Reply
              1. re: scubadoo97

                Thanks - I will try again. I have a pice of chuck right now. I think I will try to gring it without the large pieces of fat thaT ared right next to the silverskin. Hope I don't miss the fat.

              2. I had some chuck done "chili grind" for some chili. The flavor was delish, but it was full of gristle and even bone. I'll never use ground chuck again. Next time it'll be either ground round or ground sirloin.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                  @ Peri: Did you grind it yourself or have your butcher do it? I always buy 7 bone chuck when it's on sale, and de-bone it myself...never had a problem. Sounds like you need a new butcher or buy a meat grinder! adam

                  1. re: adamshoe

                    Yeah, it was the local grocery store. Apparently the task was too much for the guy or he was too lazy. In any event, it's more convenient for me to switch meat than switch butchers, so round or sirloin it is!

                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                      There's a really big difference in fat content and flavor between chuck and those two, though. I love sirloin steak, hate sirloin burgers and meatballs, for instance. I've never liked round, as a rule.

                  2. re: Perilagu Khan

                    Your problem was not the "grindee"..but the "grinder"....Change butchers!

                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                      One of the reasons I stopped buying preground meat. Little balls of gristle and occasionally bone. I haven't bought ground meat from the store in years. I know what went into my ground meat.

                      I know someone who's family has been in the meat biz for years. He says the chubs in the store are better than what they grind in the store. Less chance of contamination from the monster grinder they use at the processing plants and the meats fresher before going into those plastic sleeves. For some reason they always icked me out.

                    2. My friend's FIL is a pro butcher and he helped me cut up my last deer. I asked him if there was a trick to removing silverskin and he said no, that most butchers of his acquaintance get the worst of it off and leave the rest. Silver skin icks me out. What I do is parfreeze the meat before cubing it and at that time I can remove more silverskin with less waste. Bits that I have to remove with some meat on them get put in a separate pile and used later to make stock. What little bit of silverskin is left does get wound on the blade. I stop the grinder once in awhile and remove it. I grind the meat through a large hole plate first and then send the whole batch back through a finer hole plate. The second run picks up even more skin.

                      The trick to easy grinding is to keep everything cold: Par freeze the meat chunks, chill the screw, plates and blade in the freezer. If you're going to be doing a lot of grinding, a grinding attachment for your mixer or a stand alone grinder is a good investment. I use a Kitchen Aid. You're really just mincing it or, heaven forbid!, *shudder!* liquefying it in a food processor.

                      BTW, I got my attachment on Ebay for around $20 including shipping. I never buy my KA attachments at retail.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: morwen

                        For silverskin a very sharp knife with a good point is key. Slide the point under the silverskin until it clears the silverskin on the other side. Then just slide the knife close to the skin. You can first cut back until you have a tail to hold on to and then lift as you slide the knife under the silverskin. You can cut pretty close without removing a lot of meat but if you do just scrape it off the the blade. No harm. There is not a lot of silverskin between muscles in a chuck but there is some on the edges and some between a few muscles. Still very easy to deal with. Even a sharp pairing knife will remove it in a flash.

                        1. re: scubadoo97

                          I am pretty sloppy about sharpening my knives. I usually only remember to do it when I am cutting into a tomato. Thanks for the reminder.

                        2. re: morwen

                          I would have to buy the KA first and I am pretty happy with the texture of the minced beef and, no, it is not liquified. I have to say though I have not really mastered the 14 cup food processor. I got more consistent results from the 3 cup, even if I had to grind it up one patty at a time. Still, It doesn't take very long for me to whip up some amazing burgers

                          I haven't tried to semi-freeze before cubing, only after. I will give that a whirl.

                          Oops - I meant this as a reply to morwen.