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Aug 7, 2010 03:35 AM

I bought Kitchenaid Meat Grinder, now what?

My favorite butcher in San Francisco, Bryan's, has great ground chuck but I've decided I want to grind my own (am I a control freak?).

What do I ask for? Center cut chuck? Do I need to buy fat from them, too or is there enough on the hunk of chuck?

I want to make meatballs and they are not good if too lean.

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  1. Look for a chuck roast, blade roast, or brisket with marbling and some fat. Boneless beef short ribs are also good.
    Most hind quarter meat and stewing beef will be too lean, although some people like ground sirloin. I'm happy with chuck and brisket.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jayt90

      Grind the meat when it is semi frozen. I have been using a grinder for over 40 years. I can't trust the amount of fat that is grinded at the butcher. Also, I read so much about recalls of ground meat.

      1. re: jayt90

        To get all of the meat out of the grinder, grind some slices of bread after the last of the meat has been fed into the grinder.

        1. re: Antilope

          When I think about it, I do that. But just pull off a corner of an end piece. It's an insignificant amount of meat and only makes a tiny bit of difference when cleaning.

      2. I don't think you are going to have to add fat. You might want to cut the meat into approximate cubes.

        Cook’s Illustrated’s hint is to secure a large plastic bag over the mouth of the grinder with a rubber band.

        I would think even better than hamburger would be making your own meatloaf and perhaps sausage.

        Anyway, Alton Brown and Emeril both have recipes involving grinding your own hamburger.

        Alton Browns

        Emeril’s version


          I made this last night. I highly recommend it!!

          Freeze the whole meat grinder before you use it, as well as the meat cubes for about ten minutes.

          I find that 2-3 times during the grinding it really helps to clean all the junk that is twisted up around the blade. I also grind the meat twice. It helps get the fat better distributed. The most important tip is to keep it all cold so the fat doesn't start melting.

          Put the knife blade somewhere safe. I just had to order my second replacement.

          1. Chuck, brisket and boneless short ribs makes a nice combo, in equal porportions; cut into strips and partially freeze the meat for ease of grinding. Grind twice, large hole plate first then smaller.

            I don't think you're doing yourself a disservice by grinding your own beef; you control the cuts, flavor, fat content and freshness, things you can't know or get from the supermarket.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bushwickgirl

              Untrimmed brisket would be a great source of extra fat if you think you need it and you might if you wanted to add some sirloin that was on sale.

            2. No you're not crazy or a control freak to want to grind your own. I recently tried the hamburger recipe in Ad Hoc which requires grinding the meats and the results was fantastic.. My own local butchers thought I was nuts, but we liked the flavor and texture of the freshly ground hamburgers a lot better. I'm going to tailor the meat combination and fat ratio a bit to suit our needs.

              I've owned the KA meat grinder for several years now. It does a good job on grinding, haven't been so happy with it for sausage stuffing purposes. Really like the suggestion to chill or partially freeze everything prior to grinding.

              15 Replies
              1. re: DiningDiva

                Yeah, you get the feeling that this isn't Becca's first rodeo when it comes to meat grinding.

                1. re: Hank Hanover

                  Great advice all -- can't wait to get started.

                2. re: DiningDiva

                  I've been looking at the hamburger recipie on America's Test Kitchen that reproduces the experience of the Shack Burger from New York City's Shake Shack - thin, griddled, crispy, loosely-packed burgers. The test kitchen does not recommend the smash and scrape technique, but rather a loose grind barely patted together into more of a mound than a patty.

                  1. re: GraydonCarter

                    What is the "smash and scrape technique"? I think loosely ground and handled as little as possible is pretty much a given, at least IMO.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      This burger is tight and compressed.
                      Another version is a ball of ground beef, smashed down.

                    2. re: GraydonCarter

                      This is hands down the best burger recipe I have ever made. It convinced me that griddled burgers beat grilled every time!

                      1. re: Becca Porter

                        I agree too. We do burgers at work on both the flat top and the char broiler and I'll take the one done on the flat top any day :-)

                        1. re: DiningDiva

                          We've spent great amounts of time cleaning out late MIL's house which is about an hour away and has no grill. I've been doing burgers there by searing in the CI skillet and then into a 400 oven. I'm hard pressed to find fault with them.

                    3. re: DiningDiva

                      I would love to find a recipe for breakfast sausage patties using lean ground pork or maybe turkey - does anyone have one? One with some good spice in it.

                      1. re: bayoucook

                        I made these once and thought they were quite good. I bought my ground turkey for it at the farmer's market where I can buy a mix that's a combination of dark and white meat. It's not as lean, but I much prefer the flavor. I added a pinch of crushed red pepper to spice it up a bit.


                        1. re: JoanN

                          now that's what I'm talking about - love the pear in it - thanks!

                          1. re: JoanN

                            That sounds great and I've saved it. I agree about white and dark meat. Last year when I made the Mar-a-Lago burgers, I bought a small turkey and used that for the burgers.

                          2. re: bayoucook

                            Look for Ruhlman and Polcyn's recipe in Charcuterie. Quite excellent. It involves fresh sage, garlic and ginger, salt and pepper. I dont have the book with me right now, so I cant be more precise with the proportions.

                            Real key is to keep everything ice cold during the process and to emulsify the meat after it is ground by incorporating ice cold water to the meat and emulsifying it for a minute or so ( I use the kitchenaid mixer attachment), until you feel the mixture is bound together.

                            1. re: bayoucook

                              The breakfast sausage recipe from Charcuterie is the only recipe in the whole book that I actively disliked. Just the wrong flavor profile for breakfast sausage. I have ended up using a combination of web-based spice mixtures but haven't settled on the perfect one. If you choose to go lean, you will find that the texture of the sausage is a bitter different than the commercially available products; a little tougher I think would describe my experience.

                              1. re: smtucker

                                Used fresh or dried garlic/ginger/sage? I thought the flavors were right but much more vibrant than with a commercial product.