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Best beef cuts (and ratios) for grind your own hamburgers

walker Oct 14, 2010 12:19 AM

I have the kitchen aid meat grinder attachment (that I STILL have not yet used) and have read different recs for the meat.

One is chuck, sirloin and brisket and another is chuck, sirloin and boneless beef ribs. I read that brisket is more of a liver flavor and I really don't like that so am leaning toward not using brisket.

What's your favorite combo?

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  1. bushwickgirl RE: walker Oct 14, 2010 12:39 AM

    Here's a link to a recent longish thread, with lots of ideas and opinions:


    1. k
      Krislady RE: walker Oct 14, 2010 03:18 AM

      We started grinding our own meat for burgers a while back, and honestly, I don't think I'd ever go back. :)

      One of our favorite combinations is lean beef (like sirloin or even round) and pork shoulder, in a about a 1:1 ratio - the fatty pork kind of balances the lean beef so we end up with a nice, tender burger. My husband does most of the grinding, and he likes to season the meat first, mix it together and let it sit for a couple of hours before grinding.

      1. c
        Chef Jimmy J RE: walker Oct 14, 2010 03:23 AM

        This one depends, if money is no object and about 10-15% fat is desired then 30% ribeye,30% chuck and 40% sirloin works. If you want it leaner increase sirloin and reduce chuck without sacrificing flavor. If quality and value is desired and you believe fat is flavor, then 40% chuck, 30% short rib and 30% brisket gives a 20-25% fat content with ALOT of flavor. I come from 4 generations of butchers and have never heard of brisket tasting like liver and 5 million Texans can't be wrong, those good ol' boys love brisket. Lastly and most importantly, a Kitchen Aid grinder is meant to make a pound or two of sausage, if you grind anymore than that, the grinder is WAY TOO SLOW, you will heat your meat with fraction and this can put you in the danger zone too long. You can freeze the grinder parts and partial freeze the meat but don't try to make too much. Your best bet is to find a local butcher, other than a mega mart, and have him or her custom grind. They will more likely have better flavored Dry Aged beef and a pie or cake goes along way to build a relationship. Good Luck...JJ

        4 Replies
        1. re: Chef Jimmy J
          coll RE: Chef Jimmy J Oct 14, 2010 06:30 AM

          I've had hangar steak that tasted sort of like liver, but not brisket. We have baked brisket all the time and if it tasted like liver, my husband wouldn't touch it.

          1. re: coll
            mcf RE: coll Oct 14, 2010 02:22 PM

            I've never had liver taste from brisket, either, bleah.

          2. re: Chef Jimmy J
            nyc1986 RE: Chef Jimmy J Mar 16, 2012 09:23 PM

            I recently baught a grinder (because of the pink slime in ground beef i've been hearing about) and had a few questions:
            which grinder do i grind on first? do i then grind on a different level?
            also how do i measure the fat content? brisket has quite a large layer of fat on the top, do I just leave it?
            as for cooking skills, i like mines well done but hubby likes it rare. i dont have a grill so what would be the best way to cook them?

            1. re: Chef Jimmy J
              nyc1986 RE: Chef Jimmy J Mar 16, 2012 09:35 PM

              also, lets say i slightly freeze the meat, grind it, can I freeze again for later use?

            2. l
              Lisbet RE: walker Oct 14, 2010 05:59 AM


              Grinding Your Own Meat

              Pretty simple really, cut all the meat into small cubes not bigger than 1"(25mm) and if you are adding extra fat cut the fat into much smaller cubes, maybe 1/4 the size of the meat. This allows you to distribute the lesser volume of fat more evenly. The same principle applies if you add a second meat type, like bacon, which is less in volume than your primary meat.

              Spread the meat cubes in a single layer on your work surface and then distribute the fat (or second meat type) evenly over the meat. Spice the layer of meat, turn it over (spatula/egg lifter works well) and spice the other side as well.

              If you intend binding the mixture for patties with a little fresh bread crumbs soaked in some cool stock and a bit of egg now is the time to distribute this evenly over the meat.

              Mix everything through lightly with your hands and put the mixture into the freezer until it is very cold (just before it starts to freeze). A very cold mixture makes grinding meat a walk in the park and delivers excellent results. Although I don't go to such extremes I know of people who also put the grinder parts into the freezer prior to grinding meat and they claim great results.

              Choose the plate size according to the quality and tenderness of the meat. With tender meat a coarse cut is preferred. Tough meat would warrant a medium cut and very sinewy meat would require a fine cut.

              Follow the manufactures instructions to grind the meat. The threaded retaining ring on the front of the grinder needs to be pretty tight to force the cutting plate to seat tightly up against the knife otherwise you wont have much success with grinding meat. Use a pushing stick and never your fingers to force the meat cubes into the grinder and down onto the worm.

              Stoppages are usually caused by sinews getting wrapped around the knife. This is generally due to a loose retaining ring, a blunt or dull knife, or the meat not being cold enough. Always unplug an electric grinder from the wall socket before attempting to clear a stoppage.

              After Grinding: If you are new to this or if you are trying out a new recipe the next step after grinding is to put the ground meat into the refrigerator.

              Don't clean up quite yet.

              Take a small sample of ground meat and make a miniature patty. A heaped teaspoon is enough. Fry it in a pan and taste the texture and spicing. Here's how to correct some common errors.

              Too Tough - If the ground meat is a bit tough you will want to put it through the grinder a second time. If it is very tough or sinewy do this using a plate with smaller holes.

              Not Enough Spice - If it is only a bit of spice that is needed spread the ground meat out in a thin layer on the work surface and sprinkle the extra spice evenly over it. Mix through gently with your hands.

              Too Much Spice - If the ground meat is too spicy get some more fresh meat and grind it without adding any spice. Spread the over-spiced meat out in a thin layer and distribute the unspiced meat evenly over it. Mix through gently with your hands.

              Refrigerate the ground meat until you are ready to mold the patties.

              Cleaning the Grinder: No tricks here. It's just important after grinding meat to completely strip the grinder and wash it and all the parts meticulously. A bottle brush works well with small grinders. After rinsing and drying I make a habit of spraying the cutting plate and knife lightly with cooking spray to prevent them from rusting. Assemble the grinder to keep all the parts safely together and cover with a cloth to keep dust out.

              Grinding meat is an extremely rewarding experience and once you start you probably will not restrict yourself to only making great tasting burgers. Ground meat dishes will also take on a whole new meaning and then of course there is that whole new world of making your own sausage that lies ahead!

              1. mcf RE: walker Oct 14, 2010 06:06 AM

                I've tried brisket mixed with short rib, chuck and sirloin, and so far, for taste and texture despite being lean, ground grass fed flank steak has the best taste and texture of all we've tried so far.

                1. c
                  castironconnie RE: walker Oct 14, 2010 06:16 AM

                  Shortribs and sirloin ground together for us!

                  1. mamachef RE: walker Oct 14, 2010 06:32 AM

                    For a few years now we've used a combo of sirloin and chuck and lamb shoulder - 2/3 beef to 1/3 lamb - and they're delicious. We've also used a combo. of chuck and elk and that was pretty good too, but a little too lean for us.

                    1. c
                      CocoaNut RE: walker Oct 14, 2010 07:08 AM

                      There is a noted chef in Ft Worth that uses a brisket/tenderloin blend and those burger are moist and delicious. When fried on a flattop grill they develop a nice crust on the outside. Don't know the ratio, but there is no liver taste.

                      1. t
                        Tonality666 RE: walker Oct 14, 2010 07:46 AM

                        America's Test Kitchen (or was it Cook's Country) recently aired a segment about re-creating 1950's west coast style flat patty burgers using equal parts flap meat and boneless spare rib, chopped in a food processor. It looked good to me, but I haven't tried it yet. Has anyone else?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Tonality666
                          biondanonima RE: Tonality666 Oct 14, 2010 11:47 AM

                          Yes, I tried it recently - I liked it but my husband wasn't as big a fan. He felt the flavor was good but didn't like the coarser texture of the meat. I only ground it once though, on the large die of my KitchenAid, so perhaps that was the problem. I would do a second grind if I made it again. I have also ground brisket and chuck with good results.

                          1. re: biondanonima
                            walker RE: biondanonima Oct 14, 2010 11:57 AM

                            Would you use the same large die for the second grind?

                            Equal parts chuck and brisket?

                            1. re: walker
                              biondanonima RE: walker Oct 14, 2010 12:16 PM

                              Actually, now that I think of it, I don't think I used my KA at all for the CI recipe - I used their technique of short pulses in the food processor. It was definitely more coarse than the grinder and IMO not as good. With the KA if I'm going to grind twice, I'll do the first round through the large die and the second through the small one. It's still a bit coarser than your typical supermarket grind, and "looser" if you know what I mean. I think it's because with supermarket grinds they often add prepackaged fat (fat that's been rendered and packaged just for adding to hamburger) and it has a different texture than solid fat that's still in the meat. Just a conjecture on my part, though.

                              When I grind chuck and brisket, I usually use half and half (more or less) with good results. I tried skirt steak once too, which was pretty good just on its own. All of these result in some pretty expensive hamburger, though - so I sometimes just grind cheapy chuck by itself and it's really not bad.

                        2. ipsedixit RE: walker Oct 14, 2010 11:12 AM

                          Equal parts sirloin, brisket and trimmed oxtail.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            walker RE: ipsedixit Oct 14, 2010 11:58 AM

                            I've never dealt with oxtails -- wouldn't that be very tedious and time consuming?

                            1. re: walker
                              ipsedixit RE: walker Oct 14, 2010 12:07 PM

                              No, not at all.

                              Depending on your butcher, sometimes he or she will trim it for you.

                              Otherwise, it's simple. Remove the bone and trim any silverskin (you can do it just by pulling, no real fancy knifework needed), and then trim any "excess" fat (key here being excess, you want that fat).

                              Well worth the effort in my opinion. Your hamburger buns will thank you and thank you, to say nothing of what your mouth will say to you ...

                          2. 4
                            4Snisl RE: walker Oct 14, 2010 11:43 AM

                            You might find this Serious Eats piece interesting if you haven't seen it before.....


                            (Personally, I'm happy with the ground beef that a local producer has pre-packaged. It's a coarser grind than supermarket meat, so I don't have many recommendations based on experience!)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: 4Snisl
                              walker RE: 4Snisl Oct 14, 2010 01:54 PM

                              seriouseats is where I read that brisket has an aroma of iron and liver:

                              Brisket ($7/pound)


                              Location: From the belly region of the front half of the cow.
                              Fat Content: Depending on butchering, moderate to low.
                              Flavor: Extremely grassy and sour, with a distinct aroma of iron and liver. A little grainy when ground, and completely lacking in rich, savory notes. It's no wonder this cut is often pickled for use a corned beef or pastrami—it tastes almost pickled on its own.

                            2. b
                              blackpointyboots RE: walker Oct 14, 2010 03:48 PM

                              We recently started grinding our own hamburger. I have been using well marbled chuck with good results in flavor and texture. We do have to run it through our hand crank grinder twice to get the right consistency. We have also tried grinding pork for sausage using boston butt roasts and that was incredibly good. We made a bratwurst recipe sans casing. So now I am looking for casings and a stuffer.

                              1. amokscience RE: walker Oct 14, 2010 04:20 PM

                                I got my grinder today and the first thing I ground up was a piece of (untrimmed) tri-tip. I don't particularly like the flavor of the classic mixes (sirloin/chuck) so I figured I'd just go with what I'd normally eat instead. Pretty darn good (just salt and pepper) and the light texture is something else. The grinder did get jammed up even with a light pre-freeze so I'm going to have to figure out exactly how to cut/mix the sinewy bits. Up later, skirt steak, short ribs, and ribeye.

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