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Grinding your own ground beef?

lestblight Mar 14, 2011 11:38 AM

Would like to boycott the pricey "organic" gourmet shops here in nyc and grind my own.

I have a KA Mixer with the Grinder attachment.

Will this do the job? I mean im going to grind small batches... nothing crazy.

Now what cut of beef do you suggest ?

And how does one go about creating ratios with fat in the final grind?

Thanks so much

also.. if you know a good place to read info on this.. please link me

thanks.

  1. Dax Mar 14, 2011 12:53 PM

    I also use a KA mixer with the grinder. So far, I have cut into chunks, tossed with s&p, then froze for about 2 hours to assist with the grind process. I use the coarse grind attachment and it works out well. I did about 6 lbs Saturday for burgers; make sure the KA is not too high or your arm may get tired after a few lbs. Once ground, I form gently form into reasonably-sized patties, smush flat, press an indentation into middle, then put on wax paper for the grill.

    I like a mix of beef and pork, about 60-40. Saturday I used chuck (although it is kind of spendy these days) with some beef heart mixed in (for extra beefy flavor) plus some boston butt.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Dax
      s
      Sal Vanilla Mar 17, 2011 12:28 AM

      This is good advice. I semi freeze my meat too before grinding. I also fashion a spray guard with a piece of parchment taped to the KA like a visor. Maybe the new ones come with one, but I find mine likes to send out a fine meat mist when I grind. Parchment solves that.

      I use chuck roasts for beef and butts for pork. I cut any fat blobs into smaller pieces and feed them into the machine with the meat so the fat gets evenly distributed.

      I also use the cuisinart to zap up chunky chili meat.

      1. re: Sal Vanilla
        mcf Mar 17, 2011 07:23 AM

        I can't say I've ever experienced any kind of spray while grinding...

        1. re: mcf
          c oliver Mar 17, 2011 07:57 AM

          Me neither. I mentioned that below. Can't for the life of me figure what would cause that. Unless it's using too high a speed or forcing the meat through. I use the second lowest speed. Mine comes out of the grinder the exact same "wetness" as it goes in.

          1. re: c oliver
            mcf Mar 17, 2011 08:12 AM

            The most I ever get is some juices on the counter if I'm not careful about bowl placement, so I put some wax paper down.

        2. re: Sal Vanilla
          Shrinkrap Mar 21, 2011 08:25 PM

          I experimented with the kA coarse blade for chili Sunday (flat iron and rump), but it wasn't coarse enough. Is the Cuisinart food processer better?

          1. re: Shrinkrap
            Dax Mar 23, 2011 09:35 AM

            Not sure but how it rump roast for taste when ground for chili? You can always use coarse then fine grind on the KA.

            1. re: Dax
              Shrinkrap Mar 23, 2011 11:48 AM

              I don't think the rump added much, but I mixed both meats, and mixed hand cut and "coarse" ground, so it's hard to know . I was experimenting, as i am contributing for a charity event next week, and wanted to try some things on "just" my family first.

              I DO know that I ate the remaining flat iron steak the next day, but the remaining rump roast isn't tempting me at all. So LEAN looking!

      2. r
        rjbh20 Mar 14, 2011 12:58 PM

        I've ground my own beef for decades, most of which were with the Kitchenaid grinder -- it works just fine.

        I use whole prime chuck, which is about 22 lbs of meat -- likely more than you need. Just get as much chuck roast as you need and seam it out (separate the individual muscles and segregate the fat). If you do it carefully, you'll likely have some fairly lean meat, some that has more marbling and some pure white fat. Use whatever ratio of pure lean to fat you like, but less than 10% is going to be pretty dry and tasteless. Use the somewhat marbled as stew meat. I tend toward 25%,fat sometimes even higher if i'm going to use the end product for hamburgers done in a cast iron pan where the extra fat can render out without causing immolation as on a grill.

        Get your meat and especially the fat very cold -- semi frozen is best -- and grind twice using the small plate, cleaning it out in between grindings. When done, knead the meat as you would bread dough for about a minute, no more unless you want a denser, more sausagy consistency. Most recipes will say to handle the meat as little as possible, but the short kneading develops the protein a bit and keeps the mass hold its shape. It also helps retain the juices inside the burger rather than making it so loose the juice leaks out all over the place when cooking.

        Good luck

        1. scubadoo97 Mar 14, 2011 03:39 PM

          The KA grinder will do a fine job. A lot depends on the KA mixer and it's motor the grinder is attached to.

          The type of meat and blend depends on what you're doing with it.
          For burgers many people like a basic chuck roast which is around 70/30 lean to fat. Good ratio for burgers. You can get different taste by combining different cuts. Brisket, flat iron, boneless short ribs and sirloin are all good additions to a chuck for burgers. Keeping everything very cold helps to keep the fat from emulsifying and coating the inside of your grinder.

          I'm in the camp that says don't handle the meat too much. I like burger meat loose, tender and juicy.

          1. q
            Querencia Mar 14, 2011 06:23 PM

            It''s easier to buy a chunk of beef when it's on sale at a good price and ask the butcher to grind it for you. I have never had a butcher refuse to do this.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Querencia
              scubadoo97 Mar 15, 2011 05:19 AM

              I use to do this too. The only thing I had a problem with is when they use their big grinder instead of the smaller units they have. I always felt the first pound coming out of the machine was what they were last grinding and not what I bought.

              1. re: Querencia
                mcf Mar 15, 2011 01:08 PM

                For me, that would defeat the whole purpose; control over meat quality, purity and handling so I can safely cook it less than well done.

                1. re: mcf
                  scubadoo97 Mar 15, 2011 02:18 PM

                  But if you don't have a way to grind at home this is an alternative. This is what I use to do for quite a few years before getting my KA grinder and now a stand alone grinder.

                  1. re: scubadoo97
                    mcf Mar 15, 2011 03:51 PM

                    I suppose at least you get the cut you want. But I would never cook less than well done from the store grinder. I don't have a KA, so I bought an inexpensive Waring grinder that I just love. After making all the recommended combinatisons, flank steaks makes the best tasting burgers, in our estimation.

                  2. re: mcf
                    c oliver Mar 15, 2011 02:53 PM

                    I see what you're saying but don't think it defeats the WHOLE purpose. You see the exact piece of meat and know it comes from one cow only.

                    1. re: c oliver
                      mcf Mar 15, 2011 03:52 PM

                      Sure, that's an improvement over mixed, packaged stuff, but how many different cow's parts are run through the grinder daily?

                2. c oliver Mar 14, 2011 07:03 PM

                  I keep my process simpler than some others and never have a problem. I buy 7-bone chuck; get it at my Latino market for a good price. I don't partially freeze and have never had a problem. I cut it (fat included) in strips about the same diameter as the feed tube and use about the second lowest speed. I have done as much as 10# at a time. I grind into a pasta bowl, rotating as we go so that it's all mixed. Form into 6 oz. patties, more rounded than flat. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then put multiples in zipping bags. I haven't found my FoodSaver is any advantage for this. After a few months in the freezer the meat is still red. When I'm ready to cook, I flatten it slightly into a patty shape, season with s&p, and grill. Perfect every time. You'll never go back, I promise :)

                  ETA: Since I do more than a meal's worth, I do turn the motor off occasionally to let it cool down.

                  17 Replies
                  1. re: c oliver
                    r
                    rjbh20 Mar 15, 2011 06:54 AM

                    If you want to seal these using a Foodsaver -- and I believe it does add considerably to the freezer lifespan -- freeze your patties unwrapped first, then seal when they're frozen.

                    1. re: rjbh20
                      c oliver Mar 15, 2011 07:45 AM

                      If I were keeping them for a really long time I'd do that but, as I mention, after a few months they're still bright red with no sign of ice crystals/freezer burner. I'm a real KISS advocate :) I don't hesitate to use the FF just haven't found it to be necessary for this particular product. YMMV.

                      1. re: c oliver
                        lestblight Mar 15, 2011 11:25 AM

                        Thank You All

                        Seems like theres no preferred cut.. or wrong way to make your ground beef.

                        But what i am still confused about is this...

                        For grinding beef or for making sausages.. there seems to be an emphasis on meat to fat ratio.

                        How can i be certain i have the right ratio? Otherwise it looks like a guesstimate.

                        Is there a rule for this? or just comes down to specific cuts which will have that ratio of meat to fat?

                        Like a pork butt for sausage ( 70/30)

                        thanks.

                        Thanks again.

                        1. re: lestblight
                          r
                          rjbh20 Mar 15, 2011 11:43 AM

                          Separate your meat into lean and fat and do it by weight. BTW, this is one reason that chuck works well -- the lean is lean and the fat is mostly intramuscular so its relatively easy to seam out. Or just eyeball it and do it by volume -- precision isn't necessary unless you're doing it commercially.

                          1. re: rjbh20
                            slotmansc Mar 15, 2011 11:56 AM

                            I've always just used chuck when it's on sale, and I look for the fattiest pieces(they're usually the ones nobody wants anyway). I would encourage that you put the grinder parts in the freezer 20 minutes before you start grinding. Can't be too careful.

                            1. re: slotmansc
                              c oliver Mar 15, 2011 02:56 PM

                              I used 7-bone chuck for the same reason. Close enough for government work :) What does freezing the parts have to do with being careful? Don't know what that's about. I know some people do it because, in their experience, it grinds better.

                              1. re: c oliver
                                I used to know how to cook... Mar 15, 2011 04:15 PM

                                Hi all,

                                I agree with c oliver. No clue what freezing the grinder parts would have to do with being careful.

                                That said, I do briefly freeze the cut-up meat. It grinds better and faster. Freezing the grinder parts makes sense to me. I'll do that next time. The fat in the meat would be less likely to gunk up the grinder if its cold.

                                Lucy

                                1. re: I used to know how to cook...
                                  c oliver Mar 15, 2011 04:22 PM

                                  Ya know, I read that here but have never had a problem. As mentioned, I DO stop occasionally and let the motor cool down so that's probably keeping all the parts that come in contact with the meat cooler also. When I'm done grinding up to 10# of beef, the meat is still cold enough that my hands are pretty chilled forming it into patties. Go figure.

                                  1. re: c oliver
                                    mcf Mar 15, 2011 04:38 PM

                                    Chilling the parts helps keep the meat a more ideal temp, and also helps keep it firm enough to go all the way through more readily, instead of getting smooshy/gummyish. It may not matter as much if you're doing a small quantity, but I've found that cold meat, cold grinder parts gives me a better/safer meat temp and easier handling.

                                    1. re: mcf
                                      c oliver Mar 15, 2011 05:11 PM

                                      As I've said, I do 10# with no problem. I'd guess most people at home wouldn't be doing more than that but I don't try to guess what other people do. I get no "smooshy/gummyish :)

                                      1. re: c oliver
                                        mcf Mar 15, 2011 05:24 PM

                                        I don' t use a KA, so I don't know; the meat doesn't start coming out warm after a while?

                                        1. re: mcf
                                          c oliver Mar 15, 2011 05:28 PM

                                          Nope.

                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7721...

                                          1. re: c oliver
                                            mcf Mar 15, 2011 05:53 PM

                                            Sorry, that's what I get for skimming! It's definitely an issue with the Waring I use, and I never grind meat until just before I cook it, so never more than a lb or two.. If I stored it pre- ground, I still wouldn't be comfortable cooking it less than well done, though I'd be fine using it in recipes calling for well cooked ground meat. I just wanted a pink burger so bad after a while...

                                      2. re: mcf
                                        slotmansc Mar 16, 2011 05:43 AM

                                        That's right mcf, plus for added safety, when I'm doing 5#'s or more, I'll put the catch bowl in a bigger bowl filled with ice to keep the ground beef more chilled, especially if I'm going through two grinds, once with the coarse, then followed up with the finer grind. I've had good results with all types of meat.

                                        1. re: slotmansc
                                          lestblight Mar 16, 2011 10:36 AM

                                          thanks for the input

                                          i will start with chuck as everyone suggests.

                                          Out of curiosity.. what would the ratio be on something like skirt steak?
                                          would that be a bad choice to mix with chuck?

                                          1. re: lestblight
                                            slotmansc Mar 16, 2011 11:47 AM

                                            I wouldn't mix skirt steak in, it's rather lean and could make your hamburger too tough, plus it's getting expensive to use for hamburger. I think brisket would be a better choice, although that's not always cheap either. I've seen a mix with chuck, brisket, and oxtail. Looked interesting, can't remember the ratios though.

                                            1. re: slotmansc
                                              j
                                              joonjoon Mar 17, 2011 11:15 PM

                                              In my experience skirt is definitely one of the fattier cuts.

                    2. s
                      shoes Mar 16, 2011 12:05 PM

                      The standard Kitchen-Aid does very well. We use the coarser of the two grinding plates - the one with the bigger holes. We grind the meat twice for most uses - burgers, meatballs etc. If you only grind it once, you may get a tougher final product.

                      For burgers, we usually grind a mixture of chuck and sirloin. If we need fattier ground meat, we throw in some flap meat or short rib meat.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: shoes
                        c oliver Mar 16, 2011 03:09 PM

                        I only grind once with the large die. Toughness is no issue. We have to handle very gently so they don't fall apart.

                        One time my 7-bone chuck had been trimmed too well. I just asked them for some of the fat that they'd trimmed off other meat. Worked great.

                      2. ipsedixit Mar 16, 2011 03:12 PM

                        This is what I do.

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7717...

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          c oliver Mar 16, 2011 03:17 PM

                          This reminds me of something Alan Barnes taught me and that I always do. Don't PUSH the meat through. Just use the plunger thingy as a gentle guide. That probably helps the overheating factor as well as clogging up the machine.

                          1. re: c oliver
                            ipsedixit Mar 16, 2011 03:19 PM

                            Yes, grinding meat (just like chopping veggies) is a very Zen-like experience.

                            Just let it happen.

                            Try to hard and all hell breaks lose.

                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              c oliver Mar 16, 2011 03:28 PM

                              Yeah, I've read here about people putting up plastic sheets to protect the surrounding area from all the juice that gets thrown about. I'm thinking, what's that all about?

                            2. re: c oliver
                              mcf Mar 16, 2011 04:15 PM

                              It's true, it seems to move along just about right if I don't smoosh down on it.

                              1. re: c oliver
                                scubadoo97 Mar 16, 2011 09:21 PM

                                I like to cut my meat in strips so it self feeds into the augur as soon as you drop it down the chute. No plunger needed. Now on the second grind it's not so easy without a little push with the plunger.

                                1. re: scubadoo97
                                  c oliver Mar 16, 2011 09:39 PM

                                  I've never done a second grind. Why do you?

                                  1. re: c oliver
                                    scubadoo97 Mar 17, 2011 04:52 AM

                                    Like the texture better

                                    1. re: scubadoo97
                                      slotmansc Mar 17, 2011 05:09 AM

                                      same here, plus I find I like the way it holds it's shape for meatballs, stuffed burgers, etc.

                                      1. re: slotmansc
                                        ipsedixit Mar 17, 2011 07:16 AM

                                        You're making meatloaf. Not hamburger.

                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                          slotmansc Mar 17, 2011 10:11 AM

                                          Oh, my bad, I thought the topic of the OP was "grinding your own beef".

                                        2. re: slotmansc
                                          c oliver Mar 17, 2011 08:24 AM

                                          I'm going to do a second grind the next time I make sausage as it's hard to get it to stay together for patties but I've never had the problem with burgers. Even made some little meatballs a while back to put in pho and it was fine.

                                          1. re: c oliver
                                            mcf Mar 17, 2011 09:03 AM

                                            I have had the problem with burgers due to excess moisture, so I may try it next time. OTOH, since I've settled on flank steak as my favorite burger meat, it's been much less of a problem.

                              2. Uncle Bob Mar 17, 2011 08:16 AM

                                Chuck roast on sale are my choice....Cut into strips, chilled and ground twice is my method.
                                Grinding twice distributes the fat evenly .. The vast majority of market grind is ground twice...
                                Venison burger....Grind the meat...Grind the beef fat....Mix and grind again...Even fat distribution.
                                Venison Sausage...Grind the meat...Grind the pork fat/butt...Mix, add seasoning, and grind again...Even fat/seasoning distribution....

                                Enjoy!

                                1. j
                                  joonjoon Mar 17, 2011 11:11 PM

                                  I have a KA grinder but I almost never grind beef. Why? I can routinely get 80/20 ground beef for under 2$/lb, whereas chuck costs over 3 bucks a lb. If I'm gonna pay the premium I'm not gonna turn it into something I could have gotten for less money.

                                  My go-to meat for grinding is pork shoulder. You can get shoulder for close to 1$/lb and it's fantastic ground. In any application where the meat is cooked in a sauce, it's just as good as ground beef and half the cost. You can also make sausage with it.

                                  It would also be very economical to grind your own poultry, if you were into that sort of thing. The markup on ground turkey is absolutely insane!

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: joonjoon
                                    tommy Mar 18, 2011 05:35 AM

                                    I think the points of grinding your own beef include safety, control, and flavor. Not sure if people are focusing on the extra couple of dollars.

                                    1. re: tommy
                                      mcf Mar 18, 2011 07:13 AM

                                      Exactly. I doubt anyone grinds their own beef so they can pay more, work harder and end up with the same quality product. :-)

                                      1. re: mcf
                                        c oliver Mar 18, 2011 08:26 AM

                                        Yep. All I have to do is look at the ground beef in the store and compare to what I grind and I know it's worth the really small amount of effort. And I'm not even concerned about the safety :)

                                        1. re: c oliver
                                          lestblight Mar 18, 2011 08:31 AM

                                          I am grinding mine because of price.. try 7 a pound...

                                          also i would think that i could do a better job then what the shop sells.

                                          I would much rather not rely on them and do it myself.

                                          question on freezing.. since i will do small batches...

                                          if i buy a large chuck.. can i freeze whole and thaw when i wanna grind? or grind the whole thing then freeze?

                                          1. re: lestblight
                                            mcf Mar 18, 2011 08:40 AM

                                            I would freeze 1lb hunks and only defrost what you're going to grind.

                                            1. re: lestblight
                                              c oliver Mar 18, 2011 08:52 AM

                                              I do six ounce patties which is a nice big, thick patty. In the past I've done 5ish pounds at a time. And, of course, I'm losing some to the bone(s). I grind it all, form patties, wrap each really tightly in plastic wrap and then put multiples in zipping bag. If not doing that way, then I'd go the mcf route and cut into 1# hunks.

                                              1. re: lestblight
                                                r
                                                rjbh20 Mar 22, 2011 10:01 AM

                                                Depends largely on how fast you use the ground product and how well you wrap it for freezing. I start with a 20 - 23 lb whole prime chuck and grind about 2/3. The rest (the more marbled part) gets cut into stew or left whole for a roast. The ground is portioned into patties (a burger press is surprisingly useful if you do volume) which are frozen unwrapped for a day then vacuum sealed in 5-packs. If you seal them while unfrozen, they squish into a big lump.
                                                The stew or roast is also vacuum sealed an all will stay in perfect condition for months in the freezer. Vacuum sealers are also surprisingly useful and theoretically pay for themselves.

                                      2. chef chicklet Mar 23, 2011 12:13 PM

                                        i'm jealous, I need that attachment like yesterday. I plan on grinding all kinds of meats with it.
                                        Doing what you have so far, how do like it? Ive got the larger KA, so I think the power is there just fine. I don't know what I'd do without that thing!

                                        What I'm really anxious to do other than beef of course is pork. I use a lot of ground pork since I love Asian food, and I'm not happy with the pork more often than not. I don't know off hand what cut they use or fat to meat ratio, but I can come up with something better (keeping my eyes open here for ideas on that.) I don't like the size of the grind, it's huge, so I end up with it in the food processors, I shouldn't have to do that.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: chef chicklet
                                          j
                                          joonjoon Mar 23, 2011 12:31 PM

                                          Just go with pork shoulder. It's the cheapest cut out there, and already has just the right fat ratio.

                                          1. re: chef chicklet
                                            c oliver Mar 23, 2011 03:27 PM

                                            I use a Batali recipe for pork but, of course, that's not Asian :) But I will never use anything other than home ground. It's just SO much better.

                                            1. re: chef chicklet
                                              Dax Mar 24, 2011 08:25 AM

                                              CC, the KA attachment has a coarse and fine grind. I use the coarse alone for grinding meat for burgers, but might try running through coarse then fine next time. Will definitely use fine for some other things.

                                              1. re: Dax
                                                c oliver Mar 24, 2011 08:30 AM

                                                Next time I make sausage (and it needs to be soon as I have only two packs left) I intend to grind half just coarsely and the other half coarsely and then finely. I like patties for breakfast and it's really difficult to get the coarse to hold together while cooking. Never have the problem with beef patties.

                                            2. s
                                              sausage_maker Jun 7, 2011 11:22 AM

                                              I've heard mixed reviews on the KA attachment. I use a small electric kitchen meat grinder that works really well if the KA attachment didn't work for you: http://www.westonsupply.com/Meat-Grinders-s/68.htm. A site I find helpful is meat basics 101: http://www.meatbasics101.com/ground_b...

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: sausage_maker
                                                r
                                                rjbh20 Jul 7, 2011 08:58 AM

                                                I use the grinder attachment to an Electrolux Assistant, which is an alternative to the KA (better for bread, not as good for whipping). The grinder is fantastic -- blows away the KA, which I used for decades.

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