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My Own Ground Beef Makes More Tender Burgers Than the Store

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Recently I have started grinding my own beef to make hamburger patties. I've been using chuck roast with great success. I cut it up into 1" chunks and run in through my 3.5mm grinding plate twice. This has been producing amazingly tender burgers. Some of the best burgers I've ever had.

I am very happy for my success, but I don't really feel like my accomplishment is complete until I understand what makes them so great. These burgers are way more tender than the fresh ground meat I get from the meat counter at grocery stores. I even buy the stuff that hasn't been packaged or compressed... it is fresh out of their meat grinder. However I cannot begin to make burgers from their meat come close to how tender mine are.

Anyone have any ideas? I form the patties the same way in either case. The butcher showed me his grinding plate today and I wish I brought mine along to compare. It could be that they are using a finer grind and that is making the meat compact more easily. That is the only theory I can think of, unless adding meat trimmings is going to result in a tougher burger, because I know they do that too.

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  1. We do the same (grind chuck for burgers); they're better because the meat hasn't been handled as much, it's fresher, and I choose the chuck roasts to grind. Even though you bought freshly ground at the butchers, it's likely a bigger batch (so more compression just from the weight of the meat, plus they pack it for you to take home) and uses other meat scraps rather than just the good chuck roast you use.

    1. Buy two *same* pieces of meat; have the butcher grind one in front of you, grind the other one yourself. Then you'll know if it's the equipment/technique, or the meat itself. Then invite some of us to dinner for a taste test ;)

      All we can do is guess and give ideas, and wait for the thread to get hijacked by a great discussion of the science of grinding meat (it will start with temperature, I guarantee).

      4 Replies
      1. re: mlou72

        That is a great idea. Next time I need meat I'll ask the butcher to grind half and I will grind the other half myself for comparison.

        Today I did stop back in the store to compare my grinding plate to theirs: Mine is a little more coarse than what they use. So I assumed that accounted for the difference: Wrong! I ground up some more beef this morning using a finer grind and my burgers were still super tender.

        1. re: mlou72

          Yep temperature would be my guess, the store is grinding a lot of meat at the same time, thus the grinder gets heated the fat breaks down the meat texture changes. at home only a couple of pounds, not enough to heat the grinder significantly. anyway that's my guess. and how is that hijacking the thread as it does speak to the question?

          1. re: willdupre

            Thanks for the thoughts, that does make some sense and I'll probably set up some experiments to test that theory.

            Also I am quite happy to have my thread by 'hijacked' with science. I want to gain as broad of a understanding of this topic as possible. :)

            1. re: Octang

              does no one use their cuisinart so they can better control the grind of the meat? i do and have had good luck w/ it. p.s. i have no meat grinder attachment for my kitchenaid.

        2. We have a grinder attachement for out KitchenAid mixer, and my husband grinds most of our beef. I think why it is better is the coarser grind, and less handling, and I like that he trims a lot of the fat off.

          1. It's the meat. Ground chuck is cheaper per pound than bone-in chuck roast. There is a reason for that. All kinds of random meat-like bits go into that ground beef. You can be certain the beef you grind yourself is of higher quality than what goes into the pre-ground meat you find in the grocery story.

            1. Double grinding the beef is how Persian koobideh are made, gives the kabobs very silky and tender texture.