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It's time for a discussion about grinding your own meat

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  • laflaone
    Former Member
    • Sep 2015
    • 5
    • Jensen Beach, FL

    It's time for a discussion about grinding your own meat


    Did a little research a few weeks ago about store bought ground meats. Especially ground beef. It scared the heck out of me. Into the mix goes old dairy cows, bulls, meat from many cows, e-coli possibility, length of time it sits around, and addition of pink slime. Never again. As a starter, I bought a Norpro hand grinder under $40. Already done a top round roast, chuck roast, and a boston butt. I now know what goes into my ground meats, for hamburgers, fatties, sausage, meatloaf, etc. It's doing an adequate job, but I may step up to an LEM or Kitchener electric grinder

    I Think it's time for Amazingribs to do an in-depth article about this subject.
  • Breadhead
    Banned Former Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 0

    #2
    I grind Chuck steaks and roasts for my hamburger meat. I use the meat grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer. I haven't bought pre ground hamburger meat since I made my first Steakhouse Steak burger out of ground chuck a couple of years ago.

    If you are worried about pathogens on the surface of your Chuck before you grind it give it a quick searing at high temperature to destroy those germs.

    Comment

    • bep35
      Founding Member
      • Jul 2014
      • 326
      • 1987 Weber Kettle (Still going!)
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      #3
      Over the last 10 years I have ground over two dozen deer through the Kitchen Aid meet grinder attachment. It just keeps going. Want to make bacon burgers? Grind bacon as your fat. Want a leaner breakfast sausage? Grind a 50/50 mix of Jimmy Dean Hot Sausage as your fat. Lots of options when you grind your own.

      Comment

      • TheMeatGuyJapan
        Former Member
        • Aug 2015
        • 48
        • Nagoya

        #4
        I've been to a lot of plants that do grinding and it's not quite as bad as you might have heard. There are a large variety of different operations. Some that grind whole muscle cuts exclusively, some that do trim, and some that do mechanically separated mixtures. Not surprisingly, the best I've ever seen did quarter pounders for McDonald's. This was in New Zealand and they used a half and half mixture frozen and chilled whole muscle cuts from steers and heifers - the spec called for no bull or cow meat. The plant was cleaner that most hospitals and aside from opening the original boxes, loading the patty maker, and sealing the final cartons, it was completely hands off. In all likelihood, plant ground beef is cleaner and with better temperature control and tracability than anything done behind a meat counter in a retail operation.

        That said, you can get really good ground meat by doing it yourself if you pay attention to a few things. The most important factor is temperature control, grinding adds a lot of heat to the meat, you can mitigate that by mixing in some frozen product with the grind, but a lot of home grinders can't handle the strain. You also need to be really careful that you've properly sanitized your equipment and work spaces. Bacteria can sit in tiny scratches, colonize it, and remain viable for long periods of time. So even if you are handling really clean meat, it's pointless if you re-introducing bacteria when it passes through the grinder. You also need to be careful that you've got sharp blades and that your blades match the plate of your grinder, if you go mixing and matches you'll end up with metal shavings in your grind. Also, don't stick your finger (or anything else attached to you) in the grinder. You'd think this goes unsaid, but I had a worker do this last week - she's still got the finger and she only needed a couple of stitches. I had to throw away about half of that lot though.

        Here's how we grind beef. I use chilled outside flats, and frozen back fat, we're going for an 85% lean product. First we do a breaking grind with a 19mm plate, then we do a temp check to see if we need to put it back in the cooler or not. Then we do the next grind at either 6mm or 3mm depending on what we are going for. Product is immediately bagged and frozen. Grinding twice like this gets the meat and fat adequately blended without having to overwork the meat by mixing it which can drastically change the texture. I can get a pretty wide range of eating experiences by adjusting for fat content and final plate size. Some folks like to do this by mixing up different cuts, chuck rolls or briskets or what have you. I'm not convinced that there is enough of a significant difference in flavor between cuts once ground to make up for all the difficulties of trying to control for consistency when mixing things up. But for home use, it can be fun to do a mix of ground brisket and ground round.

        If you want to grind at home so that you can have a rare burger, then you need to have a kill step before you ground. For example you could take something relatively small like an eye of round. Blanch it in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then grind it. This should kill nearly all of the bacteria and so long as you don't re-contaminate it while you grind it, or afterwards, then you can have a reasonably safe rare burger. Nothing is 100% though so don't feed it to kids or old people or somebody just coming off a round of chemo.

        Comment


        • Willy
          Willy commented
          Editing a comment
          I ain't no fan of McDonalds' burgers, but I very much appreciate that you emphasized how big corporations stress important things like cleanliness. The fans of "natural" are just clueless about how food really "happens".

          Thank you!!!!

        • LangInGibsonia
          LangInGibsonia commented
          Editing a comment
          Really interesting insight there. Thanks.
      • Jerod Broussard
        Moderator
        • Jun 2014
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        #5
        I got a 1/2 horsepower #8 from Cabelas. I make sure and keep all components COLD.

        Comment


        • Danjohnston949
          Danjohnston949 commented
          Editing a comment
          Jerod Broussard, TheMeatGuyJapan, When I was a kid my Folks had a Meat Market, the cattle would be sorted out in the feedlot, walked up a run to the slaughter house, and then to the cooler for Processing! The Grinder Head was always kept in a meat lug on the cooler floor even after being thoroughly cleaned with water, detergent and bleach. As the MeatGuy said Hamburger was always ground twice. I don't remember the Plate sizes but first coarse and then finer? Emulsifies the meat and fat and gives the patties more Stick Together while
          Cooking!
          Eat Well and Prosper! From Fargo ND, Dan

        • Jerod Broussard
          Jerod Broussard commented
          Editing a comment
          Danjohnston949 I keep mine in the freezer if it is going to be used anytime soon.
      • Jon Solberg
        Former Member
        • Jul 2014
        • 4729

        #6
        : 0 .....
        Last edited by Jon Solberg; February 2, 2016, 07:25 PM.

        Comment

        • bbqoaf
          Former Member
          • Jul 2014
          • 751
          • Calgary, Alberta, Canada

          #7
          The meat grinder attachment for the kitchen aid is awesome, makes short work of anything.

          Comment

          • LangInGibsonia
            Club Member
            • Jan 2016
            • 134
            • Gibsonia, PA (suburban Pittsburgh)
            • Lang Riley

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            #8
            I'll give another vote for the KA grinder. I do 5 or 6 (hopefully) deer a year plus wild pig and locally raised pork and chicken. Just be careful. Home grinding is a slippery slope that leads directly to home sausage making. Now that is fun!

            Comment

            • laflaone
              Former Member
              • Sep 2015
              • 5
              • Jensen Beach, FL

              #9
              Question for TheMeatGuyJapan: Who do you work for?

              Comment


              • TheMeatGuyJapan
                TheMeatGuyJapan commented
                Editing a comment
                CurlingDog Thank you!

              • Dr ROK
                Dr ROK commented
                Editing a comment
                Small world. My tech coordinator at the high school where I was principal lived in Burwell for awhile. Ever heard of Craig Manley?

              • TheMeatGuyJapan
                TheMeatGuyJapan commented
                Editing a comment
                @Dr_ROK, I have not. But I haven't actually lived in Burwell for 27 years.
            • W.A.
              Charter Member
              • Sep 2014
              • 758
              • Kingwood, TX
              • Rec Tec Stampede, Pit Barrel Cooker, Weber One Touch Gold 22.5", Kamado Joe Classic

              #10
              I mix homemade bacon in with chuck for the added fat to get ~75-80% lean by weight. Keep it all extremely cold, Including the grinder parts.

              Comment

              • PaulstheRibList
                Founding Member
                • Jul 2014
                • 1582
                • Lake Charles, LA
                • Started Low-N-Slow BBQ in 2012. Obviously, it's taken hold (in chronological order:
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                  I'm loving using BBQ to make friends and build connections.
                  I have #theRibList where I keep a list of new and old friends and whenever I'm cooking, I make 1 to 20 extra and share the joy.

                #11
                So Fun!! For you guys grinding at home, can you taste the difference?

                Anyone done any blind tests to see if you or guests can tell the preference?

                Comment


                • laflaone
                  laflaone commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Good to hear from a fellow Louisiana boy! When I was a boy back in the 40's and 50's, I used to occasionally go into Shreveport with my Dad to a slaughterhouse where he and his brothers had a locker that had cuts from a cow they had bought. He would pick out what he wanted (wrapped in white butchers paper) and bring it home to Mama. She make roasts, steaks, and ground some of it on an old cast iron grinder that clamped to the edge of a kitchen table.

                • LangInGibsonia
                  LangInGibsonia commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I perceive there to be a fresher more meaty flavor in my own ground meats but that isn't really backed up by blind taste tests as you suggested. For me the biggest reason for grinding and sausage making at home is because I want to know EXACTLY what my family and I are eating.

                • W.A.
                  W.A. commented
                  Editing a comment
                  You definitely dont save much money for grinding hamburger. You probably can save money on making sausage though. I mostly like the fact that I made it myself, at least after I bought the whole cuts of meat....
              • laflaone
                Former Member
                • Sep 2015
                • 5
                • Jensen Beach, FL

                #12
                Going back to my opening post, I think it's time to reemphasize the reasons to grind your own meats. First Google "why to grind your own meats". Also check out this article in the New York Times:

                http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/23/dining/23mini.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0




                Comment

                • Medusa
                  Charter Member
                  • Sep 2014
                  • 665
                  • For those who are about to Cook - WE SALUTE YOU!

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                  #13
                  I grind all of my pork from Boston Butts- do not grind pork loin = waste as it does not have the desired 20% fat ratio that a butt has. I use a LEM 575 watt, and it takes about 7 minutes to do between 5 - 6 lbs. Prefer grinding BNLS Chuck Roasts for burgs, but sometimes the cost is ridiculous per pound.

                  Like Jerod Broussard said, keep everything cold. I put my auger, blade, and plate(s) in the freezer for 20 minutes along with the cut up meat. Grinders like cold things.

                  Yep, GIY! Sausage stuffer has been on wish-list for a few years... the next step..

                  HTH, -- Ed

                  Comment


                  • LangInGibsonia
                    LangInGibsonia commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Medusa I have a LEM 5 lb. stuffer and love it. I'm not one to do huge batches at a time, so for me this is perfect. Well worth the meager investment when you consider I can get cryovac butts for $1.79-$1.99/lb. and hog casing for almost nothing. Try finding $2/lb. sausage anywhere.

                  • Medusa
                    Medusa commented
                    Editing a comment
                    This LEM stuffer is the exact one on the wish list. Glad you love it... just don't have the storage for now, but #1 has been watching alot of Home Remodeling so I might get lucky - LOL!

                  • LangInGibsonia
                    LangInGibsonia commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Medusa I just wash it, put it back in the box and keep it on a shelf in the garage.
                • Jerod Broussard
                  Moderator
                  • Jun 2014
                  • 9925
                  • East Texas
                  • Pit Barrel Cooker "Texas Brisket Edition"
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                  #14
                  Medusa I have a 15 pound stuffer. WORTH EVERY PENNY.

                  Comment


                  • PaulstheRibList
                    PaulstheRibList commented
                    Editing a comment
                    That sounds super fun!

                  • Medusa
                    Medusa commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I bet it's a blast!
                • Powersmoke_80
                  Founding Member
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                  #15
                  @LangInGibsonia You are 100% correct

                  "Just be careful. Home grinding is a slippery slope that leads directly to home sausage making."

                  Kids started me on a couple kits from Cabelas Last year with a 5 lb horn stuffer as a gift (by the way that stuffer went directly back to the store and borrowed a 15 pound vertical) and I bought a small gander mountain grinder off craigslist which also was a PITA to use.
                  This year A buddy at work had a friend that bought a bunch of recipes from a small meat mkt. that closed and he gave me copies, for sausages, polish sausage , hunter sticks, summer sausage, polish dogs brats and so on.
                  So this year I picked up a Gander Mt. 1/2 HP #8 commercial grade grinder and love it. For Christmas I received a Cabelas stainless 7 gallon meat mixer and picked up a 5 ft commercial stainless table at the auction last week.
                  Now I am working on Big Bertha (a 6" diameter 30" tall vertical Hydro sausage stuffer) and I Picked up all my sausage supplies from Butcher & Packer.
                  So, as soon as I am done with Big Bertha and with pork butt at a about $1.15 /lb by the case at Sams I will be full tilt making sausage.
                  Last edited by Powersmoke_80; February 4, 2016, 08:29 PM.

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