How to Grind Meat – The Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners
Step #1: Picking the meat
First, you need to know what kind of meat you want to grind, and not only the type; we’re talking cut, too. The best ground meat is a product of the best cuts and quality of meat. If you are a skilled and enthusiastic meat grinder wanting to eat the tastiest burger you’ve ever sunk your teeth into, you might consider picking lazy-aged steak for making the perfect patty. If, however, you are only starting out, you will be just as satisfied with the end product produced by more affordable meat cuts like chuck or sirloin. Just a point of interest: remember that the meat-to-fat ratio is what makes for a great product. You are, of course, able to grind any type of meat you like, but just make sure to add some fat if you are using very lean meat. Lastly, buy high-quality meat from reputable butchers. Make sure that the meat comes from a source that is free-range, naturally raised, and hormone free.
Step #2: Picking the grinder
The perfect grinder really depends on your use and needs. If you plan on opening a burger joint, it might be a good idea to invest in a heavy-duty electrical grinder. If, however, you just want to make your own ground meat at home, a manual grinder could work just as well. The most important things to look for in a grinder are the sharpness of the blades and, of course, its functionality.
Step #3: Getting started
Now, you are ready to get started. If you have your grinder and your meat at hand, be sure to check the opening of the grinder and cut your piece of meat into blocks that will fit in there. You don’t want to cause a massive obstruction on your first try, right? Once you have ascertained how big you have to cut your meat cubes, you can continue to step 4.
Step #4: Prepping the meat and grinder
Firstly, you need to disassemble your grinder and put it in the freezer. This includes the grinding plate and all the parts responsible for cutting and grinding the meat. Next, you can start cutting your meat into the correct size cubes. Take note of any excess fat that you would like to remove. You can remove it but do keep in mind that having a good protein/fat balance is key to a good end product. Another thing to remove while cutting your meat is sinew or any thick pieces of connective tissue – this will ensure easy and hassle-free grinding. Once you have your cubes ready, you can lay them out on a tray and season them with freshly ground spices like salt and pepper. Lastly, put the tray and the grinder in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
Note: The grinder has to be as cold as possible to perform optimally. The meat, on the other hand, needs to be as cold as possible (half-frozen is best), to ensure it keeps its shape and that grinding goes a little bit easier. This is also much more hygienic. Even though adding spices before grinding the meat can be considered an optional step, this will certainly improve your end product, as the seasoning will blend in with your meat during the grinding process.
Step #5: Keeping a controlled environment
Before you get started with the actual work, be sure to get some ice ready. Keep the ground meat in contact with ice to ensure there is no window of opportunity for bacteria to breed. Choose your catching container beforehand, and place it on ice while grinding. For example, if you grind your meat into a bowl, place it in a larger bowl that is filled with ice. If you grind your meat onto a plate, place the plate into a bowl filled with ice. The key here is to ensure that the ground meat is kept cold and that you don’t have to worry about the possibility of bacteria growing in your ground meat.
Step #6: Grinding the Meat
Now the fun part starts! Keep in mind that for the best results, your grinder, blades and other grinding parts should have been in the freezer for at least an hour and your meat cubes at least half an hour. Take out the grinder just before you plan on starting to grind and re-assemble all the parts. If you are using an electric grinder, switch it on and slowly start feeding the meat into the opening. Don’t overstuff it, only add small amounts to ensure the flow and pace of the machine are kept constant. While you are at it, you can add more spices or herbs to flavor the meat. You can add anything from garlic to coriander – whatever tickles your fancy!
If you are using a manual grinder, just use some elbow grease and don’t overfeed the opening. This process is going to take a bit longer so be sure that you have enough ice to keep the meat as cold as possible. Safety is also a priority; make sure you keep the grinder steady and your hands and fingers out of the blade’s reach.
Once you have ground the meat, you should be ready to make any recipe you like. Or, if you have read through our guide first, you can decide what you want to do with your meat beforehand. We recommend this given that whatever you make will dictate the spices and herbs you should add to the mix. Remember, you don’t always have to follow recipes exactly; you can get creative! For example, try adding some chopped jalapenos in your beef patties, coriander to your pork sausages, or smoked paprika to your meatloaf.
As an added extra to ensure you are good to go and can become a master at grinding meat, we’ve decided to throw in a recipe that you can try out this week!
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Scrumptious Cajun Burgers
- Pork Shoulder
- Beef Chuck
- Cayenne Pepper
- Bell Pepper
To make your burgers, simply prepare the beef chuck (10 ounces) and pork shoulder (10 ounces) as described in our steps above. Once you start grinding, add the remaining ingredients to ensure all the flavors marry and mix well. If you prefer to mix them in after the meat is ground, you can do that as well.
Make 4-6 balls using the ground meat and pat them flat into the shape of burger patties. Voila! Your tasty burgers are ready to be cooked on the grill or the barbeque.
You will be amazed at all the wonderful new recipes you are going to want to try out with your newfound best friend. We hope our beginner’s guide to grinding meat has provided all the necessary points and tips to make you a master of home-ground meat in no time. Keep reading our blogs and reviews for all the latest in kitchen appliances and recipes that will have you cooking like a pro and impressing at fancy dinner parties faster than you know it.