How to Grind Your Own Ground Beef

Controlling the fat and fillers in ground beef

Ground beef
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Grind Your Own Ground Beef

If you really want to know what is in your hamburger, grind your own. This way you can control the fat content as well as the primal cut. If you have the energy and time, an old-fashioned clamp-on galvanized meat grinder still works just fine. If you have a standard food processor, you can whip up fresh ground beef in no time flat.

When using a food processor, cut chunks of beef and fat into one-inch uniform cubes and chill.

Place meat cubes in the processor with metal blade, taking care to process in small (no more than 1/2-pound depending on the size of your processor) batches. Pulse in short 1- to 2-second bursts until the desired consistency is achieved, usually 10 to 15 pulses.

It is important to pulse rather than letting the food processor continuously run. Pulsing tends to distribute the pieces for more even chopping and avoids excess heat from friction that could turn your ground beef into mush. If you are adding herbs or spices for a recipe, might as well toss them right in before beginning to process.

The amount of fat you add is up to you, but for best results, use at least 10 percent fat to meat ratio. Just remember that the fat is where the flavor is, and it also adds moisture for a juicier end result.

For burgers, a coarse grind is preferred. For meatloaf and meatballs, a finer grind helps the meat compact, blend with other ingredients, and hold its shape.

Always be sure to follow safe handling procedures.