How To Grind Your Own Meat

Meat grinder
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  • 01 of 09

    Cut Beef Chuck into Cubes

    Cutting beef
    BRETT STEVENS / Getty Images

    For this tutorial on grinding meat, we're going to make hamburgers out of fresh beef chuck. But you can grind pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, game meats, even buffalo. And even though I'm making burgers, you can use your ground meats in sauces, stews, chili, or for filling tacos or whatever.

    The reason I like beef chuck is that it usually has about a 15 percent fat content, which is just about right. You could use sirloin, or a combination of sirloin and chuck would work, too. If you wanted to get...MORE really extravagant you could even grind your own Kobe beef burgers.

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  • 02 of 09

    Chill Cubes of Beef in Freezer for 30 Minutes

    How To Grind Your Own Meat
    Chill Cubes of Beef in Freezer for 30 Minutes. Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Freezing the meat helps it hold its shape better and keeps it firm, so it goes through the grinder more easily. Also, starting with semi-frozen meat is preferable from a food safety standpoint.

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  • 03 of 09

    Freeze Grinding Plate and Other Cutting Parts

    How To Grind Your Own Meat
    Freeze Grinding Plate and Other Cutting Parts. Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    I'm using a KitchenAid stand mixer with the Food Grinder Attachment for this demo, but you can use a standalone motorized grinder, a manual (hand-crank) grinder or even a food processor.

    Personally, I prefer using the stand mixer with the special attachment. That way, instead of needing 50 different appliances, I have one appliance that I can use in 50 different ways.

    Here's a tip: Put the blade, the grinding plate and the rotating "grind worm" in the freezer along with the meat. Then,...MORE assemble the grinder when you're ready to begin. If you plan to do a lot of grinding, and you have room in the freezer, you can even store these parts in the freezer all the time.

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  • 04 of 09

    Place Meat and Other Ingredients in Hopper

    How To Grind Your Own Meat
    Place Meat and Other Ingredients in Hopper. Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    If you're grinding a large amount of meat — like 2 to 3 pounds or more — make sure you keep it on ice to prevent bacteria growth. If you're grinding into a bowl, fill a larger bowl with ice, then nestle the smaller bowl into the ice to keep the finished product chilled.

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  • 05 of 09

    Turn Mixer On and Push Meat Into Grinder

    How To Grind Your Own Meat
    Turn Mixer On and Push Meat Into Grinder. Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Follow the instructions for your mixer as far as what setting or speed to use. With the KitchenAid, turn the mixer on to speed 4 and use the food pusher to press the meat into the hopper. You can also mix in raw garlic, onions, herbs, and any other ingredients. Don't add any salt yet, though. It's best to add that at the end so you can judge the flavor.

    I probably don't need to mention this, but don't stick fingers, toes or any other body parts into the hopper. Also, if you have long...MORE hair, it's a good idea to tie it back or stow it inside a hat while you're operating the grinder.

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  • 06 of 09

    Here Comes the Freshly Ground Meat

    How To Grind Your Own Meat
    Here Comes the Freshly Ground Meat. Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    I recommend listening to Pink Floyd's The Wall during this particular step, but that's optional.

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  • 07 of 09

    The Finished Ground Beef

    How To Grind Your Own Meat
    The Finished Ground Beef. Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Gorgeous, isn't it? For this demo, I ground 2½ pounds of beef chuck in about 10 minutes.

    Here's where you can season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, as well as any wet ingredients you'd like to add. I like a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce in mine. A bit of fresh or prepared Dijon mustard can be nice, too.

    As far as tasting is concerned, some chefs will taste the raw meat to test the seasoning. And why not? You just ground it, so you know what's in it. Still, you could...MORE cook up a teaspoonful or so and taste that. Or just eyeball it. I used about a handful of Kosher salt for 2½ pounds of beef — but if you have hands the size of frying pans, you may want to take that into account.

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  • 08 of 09

    Gently Form the Meat Into Patties

    How To Grind Your Own Meat
    Gently Form the Meat Into Patties. Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Gently shape the meat into balls — about 6 oz each is about right — then flatten into patties. And don't pack the meat too tightly — you're not making snowballs here. Too much pressure will give you a tough burger. 

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  • 09 of 09

    Grill or Broil to Your Liking

    How To Grind Your Own Meat
    Grill or Broil to Your Liking. Photo © Danilo Alfaro

    Ground meats should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F. The only time I'd consider deviating from this rule is if I'd ground the meat myself and knew exactly what was in it. And ground chicken or turkey should be cooked to 165° no matter what. The nice thing about using a primal cut like beef chuck is that its fat content will keep the burgers nice and moist, even if you do choose to cook them to 165°F.