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Sunday
May082011

Grind Your Own Meat

 

Grass-fed beef chuck roast

 

I haven't bought ground meat in the grocery store for years.  I got to the point where I just didn't trust what was being ground up - it could be a package full of meat trimmings, for all I knew (and probably was).  Would you eat that?  Would you want a hamburger or meatball made of that?  Then when all the contaminated hamburger meat recalls started happening, I knew I didn't want to ever buy ground meat again.  

 

Meatballs made with a mixture of ground pork and beef

 

I already had a KitchenAid mixer, so I bought the meat grinder attachment.  I couldn't believe how easy it was to grind my own meat, fresh, at home.  I knew exactly what went into that ground meat.  I buy grass-fed beef from a local farm here in Michigan.  It's organic, hormone-free and humanely raised. If I take a steak and put that through the meat grinder, I get the healthiest ground beef I could probably buy anywhere. I can trim as much or as little fat from it as I want.  

 

 You will be surprised, too, at the texture of the ground meat.  It is light, fluffy and totally unlike pre-ground meat.  This makes for lighter meatballs and hamburgers.  If you buy a nice chuck roast and grind it up yourself and make hamburgers from it, I guarantee they will be the best hamburgers you've ever made at home.

 

You see the indentations I put in the center of each hamburger?
Those make it so that the hamburger stays flat as you cook it,
instead of rising up in the middle and becoming misshapen. 

 

I use about 6 ounces of ground meat for each hamburger

 

Take control of what is in your ground meat.  I made lasagna this weekend and I ground my own beef and pork to use in it.  I don't just buy a package of "ground pork".  I can pick which cut of pork I want to use in my meat mixture - I may buy a pork shoulder or even a pork tenderloin, for a lean choice, and grind that up. But I know exactly what's going into my ground meat if I grind it myself.

The KitchenAid meat grinder attachment will run you about $40.  I've used mine for years and it still performs great. The motor does the work for you. If you don't have a KitchenAid mixer, you can buy meat grinders at a wide range of prices. Norpro make a pretty basic hand-crank meat grinder for about $50 - $55.  If you don't want a hand-crank version, Lem makes a powerful meat grinder for about $300.  
 

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Reader Comments (33)

How is the cleaning up of the kitchen aid grinder? Can it go in the dishwasher? Also, not that this would deter me, but have you compared the cost to what you grind versus what you can buy? I've been wanting to do this for years and you have given me a kick in the pants!

May 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGwen

You have convinced me for all the right reasons. I have a kitchen aid, so what's another $40 or $50. Thanks, and Happy Mother's Day.

May 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAngela@Spinachtiger

I just ordered my attachment. I always wanted to make my own ground meat, but didn't realize how inexpensive the attachment is. I love my KA stand mixer! Thanks for the tutorial!

May 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFoodiewife

Wow! I have never thought of grinding my own meat. Just in the last few months I decided to switch over to grass fed beef for all the reasons you mentioned. However we just haven't been eating much beef anymore because I'm having trouble finding grass-fed only in the local stores. I'm in Michigan too! Would you mind sharing your meat farm?

PS- Thank for all your wonderful posts/recipes. I fell in love with your blog a year ago and it's inspired so much great food I've made for my family. You've also inspired me to try new things. Thank you!

May 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKim

I've used my Waring meat grinder for the past 6 years, mainly to grind beef and chicken for my dogs. I don't eat much beef but when I've ground some for myself, it comes out like freshly ground beef from Whole Foods.

May 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteralice

Hello!

! I had the same thought almost 15 years ago. I want to know what we are eating.
I want to decided which kind of meat is in there.

May 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMagdalena

I love your blog! If you have not read Donna Leon's books you might want to check them out. She is a New Jersey writer who lives in Venice and writes about a police inspector there. In addition to being a very interesting inspector he and his family love to eat. You and his wife Paula would have a lot in common! Thanks for all the gastronomical inste over the past months. Keep cooking!

May 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSheila

I love the KitchenAid meat grinder attachment too. Wait till you hear what else I use it for! (I got the following idea from a video on YouTube.)

When I make cavatelli, I put the dough - made with ricotta - through the meat grinder attachment hooked up to the sausage stuffer (not the grinder itself). Perfect, uniform ropes of dough come out, and then I put them through my BeeBo Cavatelli Maker, and voila, I have the most beautiful ricotta cavatelli imaginable.

That particular cavatelli maker is out of production, but there is are copies available. My BeeBo has wooden, not rubber or plastic, shapers so if I were getting a new one, that is what I would look for.

May 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

I've been wanting to make homemade sausage so this attachment would be perfect. I love sausage but I'm getting too paranoid about what's in it to buy it from the store. My mom had a grinder that she used for years and I could kick myself for not keeping it after she passed away.

May 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Foster

Elaine,
Nothing like looking at raw meat first thing in the morning!

I have always wanted to get a meat grinder.....I have my grandmother's attachment to her old Mix Master somwhere.....will have to try it!

Stacey

May 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterstacey snacks

Where did you buy your meat? I'm hear in SE MI. I would love to get my hands on some!

May 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

From The Italian Dish:

Gwen: The KitchenAid meat grinder attachment can go in the dishwasher - this is how I wash it. I just take the parts apart so it gets totally clean. I don't think it costs anymore to grind your own meat - you can still buy inexpensive cuts and grind them up.

Kim & Kathy: Send me an e-mail and I will give you the contact info for the farmer I buy from. Also, a good resource to find organic farms like this near you, wherever you live, is Eat Wild: http://www.eatwild.com/

May 9, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

DO NOT PUT THE KITCHEN-AID Meat Grinders in your dishwasher. It will make the cutting and grinding tools less sharp. Same thing for your knives and potato peelers. Use anti-bacterial Dawn and a brush and lots of hot water. Dry immediately with a micro-fiber cloth.

May 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRosemary

If you are using thr kitchen-aid grinder be careful to not stuff the meat in too tightly. The kitchen-aid mixer is not as reliable as when it was manufatured by Hobart Corp. My pasta cutters broke after 6 months usuage and Whirlpool would not give me a new set. Viking is now my mixer of choice.

May 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRosemary

I've had the meat grinder attachment for years and am ashamed to say I've never used it! I guess partly because I too buy meat from local ranchers, but when I buy a half hog or share of grass-fed beef or bison, about 40% of the meat I get comes as ground meat from the processor. Not sure if I could ask them to just give me all the "pieces" and let me do it myself...but I might try that next time!

I've been thinking about this for a while and somehow never got around to it. I just ordered my meat grinder attachment and added the sausage stuffing attachment, too.
Thanks for reminding me with your post.
Buon appetito!

May 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFrancesca

It makes perfect sense! I have a kitchenaid and the meat grinder attachment. I often wondered why I even had the attachment. : )

May 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLucia

First, I love your web site. I've enjoyed the beauty and great recipes for a few months now. Your vegetable lasagna was the first recipe I used. I bought Nutella for the loaf recipe, but we ate the Nutella all up on spoons!

Now, about grinding meat. I have the Kitchen Aid and have ground my own burger as well. There was a time when you could buy a chuck roast cheaper than ground chuck. Not so anymore. That makes me believe there is far more crap going into the ground beef than there was even a couple years ago.

And you are so right about the flavor and lightness of the meat. I don't even have access to grass fed, well treated cows and it's still better to grind your own!

May 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

I don't mean to be harsh, but your disparaging of buying prepackaged ground meats is off-putting. Some people do not have the money to buy a KitchenAid mixer and the attachment, and the ground meats sold in grocery stores is their only resource. Not to mention that some of us live in cities and there is not a farm nor cow around for miles. While I like the idea of your post, I think your angle is too negative.

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTom

From The Italian Dish:

Tom: You certainly don't need a KitchenAid mixer or attachment to grind your own meat. My grandmother did and used a very sturdy metal hand-cranked meat grinder. And you don't need to buy grass-fed beef. There are plenty of cheap cuts of meat in the grocery store and at places like Sam's Club. If you grind these yourself, at least you know what is in the meat. That's all I'm saying.

May 11, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I am jonesing for this KitchenAide attachment!

I don't know why I don't do this more often myself! I love the texture of the ground meat I get with my Kitchen Aide

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen

Excellent article. Must say I have never given thought to what is put into the ground meat bought at stores. This is a very good idea.

May 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNeil Butterfield

You have given me a new idea for my wish list - a grinder! How great to grind you own meat and get exactly the content you want, I'm sure nothing like what we buy at the market! Looks amazing and thanks for all the great tips!

I have been a fan of your blog for some time now. Only place on the web where I can find the recipes for the traditional Italian fare that my mom makes (only being a typical Italian mamma, she does not measure any of her ingredients). ;)

My mom actually convinced me to buy this grinder years ago and I finally took the plunge last summer. While I love grinding my own pork, chicken, and beef, I sometimes notice little gray flecks/shavings of grease (at least that is what I think it is) in my ground meat. Wondering if any of you notice this as well?

May 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarisa

i've been considering buying a meat grinder attachment for a while and this post helped me make up my mind. i know it takes an extra step but i think being able to control the quality of my meat is far more important.

Sadly I bought a Kitchen Aid several years ago, used it five times then was away in Italy for a year, upon returning it wouldn't start up... When I called the KA office they told me that it wasn't working because it sat dormant for a year. Hmm, I told them that I still use my grandmother's mixer that she bought in 1937 and have never had trouble with it. I know KA has a good reputation but just the same I warn my culinary students about the product. I've learned the art of grinding in a food processor which works very well.

December 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGian Banchero

Marisa, I have had the same problem! The grayish grease really grosses me out and I've seen it every time I've tried grinding my own meat. It definitely turns me off from using my grinder. I haven't talked with kitchen aid about it, but I may do so. If I have any luck, I will be sure to post about it here.

October 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

The meat grinder is really useful
I have an KitchenAid meat grinder and I usally make sausage with it

June 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark

I'm anxious to try grinding my own meat for hamburgers and meatballs. You mentioned getting a chuck roast for burgers and I'm wondering how much you trim this/how much fat to include in the meat?
Also, when making meatballs what proportion of ground pork/ground meat do you use?

January 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDana

From The Italian Dish :

Dana: when I trim a chuck roast for grinding, I take off all large hunks of fat. There is plenty of marbling within the roast for flavor. When I do meatballs, I use usually about half pork and half beef.

January 14, 2015 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Ahhaa, those meatballs. Yummm, you definitely need to have one meat grinder at your home.

January 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBobby

There are a large number of Meat Grinders which can use to grind meat. It makes our work easy and Efficient.

February 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHans

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