Grind your own hamburger

January 21st, 2010 by katie

We had a birthday barbecue for the littlest kid last weekend.  We ground our own hamburger meat using 50% brisket and 50% top sirloin.  I had intended to cut off the fat and weigh it separately to ensure we got a good 80/20 ratio but, alas, I ran out of time.  Hence the burgers were a little dry.  We also double ground the meat which I don’t think was necessary as they were a little crumbly.  Overall, it was a really fun experiment.  If you have a KitchenAid mixer, the Grinder Attachment is about $40 if you want to try experimenting with different meat grinds.

We will definitely continue this experiment.  Next time I might have to actually visit the butcher to request some brisket fat.

Some tips for anyone interested in grinding your own hamburger meat:

  1. Keep everything well chilled.  Keep your grinder in the freezer until ready to grind and consider even placing the meat in the freezer briefly on and off during the grinding process.  You want to keep the fat on the meat from getting to warm and clogging up your grinder.
  2. Weigh your meat and fat separately to ensure you have an 80/20 ratio.
  3. Give yourself plenty of time, it is not a fast process.  If you overload your grinder or you let everything get too warm, your grinder will clog and you’ll get stringy chunks of meat and fat that aren’t ground.  Then you’ll have to re-grind it which is both time consuming and I think upsets the texture of the burger.
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Posted in Main Dish

14 Responses

  1. Drama Queen

    I have been grinding my own beef, pork and chicken for a long time. I have a KitchenAid stand mixer with the grinder attachement but dropped and cracked it so now I purchased a good quality grinder. I prefer to know what kind of meat I am using (beef chuck) and how it is handled. Too many tons of store-bought beef is being recalled every few months because of e-coli. Good post.

  2. Kurdistan

    this burger seems amazing thanks for the tips

  3. annie

    When we make sausage, we use 80/20 beef and pork and add maybe 5# fat for 50# meat. Makes a huge difference – not so dry, like you said. Drama queen is right, the fear over the e. coli is a huge reason to grind your own meat. The bacteria is found on the outside of meat and when ground, is spread throughout the meat. I always rinse my meat and make sure to cook all ground meat well done with lots of stirring in skillet. I’m not paranoid – but as a microbiologist, I have seen first hand what these bad bugs can do. I am all for not purchasing pre-ground meats. Glad you put the word out.

  4. DailyChef

    I love home-ground burgers! Thanks for sharing. I’ve found that the 80/20 ratio is especially important for a tasty burger…well, that and the seasoning you can pack into the burger. What seasoning did you use?

  5. Karly

    Never tried grinding my own meat before, but my dad has that grinder attachment. Maybe I’ll borrow it and see how it goes!

  6. Jeanette

    Drama Queen – grinding your own meat is not the way to prevent e-coli contamination.

    It the meat you buy is contaminated, it will not matter if it is in slab form, steak form, or ground form. It will still be contaminated.

    There is bacteria on the outside of all meats. However, when the meat is left in slab form, there is a very strong chance that the exterior will be killed during cooking. That is why you can eat a rare roast, rare steak, etc.

    However, when you grind that meat up to make hamburger, you are now spreading that exterior bacteria on the meat all over, exterior and interior.

    That is why it is of prime importance to always fully cook hamburger.

  7. Melissa

    How funny that we tried this almost at the same time! I absolutely loved the result I got using the Cook’s Illustrated method by J. Kenji Alt (also a Serious Eats writer). 10 oz. flap meat, 6oz. boneless short rib, cut into cubes and put in the freezer for 15 minutes, then ground in 2 batches in the food processor. It really worked. They weren’t perfect, but even imperfect, wasn’t it awesome having your own ground meat?? I can’t wait to try again and get it just right next time.

  8. Lea Ann

    Thanks so much for these grinding tips. I’ve read more than once, that grinding your own blend makes a much better burger. Adding the fat is a great tip and also the cold grinder.

  9. noble pig

    I always grind my own meat, it’s the safest!

  10. Cam de la Ron

    Nice! I don’t eat a lot of ground meat, but it is due to it scaring me a little bit. This way you know what went in and how it was ground, etc! That coleslaw looks good too.

  11. Jack

    Jeanette: Have you never had a “raw beef sandwich”? Fresh ground sirloin on buttered dark rye bread with a slice of sweet onion and plenty of salt and fresh ground pepper. Couple with a cold beer and some crisp fries, it just doesn’t get better.

    btw, I’ve been eating this for over 67 years, and I’m still alive and kicking.

  12. Jeanette

    For Jack,

    No, I don’t eat any ground beef raw or rare.

    I have all other steaks or roasts rare or medium rare, just not ground beef.

  13. Bruce

    On another site I saw a recommendation to quickly boil beef before grinding it. This will kill any surface bacteria. The inside will still be raw, and the small portion of outer cooked meat will not be noticeable after grinding.

  14. Gary

    To be able to have a safe medium rare hamburger, it is necessary to first wash the meat, pat it dry, cube the meat, salt it (and other seasonings) and put it back into the frig to firm while the salt is killing any excess germs. Then grind the cubes, cook it medium rare and enjoy.

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cha·os -noun 1. a condition or place of great disorder or confusion. My chaotic kitchen is the result of three kids, two adults, dog, cat, and fish, a food obsession, a wine drinking hobby, and too few hours in the day. Between trying to feed a family of five healthy, happy meals, watching my weight, saving my pennies, and staying partially sane I have picked up a few tricks along the way. So here they are: the very best tips, tricks, and recipes from my chaotic kitchen-to yours!

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