How To Make Ground Beef

In this article I gathered a few tips that I’ve picked up over the years on how to make ground beef. Click the link if you’re looking for recipes with ground beef.

Please note that ground beef and minced beef are used somewhat interchangeably mostly depending on where you live. But they might not mean the same. Read this article on what’s the difference between ground beef and minced beef. What I’m describing here is how to make 100% ground beef, sometimes also called hamburger, at home using a meat grinder and without any additional ingredients.

Benefits Of Grinding Your Own Beef

  • Saving Money: The ground beef you find in your local supermarket is often overpriced. Why not pick a cheaper cut of beef and grind it at home?
  • Healthier: Most store bought ground meat contains chemicals such as nitrogen to make the meat appear bright red and fresh. Furthermore, you don’t now how long the ground meat you buy at your local store has been sitting on the self. I’m not even speculating about what less desirable parts can be added to commercial ground beef. By grounding your own meat on the other hand, you can make sure that the quality of the meat you use is best.
  • Get the Best Flavor: When you grind your own meat you can choose your favorite cuts and the lean/fatty ratio.

Thanks Slice of Kitchen for the tips!

Which beef cut is best to grind?

This largely depends on what you’re planning to use the ground beef for. Generally speaking a 10-15% fat content beef is good, however, I believe 20-30% is more ideal. For example, for a juicy hamburger patty you’d want to use ground beef that is 20% or higher in fat content.

Cuts of beef largely differ depending on where you live. What I personally like in grinding my own beef is that I can use the parts that I like, but still buying less expensive cuts. I prefer tougher cuts with 20-30% fat content. These are the ones that you wouldn’t cook as a steak.

My favorite cuts for grinding are chuck, neck, rib and round. Brisket also makes a great ground beef or even shank – see the next point for this one specifically. Some people recommend using the top sirloin for best burger patties, I find these a bit unnecessarily expensive for ground beef. In my opinion the best burger patty is undeniable made from the neck.

An exception may be steak tartare, which is usually made from the leanest and most expensive cut of beef, the tenderloin.

Beef cuts

How To Make Ground Beef

Her I’m going to give you a short summary of how to make ground beef. Below you’ll find more a detailed explanation for each of these steps.

  1. Remove silver skin and connective tissues.
  2. Cut the meat into 1-3 inch chunks.
  3. Put the meat chinks into the grinder.
  4. Use your ground beef or store it in the fridge or freezer.

Preparing The Meat

You don’t have to do an awful lot to prepare your meat for grinding. This time you don’t have to cut off any fatty bits – it’s even better to include them in the mince (unless the recipe says otherwise of course, for example for the steak tartare).

Make sure to remove any silver skin and tough connective tissues. Even though the grinder cuts through them, you don’t want these in your ground beef. For this very reason it may take you longer to make ground beef from the shank.

Preparing beef for grinding 1
Remove silver skin and connective tissues

Cut the meat into larger chunks or slices, 1-3 inches (3-8 cm) work best. Make sure to cut them to sizes that fit into your grinder.

It’s also important to distribute fatty and lean chunks evenly in your prepared beef before grinding. This way the fat content will be uniformly distributed throughout the ground beef and you get a superior product.

Preparing beef for grinding 2
Cut the meat into 1-3 inch chunks

Grinding The Meat

In this step I’m going to walk you through how to grind the meat. Like for many things: preparation is key. If you’ve prepared your beef well, according to the instructions above, grinding the meat should be a breeze.

Start the grinder (or turn it by hand), and place the meat pieces in it. Make sure to only use a wooden or plastic tamper/pusher to push the meat down. Never try to reach into the machine with your hand!

Grinding beef 1

If you’ve grounded all your meat, turn the grinder in reverse direction for a couple of seconds. There’s usually an option for this on electric meat grinders. Then start turning it again the right way round. This ensures you can use all the bits of meat that could get stuck in the grinder.

You only have to grind the meat once. We don’t want a paste, but a fine texture, an emulsion of lean muscle and fat with small bits of meat. I’m only mentioning this, because there’s always one exception – yes, it’s the steak tartare yet again. For some preparations of this dish I do recommend that you grind the meat twice. For any other recipe – be it meatballs, lasagne, or hamburger patty – grinding the meat once is the way to go.

Grinding beef 2

Storing Ground Beef

Ground beef is best used fresh, meaning you can make your favorite dish right away. I would recommend just making the whole grinding process right before you want to prepare the dish.

But stored in a closed container in the fridge, ground beef will keep for a couple of days. It will keep for months in the freezer.

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