When it comes to ground beef, most folks don’t have any problem buying a package right at the grocer at the butcher—it’s a great staple, after all! However, you don’t need to rely on a butcher or fancy equipment to prep this popular dinner ingredient. All you need is a food processor (here’s our fave), and you can grind your own right at home.
Why grind your own meat?
With ground beef (and turkey and pork) being so readily available, you might wonder why you’d prep your own mince at all. We understand that! However, grinding your own beef allows you to get picky about the cuts you use, and if you fancy yourself a true gourmand, you can even blend several cuts together to make the perfect blend for homemade meatballs, specialty burgers or even sausage.
Grinding your own meat can also save you some money! If the right cut of meat goes on sale, you might be able to score a great deal by mincing the meat yourself.
What cuts of meat are best for grinding?
If you’re interested in grinding your own meats, you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing the right cuts. For starters—whether you’re grinding beef, pork, chicken or any other options—you’ll need a cut with some fat. If your meat is too lean, you’ll end up with a tough end product. You’ll want at least 15% fat in your ground meat (though up to 25% is ideal).
The cuts with the right balance of meat and fat are often shoulder cuts in beef, pork and lamb. If you’re grinding poultry, be sure to use dark meat. If you want to take it to the next level, you can even grind fish, like tuna or salmon.
If you think your mix will be too lean, you can ask your butcher if they have any fatty trimmings they’d be willing to sell—you’re likely to get these for very cheap.
How to grind meat with a food processor
If you have a food processor at home, all you need are a few other staple kitchen items to get the party started. Pull out your food processor, plastic wrap, parchment paper, a baking sheet and a knife.
- Cut the beef (or pork, or what have you) into one-inch cubes. Remember, it’s important to leave the fat but get rid of any bones.
- Place the beef cubes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze it—along with the food processor blade—for about half an hour. Why the food processor blade? It’s important that everything stays as cool as possible during this process.
- Place the blade in the food processor, and fill the bowl halfway with beef cubes. Pulse the beef up to 10 times, using quick, one-second pulses. Dump out the meat and repeat with the rest of the beef cubes.
- If the beef doesn’t hold together or look properly ground, regrind as needed.
And that’s it! Making your own ground beef is super simple—and it gives you the control over your recipes.