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Photos by Donna

I published almost two years ago, at the end of summer—a chance email today thanking me for the technique.  So I thought let’s put it up again at the start of grilling season. I’m not always real quick on the uptake, but I eventually get around to the right way, and the right way for perfect (and safe) is to grind your own meat and make sure to include the right amount of fat (I don’t believe that the cut is that critical).

Yes, I still buy ground beef occasionally but when I want to make a really good burger, I always grind the meat myself.  Why go to the trouble?  For a half a dozen reasons, all of them important.

First and foremost: taste and texture.  When you grind your own, you can regulate the amount of fat you include; your hamburger should contain 20 to 30 percent fat for a juicy succulent burger.  I can season the diced meat before grinding it so that the burger is seasoned uniformly throughout.  And I can use the large die so that it’s got real bite to it.Beef Ground once blog

Importantly to me, when I grind my own, I know it hasn’t been contaminated by any of the bad bugs that can get into ground meat these days at big processing facilities, or even through carelessness in the meat department of my grocery store.  Provided I give the whole muscle a thorough rinse and pat it dry, I can eat the ground meat as tartare or serve it to my kids as rare as they want it.

Big question: Is the cut critical to the final burger?  Not as critical as the ratio of beef to fat.  Beef is beef and, unlike pork, beef tastes like beef no matter where it comes from on the animal. I know people will disagree.  I’m a co-author on two cookbooks coming out this fall, Ad Hoc At Home and Michael Symon’s Live to Cook, and both include hamburger recipes that recommend specific cuts. The chefs involved have tasted various blends and insist there are marked differences.  I believe the only critical ratio is the meat to fat, so I buy a nice fatty relatively inexpensive chuck steak, and that gives me a great burger every time.  Short ribs will give you a great burger as well. So will sirloin and brisket if you’ve got the right amount of fat.

Hamburger Patties Raw blog The large die is critical to good texture and bite.  I want to be able to chew my burger, not have it fall apart in my mouth or be too dense.  I send the meat through the grinder twice. Why? To make it sticky. The second grind develops the myosin protein which helps the meat stick together without your having to overwork the meat.  I want a light burger, not a heavy one that’s been kneaded and squeezed to death.

One last point: Just as with sausage, it’s very important to keep the meat very cold all the way through shaping, which helps to ensure juiciness and a good texture.

After that, the only thing left to do is cook it right.  I think they’re best over very hot coals, a few minutes per side, then removed to the cool side of the grill and covered for a couple minutes more, then rested for about five minutes. Serve with with fresh tomatoes and lettuce, with melted onions, with a fried egg on top.  Put some homemade potato chips beside it and a freshly grilled burger you ground yourself is a fantastic, simple, satisfying meal.

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65 Wonderful responses to “Hamburger Technique”

  • cjride

    I live in Northern Virginia just outside of Washington DC. There seems to be some competition on the best burger with Ray’s Hell Burgers, Good Stuff and BGR. I’m not enough of an expert to tell what mixes they use but they all use a different one. I can tell which burger I like and I want the minimum on it so I can taste the meat.

  • Lane Johnson

    We’ve been grinding our own burgers for the past 5 years with the grinder attachment of our KA. I haven’t experienced any problems with poor performance at all. The difference in the final burger is nothing short of incredible, in both flavor and texture. I almost always start with chuck.

    I do have a concern or at least a question that has been touched on a couple of times in these commments.
    While the ‘ideal’ burger has 20 to 30 percent of fat in it, it’s almost impossible for the average cook to know what the what the fat content of a piece of meat is. If I choose a USDA Choice cut of chuck, what am I looking at for overall fat content? What if I move to a select cut? If I choose brisket what’s the average fat there?

    The question may be a bit obscure to some, and for most of the time I agree, but as Michael has said, for the proper making of sausage it can be critical.

    Michael, I’d love to see some information about how to assess the lean to fat content in a cut of meat.

  • Chris brandow

    Thanks for tips. I just ground a pound of chuck using a hand grinder that I just got from my dad that originally used by my great grandmother! My grandmother told me that this what they always used when they wanted ground beef for anything like meatloaf. Looking forward to eating the burgers later today!

  • Metaxa

    I’ve ruminated on this all summer and have decided on three points I’d like to make.

    1) Forget the KA and go directly to a stand alone grinder and a stand alone stuffer (for sausage). As mentioned Northern or, if you are lucky enough to be Canadian, Princess Auto.

    2) Let us not forget sanitation. Dilute bleach works just OK, I don’t like the speckles and it’s hard on your skin. Use either a Quat cleaner or, as I do, buy a 4l (gallon) jug of Iodine from your local drug store. That way if you don’t get it all rinsed off, its edible and tasteless. But your equipment and tubs, etc are safe. (You dilute the Iodine, yes you do!)

    3) Do not grind and cook. You really should grind, allow to rest in the fridge and then cook. I gladly grind today what I wish to grill tomorrow. It allows the seasonings to marry, it allows the meat to denature or whatever the “term” would be.

    Have fun with your food!

  • chris brandow

    thx vtyankee. you answered my question perfectly, making me realize that I did not ask the question clearly enough. I really appreciate the thorough answer.

  • luis

    Went to a Estate Sale Sunday.. got lucky. Old Cuisinart.. big DL-10 mama for 20 bucks. Made bread to Michaels “RATIO” 5:3 and Bittmans simple French Bread recipe on “How to cook anything”. Beats Alton Browns book and beats Martha Steward book hands down. Whizzed it up in a jiff… left it overnight in the fridge… and wow! Oh yeah I did brush it liberally with butter a la Parker House Roll… but I made a loaf.
    The point is it was wonderfull, best bread I have made to date. I could enter that BLT thang..you know!. With the kitchen Aid grinder and the Cuisinart….I feel I could…enter…
    First things first though. I have just made killer Pad Tai… just killer.. tubs of it in my cast iron Joyce Chen wok… This is a performer bro. I am getting the hang of it. Luuv it.
    Now I have to turn all that yummy Pad Tai to spring rolls… Baked of course. If I pull it off folks at work will just be nice to me for the day at least.

  • Beth

    I like to add chopped parsley. It disappears during the cooking process while releasing tasty moisture into the burger.

  • MichaelG

    Use some common sense, pay attention to what you are doing and don’t over think this. I’ve been using my KA grinder for over twenty years and it works great. I’ve had to file the edges of the cross shaped knife a few times and the plastic housing has a crack but I’ve more than gotten my money’s worth. The mixer soldiers on. When cutting the meat get rid of the gristle, silver skin and anything else that looks like it’ll gum up the works because it will. Trial and error helps. All the stuff about cold, cold, cold is true, true, true. Season while grinding? Yes. I like to lightly form one third pound balls. Yes, I use an electronic scale. I mash the ball on a hot, hot skillet surface. Let it go for a while (you’ll see how long) and flip. If adding cheese do so now. Done this way the burgers cook quickly. They will crumble a bit but the wonderful flavor is worth it. Overworked, manhandled burgers taste like cardboard. For keepers: Tightly wrap the balls in plastic wrap, put in plastic bag and freeze. I buy my burger meat at Safeway’s used meat counter so there may be anything in there. I’ve found that the best is short rib or chuck or a combo. Nice fat content. The KA grinder works great with pork, lamb, veal – anything for meat loaf, sausage or whatever.

  • vtyankee

    A few quick pointers on the meat to fat ratio…
    If you’re going by “cut”, anything from the forequarter is going to be fatter, such as the chuck or plate. Cuts from along the back, such as Rib, strip, or sirloin are going to have the thickest fat covering, which can be trimmed. The Round itself has a fair share of trimable fat, but is usually lean under all that fat. Where the fat and lean meat are “mixed” together more is the chuck. By most accounts, here is where the tastiest burger comes from. On an average steer it has about a 70-30 lean to fat ratio. Since the fat is more dispersed in the muscle tissue, it is not as trimable as in the other cuts; but still doable. The plate and flank have a high percentage of fat, and therefore not recommended for straight grinding.
    But even “eyeballing” by a pro, or weighing distinct batches of fat and lean can be little more than an educated guess. That’s one reason why we had a “fat tester” on premesis, so we could answer questions about fat percentage that customers would ask. Ours was a Hobart that actually cooked a doughnut shaped 2 oz pattie for a straight 15 minutes. All the fat and juices drained into a test tube, and when they seperated you applied a graduated scale to the tube to give you the fat percentage. It was pretty accurate, because we also sent samples to a USDA lab and they were in agreement about 80 % of the time.
    I hope that helps, Chris.

  • chris brandow

    again, can anyone please comment on how a home cook can control the meat:fat ratio. i.e. if i buy a certain cut of meat, how much fat does it already have and where do I get more fat to up the ratio if necessary?

  • Greg Daly

    The best burger I’ve had in Seattle is a pretty new place – Zippy’s grinds their own meat every single day, and it makes a huge, huge difference. I’d never really been interested in doing it myself before until I tasted a freshly-ground and well constructed patty.

  • vtyankee

    Another “former butcher” posting….
    Grinding your own burger is not a bad idea, especially if you have health issues, such as : your diet calls for “dead lean”, or the slightest trace of pennicilin or e coli could be fatal or near fatal.
    The problem with small grinders such as the KA is one of power and over-all quality. This becomes important when the temperature of the meat is considered.
    Frozen meat,even slightly thawed, can stress the gears and motor. You can smell it. Simply cold meat breaks down into mush and coagulated grease. I would recommend freezing thin strips of meat to the point where it will snap into two pieces if broken, but stay connected at the break. Feed it ever so slowly into the “throat” of the grinder. You shouldn’t have to use the “plunger” but rarely.
    Most butcher shops have a mixer-grinder with a 5 hp motor. Frozen meat, no problem.
    Our shop had a reputation for great “hamburg”. Our secret : frozen grass fed New Zealand beef mixed with fat trimmings from “Western” US beef in a roughly 80-20 lean to fat ratio. That is my idea of a perfect burger. The first grind was coarse, the second was through a 1/8 in plate. Also, commercial grinders actually cut the meat with their blades as it passes through. Ours were razor sharp, and were replaced regularly. The little grinders just don’t have that kind of steel.
    The e coli mess we deal with today is a monster of our own making. Factory farming (I’m talking dairy farming since that’s where most of our ground meat comes from); and high speed slaughter/processing facilities with armies of unskilled labor are where I would put the blame. That and a timid USDA regulatory presence (or abscence), but that’s another issue entirely.
    So my point is….get to know a butcher you can trust, who keeps a clean shop and isn’t afraid to let you watch the process. I would actaully invite customers into the cooler to see that I was grinding what they wanted. The equipment was spotless, and the smell was that of fresh meat.
    Well, that’s my two cents…

  • Mike

    I’ve only recently discovered the beauty of a home cooked burger (though have plenty of experience with steak sandwiches!). I’ve had our KitchenAid for almost five years and the Food Grinder Attachment came with it; we never used it until I decided to make home made burgers a few months back.

    I started with the thin die which — as suggested — was a bit too thin but delicious nonetheless. I cook the burgers the same way I cook steak: on the pan as hot as it’ll go. Usually slightly less than an inch thick (maybe 3/4? I’m used to metric) seems about right. I usually aim for around 125g or so of meat per patty.

    I’ve been using rump steak with plenty of fat and though you can definitely taste the difference between that and expensive meat, the flavour is still very good and since the end result is pretty tender, I may as well get the cheaper meat.

    We’ve also made chicken burgers, having had them marinated in peri peri sauce over night, and the wife was converted (not a read meat eater).

    The thing I don’t like about the KitchenAid grinder is that a lot of meat gets stuck in the corner — I’ve tried saving it and refeeding it but it just gets stuck or doesn’t come through since it’s already mushed. I am throwing it out but it feels like such a waste. It also throws out a lot of splatter, so I put cling wrap just in front so it doesn’t get on me and the kitchen!

    On food poisoning: It’s just as easy to poison yourself if you’re not careful. Make sure the grinder is properly cleaned inside and out before you start; if there are any old bits on there you may end up eating them! Don’t leave the meat out unless you live in a fridge and cook it as soon as you can.

    @Ben I used the large die for a chili over the weekend. I had about 1/3 ground to 2/3 cubed. I’d say it might be a little small if all you were using was ground meat. I like a mixture so it’s fine.

  • luis

    Cookin’ Canuck, the kitchen aid grinder attachement works like a charm. On that second grind you can add your spices and herbs and other seasonings.
    Now if I could just learn to bake a Kaiser roll…I might be tempted to enter Michael’s B.L.T. challenge.

  • Natalie Sztern

    well Bob came to my rescue, again, and now I must say I understand the errors i made: it was the gristle…BUT I will Never Never buy pre-made hamburger again. I am a convert now and even if I spend an afternoon grinding and then freezing…NEVER will buy hamburger meat that i did not grind myself, again.

    These were more than delicious, more than scrumptious; and even more interesting is that less individual burgers were eaten because each burger was so dense with meat.

  • Natalie Sztern

    Michael, pls don’t let this post be in vain….i did hamburger BUT so much trial and error: first i have the KA grinder and bought pot roast with what i thought was a good content of fat. Could be gristle tho BECAUSE i refrigerated the devices to get cold, as well the meat…cut into 1 inc cubes and three times the fat would get caught in the big holes….had to undo the device three times to clean the holes cause they were clogged.

    WHAT DID I DO WRONG? was it the meat? was it indeed gristle because to me it was fat and if fat then why did it get clogged?

    Meanwhile I do have hamburger meat but there is no way I am putting it thru twice…and i had to cut off all the fat/gristle…

    YOU MUST tell me what I did wrong…please..please don’t ignore this – btw the good thing about all this is that I actually got my hubby in to help out he was so impressed with me as well he cut the meat so all I got was meat and no white whatever….

  • Natalie Sztern

    just reading thru some internet jargon on the mincing and someone mentioned that for the last bit of meat if one puts a folded piece of plastic thru it will not shred and will get all the meat out. Apparently a keller’bouchon’ method- anything on this?

  • luis

    bhavna , God bless Africa.. the more I read the more I pray for Africa.
    Conflict this conflict that… genocide and aids… “The Lord said… last will be first …or something like that!” Africa you should be FIRST!!

  • Cookin' Canuck

    I have never considered buying the grinder attachment for my mixer, but you make a very compelling argument for grinding my own meat. Aside from avoiding food poisoning, who doesn’t want a burger with better texture and more fat?

  • ntsc

    I’m simply repeating what was said, but it is worth repeating.

    I believe the problem with the KA gearbox was fixed, but there was a whole series of them that broke from reasonable usage, with KA refusing to admit a problem. Out a several hundred dollar machine. A Pro 600 no less. The 5 quart tilt head of 10 years vintage is better.

    I’ve the small electric grinder from Northern Industrial, it is far superior to the KA/grinder set up. Three dies, all metal. Do steel the blade before use, do not chill in freezer, use an ice bath. Do not put in dishwasher.

    The American Meat Institute is a trade organization which is trying to sell more commercial product. It takes money from their members if you grind your own or make your own sausage. Unless they have a Standards Secretariat accredited by ANSI, and I can find no evidenve that they do, in that case the output of the Standards Secretariat will be neutral.

  • bhavna

    back in Africa this how my made the meats for kofta, burgers, meatballs and later when my sibling stopped eating red meat for chicken burgers. etc.
    I could never duplicate the texture will store bought ground. It not only made a difference in texture but taste.

  • Mark Swain

    One of the best burgers I’ve had is made at Fathers Office in Culver City CA. The burger is made up of dry aged beef mixed with regular ground beef. The dry aged meat gives it a deep meaty flavor. Then on top is an amazing bacon onion marmalade. Truly a work of burger art!

    ====SWAIN:;:—–

  • Natalie Sztern

    Step 1: I bought the meat…step 2 thankfully read bob’s latest post re salting before hand so I will do that too.

    Step 2 to come: it is saturday and amongst other things i am still unpacking i shudda married donald trump cause this unpacking thing ain’t for me!!

  • Bob delGrosso

    I agree that the cut is not important -to a point. While all of the muscles can have great flavor, I find the texture of come of the less worked muscles to be too soft for burgers: tenderloin, loin tips, sometimes loin can produce mushy burgers.

    Also, I think it’s a good idea to salt the meat before grinding or, failing that, work some salt into the ground meat. Salt helps bind the meat and reduces moisture loss during cooking. I salt burger meat at a rate of 7 grams per 1000 grams (kg) meat.

    That’s half the amount of salt that I usually use for sausage (14g/kg) but since I salt the surface of the burger before cooking, it’s enough.

  • Kristen

    My best burger to date was from this July 4, made with freshly ground chuck and roasted/chilled/chopped bone marrow. Beef x beef? Yes, please.

  • Kanani

    My mother used to grind our meat (and bake our own bread for that matter).
    I remember it being a standalone grinder…and hand cranked!!
    Anyway, I’ll go look at Northern Tool. Thanks for the encouragement to do this.

    By the way, my military buddy Laughing Wolf is going to be cooking for the wounded worriers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany soon. He’s collecting donations through Soldier’s Angels.

  • luis

    Michael,.. ” I can eat the ground meat as tartare or serve it to my kids as rare as they want it.”
    This is your choice bro. You insist in not cooking your meats.. and I wonder why? Taste is a choice. A learned behaviour.
    Don’t get me wrong, I do grind meats and make my own burgers. And think the world of this procedure, still why sail your boat so close to the tipping point? YOu like sitting on the porcelain throne or what? On another tack Cosentino would be gratified that “GOYA” a local brand carried at the Publix has a canned tripe stew thing… code name “MONDONGO”. (tripe in spanish) on the shelves.
    Best I could do was hold the can in hand a read its label….before going eeeeeeeuuuuuuuuuuuuHHHH!!!

  • Natalie Sztern

    I am SO making this. Wud u believe I just found my KA grinder in a box and have never used it. Now have to search to see what meats to use and fat….

  • Lamar

    re: Matthew Amster
    I’d agree you’re nearly as likely to get E.Coli off a slab of meat from the butcher (all it takes is one guy not completely washing the fudge off his digits).

    I would say though, that by self-grinding, you’re ensuring that some factory hasn’t let nervous system material (shards of spinal cord, etc) slip into the product. Pre-ground meat from a packing plant just isn’t something I’d reccomend for less than well-done burgers (even if the chances of illness are “super slim”).

  • Tags

    The American Meat Institute is a meat industry trade group. It’s highly unlikely they’ll say anything to jeopardize sales of their most lucrative (if not potentially dangerous) product.

  • Kimberly Belle

    Thank you for your meat tips! Summer hit late this year – http://www.kimberlybelle.com/2009/08/hot-spicy.html – but now that it’s here this is exactly the kind of advice everyone needs for their upcoming barbecues to finish off the season. I focused on a little bit of spice to match the heat around us, and I love your idea of seasoning the meat pre-grinding. Those burgers must be amazing. Well done (no pun intended)!

    Cheers,
    Kimberly Belle
    http://www.kimberlybelle.com
    http://www.dinnerbellenyc.com

  • NWCajun

    I DO NOT like the KA grinder! When you really chill your meat and fat it makes the mixer work too hard. I had lubricant coming out of the housing combined with some awful noises, and a friend broke some of the gearing in his machine. You are no doubt thinking operator error, and to the extent I pushed my mixer too hard you are right. I don’t want to coddle my equipment when I’m in the kitchen. Northern Tool has a website and they sell a grinder with a .8 horse power motor for $99 that is fantastic. It’s worth visiting the site just to read the reviews. Apparently a lot of folks grind entire deer at home. Northern Tool also sells an inexpensive 5 Lb. sausage stuffer. The KA is very difficult for stuffing and can truly test a marriage (the two of us work together in the kitchen). Lastly, I love homemade hamburgers. For all the reasons Mr. Ruhlman mentions and because it’s fun. Thank you, Al W

  • Carrie Oliver

    Yet another excuse to get one of those KAs! I, too, will not buy grocery/mass merchandiser ground beef. We either purchase whole cuts/sub-primals and grind our own, after a quick dunk in boiling water, or buy from a specific farm or ranch/butcher combo who can demonstrate great husbandry and aging techniques. It would be a lot of fun to try a “vertical” tasting of different cuts or blends from the same head of cattle to see what combination I personally like best.

    I do have to disagree that beef is beef (I’m sure this comes as no surprise *smile*). Based on my experience tasting burgers and steaks from different artisan quality farms or producer groups in blind and identified tasting flights, I’d say there’s a fairly wide range of textures, personalities, and flavors in beef. In one private tasting in Toronto we tasted beef from six different origins across North America. Four of the six could have technically been labeled as Black Angus (two were 100% Black Angus, the other two were 50% or more Black Angus genetics). Now each of these tasted like beef. However, the flavor and texture of each was very different (the chefs were the most surprised by this). So to me saying beef is beef is like saying wine is wine.

  • Donalyn

    Home ground burgers are the kind they eat in heaven I’ve heard. ;) Another vote for forming patties that tend toward the thinner side – I hate getting a giant “meatball” instead of a nicely caramelized, uniformly cooked patty.

  • Paul Kobulnicky

    I’d like to weigh in on thickness. We always make large thin patties. When cooked over hot coals the patties will contract up to the right thickness and they will have great crusts and good insides. Starting out with think patties usually results in burgers that are overly crisp on the outside and mushy raw on the inside.

  • David A. Goldfarb

    If you do get the KA grinder attachment, get the larger food tray, so you can load it up and then grind. This is like getting an extra hand when you have a lot of grinding to do or sausage to stuff.

  • Scotty Harris

    I recall, back in the days that FoodTV was watchable, David Rosengarten going through some arcane formula combining different cuts of meat. In his most recent cookbook he has gone back to my choice – Home ground chuck.

  • paul redman

    I highly recommend KA grinder attachment, works great, used it for years. Many restaurants use them as well– the price is right!

    Only downside is shaft and auger are plastic, thus can’t be effectively chilled in ice water prior to use.

    Secondary downsides: if you ever have to grind a large quantity of meat, your arm will ache from pushing it all through. KA not intended to be used this way. Another example: it will smell funny and probably smoke eventually if several successive batches of lean dough kneaded in it.

    Also, for sausage makers, in my opinion stuffing large quantities through stuffer attachment is also a pain in the butt and will make your arm ache.

    a dedicated grinder with vastly more powerful motor can be purchased new for about $100 (nicknamed mine “grendel”). A dedicated stuffer, unfortunately, is more expensive, but makes job a lot easier, since there’s no auger and meat is pushed through with crank.

  • Dan Cole

    Argh. Everyone wants to make sweet porcine love to pork like it’s the culinary equivalent of Scarlett Johansson. Try a hangar steak (onglet), or short ribs, and you tell ME if different parts of the cow taste different than other parts.

    Also, salting the meat before grinding can result in mushy burgers.

    I use a 5:3 blend of sirloin flap to short rib. Grind half of it on the small die, then mix the ground portion with the rest of the unground and run everything through the large die. This gives you a great texture and the meat binds perfectly without being overworked.

  • Jeff

    I too wonder about the attachment for the Kitchen Aid. I’ve ground up beef before to make burgers, but used the food processor (tip I learned from Alton Brown). It works, but I had always thought about getting the KA attachment. Is it a worthwile purchase for someone that would grind up meat occaionaly?

    When I did the food processor method, I just used a peice of chuck. I would trim off big chunks of fat, and any connective tissues I could. Then, cut into chunks, chill well, then “grind”. The FRESHNESS of the meat was great. You could smell it after it was ground up. Makes a noticeble differene in the finished burger.

  • Ben

    @Glenn
    Hello fellow egghead. In beef, chuck is the shoulder, and is often used for ground beef. If you were to use the “butt” you probably are using on your egg, it would be a pork-burger.

  • Caleb

    McGee suggests briefly putting the raw cut in boiling water prior to grinding. It does cook the exterior a bit, but its a good compromise if you are concerned about the exposed raw surfaces.

  • Elizabeth Schuler

    Yet another endorsment for purchasing the meat grinder attachment for my kitchen aid. Love the idea of seasoning before grinding. Salting my meat ahead of time seems to really help make a better burger. As far as potatoes, I love my cheap v-slicer over my expensive mandoline. No spend the extra money

  • Tony

    There has to be some taste difference. The ground beef from my locally raised, free-range angus steer doesn’t taste like anything you might buy from [insert grocery store here]!

    @Maria: I haven’t noticed any problems with fat content but you could always trim the fat off some other cut of steak, grind, and mix through. Or, chop up some uncooked bacon finely and mix through…

    /mmmmm, one-step bacon burger

  • chris brandow

    could you please comment on how to control the meat:fat ratio when buying meat to grind. how do I know the initial meat:fat ratio of a given cut before grinding and where do I get extra fat for upping the ratio if necessary. do you just google this?

  • Glenn

    What about a shoulder or “butt” cut?? Those are always pretty cheap cuts that I usually slow cook on my Green Egg, but now wonder about making burgers w/my wife’s KA + grinder.

  • Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy

    While I don’t usually grind my own beef at home, I’m lucky to have a cousin in town who is a butcher. I go in, pick out my meat and he trims and grinds it up for me. I get some chuck and always mix in a nice piece of ribeye or sirloin with it. I think it definitely makes a difference texture and tastewise.

    I get no complaints, so I must be doing something right! ;)

    BTW, that first photo is really gorgeous!

  • Matthew Amster-Burton

    When I was researching my book, which has a part in it about grinding your own meat, I also was going to report that it’s safer than using preground meat. But then I talked to an expert at the American Meat Institute who convinced me that it absolutely isn’t safer, that you can most certainly get E. coli from a rinsed and home-ground chuck roast. But it’s not any more dangerous, either.

    Then again, this was just one guy, so I’d love to see the issue explored further.

  • Maria

    Loosely related. I have a meat CSA and as part of that we get a couple of pounds of grass fed ground beef every month. It’s tasty, but too lean for good burgers. Suggestions about how to add some fat?

  • Laura

    I’ve been trolling ebay for meat grinders for a while now (I’m one of the few food lovers in American without a Kitchen Aid I think). You’ve inspired me to pull the trigger on one!

  • Dick Black

    Short rib meat that you grind into burgers does taste different than other parts of the cow. No comparison. Ask Heston Blumenthal.

  • Michelle

    This is perfect timing! I just bought a new grinder attachment for my kitchenaid mixer and was planning on using it this weekend. Think I’ll give up that preground stuff for good now.

  • Ben

    @Ruhlman
    I see you’re using the Kitchen Aid grinder attachment. In your opinion, is the large die big enough for a chili-grind? I have been hesitant to buy the KA attachment because it only has the two sizes. I’m sure you mentioned it in Charcuterie, but I read through that before I was really in the market for a grinder, and don’t recall what you said about the KA attachment, or the size of the ideal chili-grind die.
    Charcuterie has been on my wish list for two years, but hasn’t shown up in my Christmas stocking just yet. The Library had to special-order it for me when I read it last.

    @Andreina I like Alton Brown’s method for potato chips. He recommends using a vegetable peeler for slicing the spuds. Makes super-thin, crispy chips. It works very well, since I don’t have a mandoline (yet). Just use the peeler and let the potato strips fall into a bowl of cold water. Scoop a batch out and into a salad spinner. Send ‘em for a whirl. Then fry. I find that I can get a good rhythm going, slicing and spinning one batch, while the previous batch fries.

  • David A. Goldfarb

    If it’s just a few burgers, I like meat chopped by hand with a knife even better.

    If I buy a whole untrimmed fillet, the train and the trimmings plus some extra fat make nice burgers that have a very different texture and somewhat different flavor than burgers made from chuck. The difference is probably more noticeable if the meat is chopped by hand than if it’s ground with a grinder.

  • ruhlman

    I slice them thinly on a japanese mandoline right before frying. Working fast, deal them into the hot oil. cook one potato at a time, keep warm in oven.

    Sprinkle with freshly chopped rosemary while still hot (via michael symon).

  • Andreina

    Fantastic! I have never thought of buying my own meat grinder until now. I heart burgers! Can you share a quick recipe for the home made potato chips? I am sure that you have some sort of special trick to make them simple but yet special!
    Let’s get grilling! :)

  • Richard

    Looks delicious. I’m going to order my meat grinder soon, I’ll need it for the blog, and I’ve always wanted to get one. No better reason than now.

    Your tartare suggestion made me remind myself that I need to send you my parisa recipe. It’s sort of a cross between tartare and a pate. It isn’t cooked, but instead it is lightly cured by salt and lemon juice. Serve it on a cracker and a cold beer, and it doesn’t get much better. It came to my area of Texas by way of the Alsatians in France.

    I certainly don’t claim to have a great palate, but I can taste the difference between a top round and ribeye. Meat from the round has a stronger “beefy” flavor to me, which I why I try to avoid it.