Tuesday, June 12, 2012

we're kinda crunchy: grinding your own hamburger meat

We're a little bit crunchy in our house. Not overly so, but we do grow some of our own vegetables, I breastfed for over a year, I cloth diapered, made Isaac's babyfood and make alot of our food too and we grind our own hamburger meat. I think, though, if we were going to go all-out-crunchy, we'd be vegan (which we're not completely opposed to). Although, we don't do any of this for enviromental reasons and we're extremely politically conservative. But that's for another discussion. So for now, we still eat meat and this is how we get our hamburger.

A while back I saw an episode of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, that disturbed me. But let's face it, a lot of his episodes are kind of disturbing, right? I mean, once you really know what is in your food and how it's really processed, it's scary!

Anyways, back to the episode. It was the one where he explained that up to 15% of a majority of ground hamburger meat is filler; what people call "pink slime" [please, please watch it]. I'm sure you've heard of it by now. It's been all over the news. And it's not just the hamburger you buy in the grocery store. It's the hamburger you eat at fastfood and other restaurants and in the meals served in schools. It's quite common and there is no requirement that the packaging be labeled to inform you if "pink slime" was used. Um, yuck!?

Once I learned about this practice, we decided to stop buying hamburger meat altogether and purchase our own hand-grinder. I looked into how to do it, what cuts of meat to buy, etc and found that it's really easy!

I think my favorite part about it is that I get to choose the cuts of meat to grind. I can buy it based on price (sometimes cheaper than the already ground meat). Sometimes I will buy a more expensive cut. Sometimes I'll combine 2 different types of cuts. Most commonly I'll by pre-cut stew meat, mostly because it's already cut up but also because it has a good ratio of meat to fat.

When you grind your own meat, you decide how fatty or how lean. You know what's in it because you made it. And more importantly, it tastes so much better!! I will never buy the already ground meat again now that we've started doing it this way.

In case you are wondering, here is my process (it's actually quite simple):

[here I'm using pre-cut stew meat. if you buy, say, a cut of chuck, you'll have to first cut it into 1-2 inch pieces]

IMG_3306[then, you simply put a few pieces into the grinder at a time and turn the handle. it's really easy to crank]

[and it just comes out looking just like hamburger meat!]

[I divide the meat into equal parts (this batch was 3 bags of 1.25 lbs) and weigh them in gallon freezer bags]

IMG_3311 [they then get sealed and put in the freezer, ready to make tacos, hamburgers, soup or whatever is on the menu!]

you can find the hand-crank meat grinder that we use here. [nice and cheap!]
There is also an attachment for the KitchenAid Mixer you can use to grind meat.


  1. nothing wrong with a little bit crunchy!! :) but there has actually been a lot of misleading info on that "pink slime". a lot of it is totally untrue and was a smear campaign. i live in the region where it's produced and know the owners of the company.. i would really recommend you looking into it more. a lot of honest hard-working people have lost their jobs over that... so sad. but of course i think grinding your own meat is way cool.. :)

  2. I bet yours tastes way better! I actually don't really like hamburgers (which I fully understand is crazy) but I bet this method would improve a lot about them!

  3. you know, I have NEVER thought about doing that! And with the price of "hamburger meat" I think doing it this way would save a lot of money! I just bought meat that was packaged like this and paid $2.99 for it. But I bought a pack of ground beef and it was $4.98!