Adventures in Meat Grinding

Discussion in 'Food and nutrition' started by wff_ng_7, Apr 10, 2006.

  1. wff_ng_7

    wff_ng_7 Guest

    Yesterday I decided to try making ground beef myself using an old electric
    meat grinder I inherited. I believe the grinder is about 40 years old. It
    belonged to my grandmother, who passed away in 1973, and then my father, who
    passed away in 2003. I don't know how much my grandmother used it, but I
    know my father only used it once, around 1980, and then gave up on it. I
    felt about the same way yesterday, frustrated and about to give up too!

    I bought a bottom round roast, cut it up into chunks, and began. I'm sure it
    helps if you read the instructions, but they were long gone. There were two
    disks with holes, one with large, pie slice shaped holes, and one with small
    round holes. For some reason, I thought the disk with the small round holes
    was the one to use (probably faded memories of such a disk on the meat
    grinder at the butcher years ago).

    It didn't take too long for the grinder to get all clogged up with white
    connective tissue. At this point I decided the disk with the large holes was
    probably the one I should be using. So I took the small holed disk off,
    cleaned things up a bit, and put the large holed disk on. I started grinding
    again, but still ran into major clogging problems. I kept taking the disk
    off and cleaning it, and finally finished running all the meat through once.
    The results weren't the greatest... what a pain... this just isn't worth the
    trouble!

    Since the meat wasn't ground to my satisfaction in one pass, I ran it
    through again. Part way through this second pass, I discovered the source of
    my problems. When I changed disks from the small holed one to the large
    holed one, the grinder "knife" fell into my output bowl. I found it in the
    ground meat on my second pass. I was trying to grind with no knife in the
    grinder. No wonder it wasn't working so well! ;-)

    I put the knife back into the grinder where it belonged, what a difference
    it made. The grinding went very smoothly with the large holed disk and the
    knife installed. Too bad I didn't figure this out earlier, and too bad I
    didn't start with the large holed disk.

    But I'm still not sure what the correct method is, with how screwed up my
    efforts were. Do you grind once and only once, with the large holed disk? Or
    two passes, both with the large holed disk, or two passes, first with the
    large holed disk and then with the small holed disk? I'm looking for a
    result similar in texture to packaged ground beef at the supermarket.

    This particular batch of ground beef went into stuffed green peppers... the
    classic recipe with a ground beef and rice filling, with tomato sauce. That
    came out very good in spite of my grinding errors. I couldn't resist making
    them... green peppers were on sale quite cheap this week (as was the bottom
    round roast).

    --
    ( #wff_ng_7# at #verizon# period #net# )
     
    Tags:


  2. ~patches~

    ~patches~ Guest

    wff_ng_7 wrote:

    <snip>
    > But I'm still not sure what the correct method is, with how screwed up my
    > efforts were. Do you grind once and only once, with the large holed disk? Or
    > two passes, both with the large holed disk, or two passes, first with the
    > large holed disk and then with the small holed disk? I'm looking for a
    > result similar in texture to packaged ground beef at the supermarket.


    Ask nimbnuts aka Shel--. He supposedly grinds all his own meats ;)
    >
    > This particular batch of ground beef went into stuffed green peppers... the
    > classic recipe with a ground beef and rice filling, with tomato sauce. That
    > came out very good in spite of my grinding errors. I couldn't resist making
    > them... green peppers were on sale quite cheap this week (as was the bottom
    > round roast).


    Seriously though, I'm glad you posted this. I'm looking at getting a
    meat grinder so was wondering how it would work. I have a very good
    butcher that will do meat up as I request. DH figures that we should
    just let him do it and forget about the meat grinder.

    >
     
  3. Steve Wertz

    Steve Wertz Guest

    On Mon, 10 Apr 2006 16:21:21 GMT, "wff_ng_7"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >But I'm still not sure what the correct method is, with how screwed up my
    >efforts were. Do you grind once and only once, with the large holed disk? Or
    >two passes, both with the large holed disk, or two passes, first with the
    >large holed disk and then with the small holed disk? I'm looking for a
    >result similar in texture to packaged ground beef at the supermarket.


    The large holed disk is for a coarse grind (often called a chili
    grind). The small holed disk is for a finer grind like you
    associate with supermarket ground beef.

    Depending on your grinder and sharpness of the cutting blade, you
    should be able to use just the small plate with one pass for a
    fine grind. Instrcutions for inferior grind3ers will often tell
    you to do two passes, one with the large grind and again with
    either blade depending on your preferred grind.

    To help with the sinew issue (and grinding), use partially frozen
    meat (not so frozen that you couldn't cut it with your usual
    knife).

    Try sharpening your blade. It helps to make sure your disks are
    ground perfectly flat and have sharp 90-degree corners where the
    holes meet the surface of the disk. If you can get replacements,
    get new stainless steel blades and disks.

    -sw
     
  4. Jani

    Jani Guest

    "Steve Wertz" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > On Mon, 10 Apr 2006 16:21:21 GMT, "wff_ng_7"
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >>But I'm still not sure what the correct method is, with how screwed up my
    >>efforts were. Do you grind once and only once, with the large holed disk?
    >>Or
    >>two passes, both with the large holed disk, or two passes, first with the
    >>large holed disk and then with the small holed disk? I'm looking for a
    >>result similar in texture to packaged ground beef at the supermarket.


    Piggybacking, scuse me, Steve; the original post didn't show.

    I have an Edwardian cast-iron tabletop mincer; there are two discs, one with
    large circular holes and one with smaller, oval-ish ones. You use it with
    both the discs fastened on, large holes on the inside, and the meat comes
    out in the kind of thin "worms" you get in supermarket mince, which I think
    is the same as USian ground beef. You never need to sharpen anything, and it
    hasn't broken down in decades - possibly centuries ;)

    Jani
    (in a Luddite mood)
     
  5. wff_ng_7

    wff_ng_7 Guest

    "Steve Wertz" <[email protected]> wrote:
    > The large holed disk is for a coarse grind (often called a chili
    > grind). The small holed disk is for a finer grind like you
    > associate with supermarket ground beef.
    >
    > Depending on your grinder and sharpness of the cutting blade, you
    > should be able to use just the small plate with one pass for a
    > fine grind. Instrcutions for inferior grind3ers will often tell
    > you to do two passes, one with the large grind and again with
    > either blade depending on your preferred grind.
    >
    > To help with the sinew issue (and grinding), use partially frozen
    > meat (not so frozen that you couldn't cut it with your usual
    > knife).
    >
    > Try sharpening your blade. It helps to make sure your disks are
    > ground perfectly flat and have sharp 90-degree corners where the
    > holes meet the surface of the disk. If you can get replacements,
    > get new stainless steel blades and disks.


    I'm not sure if my grinder is inferior or not. I'm sure it's not the
    greatest, based on the brand name. It's an Oster, and it's made in Japan.
    I'd guess that today Oster stuff is crap, but I'm not sure if that's true of
    stuff they made about 40 years ago. The knife and disks don't look too bad
    in terms of wear, but maybe they weren't that sharp to begin with.

    Partially freezing the meat sounds like a good idea. I'll have to try that.

    I'm not sure how much use this meat grinder got from my grandmother. I can
    almost guess why she got it. Back in the 1960s, she got an early microwave,
    the Radarange by Amana. I remember her showing it to us and cooking with it
    in 1968. She cooked hamburgers for us, right on the bun. The flaw in the
    plan is the typical ground beef at the market was rather fatty. If your
    cooked the hamburger right on the bun, the fat soaked into the bun rather
    than draining off. If she ground her own beef, she could make it much lower
    in fat content. I suspect this is where the meat grinder came into the
    picture.

    --
    ( #wff_ng_7# at #verizon# period #net# )
     
  6. The Bubbo

    The Bubbo Guest

    wff_ng_7 wrote:
    > Yesterday I decided to try making ground beef myself using an old electric
    > meat grinder I inherited. I believe the grinder is about 40 years old. It
    > belonged to my grandmother, who passed away in 1973, and then my father, who
    > passed away in 2003. I don't know how much my grandmother used it, but I
    > know my father only used it once, around 1980, and then gave up on it. I
    > felt about the same way yesterday, frustrated and about to give up too!
    >
    > I bought a bottom round roast, cut it up into chunks, and began. I'm sure it
    > helps if you read the instructions, but they were long gone. There were two
    > disks with holes, one with large, pie slice shaped holes, and one with small
    > round holes. For some reason, I thought the disk with the small round holes
    > was the one to use (probably faded memories of such a disk on the meat
    > grinder at the butcher years ago).
    >
    > It didn't take too long for the grinder to get all clogged up with white
    > connective tissue. At this point I decided the disk with the large holes was
    > probably the one I should be using. So I took the small holed disk off,
    > cleaned things up a bit, and put the large holed disk on. I started grinding
    > again, but still ran into major clogging problems. I kept taking the disk
    > off and cleaning it, and finally finished running all the meat through once.
    > The results weren't the greatest... what a pain... this just isn't worth the
    > trouble!
    >
    > Since the meat wasn't ground to my satisfaction in one pass, I ran it
    > through again. Part way through this second pass, I discovered the source of
    > my problems. When I changed disks from the small holed one to the large
    > holed one, the grinder "knife" fell into my output bowl. I found it in the
    > ground meat on my second pass. I was trying to grind with no knife in the
    > grinder. No wonder it wasn't working so well! ;-)
    >
    > I put the knife back into the grinder where it belonged, what a difference
    > it made. The grinding went very smoothly with the large holed disk and the
    > knife installed. Too bad I didn't figure this out earlier, and too bad I
    > didn't start with the large holed disk.
    >
    > But I'm still not sure what the correct method is, with how screwed up my
    > efforts were. Do you grind once and only once, with the large holed disk? Or
    > two passes, both with the large holed disk, or two passes, first with the
    > large holed disk and then with the small holed disk? I'm looking for a
    > result similar in texture to packaged ground beef at the supermarket.
    >
    > This particular batch of ground beef went into stuffed green peppers... the
    > classic recipe with a ground beef and rice filling, with tomato sauce. That
    > came out very good in spite of my grinding errors. I couldn't resist making
    > them... green peppers were on sale quite cheap this week (as was the bottom
    > round roast).
    >


    FWIW, I use the larger holed disc on my Kitchen Aid meat grinder when I am
    grinding meat and the smaller one for grinding seitan.

    I never have to put anything through twice.

    --
    ..:Heather:.
    www.velvet-c.com
    Step off, beyotches, I'm the roflpimp!
     
  7. Steve Wertz

    Steve Wertz Guest

    On Tue, 11 Apr 2006 00:32:19 +0100, "Jani" <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >I have an Edwardian cast-iron tabletop mincer; there are two discs, one with
    >large circular holes and one with smaller, oval-ish ones. You use it with
    >both the discs fastened on, large holes on the inside,


    That sounds like a recipe for mush. I've never heard of such a
    setup for a grinder. I guess you have to make perfectly sure all
    the holes in the disks are all lined up ;-)

    -sw
     
  8. Steve Wertz

    Steve Wertz Guest

    On Mon, 10 Apr 2006 23:48:12 GMT, The Bubbo <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >FWIW, I use the larger holed disc on my Kitchen Aid meat grinder when I am
    >grinding meat and the smaller one for grinding seitan.
    >
    >I never have to put anything through twice.


    I've never done two passes with the KA either. The hand-cranked
    ones often recommend this in their instructions.

    Tonight I used the small-holed disk for the Kitchenaid. I wish I
    would have used the larger one. The small-holed disk was a little
    too fine.

    I made albondigas(*) with a mushroom cream sauce served over
    buttered and parslied egg noodles. And a chunked avocado with
    lemon juice, salt, and sriracha.

    -sw
    (*) OK, so the meatballs were "authentic", but the sauce isn't.
     
  9. The Bubbo

    The Bubbo Guest

    Steve Wertz wrote:
    > On Mon, 10 Apr 2006 23:48:12 GMT, The Bubbo <[email protected]>
    > wrote:
    >
    >>FWIW, I use the larger holed disc on my Kitchen Aid meat grinder when I am
    >>grinding meat and the smaller one for grinding seitan.
    >>
    >>I never have to put anything through twice.

    >
    > I've never done two passes with the KA either. The hand-cranked
    > ones often recommend this in their instructions.
    >
    > Tonight I used the small-holed disk for the Kitchenaid. I wish I
    > would have used the larger one. The small-holed disk was a little
    > too fine.
    >
    > I made albondigas(*) with a mushroom cream sauce served over
    > buttered and parslied egg noodles. And a chunked avocado with
    > lemon juice, salt, and sriracha.
    >
    > -sw
    > (*) OK, so the meatballs were "authentic", but the sauce isn't.


    I only ever grind my own meat for hamburgers (because it's the only time I
    ever use ground beef) and I like them with the bigger grind. Gives the burgers
    good texture.

    --
    ..:Heather:.
    www.velvet-c.com
    Step off, beyotches, I'm the roflpimp!
     
  10. wff_ng_7

    wff_ng_7 Guest

    "The Bubbo" <[email protected]> wrote:
    > FWIW, I use the larger holed disc on my Kitchen Aid meat grinder when I am
    > grinding meat and the smaller one for grinding seitan.
    >
    > I never have to put anything through twice.


    I get the feeling I wouldn't have had a problem if I just used the large
    holed disk to start. But one thing that certainly doesn't work is the large
    holed disk with no "knife" behind it. Having the knife fall out unbeknownst
    to me did cause a problem. I do have to admit that I violated another "rule"
    in this adventure. The one that says "don't operate machinery". You know the
    one on the back of the liquor bottles... I had a good stiff drink before
    starting this meat grinding operation! ;-)

    --
    ( #wff_ng_7# at #verizon# period #net# )
     
  11. The Bubbo

    The Bubbo Guest

    wff_ng_7 wrote:
    > "The Bubbo" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >> FWIW, I use the larger holed disc on my Kitchen Aid meat grinder when I am
    >> grinding meat and the smaller one for grinding seitan.
    >>
    >> I never have to put anything through twice.

    >
    > I get the feeling I wouldn't have had a problem if I just used the large
    > holed disk to start. But one thing that certainly doesn't work is the large
    > holed disk with no "knife" behind it. Having the knife fall out unbeknownst
    > to me did cause a problem. I do have to admit that I violated another "rule"
    > in this adventure. The one that says "don't operate machinery". You know the
    > one on the back of the liquor bottles... I had a good stiff drink before
    > starting this meat grinding operation! ;-)
    >


    in all my days I have never found anything of interest to read on the back of
    a liquor bottle

    --
    ..:Heather:.
    www.velvet-c.com
    Step off, beyotches, I'm the roflpimp!
     
  12. modom

    modom Guest

    On Mon, 10 Apr 2006 15:19:45 -0500, Steve Wertz
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >On Mon, 10 Apr 2006 16:21:21 GMT, "wff_ng_7"
    ><[email protected]> wrote:
    >


    >To help with the sinew issue (and grinding), use partially frozen
    >meat (not so frozen that you couldn't cut it with your usual
    >knife).
    >

    This sprang to mind chez modom, too. Everything I've read or heard
    (Alton Brown, Michael Ruhlman, etc.) indicates that thoroughly chilled
    meat is the way to go.

    I've used a hand crank grinder with enough success that I can't
    complain. And I've used a Kitchenaid grinder attachment with
    satisfactory results. I've never used a stand alone electric grinder,
    however, so your experience may be at odds with mine.

    --
    modom
     
  13. modom

    modom Guest

    On Tue, 11 Apr 2006 02:47:56 GMT, The Bubbo <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >wff_ng_7 wrote:
    >> "The Bubbo" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>> FWIW, I use the larger holed disc on my Kitchen Aid meat grinder when I am
    >>> grinding meat and the smaller one for grinding seitan.
    >>>
    >>> I never have to put anything through twice.

    >>
    >> I get the feeling I wouldn't have had a problem if I just used the large
    >> holed disk to start. But one thing that certainly doesn't work is the large
    >> holed disk with no "knife" behind it. Having the knife fall out unbeknownst
    >> to me did cause a problem. I do have to admit that I violated another "rule"
    >> in this adventure. The one that says "don't operate machinery". You know the
    >> one on the back of the liquor bottles... I had a good stiff drink before
    >> starting this meat grinding operation! ;-)
    >>

    >
    >in all my days I have never found anything of interest to read on the back of
    >a liquor bottle


    Yeah but GUI* can be serious legal trouble in some locales.

    *Grinding Under the Influence

    --
    modom
     
  14. Steve Wertz

    Steve Wertz Guest

    On Tue, 11 Apr 2006 02:47:56 GMT, The Bubbo <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >in all my days I have never found anything of interest to read on the back of
    >a liquor bottle


    The labels on Belgian beers are much more interesting. They seem
    to have a fascination with Devils and delirium.

    -sw
     
  15. wff_ng_7

    wff_ng_7 Guest

    "modom" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>in all my days I have never found anything of interest to read on the back
    >>of
    >>a liquor bottle

    >
    > Yeah but GUI* can be serious legal trouble in some locales.
    >
    > *Grinding Under the Influence


    This wasn't the first time I got in trouble for GUI. Years ago when I had
    several people over for dinner I had a similar experience, but with another
    kind of grinder. After dinner, I was making coffee and used the coffee
    grinder. Unfortunately in babbling with the guests, I forgot to put the
    output bin on the grinder. It is phenomenal what a mess you can make in only
    a second or so. There were coffee grounds everywhere. That is when one of my
    guests jokingly mentioned the warning on the wine bottle: "Don't operate
    machinery"! ;-)

    --
    ( #wff_ng_7# at #verizon# period #net# )
     
  16. Pete C.

    Pete C. Guest

    ~patches~ wrote:
    >
    > wff_ng_7 wrote:
    >
    > <snip>
    > > But I'm still not sure what the correct method is, with how screwed up my
    > > efforts were. Do you grind once and only once, with the large holed disk? Or
    > > two passes, both with the large holed disk, or two passes, first with the
    > > large holed disk and then with the small holed disk? I'm looking for a
    > > result similar in texture to packaged ground beef at the supermarket.

    >
    > Ask nimbnuts aka Shel--. He supposedly grinds all his own meats ;)
    > >
    > > This particular batch of ground beef went into stuffed green peppers... the
    > > classic recipe with a ground beef and rice filling, with tomato sauce. That
    > > came out very good in spite of my grinding errors. I couldn't resist making
    > > them... green peppers were on sale quite cheap this week (as was the bottom
    > > round roast).

    >
    > Seriously though, I'm glad you posted this. I'm looking at getting a
    > meat grinder so was wondering how it would work. I have a very good
    > butcher that will do meat up as I request. DH figures that we should
    > just let him do it and forget about the meat grinder.
    >
    > >


    The main reason for grinding your own meats isn't so much to get the
    exact grind or amount of fat, it's mostly a function of time. All the
    surfaces of the meat that are exposed to the air begin to oxidize and
    clearly once ground there is a lot more surface area exposed to this
    oxidation. When you grind right before cooking you greatly limit this
    oxidation.

    If the butcher grinds the meat and quickly wraps it very well and you
    take it home and get it cooking quickly it will probably be ok,
    certainly better than a poorly wrapped package of ground meat that has
    been sitting in the display case all day.

    As for grinders, I use the regular KitchenAid grinder attachment on my
    Hobart mixer and have not had any issues with it though my batch size is
    usually fairly small. I would think any quality grinder would do just as
    well since they are all pretty much the same.

    Pete C.
     
  17. wff_ng_7

    wff_ng_7 Guest

    "Pete C." <[email protected]> wrote:
    > The main reason for grinding your own meats isn't so much to get the
    > exact grind or amount of fat, it's mostly a function of time. All the
    > surfaces of the meat that are exposed to the air begin to oxidize and
    > clearly once ground there is a lot more surface area exposed to this
    > oxidation. When you grind right before cooking you greatly limit this
    > oxidation.


    But isn't that what carbon monoxide treatment is for? ;-)

    I guess the carbon monoxide treatment is more aimed at controlling color, as
    it gets locked in. The meat remains saleable longer if it looks red. The
    technique is directed at whole cuts of beef though, rather than ground beef.
    Some ground beef isn't even sold in transparent packaging. I would have a
    problem buying one of those big "logs" of ground beef in the white plastic
    wrap with ground beef "artwork" on it, not knowing what it actually looked
    like. But I'm never buying such large quantities anyway, so it's a moot
    point.

    --
    ( #wff_ng_7# at #verizon# period #net# )
     
  18. Pete C.

    Pete C. Guest

    wff_ng_7 wrote:
    >
    > "Pete C." <[email protected]> wrote:
    > > The main reason for grinding your own meats isn't so much to get the
    > > exact grind or amount of fat, it's mostly a function of time. All the
    > > surfaces of the meat that are exposed to the air begin to oxidize and
    > > clearly once ground there is a lot more surface area exposed to this
    > > oxidation. When you grind right before cooking you greatly limit this
    > > oxidation.

    >
    > But isn't that what carbon monoxide treatment is for? ;-)
    >
    > I guess the carbon monoxide treatment is more aimed at controlling color, as
    > it gets locked in. The meat remains saleable longer if it looks red. The
    > technique is directed at whole cuts of beef though, rather than ground beef.


    Yep, just color. I don't think it in any way prevents the oxidation
    either since it just gets bound up in the hemoglobin and the rest of the
    meat would still oxidize.

    > Some ground beef isn't even sold in transparent packaging. I would have a
    > problem buying one of those big "logs" of ground beef in the white plastic
    > wrap with ground beef "artwork" on it, not knowing what it actually looked
    > like. But I'm never buying such large quantities anyway, so it's a moot
    > point.


    Actually those "logs", properly "chubbs" I think would probably be
    better than the regular pack ground beef, at least in terms of
    oxidation. I imagine those chubbs go directly from the grinder into the
    plastic "sausage casing" which should protect them from oxidation far
    better than a store grind and pack where they grind 50# of meat into a
    tub, then portion it onto trays and then give it a fairly loose plastic
    wrap.

    Pete C.

    >
    > --
    > ( #wff_ng_7# at #verizon# period #net# )
     
  19. Sheldon

    Sheldon Guest

    Steve Wertz wrote:
    > >

    > Try sharpening your blade.


    Grinder blades are self-sharpening

    > It helps to make sure your disks are
    > ground perfectly flat and have sharp 90-degree corners where the
    > holes meet the surface of the disk.


    They're called plates, not disks... the average person has no way to
    determine edge condition or to grind plates flat, not unless they have
    access to a machine shop with a surface grinder... and that service
    would typically cost more than to purchase new... and few shops are
    capable of grinding small stainless steel parts, since surface grinders
    rely on powerful magnets as a holding device.

    > If you can get replacements, get new stainless steel blades and disks.


    No, no, no... do not arbitrarilly change blade/plate material before
    contacting grinder company. Hardened tool steel is sharper and stays
    sharper longer... there's no advantage to stainless steel grinder
    plates/blades except that they don't rust, but carbon steel parts don't
    rust very easily either. Regardless, never clean grinders or their
    parts in the dishwasher. A couple drops salad oil will prevent rust on
    grinder parts when not in use. Typically the hole bores of grinder
    plates have a very rough finish. If one has access to a drill press
    then purchase a lap to polish the internal surfaces of each hole, a
    smoother finish inside the holes makes a HUGE difference when grinding
    meats... also is a better way to sharpen plates... all the surface
    grinding in the world won't make that hole edge any sharper than the
    surface finish of that bore.... in fact there's a good chance of
    grinding to a depth where the bore is rougher, making for an even
    duller edge than the previous one.

    Most machine tool supply companies will sell a single unit lap in the
    size you specify, so you won't need to buy a set. Use lapping compound
    on hardened materials only, never on relatively soft materials like
    stainless steel.

    http://www.nolansupply.com/bysubcat...aps+-+6+Piece+Set&nbsp;&type=False&specs=True

    In any event, for most folks it's much simpler and less expensive to
    simply buy new plates/blades. Since I have access to a machine shop I
    had my plate holes re-finished with a solid carbide step reamer.

    Sheldon
     
  20. Steve Wertz

    Steve Wertz Guest

    On 11 Apr 2006 10:08:14 -0700, "Sheldon" <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >
    >Steve Wertz wrote:
    >> >

    >> Try sharpening your blade.

    >
    >Grinder blades are self-sharpening


    Bullshit.

    >In any event, for most folks it's much simpler and less expensive to
    >simply buy new plates/blades.


    Yeah - what I said.

    -sw
     
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