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Minced meat is the core ingredient for a number of dishes such as hamburgers, Beef and Rhubarb Tarts, Indian Masala Kheema, and even Greek gyro meat. It has been part of a number of cuisines all over the world since it’s a versatile staple, it can be cooked in an instant, and it’s the easiest way to add meat to your diet.
But if minced meat is so readily available, you may ask yourself why you should even bother mincing it yourself when you can buy it at the store and have your dinner ready in no time. The following section will probably convince you against doing that. So, if you own a mince grinder, that’s definitely the easiest way to grind your meat, but if you don’t, then you should definitely stick around until the end of this article to find out why you should mince your own mean, and how you can do it.
Why You Should Ground Your Own Meat
There isn’t just one reason why it’s better to prep your own mince instead of buying it pre-minced from your local supermarket.
While most of us are already used to the pre-ground meat, pre-packaged, meat that’s sold in stores, there’s a good reason why that should change. If you’ve ever tried homemade ground meat you probably know that both the flavor and the texture have nothing in common with pre-ground meat. So, for those of you out there who want to up the hamburger-making game, grinding your own meat will take the whole experience a few levels higher, and the final dish will taste like nothing you’ve ever imagined.
Buying your meat pre-ground will definitely be a time-saver, but you’ll miss out on so much flavor. In fact, the pre-ground meat may even be of lower quality since the meat will have a higher fat content since fat is a cheaper product than lean meat. And once the meat sits too long on the shelf it starts to look dull, and in some cases, even gray. Even though the meat is probably safe, it won’t give your dish the same amount of flavor that freshly ground meat does.
Another benefit to grinding your own meat is that you can have control over the cut that goes inside your mince, which isn’t the case when you’re buying pre-ground meat. You can also adjust the percentage of fat in your mixture, and even incorporate a blend of several cuts. Don’t avoid the fat as that can be the reason why your ground meat is too tough. You’d ideally go for 25% of fat in your meat but never go below 15%. And you can even save some money in the process if you even find the cut of meat you need on sale. So, why not start making the homemade ground meat that you’ll later use to make the perfect meatballs or your favorite burger?
Preparing Your Meat for Grinding
As we’ve already established, home-ground meat is way better than store-bought, but what if you don’t have a meat grinder? No worries, we’ve got you covered with our reviews linked above if you want to buy one. But before you start grinding your meat, there are a few preparations that need to be done.
The first step is to use a sharp knife and remove the excess fat, the skin, the bones, as well as the connective tissue from the meat. Next, you need to cut the meat into smaller, uniform pieces, about an inch big, and only then can you start mincing it.
Another important tip is to freeze the meat for a few minutes to get it to a temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and once you take it out of the freezer you can keep it in a metal bowl that’s also been frozen to maintain the temperature as you go through all of the pieces. Depending on what you’ll be using to grind your meat, you may need to place the blender blade inside the freezer for 10-15 minutes as well.
Mince Meat Without a Grinder
If you have your own grinder, that would be the easiest method to grind your meat, however, you can make do with some other kitchen appliances that you probably do have.
Mince the Meat With a Sharp Knife
A chopping knife and a good chopping board are utensils that you find in every kitchen, and both are necessary to make mincemeat. Before you start chopping, make sure that your knife is sharp.
Using your knife, slice the meat about ¼ inches thick at a 45-degree angle, but remember not to cut it all the way down.
Flip your meat and repeat the first step.
Flip the meat again and cut it at a 90-degree angle and cut ¼ inch- pieces as you did in the previous steps, and don’t cut all the way down.
Flip the meat over and repeat the third step.
Finally, pile up all your meat and chop it rapidly from left to right. Do this step until you’ve achieved the desired texture.
Mince the Meat With a Food Processor
If you have a food processor, you basically have your own meat grinder, so let’s use it to make homemade ground meat.
Similar to how you need to freeze your meat for about half an hour before slicing it with a knife and making minced meat, the same goes when using the food processor. The first step is cutting the meat into small chunks.
Next, you need to place the meat on a tin foil-lined baking sheet and stick it in the freezer for about half an hour. It’s a good idea to also place the blade from the food processor in the freezer as well.
Add the meat to the food processor one handful at a time, and once you’re happy with the texture, scoop it into another bowl and repeat the process until all your meat is minced.
Take the Meat to Your Local Butcher
If you don’t want to bother with a kitchen cleanup, you don’t have a food processor, or you just don’t want to chop the meat by hand, you can always take your chosen cuts to the local butcher. Not only do they know how to professionally cut your meat, but they can also give you tips on which cut is best for the type of meat you’re preparing. They can even give you a recommendation for a mix of meats and cuts that you may have never thought would go well together, but the finished meal is the best one you’ve had in a while.
Which is the Best Option for Grinding Meat?
Even though using a meat grinder is the best option when grinding meat at home, not everyone has one at home, so, we try to make do with what we do have.
If you’re in a rush and you don’t want to deal with the cleanup from mincing your own meat, or you don’t have the necessary appliances at home, taking the meat to a butcher is the best idea, and you can even get some recommendations on which cut to buy for a specific meal.
On the other hand, if you enjoy developing your knife skills, the knife method is the right one for you. It’s the method that has stood the test of time, and it also gives you complete control of the size of the chunks, just make sure that you use a sharp knife.
Finally, you can always use your trusted food processor to mince your meat. This one device does wonders in your kitchen, not only for mincing meat but for all kinds of food preparation.
Grinding your meat without a grinder doesn’t have to mean that you compromise on quality as you can still get as good of a mince as you would when using a meat grinder, you just need to practice, practice, practice. Enjoy your homemade minced meat and use it in your favorite recipe for an elevated experience.