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Old 09-19-2017, 03:28 PM   #1
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Need advice on grinding meat

I'm going to try grinding meat for burgers, meatloaf, chili, etc. I've been reading about the claimed superior quality of home ground meat for some time. Tarzhay is selling the KA food grinder attachment for $31 and some change, so I bit today. I've been reading, watching youtube videos, etc., but there are a couple of things that still aren't very clear.

How do you determine fat content? There are recommendations for using chuck roast and trimming off the hard fat, and also recommendations for shoulder steak, as it is usually marbled. Do you grind the fat cap or trim it off? I suppose with enough trial and error I could figure it out, but that might get a little expensive. I would like to minimize the errors.

Should you put the bowl in an ice bath to keep the ground meat cold as it comes out of the grinder? A few recommend this, but most don't make any mention. Food safety is an obvious concern.

Any advice would be appreciated.

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Old 09-19-2017, 04:03 PM   #2
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Tenspeed, you probably have a scale? If you trim off the fat and weigh it, and weigh the mostly lean meat, you can get an idea of the % of lean to fat. Depending on what kind of burgers you like or meatloaf you like, you can get the fat to lean ratio where you want it. You have choices like 82% lean (18% fat), or 76% lean (24% fat) and any other percentage you like.

I use a KA grinder attachment and I really like it.

The coldness concern usually comes up when you are actually grinding your meat. If your meat is cold, it moves easily through the grinder. If the meat is room temperature, the fat may start to gum thing up and mash too easy, clogging the grinder a little. Some say to use a silicone food safe spray on a the grinder attachment. I don't think that is necessary.

You could put the bowl of ground up meat in an ice bath, but if you are cooking with it right away, like making sausage, or making a meat loaf, it isn't necessary as it is already cold. I usually don't bother with an ice bath because I'm using it right away either in food, cooking it, or freezing it momentarily.

There are certain cuts of meat that have a generally accepted amount of fat left on it, like the fat cap. A pork shoulder/butt might have a generally accepted amount of fat of 40% while a pork loin may have a fat cap with only 10%, but by combining them you might get a 30% fat ground pork, which is pretty acceptable for many kinds of sausage. I couldn't tell you what the general consensus is on beef cuts, fat amounts.
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Old 09-19-2017, 07:38 PM   #3
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I have a KA grinder, too, and agree with blissful. I'd underscore making sure your whole meat is very cold, maybe even par-frozen when you grind it. It will work best that way.

I don't use a bowl and ice bath to catch the ground meat, just the mixer bowl by itself. I know I am either going to use it right away, or portion it, vacuum seal and freeze it right away.

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Old 09-20-2017, 07:13 AM   #4
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Put all the grinding attachments in the freezer for at least an hour and do small batches. Before we got the LEM, we would do 5# by dividing into batches. It took a long time as we would have to clean and refreeze the attachments about half way through. There are after market dies that, IMO, are better than the original dies. If you intend to grind through the small die, grind through the larger die first. We tried to go through the small die from the get go once and the motor really strained.
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:31 AM   #5
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Put all the grinding attachments in the freezer for at least an hour and do small batches. Before we got the LEM, we would do 5# by dividing into batches. It took a long time as we would have to clean and refreeze the attachments about half way through. There are after market dies that, IMO, are better than the original dies. If you intend to grind through the small die, grind through the larger die first. We tried to go through the small die from the get go once and the motor really strained.
Re the Key lime pie bit at the end of your post. Please, Sir, could I just use limes and leave the "Key" out of the name? We don't get Key Limes over here. (What are Key Limes?)

Seriously though, a question. Many years ago I read an article in a British magazine that said theat there were lemons, limes and something called a "Florida lemon" that was really a lime. Does this make any sense to you?
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:58 AM   #6
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I don't see any mention of Key lime pie, but yes, you can use regular Persian limes instead. So-called Key limes are not grown in the Florida Keys anymore, since they were decimated by a hurricane almost a hundred years ago. Here's more information.

http://www.seriouseats.com/2016/05/a...the-price.html
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Old 09-21-2017, 12:28 PM   #7
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I don't see any mention of Key lime pie, but yes, you can use regular Persian limes instead. So-called Key limes are not grown in the Florida Keys anymore, since they were decimated by a hurricane almost a hundred years ago. Here's more information.

Key Limes? More Like Key LIES | Serious Eats
Yes they are still grown in the Keys, maybe not for large commercial distribution, but they are grown there, at least before Irma. There are also nurseries that sell the trees here. We get them from time to time in the store when Craig wants Key Lime pie.

They are small, golf ball size or smaller, yellowish green limes. I've never seen or tasted what serious eats pictures and describes, so obviously whatever those are won't fly here.

And if you use persian limes, it's a persian lime pie or just a lime pie, but definitely not key lime pie.
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Old 09-21-2017, 07:18 PM   #8
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I don't see any mention of Key lime pie, but yes, you can use regular Persian limes instead. So-called Key limes are not grown in the Florida Keys anymore, since they were decimated by a hurricane almost a hundred years ago...
Check Craig's signature line when you're on your laptop. It's a creative tweak on Andy's "bake an apple pie" signature. AND his avatar is now a lime with a key in it! Love it!

When we were in FL on our honeymoon (1974), Mom-in-law made a fresh key lime pie. DEEEElicious! After we got back, Himself was begging for me to try making one. I did, using the Key Limes I bought in the local (suburban Cleveland) grocery store. It was just as good as Mom's, except for the crust, which was still a work in progress for me. Even back then, though, I wasn't big on using raw eggs, so that was it for Key Lime pie.

About a year ago, I thought I'd try again. After all, one of the store's that I shop sells pasteurized eggs, so I decided I could use those. I bought a bag of "Key Limes"...and they were hard, had little juice, and were a pricey disappointment. Never did buy the eggs.

I'm guessing the real ones never get out of FL alive anymore. I'll have to give a look-see in the stores when we're down there next month.
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Old 09-21-2017, 08:44 PM   #9
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Yes they are still grown in the Keys, maybe not for large commercial distribution, but they are grown there, at least before Irma.
Obviously I was referring to commercial distribution. They're not available much, if at all, outside of Florida.
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Old 09-21-2017, 09:08 PM   #10
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So, will key limes work better than other limes for grinding meet? Does it only work for meat pies? I'm so confused.

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Old 09-21-2017, 10:24 PM   #11
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While this lime discussion is way off topic, I'll put my $0.02 worth in.

I bought a bag of Key Limes once to make a pie. I don't know where they were grown. I do know they were exponentially harder to squeeze, gave a lot less juice and had a much more sour taste than Persian limes. If they were fantastic, they'd be worth the extra cost and effort.

With apologies to Craig, the article GG linked expresses how I feel about the differences and the authenticity factor.
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Old 09-22-2017, 07:40 AM   #12
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My avatar pic and signature are just reminders to the new incarnation of Margi C.

So, Tenspeed have you used your new attachment yet?
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Old 09-22-2017, 11:26 AM   #13
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While this lime discussion is way off topic, I'll put my $0.02 worth in.

I bought a bag of Key Limes once to make a pie. I don't know where they were grown. I do know they were exponentially harder to squeeze, gave a lot less juice and had a much more sour taste than Persian limes. If they were fantastic, they'd be worth the extra cost and effort.

With apologies to Craig, the article GG linked expresses how I feel about the differences and the authenticity factor.
They grow the Key limes in the Bahamas (only it would be spelled "cay" if they called them that down there), but they just call them limes. We knew several small growers and got large bags of limes cheap. Growing conditions in the Bahamas are very similar to the Keys, so it's reasonable to make the projection that the limes are also going to be quite alike.

It's true that they have a much lower juice yield than the Persian limes, and they are much harder to squeeze. I quickly gave up on hand squeezing them. The flavor though was outstanding, and although I never made a pie, I used them often when cooking fish, always had some on hand. They were also a necessary ingredient in the conch salad at our best friend's bar, and in the fresh mojitos they also served there.
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Old 09-22-2017, 12:11 PM   #14
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One of the local supermarkets is having chuck roasts / steaks on sale next week for $2.49 / lb., so it will be a good week to experiment. As best as I can figure out, well marbled chuck should work, and trim off connective tissue / hard gristle / excess fat. Cut into strips that will fit in the feed tube and freeze for 30 minutes or so.

Kenji recommends a second grind for half the meat, and I might do that, depending upon the temperature of the meat after the first grind. I'll be grinding a pound or so, so hopefully it will still be cold.

I've read that running a piece of bread or crumpled paper towels through the grinder makes clean up easier. As we rarely make it through a pack of buns before they get stale, I think running a bun through is the safer option, at least for starters.

I don't have any frame of reference for grinding meat, but I'm sure it will make a lot more sense after the first batch. Hopefully we won't have to call 1-800-dominos.

I won't be putting lime into the beer I will be drinking while grilling the burgers, so that part of the discussion isn't helping me.
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Old 09-22-2017, 05:27 PM   #15
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One of the local supermarkets is having chuck roasts / steaks on sale next week for $2.49 / lb., so it will be a good week to experiment. As best as I can figure out, well marbled chuck should work, and trim off connective tissue / hard gristle / excess fat. Cut into strips that will fit in the feed tube and freeze for 30 minutes or so.

Kenji recommends a second grind for half the meat, and I might do that, depending upon the temperature of the meat after the first grind. I'll be grinding a pound or so, so hopefully it will still be cold.

I've read that running a piece of bread or crumpled paper towels through the grinder makes clean up easier. As we rarely make it through a pack of buns before they get stale, I think running a bun through is the safer option, at least for starters.

I don't have any frame of reference for grinding meat, but I'm sure it will make a lot more sense after the first batch. Hopefully we won't have to call 1-800-dominos.

I won't be putting lime into the beer I will be drinking while grilling the burgers, so that part of the discussion isn't helping me.
Part one: That is how I do it, and I get good results.

Part two: I run a piece or two of bread through at the end of my meat grind to push the last of the meat through. When the meat coming out begins to turn to bread, stop grinding. The rest of the bread will wash out easily.

BTW, after rinsing the major stuff off the grinder parts, they can go into the dishwasher. All the parts are top-rack dishwasher safe, and the dishwasher is good for killing off the nasties.

I've never ground key limes, so I can't help you with that.

CD
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Old 09-23-2017, 01:41 AM   #16
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...I don't have any frame of reference for grinding meat, but I'm sure it will make a lot more sense after the first batch. Hopefully we won't have to call 1-800-dominos...
I've done my own ground meat a couple of times using my Mom's old 1950s Oster Kitchen Center. It has a grinding attachment. It turned out fine, the burgers were fine...and I'm basically too danged lazy to do it all the time. Since I didn't need to call out for a cardboard pizza, I trust you had nothing but a rousing success.
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