Brisket to Ground Beef Processing

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geostriata

Meat Mopper
Original poster
May 18, 2021
256
159
California
Making beef sticks, I've found it useful to grind my own meat so for better control of fat/meat ratio, etc... However, if you're going the 100% beef route, it can get costly if you do your own grind. The best deal I've been able to find are these packer briskets from costco for $4/lb. As I'm on about my tenth brisket now, I thought I'd share my approach in case it's helpful for any newbies or in case any of the experts can chime in and point out what I'm doing wrong to help me do it better ;)

Most of the videos I've seen involve folks getting chunks of fat and chunks of meat and using those to get a certain ratio of fat to meat. I've had terrible experiences grinding pure fat in my poor little kitchenaid adapter, so I'd rather not do that. Instead, I seek to create strips of meat that can be fed in that have that ratio already.

So first, I just unwrap the brisket and let it drain for a few minutes in my sink. I take quick slice of fat off the point and a quick slice off the flat, both very light cuts. Then I put the whole brisket on a cutting board and let it sit in my freezer uncovered for 45 minutes:

1711079347665.png


While it's firming up in the freezer, I sharpen or hone my long 14" slicing knife. Once it's firmed up, I point to flat with about 3/4" inch thickness.
1711079587628.png


This leaves me with something like this:
1711079736971.png


After cutting vertically, I cut the fat out of each big slice so it's about 30%. The idea is that you can visually look at each slice and pretty much get that 30/70 fat/meat ratio by grinding the whole slice, or by cutting a vertical portion of that slice into cubes (where each cube is still 30/70).

1711079897593.png


Then I stick these slices in the freezer and vacuum bag them. I lay them out fat-touching-meat so they don't freeze together.

1711080004900.png


Then, when I want to start on the grind, I simply take out one of these bags and let it rest for ~20 mins or so. Then it's a quick slice into cubes that each have 30% fat for my grinder, who is happy to munch on them in their semi-solid state.

1711080434439.png

The other benefit of this approach is that you don't have to grind it all at once. You can just take out a few bags here and there.

Anyhow, hope that helps!
 
Brisket is something I don't mess with but have considered grinding some for burgers and such just to try it out. I like the idea for portioning it up into smaller batches.
 
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All my ground beef comes from brisket I grind.
Started doing back when it was revealed that "pink slime" was added to ground beef.
 
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I like the way you think... Sounds like it would be a good set up for a quick couple of sausages...
Exactly! I've been trying to perfect my beef sticks, and this technique has enabled me to do very many small-batch experiments to try to get things right. In addition, I can't fit much more than 3lbs in my Kitchenaid mixer anyways.
 
All my ground beef comes from brisket I grind.
Started doing back when it was revealed that "pink slime" was added to ground beef.
Oh wow, today I learned about a new horrifying thing that was done to ground beef. I just imagined the use the scraps and the less-ideal parts of the meat. This is a whole different level... Now I'm extra glad I grind my own.

Fortunately, it seems that due to the outcry, several major retailers stopped doing this. Still concerning though.
 
Making beef sticks, I've found it useful to grind my own meat so for better control of fat/meat ratio, etc... However, if you're going the 100% beef route, it can get costly if you do your own grind. The best deal I've been able to find are these packer briskets from costco for $4/lb. As I'm on about my tenth brisket now, I thought I'd share my approach in case it's helpful for any newbies or in case any of the experts can chime in and point out what I'm doing wrong to help me do it better ;)

Most of the videos I've seen involve folks getting chunks of fat and chunks of meat and using those to get a certain ratio of fat to meat. I've had terrible experiences grinding pure fat in my poor little kitchenaid adapter, so I'd rather not do that. Instead, I seek to create strips of meat that can be fed in that have that ratio already.

So first, I just unwrap the brisket and let it drain for a few minutes in my sink. I take quick slice of fat off the point and a quick slice off the flat, both very light cuts. Then I put the whole brisket on a cutting board and let it sit in my freezer uncovered for 45 minutes:

View attachment 692256

While it's firming up in the freezer, I sharpen or hone my long 14" slicing knife. Once it's firmed up, I point to flat with about 3/4" inch thickness.
View attachment 692258

This leaves me with something like this:
View attachment 692259

After cutting vertically, I cut the fat out of each big slice so it's about 30%. The idea is that you can visually look at each slice and pretty much get that 30/70 fat/meat ratio by grinding the whole slice, or by cutting a vertical portion of that slice into cubes (where each cube is still 30/70).

View attachment 692260

Then I stick these slices in the freezer and vacuum bag them. I lay them out fat-touching-meat so they don't freeze together.

View attachment 692261

Then, when I want to start on the grind, I simply take out one of these bags and let it rest for ~20 mins or so. Then it's a quick slice into cubes that each have 30% fat for my grinder, who is happy to munch on them in their semi-solid state.

View attachment 692262
The other benefit of this approach is that you don't have to grind it all at once. You can just take out a few bags here and there.

Anyhow, hope that helps!
I think your approach is pretty solid!

I'm in brisket country (TX) so they go on sale for less than $2/lb a number of times a year.

Basically the only thing I do different is carve out the hard deckle fat (long chunk at the top right of your brisket picture).
I'm not sure it's necessary to do so with it all becoming grind but I know it doesn't render down too well when smoking a brisket and I learned an important butchering lesson a long time ago. If you wouldn't throw it in a skillet and eat it, then it doesn't go well to leave for your grind or on steak cuts.

I just follow that rule but it may not be necessary if the deckle fat grinds up and cooks up well. You would know from direct experience :D

Brisket grind for burger is AWESOME!!! Also awesome for making sausage that contains beef (Texas style sausage does).

Good work and I look forward to seeing some burgers cooked :D
 
I think your approach is pretty solid!

I'm in brisket country (TX) so they go on sale for less than $2/lb a number of times a year.

Basically the only thing I do different is carve out the hard deckle fat (long chunk at the top right of your brisket picture).
I'm not sure it's necessary to do so with it all becoming grind but I know it doesn't render down too well when smoking a brisket and I learned an important butchering lesson a long time ago. If you wouldn't throw it in a skillet and eat it, then it doesn't go well to leave for your grind or on steak cuts.

I just follow that rule but it may not be necessary if the deckle fat grinds up and cooks up well. You would know from direct experience :D

Brisket grind for burger is AWESOME!!! Also awesome for making sausage that contains beef (Texas style sausage does).

Good work and I look forward to seeing some burgers cooked :D
Wow, $2/lb is amazing! I do take a quick swipe at the deckle fat, but I often find myself on the fence as to whether to leave a bit of it in or not. I see these great pictures of beef sticks/salami with white fat specks and part of me wonders why I don't see as much of that in my sticks. Could that be because that's from harder fat to render? So far, I haven't noticed a difference either way with hard fat vs. soft fat (though maybe that's because I'm new at this and time will tell...). So, right now, I take the middle route and cut most of it out, but leave it at about 15% of my total fat.

The key thing about this method is I can eye a single piece for the proper fat ratio, which I find easier.

What I definitely notice is the difference between a coarse and fine grind. Going with a single coarse grind tastes SO much better. It creates these nice flavor pockets and makes it feel more textured, less processed, and more meat-like. I occasionally dabble with a portion of fine grind, but always the bulk of my sausage is a coarse single grind. (though maybe there's a downside to it I don't realize...)
 
the bulk of my sausage is a coarse single grind. (though maybe there's a downside to it I don't realize...
They one thing you have to watch is doing smash burgers with course ground brisket . They're great , but smashing to thin melts all the fat away and you end up with fried grind . Lol . Which isn't bad either . It's like a " Tavern " Maid rite " Loose meat " sandwich .

I do like you , 1 pass through the 1/4 " plate . Waiting for brisket to come down some so I can get back to grinding .
 
I learned from processing deer to leave it in bulk instead of grinding it then freezing, less chance of freezer burn, I split a brisket and vac seal, pull 1/2 out thaw and grind and use within a few days. My KitchenAid grinder makes short work of it.
 
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I learned from processing deer to leave it in bulk instead of grinding it then freezing, less chance of freezer burn, I split a brisket and vac seal, pull 1/2 out thaw and grind and use within a few days. My KitchenAid grinder makes short work of it.
I thought the same in fact. First time, I got impatient (it takes forever to thaw!) and tried to cut it while frozen. So for next time, clever me bought a giant chef's hacksaw to try to cut it while frozen. And in case that didn't work, I bought a culinary saw-zawl blade as backup. haha. Man, I made such a mess that day...

Anyhow, my sealer seems to fully protect against freezer burn. I've left stuff in there over a year without any burn. Maybe it's based on the thickness of the bags...
 
I grind briskets regularly. For sausage, sticks, and burger.
I trim excess fat and slice into strips that fit my grinder.
Into the freezer on a full size sheet pan.
When half frozen, I grind the whole thing (minus the excess fat).
Mix it up and make 1# freezer bags with my vac sealer.
Ready for whatever I need it for.
 
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Just pulled out a pack from the freezer to make a new batch. Process was simple:

Remove from bag and let thaw a few minutes:
1711151717726.png


Then you can split the pieces apart by hand at the fat "seams" (this is why lining up this way is helpful).

1711151765194.png


You can cut them into chunks or feed them in as-is if your grinder is big enough. Either way, they roughly continue to have the same fat ratio:

1711151853577.png


My grinder likes em cut up a bit more, but still still do the smaller strips just fine. Here's how a coarse grind looks without paying attention to the pieces you put in:
1711151917965.png
 
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I grind briskets regularly. For sausage, sticks, and burger.
I trim excess fat and slice into strips that fit my grinder.
Into the freezer on a full size sheet pan.
When half frozen, I grind the whole thing (minus the excess fat).
Mix it up and make 1# freezer bags with my vac sealer.
Ready for whatever I need it for.
Awesome! Sounds like we use a similar process! I didn't know if anyone else did this.
 
Wow, $2/lb is amazing! I do take a quick swipe at the deckle fat, but I often find myself on the fence as to whether to leave a bit of it in or not. I see these great pictures of beef sticks/salami with white fat specks and part of me wonders why I don't see as much of that in my sticks. Could that be because that's from harder fat to render? So far, I haven't noticed a difference either way with hard fat vs. soft fat (though maybe that's because I'm new at this and time will tell...). So, right now, I take the middle route and cut most of it out, but leave it at about 15% of my total fat.

The key thing about this method is I can eye a single piece for the proper fat ratio, which I find easier.

What I definitely notice is the difference between a coarse and fine grind. Going with a single coarse grind tastes SO much better. It creates these nice flavor pockets and makes it feel more textured, less processed, and more meat-like. I occasionally dabble with a portion of fine grind, but always the bulk of my sausage is a coarse single grind. (though maybe there's a downside to it I don't realize...)
Yeah that's the price to buy at lol.

I'm totally with you on the coarse grind. Not sure about the specs that don't break down but if they really don't break down then it's likely hard deckle fat. Good to know you get rid of most of i and things come out great still :D
 
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I'm totally with you on the coarse grind. Not sure about the specs that don't break down but if they really don't break down then it's likely hard deckle fat. Good to know you get rid of most of i and things come out great still :D

Wow, so I just got through reading the Mariansky book and I discovered that generally, the hard fat is better than the soft fat!
A firm texture is desired in dry or semi-dry sausages so the hard back fat is the material of choice. It is much firmer than other fats, it is white and does not show signs of rancidity even after prolonged ripening periods. It also tastes the best.

So although this isn't the hard pork fat, it does seem like it's the better fat to have in sausages (for non-smearing sausages). If anything, I should be trimming the soft fat and not the hard!

I also did find an all-beef recipe that saves some of this hard fat and omits it from the grind. Then hand chops this fat (semi-frozen) and adds it without grind to the mixing step. This way, it's even more accentuated. Fascinating...

Just thought I'd share since I was originally inclined to trim the hard fat thinking it was less good.
 
All my ground beef comes from brisket I grind.
Started doing back when it was revealed that "pink slime" was added to ground beef.
Preach it brother. Everyone on Gods green earth needs to know about beef scraps and udders that is run through AMMONIA to kill the assorted microsnotorganisms, cooked, and mixed into ground beef.

And the FDA is fine with calling it ground beef.....


I like deckle fat mixed into grind. Like chopsaw chopsaw mentioned above, I always found brisket ground beef to run a little loose when making burgers (I always called it mushy, but loose is really a better description)
IMO deckle fat is kinda like ribeye tail fat when it comes to grind. I like eating somewhat overcooked ribeye tail though........


Now that chuck is so high I may have to get a brisket or 2 and grind it in a few weeks. I get kinda skittish when I have less than 30 lbs of chuck in the freezer. 'Murica - where fat folks can fear running out of fat filled beef!
 
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