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Grinding hamburger

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by lonestarsmoker, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. Was not sure where to put this but I figured it was grinding meat so I am trying here first.

    Anyone out there making there own hamburger meat? What cut of meat are you using and what size plate do you use?


  2. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    We usually grind our burger twice once with my biggest plate and a second time with my smallest plate. We make ours out of 2/3 venison trim, 1/6 lean pork trim, 1/6 lean beef trim. We never buy store ground beef anymore. If you are looking for just beef burger then I believe a lot of people use chuck roasts to make burger.
  3. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Legendary Pitmaster Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I like to use London Broil.
  4. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    To me it depends on how much fat you want in the meat.  If making burgers you can use chuck, I like the additional fat chuck provides.  If making chili or want a leaner burger use round.  Generally I use what ever is on sale and just add some of the pork fat or beef trimmings I have in the freezer.

    I usually don't buy store ground meat but I did learn that the ground meat on display at Sam's is usually just the big red cryopacks reground to develop the color.  So I will occasionally save 30 cents a pound and buy the large cryo packs and run them through the grinder.

    It doesn't hurt to add a bit of pork butt to the grind for a different flavor.

  5. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Yes, we prefer home ground.  As you can see everyone has a particular "taste".  Me, I like a blend of chuck and round depending on what I'm doing with the meat.  Spagehetti:  more chuck, some ground italian sausage mixed in, gourmet burgers, more towards the round.  The only hunting I do is in the stores so, it limits me somewhat, but it is fun to experiment.  One lesson I really learned the hard way: for us, don't let the fat mixture get less than 15%, unless of course you like the taste of dry sawdust.  If I'm grilling, then I lean towards 20% fat.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that how you grind and what you grind into the mix is really tailored to how you and your family and guests prefer their ground meat.  But I do know, it's well worth the effort. 
  6. bassman

    bassman Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    We have been grinding our elk trimmings into burger for a great number of years.  I have Albertson's butcher save me some beef fat and mix at about 20%.  I don't think we've bought any store ground beef in over 20 years.
  7. jeffesonm

    jeffesonm Smoke Blower

    Regular ground beef  for burgers, I run a chuckie through the coarse plate once.
  8. Thanks guys. I have used brisket before but have not thought about mixing different kinds of meats. Appreciate all the answers.

  9. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I like to mix my grind with alittle pork butt and it adds a nice little flavor to it. I like to try nice mixtures when I'm making new sausages.
  10. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A couple things.  

    First, ground meat is for utilizing the scraps that aren't cookable by other means.  It can come from the neck or shank or belly or any other part.  Usually, the worst cuts have the best flavor, such as neck, shank and plate.  A fine porterhouse steak makes lousy burger.  That being said, a good mix of fat to lean in the proper proportions is what counts.  Second, aside from the mix, the other main ingredient is the lack of bacteria.

    Store or home ground meats have a shelf life of 24 hours.  Use it, freeze it or lose it after that.  However, how is it possible that the plastic tubes of ground meats common in all meatcases (1 lb, 3 lb, and 5 lb'ers) show a shelf life of several weeks (actual is 45 days from date of packaging)?  C'mon... its gotta be inferior tampered-with bottom crud one foot shy of getting tossed in the dumpster garbage, right?  That's why it's cheaper, huh?!!

    Not so... not at all.  I've been to Moyer Packing Plant in Pa. (now part of ConAgra) and first-hand witnessed the beef process from live animal to ground burger and every step, every cut, every process and program there.  You will walk away with a totally different view of the meat process.

    Sanitation controls every step of the process, starting with dress code.  Upon entering the plant you have to dress completely in hospital-style pants, tops, shoes, socks, hats, gloves, booties, masks, etc.  The air is scrupulously clean and filtered.  Every step of every process is monitored, and testing is done constantly.  Steers heads are plucked for nose and ear hairs for fine brushes, hooves are dissected and ground for medicine, every pat is trimmed and evaluated.  Primal and sub-primal cuts are produced and methodically trimmed to specification, COV'd, boxed and loaded on trucks within hours of kill.  Body heat from fresh kill is dissipated by meandering through a nitrogen cooler and in 20 minutes chilled to 37° internal temp.  Every 3 hours all processes stop and all surfaces are cleaned, sanitized and dried for the next startup.  All trim is moved through the plant on conveyor belts and cut and put through fat analyzers to the proper fat-lean ratios, then ground and packaged in gigantic grinders, one spilling into another for a double-grind (I'm talking about grinding machines the size of tool sheds!), muscled through giant tube stuffers into whatever sizes that need to be produced, packed into cases, quick hard-chilled in a nitrogen cooler and loaded on trucks to distribution centers again within hours of fresh kill.  A sanitation rate of 99.64% or better is routinely achieved.  When the burger is stamped with a 45 day shelf life it deserves it; the quality and controls are that good, believe me!  You will not taste better ground meats than what you buy in the tubes.  

    The second part is mixing beef with pork.  Make sure you cook it to 160° internal to kill any pathogens.  When grinding, you open up a whole gamut of surface areas you're exposing to contamination.  Thinking a beef/pork hamburg is done at 130° and you will probably be seeing an ER in your near future.
  11. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Thanks for sharing.
  12. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hey Pops,

    The stuff in tubes does taste different to me and my wife then the stuff in flat packs.  May be psychological.  I have found that a quick grind when I get it home improves the color and taste.     Does the introduction of air and the loosening of the texture from a home grind have a logical reason for improving the flavor?

  13. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Actually, the regrind aireates the product which can be done just by opening  and spreading it open and letting it 'bloom' for 5 -10 minutes or so; the color and flavor increases dramatically.  Regrinding works too.

    Meatrooms get the same exact stuff to use to supplement their grinds; usually 3 or 4 20lb. tubes in a box.  Toss a couple in the grinder pan, slit open and spread out and let sit for 10 min.  Come back and grind into trays; grinds done!  Many of the flat packs are the tubes just reground into smaller packages at a higher price point.
  14. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    i'm thinking game mixes need to fully cook big time as well............
  15. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I thought that the home ground meat tasted better due to using a better cut of meat. This post had a ton of great information that I never thought of. Thanks for the post everyone.....Shoneyboy............ to everone that posted  [​IMG]
  16. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Great post Pops !

    I had a few buddies who worked many years at that Moyer plant.

    Some at Hatfield Meats down there too (Pork).


  17. fpnmf

    fpnmf Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I stopped buying the tubed ground meat after reading this NY Times article. It may be one or two locations or not. I am not taking the chance.

    Grinding my own is the answer.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/31/us/31meat.html?_r=2&scp=2&sq=ammonia meat&st=cse  
  18. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I get from the article that it is one company that sells a speciallized product to large institutions in frozen block form.  Not really what you get from the cryovac tubes used by the over the counter grocery stores.  Everything I have seen indicates that for the volume of meat processed the rate of ecoli infection is extremely low and don't forget that proper cooking of ground meat will eliminate the majority of the threat.  If you like eating hamburgers rare or otherwise less then fully cooked you should grind your own meat.  Anyway I wouldn't eat standard ground meat rare or raw, to much fat and water.