Ground Beef

In the past 10 years or so, I have begun doing our own ground beef for several reasons:

  • I think the quality is superior
  • I like the idea of knowing what cut of beef is being used
  • I like the idea of knowing how fresh the meat was to begin with
  • I like the idea of knowing how many cows are in that burger
  • It’s not that hard if you have a plan


This will require some special equipment, so that can be prohibitive. My preferred meat grinding machine is to use the Kitchen Aid with the stainless steel meat grinder attachment. We used the plastic one for years and it is serviceable, but the metal one is so much faster and honestly it is cleaner. The plastic version sprays a lot of meat juices around as it processes. Alternatively, you can use a large food processor, but the grind will not be as consistent.


You can use any cut you personally like, such as chuck, round or skirt steak; however my preferred cut is tritip. It has very little connective tissue and it is a bit leaner. You can always add fat in the form of butter, or bacon if you are looking for a fattier meat composition.


Cover a rimmed baking sheet with 2 sheets of plastic wrap for easy clean up. Then cut your beef into 1-2 inch chunks (be sure they will fit in the feed tube for your meat grinder). Discard any big chunks of fat or any sinew that will be tough. Then put the meat in the freezer for about 30 minutes. You want to grind the meat when it is partially frozen, but not fully frozen. This helps the meat keep its texture by cutting instead of smearing into smaller pieces.

If using a meat grinder, place the cubes into the feed tube and use the plunger to push the cubes down. Use a large bowl to catch the ground meat as it comes out the cutting end. Once your reach the last piece of meat, fold a slice of white bread and push it through as well to help you get as much meat out as you can. I typically just break up the ground white bread and mix it into the meat.

If using a food processor, place your partially frozen cubes, in batches, into the food processor and pulse it about 30 times (1 second pulses) to create small bits of meat similar to ground.

Freeze It

Portion the meat (1 pound) into quart sized zipper baggies and flatten to get all of the air out. Then freeze flat to save room and make them easy to thaw later.


If you are going to make burgers, you can portion the patties before freezing. I typically do a generous 1/3 cup of ground beef per patty and gently press flat and form between 2 pieces of wax paper and stack on a paper plate. Once you have all of your burgers portioned, you can put the plate into the freezer. Once the patties have frozen you can place the whole stack and the paper plate into a gallon size zipper baggie. I just cook these from frozen in a cast iron skillet.


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