Grinding meat for burgers...with my food processor?

All this recent forum buzz about burgers has me craving some good ones. I'd like to grind my own meat at home, but I don't own a meat grinder, nor do I own a Kitchen Aid food processor (for the meat griding attachment).

Have you ever ground beef using a food processor? Would that work? Any tips?

Also, I plan to do a roughly 50/50 blend of chuck and sirloin. Should I also buy some rib fat to add, or will that blend give me a juicy enough burger by itself?
Original Post
BRR, I've used a food processor to make dog food. Cubed meat that you drop in and basically puree. There are two issues here that I see. First up, you need the attachment that will basically let you create grinds instead of shavings, purees, etc... That way you end up with a lose ground meat. Second, you need a pretty powerful and sturdy food processor. I burned my first one up in roughly 4-6 weeks of making dog food. The meat is just so tough on the unit. If you have a high end one with plenty of power like a top end Cuisinart you might be able to pull this off.
I recently read an article that compared all of the techniques of grinding meat. I know that the Kitchen-Aid grinder attachment was used and they also looked at using a food processor. One common theme was that regardless of what is used they stressed putting the equipment in the freezer beforehand. I can't remember where the article was...Cook's Illustrated, an article from the internet, or somewhere else. If I come across it, I'll post the info here.
I have. I've used the Cook's Illustrated recipe for pub-style burgers.

They cut 2 lbs. sirloin steak tips into 1/2 inch chunks, and then freeze them on a baking sheet for about 35 minutes until they are very firm and starting to harden around the edges but still pliable.

They then pulse 1/4 of the meat in the food processor until finely ground into 1/16-inch pieces, about 35 one-second pulses. Repeat with the other 3 batches etc... You have to then inspect the meat to discard any long strands of gristle or large chunks of hard meat or fat.

The process worked, but was somewhat time consuming and laborious. I personally don't eat hamburgers, but the family loves them, so they badgered me into making them at home. My wife could definitely tell the difference between home ground and store bought, and she absolutely loved these.

I bought the KA food grinder attachment going forward as it looks like I will be doing this more often.
I do not buy pre-ground meat; I have a Braun Professional processor from 1995 that creates the best texture for my various needs. As already stated let the meat and fat be chilled firm but not frozen solid and in cubes small enough for thorough circulation inside, not too much at one time. My butcher gives me free gold in the form of prime rib fat trimmed from all his rib-eye steak cuts which I incorporate with whatever meat I want... Beef rounds, sirloins, chucks or even pork loin meat, lamb, chicken breast.

If you want the best new machine available today get a Braun MultiQuick 7.
quote:
Originally posted by Rob_Sutherland:
Or you could just spend 20 minutes and hand chop it...

If it's good enough to make Tartare it's good enough for a burger.

That's how I do it. But only if I'm making enough for one or two. If doing more, I usually ask them to grind it at the butcher shop. That way I can see what's going in as well. The lamb butcher is always willing to do it and the guy I buy beef and pork from is happy to do it as well, so I've avoided doing it with appliances. Actually, even a supermarket with a decent meat department will usually do it for you. Only problem is you don't get to trim off everything you want to.

Good point about burning out your food processor - I've done that to a few of them making ground meat or peanut butter. And it's really hard to get the texture right with the meat unless you have the right attachment. The regular blade isn't really the best. The hand cranked grinder posted above is really perfect - when I was growing up my Dad's friend used to make kielbasa that way - he'd been a butcher in Poland and that's the way they did it. If you're going to do a lot of grinding, it's a great thing to have.
You should put your blades into the freezer before you grind meat because the friction from the blades creates heat which melts the fat and causes what the sausage-making world calls smear. Essentially the melted fat prevents the meat from being minced properly and makes the texture of the meat more slimy than minced.
quote:
Originally posted by thelostverse:
I have. I've used the Cook's Illustrated recipe for pub-style burgers.

They cut 2 lbs. sirloin steak tips into 1/2 inch chunks, and then freeze them on a baking sheet for about 35 minutes until they are very firm and starting to harden around the edges but still pliable.

They then pulse 1/4 of the meat in the food processor until finely ground into 1/16-inch pieces, about 35 one-second pulses. Repeat with the other 3 batches etc... You have to then inspect the meat to discard any long strands of gristle or large chunks of hard meat or fat.

The process worked, but was somewhat time consuming and laborious. I personally don't eat hamburgers, but the family loves them, so they badgered me into making them at home. My wife could definitely tell the difference between home ground and store bought, and she absolutely loved these.

I bought the KA food grinder attachment going forward as it looks like I will be doing this more often.


I've also done this. Works reasonably well. Yes, of course a meat grinder works better as suggested, but I'm not buying a meat grinder to use once a year or so. Obviously others habits may vary.

Nice 6 year dumpster dive, Annie.  Always leery of a 3 time poster making purchasing recommendations.  And Robot Coupe is way too much food processor for anyone who's not cooking commercially.  Bad call.

A good manual meat grinder can be had for $30 or so.  If you're bound and determined to grind your own meat, it's less than the cost of a night at the movies for two.  That said, if you frequent a decent butcher, it's not hard to have some good meat ground for you on request. Even my local Giant food will do this without any griping.

PH

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