As the weather was quite ripe a few weekends ago in DC, I got bit by the insatiable grilling bug. What I craved was seared meat over a charcoal flame. I turned to the oh so American and oh so delicious staple, the hamburger. I didn’t want just any burger though, for I wanted to make the occasion special rather than slapping down pre formed patties or buying pre ground meat. Lucky for me, my parents found a sweet cast iron meat grinder at a flea market and mailed it to me several months ago. I did a quick spot clean on the thing, and it was good to go. After some home grinding research, I decided to buy a 2.5 lb boneless chuck roast from my local H. Teeter. A chuck roast has a ton of marbling which equals fat which equals flavor. I cubed the meat up into 1 to 1.5″ chunks and trimmed some of the excess fat. The meat then went into the freezer for 30 minutes to firm it up a bit. The parts of the grinder also went into said freezer for 30 minutes. Once the 30 minutes had lapsed, grinding commenced. At first, I had some issues. I had not trimmed off a lot of the excess fat because I thought it would lend itself to greater flavors. The excess fat was really tough and refused to grind. The grinder got clogged, so I had to disassemble mid procedure, but once I got it cleaned up and I got the fat lopped off the rest of the meat, all went smoothly.
The 2.5 lb roast ground up to about 2.1 to 2.2 pounds of ground beef. The burgers (for which I failed to take a final shot of) turned out excellent. You could certainly tell the difference in the home ground beef. Why grind your own meat? There are several good reasons. Beef ground at a processing plant can come from all different parts of an animal, AND it can come from several different animals in the same package. It’s possible that one package of ground beef can have the DNA of 50 to 100 different cows. Second, by grinding at home, you severly undercut the amount of time that bacteria has to cultivate and grow within the ground strands of meat. This means it’s far less risky to cook the perfect medium-rare hamburger. Lastly, it’s fun, tasty, and it’s a way to make your next cookout unique when grilling an old American standard.