How to Grind Beef

I don’t know how many of you have seen the movie Food Inc., but since you’re on my site where I regularly talk about food, growing food and eating food, I assume the chances that you’ve seen it are good.   If you don’t know what it’s about let me give you a quick synopsis. The documentary revolves around where our food comes from. Apparently it comes from the bowels of the American government and the dirty old intestines of business.

I know! I had no idea either. I thought it came from a farm.  And a pretty one too, with prancing kittens and cows that smile.  The movie takes you on an in depth discovery of how, as North Americans our food rarely comes from a wholesome, windswept farm.  And industries don’t care quite as much about the food we eat as we’d like them to.

It’s part of the reason I started vegetable gardening.

Food is a business that corporations want to make a profit fromby producing food faster, bigger and cheaper. This is done with antibiotics, hormones, engineered feed for the animals and packing as many of them into as small a space as possible.  It’s the same way North Korean gymnasts are produced.

The point of the film is to get you thinking about where your food comes from and what you can do about it.

Now, I’m freakishly suggestible with food at the best of times. You know when you’re walking along, minding your own business and you suddenly smell a French fry? And then you must eat French fries? I pretty much do that with everything.

So when I sat down years ago and fired up this movie I knew I was in trouble. And not just because at the time I was living with a man who had recently finished a beef stew dinner and was conspicuously draping himself in his “toot muffler” blanket. Uch.

I was in trouble because I knew this movie was going to change my life and I didn’t necessarily want it to. I didn’t want to know where my meat came from, I didn’t want to see the torture and I didn’t want to possibly be put off hamburgers for the rest of my life. Hamburgers are fantastic little creatures that even taste good when they’re terrible. But I did watch the movie and it did change my life.


the art of doing stuff burger

I mean, there’s all kinds of other great take away notions in the movie, but for here and now I want to tell  you about grinding your own meat.  Oddly enough, the movie doesn’t mention anything about grinding your own meat, but it does make you think about your food and where it comes from.

Which got me to thinking about what exactly is in my ground beef.  I was guessing there were a lot of things in there I didn’t necessarily want in there, so I looked it up on the trusty Internet.

I found all sorts of crap about what you could do with ground beef but very, very little about what was actually in it.  This was actually more frightening than finding pages and pages of gross information on it.

They’re sneaky those beef people.  And I happen to have it on good authority (Oprah) that they take their business quite seriously. I did manage to find out that ground beef is commonly made out of things that could only be described as “icky” so soon after watching the movie I decided to try and grind my own organic beef.

It sounds like more of an ordeal than it is. Unless you have 3 or 4 kids. Because even putting on deodorant is an ordeal when you have 3 or 4 kids isn’t it?

Wanna know how to grind your own meat? Watch the video! Give it a shot.  And revel in the fact that all of us, together, can continue to enjoy tasty hamburgers!

How to Grind Beef

If you’re grinding your own beef the main reason to do this is for flavour.  If you only plan to do this occasionally then make it for an event where the beef is the star of the show, like Hamburgers.

Cuts to Use for Grinding Your Own Beef

Look for roasts/meat labelled:

Blade Roast
Chuck Roast
Blade Roast
Cross Rib Roast

These all come from between the neck and the shoulder of the cow. Some are the same thing but labelled differently depending on what country you’re in or what your butcher labels them as.

To make delicious hamburgers from scratch use:

2 parts chuck to 1 part brisket or flank steak.

How to use a KitchenAid Grinder attachment to grind meat.


How to Grind Beef Meat


How to use a KitchenAid Grinder attachment to grind meat.


  1. Somehow your blog fell off the favorites list on my laptop, and I just thought about it today and realized that I had a giant Karen sized hole in my heart.
    I’m back!! I’ve missed your writing holy cow. I need a good laugh.

  2. Sheila says:

    You garden like I do it seems. I’m in zone 5b and planted luffas. Yeah. I know. Slim chance I’ll get any luffas to grow but I’m stubborn and wanted to grow luffas so I planted luffa seeds. Actually did amazingly well all things considered. Six plants survived transplanting to my garden, a few weeks later I was down to three and a few weeks after that I had one plant left. But that one plant! I grew a luffa! I was terribly excited! It was probably close to a foot long! The season was nearing its end and I was impatiently waiting to pick my one and only luffa. It was not to be. My guess is luffas are very tasty to deer. It just disappeared. There one day and gone the next. I cried. (No, I didn’t. It was only a plant! One that I gave life to sure, but still only a plant. What? Do you think I’m seriously that sensitive that I would cry over a plant? I got my revenge that year…and had lots of nice venison in my freezer:).) I still have to figure out what I’m doing with all my Cherokee Trail of Tears Beans though. I’ve planted them a couple of years now. You know for the historical nature of the plant, and because the beans are purple, and the flowers are a pretty shade of pink. I saved seeds from last year and grew even more this year! But I have yet to cook anything with them. I know. Why do I grow things in my vegetable garden if not to eat them? I don’t know. I just like growing things. Different things. Like the year I bought bush bean seeds. I even saved the packet the bean seeds came in. It clearly said “Blue Lake Bush Beans #127” on the outside. Turns out my bush beans weren’t so bushy and I had to put up a trellis for them. Now I grow my “not so bushy bush beans” every year. They still aren’t very bushy. But I have to try. I may get bush beans out of those seeds yet. I may just try amaranth this next season. If nothing more than to see if I can’t get it to spread like wild fire through the community garden like someone got their sunflowers to. Wild amaranth grows there. Maybe I’ll invent a new strain of amaranth. It could happen.

  3. Cheapdiva says:

    Oh, thank God I finally found you! For 60+ years I have KNOWN my mother gave birth to twins, but being a tortured soul only kept one – me. You were lucky to have been given up! You got our father’s sense of humor so I know you are my long lost twin😉

  4. melony says:

    Oh I watch this when it first came out. My ex-husband also worked in Chicken factory, you know when you see the trucks with chickens alive stuffed in little pens heading to the chicken factory. HE WOULD not eat chicken ever again.

  5. Teresa says:

    I can’t believe I just found this blog. Love it! And now I feel confident about using my meat grinder attachment that I have had for at least a year.

    Excuse me now while I lose myself in exploring your website??

    • Karen says:

      Well I can’t believe you just found it either Teresa. I’ve been here forever! 😉 Have fun exploring. I use my meat grinder a LOT for doing ground chicken for chicken burgers. LOVE it. ~ karen!

  6. Pat says:

    I love your blog, and especially your sense of humor. I have one request: due to eye issues of mine, watching videos is difficult, so I print out recipes when possible and view them when I can. Would it be a big deal to put the printed version of your recipes and instructions in your blog? I don’t know anything about this stuff, so I don’t know if it would be hard or easy. Just asking. Thanks!!

  7. Jody says:

    Happy TAODS Anniversary! And thank you for teaching me stuff and making me laugh..

    • Karen says:

      Ha! I didn’t even know. Thanks Jody! 🙂 I think I actually opened the blog for business on March 4th, but had my posts in there ready to go on the 1st. 6 years! Holy crap! I think that’s the longest I’ve ever held a single job. ~ karen!

  8. John Brehm says:

    I have been grinding my own meat for several years. I use a chuck roast and the Kitchenaid grinder attachment. I freeze the grinder parts and cut the meat into 1-2″ cubes and freeze 30 minutes. I place bowel that will catch meat over a layer of ice. Grinding is very easy. My question is although the burgers taste great I have a hard time keeping the meat intact while forming the patties. I do not add anything to meat before making patties. Anyone have any idea why this is happening? Is it normal?

    • Karen says:

      Hi John. Yes, I know exactly what’s happening. You have no “binder”. The meat needs some kind of binder to make it stick together. Egg is the most common binder people add to their hamburgers. Also adding bread crumbs will help the burgers from being too “loose”. Barring those two things you can also try adding a tablespoon of flour to every pound of beef. ~ karen!

  9. Julie says:

    Great tip with the old bread trick. I spray it with some hydrogen peroxide too just to make sure. While the cuts with the higher fat ratio are the best for hamburgers, they aren’t always on sale. We’ve been grinding for at least 10 years and often it’s the lean meats that end up in our grinder. I have found that adding eggs and onions helps a lot with the leaner meat. So if you are on a slim budget, the leaner meats can still be used.

  10. Alliey says:

    Just now reading through your archives. I like you because you remind me of me but much prettier and better at writing about the stuff you’re doing. 🙂

    I grind my own beef too, as I was lucky enough to have been gifted with the Kitchen Aid and have inherited the grinder attachment! I thought I’d pass along a great tip for cleaning out the grinder- take whatever aging bread you might have lying around (probably the heels which no one ever eats anyway) and run a couple slices through after you’re done with the meat. The bread dries up the gunky beef mess and pushes it out so that instead of cleaning out icky cow parts you only have to clean out some bread crumbs. Plus it looks like worms as it extrudes which amuses me. Nice, right?

  11. Yen Azzaro says:

    That was fantastic! Thank you for sharing the video. Food Inc. really changed my eating habits as well. I may just go back to consuming meat after your post. Now if only I could get someone to buy me a Kitchen Aid…

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Yen! I wish I could buy you a Kitchen Aid. But well, ya know … I had to have someone buy one for me. 🙂 Heck, just go to She seems to give about one away a week!

      • Lolly says:

        I just found this blog from design*sponge, and was going through old posts (love the writing!). Funnily enough, I clicked through to the Pioneer Woman’s blog following this comment, and, sure enough, she’s giving away two this week. Always timely advice, I suppose.

        • Karen says:

          Thanks for coming to visit Lolly! Yeah … that Pioneer Woman’s always giving something great away. At this point I couldn’t even afford the postage let alone the Cuisinarts, SLR Cameras and Blenders. Nope.

  12. Gaynell says:

    LOL LOL LOL… know what happened…i fell into the trap..”BECAUSE NOW I MAKE THE MOST DELICIOUS HAMBURGERS EVER!” I am still laughing.

    Seriously, reading your stuff is fun!

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