How to Grind Beef Meat

I don’t know how many of you have seen the movie Food Inc., but the other night my fella and I sat down to watch it. 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 an overall wearing, straw hat donning farmer.

Food is a business that corporations want to make a profit from. How do you make a profit? By 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. The same way Chinese 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. During the whole Olympics this year every time I saw a Union Jack I’d start gazing off into the distance with my tongue hanging out thinking about Yorkshire Pudding (Martha Stewart’s recipe for this is the very best by the way).

So when we sat down side by side on the couch, and started up this movie I knew I was in trouble. And not just because the large man beside me  had recently finished a stew dinner and was conspicuously draping himself in his “toot muffler” blanket. Uch.

We were smart enough not to watch this movie with a lap full of Chicken McNuggets and special sauce but even with a bowl of Crispers it was enough to make us a bit gaggy. 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.

BECAUSE NOW I MAKE THE MOST DELICIOUS HAMBURGERS EVER!  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 deodarant 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!


  1. 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!

  2. 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…

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

  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?

  9. 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!

  10. Jody says:

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

  11. 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!

  12. 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!!

  13. 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??

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

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