We have a meat grinder/sausage maker. I think we paid less than $100 for it. This kind of kitchen implement is really beneficial if you use it. Homemade sausage is just yummy, has less ingredients (MSG, preservatives, etc.), and you can control what products are used (for instance, it’s hard to find sausage that is not in pork casings — since we don’t eat pork, this is important.)
But, beyond making homemade sausage, we also use it to grind our own beef (or, really, we could use it to grind any meat.) We purchase roasts when they go on sale and grind them as soon as we get home. Why go through all that trouble when we can just purchase meat already ground? I’m glad you asked.
- Typically, ground beef in the grocer’s case has been ground several days before. In most stores, it’s not even ground on site — they receive it already ground. As it sits there in its Styrofoam container wrapped in plastic under fluorescent lighting, it’s losing quality and flavor. Furthermore, the longer it sits there, the more likely it can be contaminated by a food-borne bacteria. E-coli, anyone?
- You can control the fat content. I cut as much of the fat off of the roast as I can before grinding it — my ground beef is so lean that I don’t even have to drain it after browning it.
- One roast comes from one cow. Ground beef in the store can come from hundreds of cows. Butchers just throw all the scraps together and grind them.
- It can be cheaper, if you watch sales. You can end up with really low fat content, really high quality ground beef for much cheaper than you would get some days-old-100 cows-mixture of ground beef at the same store. The date that I took pictures for this post, we got bottom round roasts for $2.36 per pound.
The thing to do is to watch hygiene. Work with clean equipment, clean surfaces, and wash your hands all the time.
Gregg and I usually work together, and can get several pounds ground in a very short amount of time. I trim the fat off of the beef and cut it into manageable cubes while Gregg grinds it.
While we’re working, we try to ignore the canine Nina who is desperate and just certain that some of those fat trimmings are going to end up in her bowl.
I then weigh it in 1-pound or 2-pound increments, bag the ground beef, and immediately freeze it.
With any scraps, or whatever is left over that is less than a pound, I’ll typically make a pot of vegetable beef soup.
If you’re looking for something to do with your ground beef, here is a link to some ideas: Ground Beef Recipes
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