Grinding meat at home is not only easier than most people think, it also makes the moistest and most flavorful burgers.
Manual meat grinders (about $30) are available at kitchen-supply stores, and grinder attachments (about $50) for standing mixers work very well. Electric and industrial grinders run anywhere from $100 to several thousand, and are really only a consideration if you’re planning to grind a LOT of meat on a regular basis, or if you’re co-oping it with a group of like-minded foodies.
The way to guarantee a great burger is to use the proper cuts of meat, with a good amount of fat; to season it before grinding it, and to combine all the ingredients with a light hand– making sure to NOT overwork the mixture.
You’ll want fresh-ground: 50% sirloin, 25% brisket, 25% chuck. For four 6-ounce burgers, buy 1 1/2 pounds of meat, total (so, 1/2 pound of each).
The combination of sirloin, brisket, and chuck make for a flavorful and succulent burger. If you don’t have a grinder, ask your butcher or meat department of your grocery store to grind the meat for you (that’s why they’re there, after all – see Andrew Zimmern’s advice in the video, below). You’ll want the three cuts of beef ground all together, first through a large die and then through a small die, alternating quantities of each meat through the grinder so they’re well mixed.
Set up a grinder with the 3/8-inch die. Fill a large bowl three-quarters full with ice water, and put a bowl on top of the ice for catching the ground meat.
Use about a foot or so of plastic wrap and feed it through the grinder, holding on to the end to ensure it’s traveling the length of the auger (you should feel it tugging as it moves towards the blade).
The plastic wrap will push the meat through the blade and die, but the blade won’t cut the wrap.
Change the die to the smaller one and run the meat through again.
Now, once you’ve ground the meat, follow the directions in this fun video clip to insure you get the most from the awesome mess of meat!
And, here’s what Andrew Zimmern has to say, about visiting your local butcher (don’t worry, nothing “bizarre” in the video! lol)
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