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How to grind meat (without a grinder)

Ground Bacon

I’ll admit it’s wonderful when you have a kitchen full of fun specialty tools to make almost anything, and it’s easy to fall into the “trap” of buying everything you see. However, I have been and will always will be an advocate of buying only what you’ll regularly use. There’s no point in spending $10 or $100 on something that will more likely spend 51 weekends of the year buried in a cabinet.

When I learned to make Leberkäse, I ran into a bit of a problem. I needed ground bacon, but at the store my only options were strips, thicker country slices, or European-style slabs. Granted many butchers would grind meat for you in-house, but that thought didn’t hit me until I was already home.

What you'll need to grind meat

Thankfully, a solution to my problem came from Emma Christensen at The Kitchn. Beyond your slab of meat, you’ll just need a knife with cutting board, a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, your food processor, and some space in your freezer.

Step 1: Cut the Meat

Cut the meat into cubes

Slice up your meat into cubes roughly 1 inch in size and lay them out on the baking sheet with a little bit of space in between each cube. Cutting the meat into smaller pieces will ensure a quicker and more uniform grind.

Step 2: Partially Freeze the Meat

Partially Freeze the Meat

Place your baking sheet of meat cubes into the freezer for 20-30 minutes. We want the edges to be stiff while the middles are still soft. The goal is for your food processor to cleanly and easily cut through the meat without it smearing or getting all stuck in the blades.

Step 3: Grind the Meat

Grinding the meat in the Food Processor

Since we don’t have a grinder, we’re using a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, then I’d suggest driving to the butcher to then beg for the grind.

Place enough of the frozen meat cubes into your food processor to fill it only halfway. Press the pulse button for about 10 seconds and look. Keep pulsing until you get a nice coarse grind, then set your finished meat aside.

When you’ve finished your batches, check over your grounds and pulse any large pieces you might have ended up with. If you think they’ll be a mess in the food processor, toss the large pieces back into the freezer for 5-10 minutes.

It’s that simple. While I’m thankful now to have the food grinder attachment for my KitchenAid mixer, I do like this process mainly as a good tip for those that don’t have a regular need for a grinder, or if you happen to be in a kitchen without one.

Tags: meat, grind, food processor, tips

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