Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cooking Essentials: Grinding and Storing Meat

Grinding meat at home is worth it

Once every month or so, I head to my local Arabic Market and buy a good amount of Halal meat for grinding. Yes, you heard read me right, I grind my own meat. I do so for many reasons.
First, you don't really know what is in that store bought ground meat. Sure, you can go to a butcher and ask him to grind the piece of meat you choose. But, being the control freak that I am, I prefer to do so myself. Second, I like to choose how lean the meat is and by buying the whole cut myself, I can trim the extra fat if I want it extra lean. Third, I use the meat grinder anyway to make Kibbeh (recipe to be posted soon), so it's not that much extra work to grind the meat as well.

I prefer to use either tender chuck or top round for ground meat. Sometimes, if I fancy a real fatty burger, that requires the use of two or more napkins when eating, I mix between chuck and sirloin. I use the KitchenAid meat grinder attachment which is easy to use and easy to clean. Before buying the meat grinder, I used the food processor, well I did not like the texture of the meat...I think the meat grinder is definitely superior and is the right tool.

I lay down the pieces of meat on the meat cutting board. I have a cutting board just for cutting meat and so should you to limit contamination. Using my new pride and joy the Wusthof cleaver, I gently remove extra fat from the surface of the meat and chop the meat into cubes of 1 to 1.5 inches. At this point, the meat is ready to be ground.

A cleaver is useful for cutting the meat
I keep one clean hand, usually the right one to hold the meat attachment pusher and with the other hand, I feed the meat cubes to the grinder. To collect the ground meat, I put the biggest stainless steel bowl and I cover the spout of the meat grinder with saran warp to prevent any flying meat juice or particles from flying around.

The ground meat

After I grind all the meat, I weight the needed amount of meat on a kitchen scale (a kitchen essential) and I package the meat in a zip log bag.

A kitchen scale is an essential kitchen tool

I like to make 1 pound and 1/2 pound packages. I put all the meat packages inside a 1 gallon freezer bag and I mark the date, content and weight with a sharpie permanent marker. This way, I don't have to guess what is inside.
Packaged ground meat 
I keep the meat in the freezer, and every time I need some ground meat, I just use one from my nicely labeled ground meat bag. If I am making meat for Kibbeh (recipe to be posted soon), I grind the meat of the Kibbeh shell twice.
Ground meat ready for the freezer
I am sure that you are wondering if this whole thing is time consuming, well, it does take about one hour form start to finish, and before you ask...yes! it is worth it. I like to know what is in my ground meat and that is the only to do so...unless you are friends with the butcher and you can really trust him or her. Psssst..sometimes, the butchers already stuff the feeding tube with cheaper cuts of meat and charge you for the higher price. 

Nadine

5 comments:

  1. You do need to have a meat grinder and air tight pouches at your place. Pretty handy with meat and you can store it for future use. :)

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  2. I really appreciate your article. You are practical enough. And thanks for everything...

    http://www.grinderreviewed.com/

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  3. Hi Nadine! Did you add the kibbeh recipe? Maybe I missed it. I mince my own meat here too! We are on the same wave here.

    Best,
    Fatimah

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    Replies
    1. No, not yet. I will add it next week. tekram 3aynik :)

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