How to Make Your Own Ground Beef from Scratch

Making your own fresh ground beef at home is easy, affordable, and lets you control the fat content. With just a few ingredients and tools, you can grind beef tailored to your recipes that tastes far superior to store-bought.

Benefits of Homemade Ground Beef

Grinding your own beef has many advantages:

  • Cost savings – Buying whole cuts of beef and grinding them yourself is cheaper per pound compared to buying pre-ground beef.

  • Better taste – You can choose flavorful cuts of beef and the freshness results in maximum beefy taste.

  • Control fat ratio – Tailor the fat content by selecting your cuts. Less fat is healthier while more adds juiciness.

  • No additives – Home ground beef contains just pure beef, no preservatives or fillers like store varieties.

  • Versatility – Use your homemade ground beef for burgers, tacos, meatballs, chili, and anything else calling for ground meat.

Tips for Selecting Beef Cuts

The key to flavorful ground beef is buying the right cuts of beef. Look for these characteristics:

  • Marbling – This intramuscular fat ensures tender, juicy ground beef. Well-marbled cuts like ribeye or chuck are best.

  • Worked muscles – Cuts from active muscles, like chuck and brisket, have more flavor due to increased blood flow while the animal was living.

  • Cost – Buy affordable cuts, saving tender expensive ones for steaks and roasts. Chuck, brisket, and sirloin are budget-friendly.

  • Fat ratio – Pick cuts with a mixture of meat and fat trim. Around 20% fat content is ideal for most ground beef uses.

  • Beef quality – Source high-quality beef preferably locally raised, grass-fed, and antibiotic-/hormone-free.

Best Cuts for Ground Beef

These beef cuts make the tastiest ground beef:

  • Chuck roast – A nicely marbled shoulder cut that excels ground for burgers and general use. Choose the boneless option.

  • Brisket – The chest muscle has great beefy flavor. Use the flat half, not the fattier point half, for ground beef.

  • Sirloin trimmings – Trimmings cut from sirloin subprimals have the right ratio of fat to lean.

  • Round – Very affordable and lean. Combine with fattier chuck or brisket when grinding round.

  • Short ribs – The meat between the ribs is finely grained with thin streaks of fat running through.

  • Cheek – From the cow’s cheek area, this is a little known but flavorful cut for grinding.

Tools Needed for Homemade Ground Beef

You don’t need fancy equipment to grind beef at home. Here’s the basics:

  • Meat grinder – A grinder attaches to a kitchen mixer or as a standalone appliance. Choose an electric model for easiest grinding.

  • Food processor – For small home batches, a food processor with a metal blade finely chops beef.

  • Knife – A good chef’s knife trims fat and slices beef into chunks for grinding.

  • Cutting board – Essential for safely slicing beef before grinding. Use a large board to accommodate big cuts.

  • Chill – Keeping beef ultra-cold firms it up for the grinder and prevents smearing. Freeze chunks for 30 mins before grinding or at least refrigerate overnight.

Easy Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these simple steps:

  1. Choose cuts. Select your preferred beef cuts depending on flavor, fat content, and budget. Include some fatty ones like chuck or brisket.

  2. Trim. Remove excess fat caps and silverskin from cuts, leaving some fat for juiciness.

  3. Cut into chunks. Slice beef into 1-inch cubes using a sharp chef’s knife. This makes grinding easier.

  4. Chill. Arrange cubed beef in a single layer on a plate or pan. Freeze for 30 mins or refrigerate for 1-2 hours until very cold.

  5. Set up grinder. Assemble grinder following manufacturer’s guidelines. For food processors, insert metal blade.

  6. Grind. Working in batches, grind chilled beef according to your grinder’s instructions, in pulses for food processor.

  7. Repeat. For optimal texture and fat distribution, grind a second time. Chill beef again first.

  8. Form patties or store. Shape ground beef into patties or store in airtight containers. Refrigerate for 3-4 days or freeze 6 months.

Pro tip: Mix different beef cuts together when grinding for the ultimate flavor and fat blend.

Recipe Ideas for Homemade Ground Beef

Homemade ground beef is endlessly versatile in recipes like:

  • Juicy burgers
  • All-beef meatballs and meatloaf
  • Zesty tacos and burritos
  • Hearty chili, Bolognese, and lasagna
  • Shepherd’s pie or cottage pie
  • Flavorful Salisbury steak
  • Handmade sausage and ravioli
  • Classic sloppy joes

With homemade ground beef in your freezer, quick weeknight dinners are a breeze. It’s also budget-friendly at a fraction of the store cost.

Expert Tips for Grinding Beef

Take your homemade ground beef to the next level with these expert tips:

  • Add seasoning directly to meat before grinding. This distributes flavor throughout.

  • Chilling beef is mandatory. Cold meat grinds evenly without smearing into a paste.

  • Use a medium grinder die for the most versatile ground beef texture suitable for most recipes.

  • Don’t overfill the grinder. Grind in smaller batches for best results.

  • Keep your hands and grinder cool while working to prevent meat from warming up.

  • Mix different beef cuts to get the perfect ratio of fat to lean.

  • Resist overworking meat by pulsing the grinder and doing only one or two passes.

  • Sanitize grinder parts thoroughly before and after use to prevent bacterial contamination.

Storing and Freezing Ground Beef

Properly stored, homemade ground beef lasts:

  • Fridge: Store fresh ground beef in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container.

  • Freezer: For longer storage, freeze ground beef for 4 to 6 months. Portion into recipe-ready amounts.

  • Defrosting: Defrost frozen ground beef overnight in the refrigerator or place vacuum sealed bags under cold running water for a couple hours. Cook immediately once thawed.

  • Food safety: When in doubt, throw it out. Discard ground beef that is past suggested storage times or has an off odor or slimy texture.

Is It Worth Making Your Own?

While it does take extra time and effort, the payoff of flavor and cost savings makes homemade ground beef worth it for many home cooks. The ability to control exactly what cuts go into the grind and customize fat content is also a major benefit.

If you regularly cook with ground beef, give grinding your own a try. You may get hooked on the irresistible aroma and beefy taste of home-ground that can’t be replicated by store-bought. With a little practice, you’ll be able to churn out batches of hearty ground beef perfect for your family’s favorite meals.

How to Make Ground Beef | Grind Your Own Burgers & Meat for Recipes


How to make ground beef yourself?

How to Make Homemade Ground Beef. Cut the cuts of beef into 1-inch chunks and place them on a plate or into a bowl, cover them, and put them in the freezer or refrigerator to chill for 15-20 minutes. Run the cold cubed beef through the meat grinder using the medium size dye into another pan.

What cut of meat to make ground beef?

80% lean ground chuck (shoulder) will be the juiciest and most flavorful. It’s also the grind I recommend for making burgers for the grill. It has the perfect fat-to-meat ratio. These burgers will still be juicy when grilled to the recommended internal temperature of 160 degrees.

Is making your own ground beef better?

Freshly ground meat not only tastes better, but it’s healthier as well. Grinding your own beef is one way to ensure you are using only the highest quality ingredients in your burgers and get the tastiest results.

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