April 16, 2012 4:17 AM   Subscribe

[USDAFilter]So every butcher at the local chain grocery stores has informed me that they will not make ground chicken out of thigh meat. They say that grounding (sp?) breast meat and thigh meat on the same machine is a no-no (according to the USDA) and that it's not worth the money to invest in a second machine just to make ground thigh meat. I cannot find reference to this on the interwebs at all. Questions abound below the fold...

I am not angry about this (well, at least until I can find a butcher that will make ground thigh meat). I'm just curious as to the why and where this is referenced by the USDA.
posted by kuanes to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This USDA factsheet does not seem to have a problem with mixing different poultry cuts.
posted by elgilito at 4:51 AM on April 16, 2012

Best answer: I don't know how far this goes to answering your question, but if you check Table 2, from this USDA paper, you can see that chicken thighs and wings are the most likely parts to carry campylobacter, and campylobacter is believed to be significantly spread by contact with cutting boards, grinders etc. So although I can't find the ruling, it seems plausible that the USDA would recommend against grinding thighs through the same machine as breast meat.
posted by roofus at 4:52 AM on April 16, 2012 [4 favorites]

Maybe get your own grinder? Once meat is ground, the clock starts moving very vast on bacterial growth due to the extreme expansion of surface area.
posted by rikschell at 5:20 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Do you have a Kitchen Aid or similar stand mixer? If you don't, and you really want ground anything . .well, the whole deal + a grinder doesn't have to be huge investment.
posted by Medieval Maven at 5:56 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

You can also use a food processor if you have one. Or, if you don't want too much ground chicken (like only a couple of thighs worth) and aren't the squeamish type, it's easier than you think to just do it with a sharp knife; start by dicing finely, then just chop down the pile with the same sort of steady top rocking motion you would use to chop herbs.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 7:19 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks roofus. That's probably the best we're going to do from the USDA. I guess it's more of a suggestion that everyone follows.

And I do ground my own thigh meat, it's just nice to sometimes have the convenience of someone else doing it for a change!
posted by kuanes at 7:58 AM on April 16, 2012

Don't know where you are, but at my local Whole Foods - where they do their own grinding - I can get both ground turkey thigh meat and ground turkey breast meat. It's possible they also grind chicken, but I've never looked.
posted by rtha at 8:44 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was just coming in to say that my local Whole Foods sells ground chicken thighs.
posted by purpleclover at 8:55 AM on April 16, 2012

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