Getting the most from my meat.
September 12, 2012 4:54 PM   Subscribe

What recipes will benefit the most from using fresh ground meat?

I just got a shiny new meat-grinder (well, the accessory for my similarly shiny stand mixer), and I'm looking forward to trying it out with some turkey I bought from the butcher yesterday. I want to make something where I can taste the difference between freshly ground meat and the mechanically separated stuff - burgers seem obvious, but what other dishes will get a dramatic improvement from it?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Houstonian at 4:55 PM on September 12, 2012

I bet bolognese would be good.
posted by contraption at 5:00 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

A meat grinder provides you with the guarantee that the meat you've ground is fresh, has your desired fat content, is bone-free, and otherwise untampered-with in terms of additives, salt, or water. Everything will benefit from that. Just go through all of your ground meat recipes one-by-one and be amazed.
posted by Namlit at 5:09 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]

Tacos with ground beef, from a kit - the way your mom used to make them in the '70s.
posted by doublesix at 5:09 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Steak tartare.
posted by anildash at 5:43 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]

The closer it is to JUST MEAT, the more it will benefit, so burgers are the big one. Have you seen The Food Lab's Turkey Burgers that Don't Suck and Blue Label Burger Blend? (Note: for the former, I found the amount of eggplant to be a bit much. Also, thighs are much better than breasts.)

Meatloaf, meatballs, and sausage will also be great. The real benefit is that you can use whatever species and cuts of meat you want. You've heard that everything should be kept as cold as possible and the meat chunks should be semi-frozen, right?

My mom is vegetarian, so the only use my parents' grinder gets is for cranberry relish at thanksgiving: cranberries, whole orange sections, ginger, and sugar. Delicious. I'm making it myself for the first time this year.
posted by supercres at 6:06 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Burgers. Especially if you handle the meat gently and don't squish them as you cook them.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:44 PM on September 12, 2012

First dish: extra-meaty bolognese (made with thigh meat, semi-frozen before grinding, as recommended in the grinder instructions). Result: smashing success. This is fantastic.

Hadn't seen the guide for non-sucky turkey burgers, and that should be a huge help. Beef is a no-go in our kitchen for IBS reasons, so anything that makes a better burger goes a long way.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:59 PM on September 12, 2012

One pot easy Chili con Carne.

My recent method goes like this, expand as needed:

Slice a whole sweet or yellow onion into 1 cm thick half rounds, simmer/saute until glassy in a pot with a few splashes of olive oil.

Once they're glassy, throw in about pound of ground beef (or turkey) right on top of the onions. Don't go lean with the beef. 20-40% fat is much better than lean for chili. Stir and cook until the meat is browned and done. DO NOT DRAIN ANYTHING. You want all that fat in the pot.

Don't salt, pepper or season the pot in any way, yet.

Add a 16 oz can of kidney beans with the liquid. The salty liquid will reduce nicely. You may substitute pintos, black beans, etc, but I like kidney beans. You may also use soaked and rinsed dry beans, but that defeats the point of "quick and easy".

Simmer and bubble.

Add a can of whole or diced tomatoes. Keep simmering until the tomatoes break down.

Optional but recommended: Sprinkle in flour in small amounts at this point to thicken up the sauce and blend with the fat/grease. Keep simmering.

When it's almost done, add diced dried chili, chili flakes, dried seeds, hot sauce or others to taste. Add salt if needed. Add basil. Keep simmering to incorporate the chili/heat into the meat and beans.

At the very end when it's almost ready and you're going crazy with hunger and want to eat it right now, hit it with a bunch of freshly ground black pepper to your personal taste. Stir and simmer very low - do not overheat after adding pepper - pepper turns gross and bitter if overheated.

Serve with toasted bread, grated sharp cheddar cheese. If you've done it right you'll probably be making strange orgasmic noises while eating.
posted by loquacious at 7:21 PM on September 12, 2012

Derp, I didn't see the "no beef" comment.

Turkey chili works fine. Use dark/fatty cuts for best results.
posted by loquacious at 7:26 PM on September 12, 2012

Burgers, or chili-grind meat. Do you use any red meat other than beef? Lamb, venison, bison; or red poultry like duck, goose, and ostrich. If so, you could make a coarsely-ground "chopped" steak. You could experiment with sausage, too, if you're up for that.

As far as turkey burgers, you can grind in chicken or duck fat along with bread for a juicier turkey burger, assuming you're using turkey primarily for red-meat avoidance and not low fat purposes.
posted by WasabiFlux at 7:26 PM on September 12, 2012

There are really two questions here:

The first question is, what will benefit from home grinding. The answer is just about everything because you can control the quality of the ingredients and the texture of the grind.

The second question is, what will benefit from being freshly ground. The answer is pretty much jus burgers and other short-cooked preparations. The reason is that long cooking will tend to obliterate any oxidation effects.
posted by slkinsey at 11:49 PM on September 12, 2012

Another advantage to grinding your own is that you can grind meat that may not be readily available to you and when it is is of unknown quality. For example, I don't see ground lamb very often, but it is a key ingredient of Moussaka.
posted by TedW at 6:19 AM on September 13, 2012

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