How To Grind Your Own Meat in the Food Processor
- 1 pound or more beef, pork, or lamb, at least 20% fat marbling (see Recipe Note for poultry)
- Chef's knife
- Baking sheets
- Plastic wrap
- Food processor
Cut the meat into 1-inch cubes: Remove any bones and tough pieces of sinew or membrane, but leave the fat intact.
Partially freeze the cubes of meat and the food processor blade: Line a baking sheet with parchment and lay the meat in a single layer; use two baking sheets if the meat doesn't fit in a single layer. Put the meat in the freezer, along with the food processor blade. Freeze 20 to 30 minutes, just until the edges and corners of the meat are stiff, but the middles are still pliable. Do not let the meat freeze completely.
Grind the meat in batches: Place the chilled blade in the food processor. Fill the food processor no more than half full with cubes of meat (leave the rest of the meat in the freezer). Cover and pulse the meat 8 to 10 times with 1-second pulses. The meat should look coarsely ground and hold together when pinched.
Re-grind, if needed: Dump the ground meat out onto the baking sheet. Use your fingers to quickly sift through the meat and pick out any large chunks that the blades missed. Toss these back in the food processor along with the next batch and re-grind.
Use or freeze the meat: I generally grind just what I need for my meal, but you can also freeze any extra for another time. If freezing, shape the meat into patties or small portions before freezing to make it easier to use later on.
- Ground Chicken or Turkey: You can grind chicken or turkey using this method, however the meat is so much leaner that the ground meat tends to become very dry once cooked. I recommend using dark meat, or eat least a large proportion of dark meat, and using the meat in sauces or other recipes where the dryness from lack of fat will be less apparent.
- Ground Fish: For ground seafood, choose fattier fish, like salmon or tuna.
This post has been updated — first published December 2010.