February 18

Can a Food Processor Grind Meat? | The Benefits and Tips

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Yes, you can grind meat using a food processor. In the last 10 years, I’ve used my food processor to accomplish a lot of things, including but not limited to grinding chicken, veal, and pork for sausages, making spinach and kale pesto, and large batches of hummus.

Not all food processors can grind meat. The secret to grinding meat using this kitchen appliance is to use the right blades for the job, plus the right food processor. I will be discussing this topic in great detail in this article.

Why You Should Grind Your Own Meat at Home

When you grind your meat at home, you have control over everything: the quality of the cuts that go in, the size and texture of the final grind, and even which cuts come together for flavor combinations that simply aren't available at the supermarket.

Freshness

a person using food processor

Besides being more environmentally friendly, there are other advantages to grinding your meat in a food processor or a meat grinder. For example, the USDA doesn't require beef to be aged for more than 60 days. If you buy ground beef from the store, it may already be several weeks past the sell-by date.

Also, home-ground meat tastes better because it hasn't been sitting around in its own juices, as sometimes happens with pre-ground meats. This can be especially apparent when you're making something like meatballs, where every bite is full of ground beef.

You Have Control of Ingredients

When you grind your meat in a food processor, you know exactly what's in it. That might sound obvious, but most of us don't do it. And we end up buying pre-ground meat from the store that can have all kinds of nasty ingredients mixed in, from fillers like bread crumbs to preservatives and meat from who knows what parts of the cow.

You also get to decide how your meat is seasoned. If you're a fan of spicy foods, you can make your own hot sauce or chili powder and add it to your ground beef. If you prefer a milder flavor, add some cumin instead.

You can also decide how much fat you want, which is a big factor in how much meat is per serving. Ground meat with high fat isn’t healthy. If you're trying to lose weight but still want to eat at least 2 ounces of red meat each day, grind lean meat.

You'll Save Money On Ground Meat

You can also save money by grinding your own meats at home. Buying whole cuts of meat and grinding them yourself will cost less than buying pre-ground meats at the supermarket.

When you buy ground beef, it's usually in large chunks that are less expensive per pound than small amounts of ground beef.

Health Concern

If you're concerned about E. coli, or salmonella in ground beef, the best way to avoid contamination is to grind it yourself.

When you grind chicken or own meat at home, you know exactly what's in it, and you can ensure that the pieces of meat going into it are as clean as possible.

meatballs and salad served in white bowls

Can I Use a Food Processor as A Meat Grinder?

Yes, you can use a food processor as a meat grinder. Just make sure it has a food processor blade for grinding chicken, pork, fish, etc.

Grinding your own meat using a food processor seems like a hard thing to do, but it's actually very simple. And if you're going to be making homemade sausages, ground beef, or hamburgers, you will love the grinding process since you will be in control of everything; the raw meat to grind and spices to use.

Food Processor for Grinding Beef, Chicken, Pork, etc.

Grinding is the process of using a meat grinder to break up the meat into smaller pieces. There are many brands of food processors that can be used for grinding or slicing meat, such as Cuisinart, Hamilton Beach, Breville, just to name a few.

meat in the food processor

There are two types of food processors for grinding meats:

  • Hand-held electric models
  • Electric standing models

The hand-held models work well for grinding small batches of meat.  They are ideal for partially frozen chicken cubes, just to name a few.

The larger electric models with more blades work best. These larger food processors or meat grinders handle large amounts of meat and have several attachment options.

Add Spices

You can then add spices and seasonings such as salt and pepper, onions, garlic, and so on. After that, you simply form the ground meat into the shape of whatever type of meat product that you want to make; hamburger patties, sausage links, or smoked ham. You can also mix meats together for more variety and flavor or simply grind two or three different types at once for even more savings.

What to Look for when buying a Food Processor for Grinding Meat

If you are planning to grind meat occasionally, then you will need a food processor designed for the job. A powerful food processor with the right blade is really all you need. You will also need to invest in a food processor with a large bowl that can hold large quantities of meat at once if you have a large family.

parts of the food processor

Size

When buying a food processor, look for one with at least three cup sizes so you can use it to grind larger quantities of food. If you're going to be buying whole chickens and large cuts of beef, it might be worth spending a little more for an electric model that lets you process large batches of meat at once.

The Power of the Processing Unit

The power of the processing unit is important when it comes to grinding meat. Meat is a hard substance and needs a lot of power to process properly. The standard food processor has about 700 watts of power or less. You want one that has higher than 700 watts to grind meat efficiently. A minimum of 1,000 watts is ideal, but it can go as high as 1,200 watts if you plan on grinding large quantities.

Food Processor Blades

The blades of a food processor should be able to withstand the rigors of cutting through meat and other foods without bending out of shape or breaking off. The best food processor for grinding raw meat should have stainless steel blades as they are strong and last for a long time.

The more durable they are, the longer they will last and the more efficiently they will work.

the food processor blades

You will want to make sure that the blade of your food processor is sharp enough to cut through the meat. You don't want to end up with a bunch of shredded bits of meat instead of ground-up chunks.

Has Multiple Speeds

It's a good idea to get a food processor that has multiple speeds so you can start out slowly and gradually increase the speed as needed when grinding chicken meat, etc. Some models also have pulse buttons which are handy if you want to attain the desired consistency.

A wide feed tube opening is an important consideration if you're grinding larger pieces of meat. If you'll only be grinding small amounts at a time, or if you'll mostly be using it for non-meat applications, this may not be as big of a concern.

food processor work in progress

Tips for Grinding Meat in a Food Processor

Remove Bones

When grinding beef, chicken, or turkey, be sure to remove bones before you process the meat. Bones do not grind well and can cause damage to your machine.

Partially Freeze the Meat a Little to Avoid Melting Fat in The Processor

It's easier on your food processor blade if you partially freeze the meat for about 30 minutes before grinding. This is especially true for meats with fat like lamb and pork, which tend to melt when the fat melts from heat generated by the motor.

Do not Over Process the Meat

Do not over-process the meat, as this will make it mushy and unappealing; pulse until you achieve desired texture.

ground meat in the processor

Do Not Overfill the Food Processor

It's best not to overfill your food processor bowl. If you do, it won't be able to grind it properly. If you're grinding a lot of meat at once, work in batches and freeze the rest of the cubed meat until you're ready for it.

Balance Fat

The key to making your own burger patties and sausages, whether you're using beef, chicken, or pork, is to start with meat that is about 20 percent fat.

If your meat is too lean, the burgers will be dry and chalky, not moist and juicy.

Start with small pieces of meat rather than large ones. You want the meat to easily fit through the tube in the food processor's lid, so cut it into 1-inch chunks.

Clean your food processor after using it

Finally, be sure to clean your food processor after using it. The last thing you want is for old chicken juices to contaminate your burger mixture.

a clean food processor and its parts on the kitchen island

Which Food Processor Is Good for Grinding Meat?

We tested two different types of food processors; one mini chopper and a large bowl food processor. The mini chopper is fine for small batches of meat but struggled with grinding large batches of meat. The large bowl food processor was the best at grinding meat since its size allowed us to add all the ingredients to the bowl at once and not overwork the machine.


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