My dog’s digestion has been a bit sensitive lately, and I’ve had him on rice as I try to get it calmed down. The vet did tests and just thinks his tum is out of whack and needs soothing, so I’ve been staying the course and trying to restrict his diet. Today, I thought — it’s been forever since he’s had much other than dry rice, and I’m worried he’s not getting protein — so I researched adding boiled beef to his diet. The consensus was, generally, that it’s best if you grind your own, you’re sure what cuts he (and you!) are getting, how fresh it is, how sanitary its preparation, etc.
So I went and picked up a lb of round, brought it home, and got out the meat grinder. Woohoo!! I almost always try to research before I do something like this, so I read this article: http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/06/how-to-buy-use-clean-and-maintain-a-meat-grinder-attachment-recommendations.html
In it, the author talks about the different kinds of grinders and how to use them, benefits and drawbacks of each, and even gives some cleanup tips (very useful). He also stresses the fact that the temperature of the meat and the grinder both have an effect on the quality of grind you get, and recommends putting the actual grindey bits in the freezer for at least an hour before cutting. I would never in a million years have thought of this. Ever. Oh, Internet, I love you.
It also recommends feeding through a wadded-up paper towel or two after you’ve finished all the meat; it won’t come out the grindey bits, but it will feed through the rotor, pushing out all the meat and helping do a preliminary clean on the inside of the grinder apparatus. Genius!
There was also this article, that compared meat after it was ground by different methods and using different cooking techniques:
In it, the author again stressed the need to chill the grinder. I dutifully plonked the Kitchen Aid’s grinding apparatus into the freezer for an hour, and even though much of it’s plastic, it got pretty cold. I think that did help with the grinding, as I didn’t have any smear or other unpleasantness.
I cut the beef into small (about 1-inch) cubes and fed it into the grinder at a pretty good speed (the article recommends between 6 and 8), pressing down with the wooden pusher thing, until it was all done. Then I wadded up a paper towel and fed it through, being careful to listen and make sure the motor wasn’t straining. It did push out more ground beef, and when I stopped the machine and took out the towel, it brought a lot of the waste out with it, so the cleanup was a snap! (snapping)
Then I boiled the beef for the dog and shaped the remainder into patties for me.
The boiled beef followed this method:
–although it recommends to cook the beef until it browns thoroughly, and I would use the word “gray” instead… lol. In any case, I made sure it was thoroughly cooked through, then dumped it into a colander, then rinsed it. Let it cool, then put it in Snaps’ dish on a bit of rice, and happy dogness ensued. Hooray!! We’ll see how this, em, goes through and then I’ll know if it was a good idea. :}
The patties for myself (I got three small ones out of the remainder) were inspired by this method, again by the same guy. (He sounded like he knew what he was talking about) I did the loose pack, but waited to salt and pepper until later. Fried all three at once, contrary to his instructions, and ended up with perfectly cooked, very crispy patties. It was luscious.
Topped two with a sauce made using olive oil, garlic, parmesan, red pepper flakes, and let that warm and melt a bit into the surface as I prepared the third patty: this one was traditional, just ketchup and chopped dill pickles. Yum.
The burgers were amazingly flavorful, and grinding meat is surprisingly fun. In short, I give this experiment two thumbs up and will likely repeat it before too long. 😀 From cutting open the package of beef to finishing cleanup after the meal was a little over an hour, in total. Well worth it!