There is a lot of debate over whether it is cheaper to grind your own meat. On one hand, you have people who swear by grinding their own meat because they believe that it is the only way to get the best quality and flavor.
On the other hand, you have people who say that it is not worth the hassle and that it is actually cheaper to buy ground meat from the store.
Is it Cheaper to Buy Ground Meat or Grind your own
It depends on the price of meat in your area. If you’re doing it yourself, then you’ll have to do some maths to figure out if it is cheaper or not. To grind your own, you’ll need a good quality grinder and cutting board/table(s).
A KitchenAid stand mixer can be used for grinding, but it’s more work since you have to stop and change the knives, add meat, etc. It is not suitable for grinding large amounts of meat.
If you’re buying ground meat, then compare the price to that of the whole cut-up pieces or roasts. You may find that it’s cheaper to buy a roast and have it ground at the store than to buy ground meat.
In some cases though, I’ve found that for chicken, ground turkey, and pork, ground meat can be cheaper than buying whole pieces. Also, the quality of the ground meat is often better because it’s fresher.
The advantage to grinding your own meat is that you control what goes into it, so you don’t have to worry about extra fat or preservatives. I also find that if I buy roasts then I can get the most desirable parts such as tenderloin.
I’ve done a lot of calculations on my food blog and it’s really kind of complicated if you want to do an exact comparison since there are so many variables: price differentials, % fat in the meat, etc. So for me to give specific numbers would be impossible.
Is It Cheaper to Grind your Own Burger Meat
When you compare the cost of hamburger meat from a grocery store to grinding your own, it seems as if grinding your own is cheaper. However, how much work does it take to ground beef from whole cuts using a grinder?
It seems as if I would have to do a lot of extra chopping and cleaning before/after which would take up more of my time. I was thinking about buying a meat grinder, but I think it will be too much work.
Grinding your own burger meat is definitely cheaper for two reasons.
The first is that you can buy it in bulk, instead of buying just a pound or two of ground beef, why not buy the whole cow? one cow will give you around 75 pounds of ground beef and 25 pounds worth of steaks. Even if your steaks are more expensive than at the grocery store, the price difference won’t be that much.
The second is that you will be able to use all of the cuts on a cow and not just the ground beef. Go to your local grocery store and look at the price of short ribs and brisket next to some of those cheap, low-quality steaks; it can actually be more expensive than buying a whole cow.
The only downside to grinding your own burger meat is that you need a good grinder. You can buy one for around $40 or even upgrade to one of the electric grinders for about $75. I think it’s worth spending extra money on something you will use all the time, but it really won’t be much work if you use a hand grinder.
It’s also pretty simple to clean the equipment with soapy water and throw it in the dishwasher.
Follow 3 steps:
1) Set up your meat grinder according to the instructions (I use the LEM-Grinder).
2) Chop up all of the rest of your vegetables/seasonings.
3) Feed your meat and veggies through the grinder into a large bowl or container.
It’s that simple! You’ll get about 6-7 pounds of ground beef for $6-$10 if you buy the whole cow from a local farmer, which is A lot cheaper than those little packs at the grocery store.
Is it Cheaper to make Ground Beef at Home?
In a word, YES! Ground beef is the most affordable when made at home from whole cuts of meat.
In my hometown in West Virginia, 100% ground beef is selling for $1.99 a pound which comes to about.72 cents a pound or $0.38 per burger if you make four quarter-pound burgers from a pound of meat.
I already mentioned that I get 96% lean ground beef for $1.89 a pound, but if you buy it in the 80/20 form (80% lean to 20% fat) at $3.99 a pound, you can actually make burgers cheaper than Burger King. No joke! To get 96% lean, I have to buy the fattier meat and then separate it at home, but that’s easier than it sounds.
Pros and Cons of Homemade Ground Beef
- You are aware of the specific part of the animal you’ll grind.
- Freshly prepared ground meat is available and is immediately stored in the freezer or refrigerator.
- You must balance the lean fat ratio.
- Ground beef made at home is less expensive. The first savings is realized when you purchase the meat in bulk from a local farm, and the second savings is created when you grind beef by yourself. It is possible to save up to 75$ per year by making the ground by yourself from scratch.
- All trimmings and cuts are suitable for ground beef. If you purchase the meat in bulk from farmers who are local and ranchers, you’ll get many cuts and trimmings that are not suitable for utilizing in your everyday meals. It is easy to mix the trimmings with ground beef.
- The ability to freeze vacuum-free is very easy.
- It is a long and laborious process to ground beef. The first step is to chop the beef into small pieces. Then, assemble the meat grinder, and at the end, you will need to wash everything.
- It isn’t very good at freezing when it’s not vacuum-packed.
Pros and Cons of Prepackaged Store-Bought Ground Beef
- Very convenient.
- Labels show best prior to the date.
- Longer shelf life.
- It’s more expensive than homemade or pre-packaged ground beef.
- Uncertain of which components of meat is part of the mixture.
- Bacteria can form more quicker.
- The mix is created from a variety of species of animals.
- Most of the time there are only trimmings in the majority of muscles.
A Few Tips on How to Grind your own Meat
1. Make sure everything is clean and tidy
This should be obvious in the context of the cooking of food items that you’ll put in the mouth. However, it is even more essential when you are working with meat that is raw.
When you are ready to begin, make sure to clean up your work surface, tidy your equipment, and clean the bowl into which the meat is going to fall into.
One tip to clean up afterward is to crush slices of bread prior to there being any water involved. The bread’s fluffiness will make the pieces of meat that remain in the grinder stick to it. This will cause drying of the insides of the grinder.
Related: How To Clean a meat grinder?
2. Freeze everything
If you put your meat in the freezer for 15 minutes prior to beginning it will be much easier to cut and slice into cubes prior to passing them through the grinder.
Fat is prone to melting and, if there’s fat in the meat that you’re planning to crush, the fat may melt on your fingers as you grind it, that’s not the most satisfying result for your meatballs!
However, it’s not the only thing! The meat you grind is much better if you chill your equipment for about 30 minutes before you begin grinding. Freeze the meat grinder attachment, the blade along the dish, if you are able to.
3. Make the meat into a fine powder and store it in the freezer
The meat can be ground and made into patties for hamburgers, which you can then store in a separate container, placing some parchment paper in between.
After that, you can place them in ziplock bags and label them so that you can track the date for freezing. You can also add seasoning while you grind it when you know precisely the way you’ll cook it.
Read more: Can Meat Grinders Grind Bones?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it healthier to grind your own meat?
Ans: Often I receive the question, is it healthier to grind your own meat? There are several benefits to grinding meats at home, including better taste and a reduction of fillers and additives. Other health benefits may include a decrease in fat content, as grinding results in fewer overall calories, as well as a decrease in sodium content. The primary concern with homemade ground meat is an increased risk of foodborne illness if the meat isn’t handled correctly after cooking.
Why is the color of ground meat different?
Ans: Ground meats are typically darker in color, while whole muscles are lighter. The color of ground meat is a result of oxidation that occurs when myoglobin, an oxygen-carrying compound in muscle tissues, is exposed to air. Because ground meats are exposed to air during grinding, oxidation occurs at a much faster rate.
Are meat grinders worth it?
Ans: A meat grinder often pays for itself over time, as previously wasted or discarded meats can be used. Many models of meat grinders are relatively inexpensive. While meat grinders are capable of grinding a wide variety of meats, they typically can’t surpass the quality of a commercial grinder.
Will a meat grinder grind bones?
Ans: When shopping for a meat grinder, it is important to consider the size of bones you’ll be grinding. If you plan to grind larger bones, be sure to purchase a grinder with a powerful motor and larger plates. If you plan on grinding small bones such as poultry bones, you’ll need to purchase small plates.
Can I put chicken bones in a meat grinder?
Ans: While you can use chicken bones to make homemade stock, they should not be used in a meat grinder. The size of the bone shards may cause damage to the blades and/or motor. Bones can also become lodged in the grinder, which is extremely dangerous.
Can you put frozen meat into a meat grinder?
Ans: Freezing your meat before grinding can result in larger chunks, which may cause difficulty when feeding meat into the grinding mechanism. For best results, it is recommended that you only grind thawed meat. If you’re using a vertical grinder, cubed meat will typically thaw within 30 to 60 minutes.
Is it important to cut meat into cubes before grinding?
Ans: While you don’t need to cut meat into cubes prior to grinding, it may be beneficial depending on the type of meat grinder you use. Staggered feed chutes will require larger cubes, while a vertical feed chute will require smaller cubes.
Can the KitchenAid meat grinder attachment grind bones?
Ans: No, the Kitchenaid meat grinder cannot grind bones. Although Kitchenaid offers a meat grinder attachment, the manufacturer does not recommend using it for bones.
Read more about the Kitchenaid meat grinder .
Can I cook ground meat from a meat grinder?
Ans: Yes, you can safely cook ground meat from a meat grinder at a temperature lower than what you would cook whole muscle meat. Ground meat should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 F before it is safely considered done. It’s important to remember that some ground meats may have been mixed with other types of meat, so it is recommended you cook them thoroughly to avoid foodborne illness.
Can I wash a meat grinder?
Ans: It’s not recommended that you wash your grinder in the dishwasher, as it may damage the unit. A meat grinder can be cleaned using warm water and soap. Be sure to dry your meat grinder thoroughly after washing, as meat grinders are capable of holding onto bacteria even when cleaned.
We’ve almost finished the last part of this discussion, which is focused on giving you an evidence-based answer to the question: “Is it cheaper to grind your own meat?”
In the previous discussion, I’ve attempted to cover all you must be aware of when crushing meat in your home.
In addition, I’ve tried to provide a variety of techniques you could use to grind your meat yourself at home without any hassle.