Ground beef is one of the most used ingredients in a home kitchen. And not just with us Americans, but all over the world. It’s a key ingredient to a plethora of recipes, ranging from a simple stuffed pepper soup to a hearty and comforting homemade hamburger. So, learning how to grind meat in a blender isn’t just cost-effective but also a key to expanding your culinary checklist.
Nonetheless, a lot of people usually turn to a food processor for the grinding role, and some are lucky to have a dedicated grinder. But as we saw last week, you can use Vitamix as a food processor for at least five different food processes, including grinding grains and meat.
Grinding Meat in a Blender vs a Meat Grinder
Technically, a food processor, blender, and meat grinder can all create ground meat when you need some. However, a dedicated grinder is a primary tool for the job and the best results.
You can think of a meat grinder (manual) as a cold-press/ masticating juicer. It has an auger (squeezing screw) that chews on the meat, then pushes it through the grinder plate to get evenly textured ground. So, you can even improvise and use the equipment as a traditional juicer if interested.
On the other hand, a blender will also achieve ground meat for most applications. However, the tool doesn’t have a grinding plate or a means to attach one. So, it can only mince the produce but won’t be possible to pack it into the thin, evenly-textured strips.
Also, most blenders will find it hard to grind thin bones and chicken legs. So, you can’t make food for your cat or dog as with some electric meat grinders.
Regardless, a blender is still more versatile than a meat grinder. Apart from grinding and blending smoothies, you can also shave ice into snow for slushies. Moreover, don’t forget you can juice, as well as make Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino and other famous desserts.
What Makes a Homemade Ground Meat So Good
In general, making ground meat at home is 100% worthwhile- whether you’re using a meat grinder or a blender. Some of the reasons for this are:
Cost Saving: of course, you can buy your meat in bulk, which is cheaper, then be grinding as per your needs. Also, almost all butchers will charge you an extra fee on the minced meat for their work time and the extra packaging containers. So, grinding your own meat can save you from these charges.
Control: when you grind meat at home, you basically know what it’s and the cleanliness of the tool you used to mince.
Taste: indeed, most foods, including meat, tend to lose their true taste after sitting in the fridge or shelves of the grocery store for long. But you get to enjoy the true taste of fresh meat when you grind at home.
Meat Blends: if you have ever made something like a burger, you then know various beef blends will produce a different taste intensity. For instance, a hamburger in a beef ground chuck (lean-to-fat ratio of 80/20) is more flavorful than with ground round beef, which is usually 80/ 15. Thus, grinding yourself can help you make the meat blends you can’t find from the store.
Culinary expansion: As said earlier, ground meat has far more applications than steak. You can use in the regular kitchen dishes like rice to the cozy recipes like Burgers, Pizza, American Goulash Recipe, and deluxe Lasagna.
Ingestion: Minced meat’s also a perfect solution if you have dentures or any other condition that makes it impossible to ingest the regular steak.
Easy Digestion: In an article posted on the National Library of Medicine, the body usually digests and absorbs minced beef more rapidly than the regular steak. So, you’ll also get the benefits of amino acids much fast.
Fun: It’s, for sure. Not only do you enjoy the process of grinding, but also when preparing, serving, and devouring the special concoctions you’ve just made.
How to Grind Meat in a Blender
When it now comes to grinding your meat with a blender, the process has only five key steps (and a bonus to spice up). That’s what we’ll look at now in this part of our guide, assuming you’ve already got your fresh meat.
Note, the guide is based on a Vitamix blender, but you can use any other brand available if it can grind stuff.
Prepare the Meat for Grinding
Similar to any other recipe with a blender, you need to prepare your meat before you start to grind. That means cutting your meat into small cubes/ chunks (about 1-2”) to make sure it will be easy for the blender blades and reduce the chances of over-blending.
Refrigerate the Meat Cubes
Once you have the chunks for all the meat, place them on a tinfoil lined with a baking sheet pan. Then, put the entire pan into the freezer for about an hour or a half. The idea of this step is to ensure the meat pieces are firm enough for the blender’s blades to grind without turning the mixture into a mash.
Conversely, you don’t want your meat chunks to get frozen solid as it will be hard to grind without ending with a meat puree. So, the timing is very crucial.
Load the Blender Container in Small Batches
After the meat chunks have become hard enough, remove them from the freezer and begin to grind. The process here primarily depends on the tool at hand, whereby some like Ninja blender and Nutribullet require you to add the meat cuttings and switch on the motor. Then, a Vitamix requires you to first start the blender, then drop the meat chunks into the spinning blades.
Despite the type of blender you’re using, though, you’ll want to blend in small batches. If you do all the amount at once, even with a high-speed blender like Blendtec or Vitamix, you’re likely to end up with some unprocessed chunks.
Start Blending on A Medium Speed
As was just said, you don’t want your meat completely pulverized. . So, you’ll have to blend at a relatively slower speed.
Thankfully, all Vitamix full-size blenders have a variable speed dial that allows you to work at ten different speeds. Thus, set the dial at the medium speed “6. Then, carry on to drop a couple of the meat chunks into the spinning blades.
Blend in 15-Second Increments
Again, we’re not making a meat puree here. You have to avoid any chance of over-grinding your mixture at all costs. So, it’s crucial to stick on the Step (3) and Step (4)- grind in small batches at a controlled speed, until the last meat pieces. And to do that, you have to add the batches of meat chunks in 10-15 second increments.
Transfer the Ground Meat and Spice
After you have ground all the meat, you can now stop the machine and transfer the blend into a clean bowl (you can pre-freeze for 20-30 minutes). Next, pour over your preferred spices and hand mix evenly.
As a high-power machine, Vitamix produces 100% ground meat and to a super-fine consistency.
Best Tips When Grinding Meta in a Blender
Here are two crucial things to watch out for if you’re to achieve finely ground meat with a blender without leaving behind any unprocessed chucks.
Unfortunately, not all blenders have the capability to grind stuff. For instance, the Ninja blenders can’t grind well, unless you have a model like the Ninja BL770 or BN801 that has a food processor bowl.
On the other, Vitamix and Blendtec excel pretty well on the task. But as we saw on the Vitamix V1200 review, you can now get a food processor attachment for the brand’s line of smart blenders. Thus, allowing you to grind with a little better control
- Blending speed:
This one is crucial if you don’t want to mess up your ground meat texture. If you’ll be grinding meat with my recipe above, you have to ensure your motor speed is neither too fast nor very slow.
When grinding at a very fast pace, the chances of liquefying your mixture are very high. Don’t forget, a Vitamix only takes 40-45 seconds to produce a silky smoothie from a mixture of frozen food and solid ice. You can only grind your meat at high speed when using the pulsing method.
Also, you definitely don’t want to end up with chunks of meat hiding between the minced ones. So, don’t grind at a very low-speed setting as if you’re chopping salads.
If I’m to be honest, both a blender and meat grinder do a pretty good job of mincing meat. They also have their key pros on the task, as well as general limitations. So, having the two in your kitchen could create a perfect balance in your culinary adventures that involve meaty recipes.
But considering you can grind meat in a blender and do dozen other tasks, it’ll be more worthwhile if your situation can’t afford you the two tools. However, make sure you blend in small batches, medium speed, and at 10-15 seconds increments to avoid over-blending your produce.