Do you have a large amount of meat in your freezer? Perhaps that frozen meat has a rough texture and you need more grind (rather than steaks or other cuts) for burgers and other ground meat recipes. You might be wondering if grinding frozen meat is a good idea – or if you need to thaw it first.
You can grind frozen meat. Grinding frozen meat (as opposed to thawed) is a great strategy to make sure the meat is firm and cuts cleanly and evenly during the grinding process. Frozen meat holds its shape better and stays firm, passing through the grinder more easily.
In this post, I’ll tell you everything you need to know in order to grind your own frozen meat at home!
Can You Grind Frozen Meat?
Yes, you can grind frozen meat and, in fact, it’s easier to grind this way.
The thought of grinding frozen meat may initially seem bizarre, but it is an effective way of preserving the moisture, taste, and texture contained within the meat.
Frozen meats can be tough for a grinding blade to handle but there are some tricks and tips which can help. It is paramount to ensure that the frozen cut of meat has been thoroughly thawed to as near as possible room temperature before attempting to grind it.
Chopping the meat into small pieces will also assist with making sure that the blade produces an even grind, while adding a little non-cold liquid such as vegetable oil or broth will also aid in providing a smoother texture.
Hunters from all over the world were having a discussion about the best way to grind fresh meat, and they all agreed that partially freezing it (or partially thawing it if it’s already frozen) before grinding it makes the process so much easier.
So I tried grinding venison one more time…
And guess what. It worked!
My meat grinder did a PERFECT job grinding the partially thawed, cubed meat. No clogging. No mush. Just a beautiful grind.
Is it Better to Grind Your Own Meat?
For those who are serious about their culinary delights, grinding your own meat can be a great option.
Not only does this method allow you to control the leanness, texture and flavor of the meat, it also results in fresher and tastier dishes. Making freshly-ground pork burgers or turkey sausages on the weekend will provide you with succulent, quality meals for many days beyond.
Grinding your own meat requires time and effort – but those who have chicken breasts ground in a jiffy without the smoke from store-bought pre-ground meats would opt for this home-style method every time.
Whether it is a special recipe or just an everyday meal you’re after, grinding your own meat at home allows you to make delicacies that can be hard to beat!
Is it Better to Grind Meat Frozen or Thawed?
When it comes to grinding meat, the consensus is that freezing it beforehand is a better practice than thawing it. Grinding frozen meat allows you to keep the juices and flavors perfectly intact while chopping or grinding away, producing a high-quality product.
Since the meat is in its solid frozen state, it’s also safer than attempting to grind thawed meat that could otherwise slip and cause issues with the blade or grinder components.
And if you’re concerned about potential liquid making grinding difficult when using frozen meat, just remember that it will begin to thaw once cut up into small chunks.
What is the Best Type of Meat to Grind?
Grinding your own meat is an easy way to add flavor and texture to all kinds of dishes, but which type of meat is best for grinding?
Chicken, pork, and beef are all delicious options, and the best type really depends on what you’re using it for. For sausages or burgers, chicken or pork are usually ideal.
Ground chicken, lamb, or pork is leaner than ground beef so you’ll need to add in something with a high fat content to keep your patty tender. If you’re looking for a more luxurious option then go for sirloin or short ribs – either will give an incredible depth of flavor to your grind.
For something relatively inexpensive yet still full-flavored, consider beef chuck as an excellent choice. It’s perfect for making a mincemeat patty or burgers and can be combined with brisket for even more edge.
Whatever you choose when grinding at home, make sure the quality is high – always opt for fresh cuts over frozen!
How to Grind Frozen Meat
To make sure that your next meat-grinding adventure goes smoothly and safely, check out these top tips for grinding frozen meat.
How Long (and How) to Freeze Meat for Grinding Later On
The first step in preparing frozen meat for grinding is freezing it properly. You want to freeze your raw beef, pork, deer, or other type of meat until it is hard enough that you can hit it with a hammer without breaking up the pieces.
This will ensure that your grinder has an easier time breaking down the larger chunks of meat. Keep in mind that when freezing meat for later grinding, you should be looking at approximately two hours per pound of meat.
How Do You Prepare Meat for Grinding?
Once your meat has been sufficiently frozen, it’s time to prepare the pieces for grinding. The best way to do this is by cutting the pieces into cubes or strips no larger than one inch thick. This will help ensure that all of the pieces are evenly cut and ready to go into the grinder when they thaw out slightly.
Once they have been cut into smaller pieces, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and allow them to thaw just slightly – until they are soft enough to easily break apart with your fingers but still cold enough so they hold their shape when placed into the grinder.
Grinding With a Stand Mixer/Kitchenaid Grinding Plates Attachment
Many stand mixers come with a special attachment specifically designed for grinding meats called “grinding plates” or “meat grinders” which makes this process much easier than using a food processor or special grinder like we discuss below!
Simply attach this plate onto your stand mixer and then add chunks of prepared frozen beef/pork directly into the feed tube as you turn on the mixer at low speed (you may need to use some additional force here). After several seconds you should have perfectly ground beef or pork from your previously-frozen cubes!
Using a Food Processor to Grind Frozen Meat
For those who don’t own a KitchenAid stand mixer but would still like an easier way than hand-grinding their frozen meats, then a food processor could be an ideal solution!
Simply place small chunks of partially-thawed beef/pork into the food processor bowl followed by several pulses at medium speed – after several seconds (or less!) you should have perfectly ground beef/pork from those previously-frozen cubes!
How to Use a Special Grinder to Grind Frozen Meat
For those looking for an even more hands-on approach, investing in a specialized electric grinder could be just what you need.
These grinders often come with several different plates ranging from coarsely chopped cuts all the way down to fine-mincing blades allowing you greater control over how finely minced/grounded your meats end up being!
Plus, many models also come with additional accessories such as sausage stuffers making them great tools for homemade sausage makers too! Just remember – always follow manufacturer instructions when operating any specialized equipment such as electric grinders so you can stay safe & get maximum results every time!
Can You Refreeze Meat After You Grind It?
Refreezing ground meat can often be a tricky business. If not done properly, it can create a food safety issue. That’s because when beef is placed in the grinder, it can change the texture of the meat which generates heat and bacteria growth.
If the meat has been thawed slowly or refrozen improperly, you may find yourself with a spoiled piece of produce. This could potentially lead to an illness if consumed.
To stay safe and ensure that your meal is healthy and tasty, experts recommend using a thermometer to check that ground beef reads below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 Celsius) and that you should use it within 1-2 days of grinding for optimal freshness.
With the right precautions – and some extra planning too – you can successfully refreeze your ground meat for future meals without worry of contamination.
Can You Grind Frozen Fat?
Grinding frozen fat is a tricky business that requires proper technique and specialized tools. Fat is a lot stickier than meat.
In order to grind frozen fat without damaging your equipment, it is important to thaw the fat first initially and then begin grinding it in small batches at low speeds for best results. The resulting texture should be coarse, not clumpy or pasty, but uniformly textured.
High speed grinding should generally be avoided, since this may introduce too much heat into the process and affect the overall quality of the product. When working with frozen fats, patience and care are essential to ensure a consistent outcome each time.
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I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to know the meat grinder I already have works perfectly well and that I don’t have to buy anything else to get the job done. (I also love this meat grinder because it’s multi-functional, acting as a pasta maker and mincer as well.) Eighty buckaroos SAVED!
Anyways, I thought this was a REALLY good tip to know for anyone interested in learning how to grind fresh meat at home. If you can, freeze it partially first. It makes a world of difference.
By the way, I’ve found that ground venison can be used in pretty much any of my favorite recipes that call for ground beef. We can’t even tell the difference!
Do you grind your own meat? Know any other good tricks to do it easier?
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.
18 thoughts on “Is Grinding Frozen Meat Good Idea?”
Thank for the trick. I’m in trouble with my Gideon Hand Crank Manual Meat Grinder. This can’t grind meat with fat easily.
That’s super frustrating. 🙁
have you tried breaking off or taking apart the crank handle and attaching a drill to it?
Woo, glad you saved those eighty buckaroos! Yeah, a lot of people say to freeze or thaw your meat for a good grind. And I too love those type of meat grinders where you get multiple functions in one tool – saves a lot of money. How long do you let the meat thaw after taking it out from the freezer?
I let the meat thaw until it’s somewhat squishy between my fingers, but still icy. The time really depends on how thick the cut of meat is.
Nice article. I like this trick. It really works well.
What type/brand of meat grinder/pasta maker do you have?
I use a light commercial grinder with a #12 head. It has a 3/4 horsepower motor. The key to a good grinder is a sharp cutter and die. Whether hand operated or electric, keep the cutter and the die matched. That means one cutter head per a given die plate. Use a quality flat stone to sharpen the cutter. When the four arms of the cutter head reflect light equally, it’s sharp. Then hone the die until it is all one “shine.” Keep the cutter and die in a protective cover and oiled.
Grinding meat or even horseradish will be easy.
Hard chill or partly frozen works well if you have trouble thin slicing the meat.
This is why many grinding recipes include ice cubes – to chill the meat so it’s more rigid against grinding. Once ground, you can squeeze out the excess water.
I also found with my own electric grinder, that despite following the setup diagrams carefully, I was putting in the cutter blade backwards. It looked like the right way in the diagram, but we know how wrong some of those can be.
I would agree that the colder you try to grind your meat the better. I process several deer every year and find that removing as much silver skin as possible saves lots of clogged grinder blades. I have a large blade that makes 1/2 inch chunks that I run the meat thru first makes t g e final grind lots easier.
Thanks, great idea!
while you’re on the right track I’ve been making my own sausage for almost 40 years now and the answer is well chilled meat not half frozen along with using the proper size grinding die, you may even have to grind your meat through a larger die first recommended in some books, mixing your spices then re-chilling overnight then grinding through a smaller die, when freezing the meat you actually have to work harder which generates more heat melting the fat causing it to smear, cutting the meat into smaller chunks also minimizes the amount of force it takes to grind your meat
Great insight! Thanks.
I should have asked if you chill the metal grinder housing, blade and grinding die as well.
Great tip – thank you, Kendra!! We’ve not done this yet, but my husband swears the venison up here is also very similar to regular cow beef. Nice to know that there is a doable meat grinding option if we ever go that route!
That is awesome. I had no idea just partially freezing would make such a difference. Thank you for sharing!!!
I have been grinding my own meat for a long time now. Since meat has gotten so expensive. I buy it on sale and grind it at home. I use my kitchenaide with the grinder attachment. Grinds up beautifully. After freezing it slightly, I cut it into one inch strips and grind it up.