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One of the basic rules you should follow when grinding your meat in a meat grinder is never to grind it warm or at room temperature. Always ensure your meat is placed in a refrigerator before grinding, and it doesn’t have to get completely frozen either.
So, How Long To Freeze Meat Before Grinding? Top chefs have recommended freezing your meat for at least 15-20 minutes before grinding.
Don’t bring out the meat from the refrigerator if you don’t have your meat grinder already set up. This is to avoid the meat defrost, thereby making it difficult to grind – only pull it out from the refrigerator when you are ready to grind the meat.
Aside from the meat, also endeavour to keep the grinding equipment in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes – except electrical meat grinders for a seamless process.
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Why you should freeze your meat and equipment before grinding
Many chefs and bakers refer to this procedure as the freezer treatment, and rightly so. Putting your meat and equipment before grinding has lots of benefits, not just to the machine, but also to the person behind the meat grinder. Some of these benefits are explained below:
Time management is one of the reasons we have the latest innovations we have today. Our phones and other gadgets are designed to not just look beautiful, but also save time – the same goes for the idea of freezing your meat.
When you freeze meat before grinding, you save time and energy that would have been expended in removing the meat clogged in the tube of your meat grinder if it wasn’t cold.
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2. More friction
Friction is the keyword when it comes to meat grinding, and freezing your meat helps you generate all the friction you need. Grinding warm meat will cause you to struggle through the entire process especially when such meat has lots of fat in them.
3. It reduces overheating
You know you are in for a long grind if your meat grinder begins to overheat. This can be totally avoided if your grinder parts are kept refrigerated before the grinding process.
Refrigerating your meat grinder also helps keep the parts free from microbes that would have been in existence, especially if it wasn’t washed properly before storage.
Another way to do away with heat is to grind slowly, or at medium speed – not fast. When you grind fast, the time you might think you are saving with speed will be translated to heat, which is not good for the overall grinding process.
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How to freeze meat before grinding
Many might not know it, but there is a process involved in freezing your meat before grinding. Don’t just take your meat and dump it in the refrigerator because it has to be cold before grinding, follow the steps I will be outlining below for the best result:
Step 1: Separate the fat and skins from the meat
One of the first things to do before refrigerating your meat is to prep it for grinding, and that involves removing the fats and skin from the meat.
While this might depend on your meat recipe, leaving the meat skin on your meat can slow down the grinding process, especially if you want to prepare sausages – besides, the skin also has quite a bland taste, so what’s the point of not removing it?
Separating the fat from the meat is also ideal when freezing. If you intend to use a percentage of fat when grinding your meat freeze it separately – which should be considered due to the texture it gives.
Step 2: Slice the meat and keep them on a foil – separated from each other
Your meat should be sliced to accommodate the size of your meat grinder, and also the amount you intend to grind. Slicing the meat in thin slices will also mean that it gets refrigerated on time – compared to when they are refrigerated in chunks.
Once the meat is sliced, ensure the sliced meats don’t touch each other when placing them on the cookie foil before refrigerating.
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This is to prevent a situation whereby you have to start separating the meat from each other when stuck, which can also cause defrosting thereby causing you to repeat the entire process again.
Step 3: Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and grind immediately
After slicing your meat, ensure you keep it refrigerated for at least 30-minutes – it doesn’t have to get frozen. Also, endeavour to grind it as soon as it leaves the refrigerator for the best grinding experience.
Follow the same step to refrigerate and grind your fat if necessary. Cold fat also makes for easy grinding.
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Tips to use your meat grinder like an expert
You don’t have to go to any culinary school to become a pro in making the best use of your meat grinder. The following tips I will be explaining below will help you get the best out of your meat grinder like a professional:
1. Refrigerate your meat and equipment
I have emphasized this in the course of writing this article, and I can’t emphasize it enough. Your meat and grinding equipment will have to be refrigerated to get the best result possible.
Don’t do the mistake of grinding your meat at room temperature, to prevent it from clogging the food tube in your meat grinder. Do the same for your grinding equipment as well, except it is electric.
There is no better combination than a cold meat grinder and cold meat – these two go together like bread and cheese.
2. Find the right meat and fat balance
This all boils down to the recipe. Let’s say you have a craving for a hamburger, you should want less fat, say a 70%-30% ratio of meat to fat.
One of the best meat you can use for a good hamburger recipe includes chuck steak which is the most common meat used for hamburgers, lean cut, boneless short rib (that’s if you want a high-fat and very tasty burger).
Note that each recipe has its own moisture requirement which is dependent on the amount of fat you use for such a recipe – a good burger is known for the amount of fat content the meat can retain.
The best place to get your meat should be directly from the butchers if you hope to get the best quality part for your recipe. Try as much as you can to avoid buying packaged meat from the supermarkets to avoid the risk of chemicals and additives.
3. Grind the meat at least twice
Grinding your meat twice is non-negotiable if you want the best texture possible. Not only that, but you also tend to have thicker meat which can take a lot of time to cook. Even if you are a fan of coarse meat like I am, grind the meat at least twice, using the medium grinder blade.
For hamburgers, it is paramount to grind the meat twice to get the best result. The texture when grounded twice will give you more consistency overall, which is very important for hamburgers.
4. Season the meat before grinding
There are two sides to seasoning your meat, although, the most practised is seasoning the meat after grinding. If you want the best mix when seasoning your meat, rub some of the seasonings on the meat before feeding it through your grinder. This will ensure that the seasoning is evenly mixed with your meat while it grinds together.
You can also choose to do both – seasoning before grinding and after grinding – but you have to ensure that the spices are properly mixed by using your hand to mix up the spices and the meat which should be relatively easy since the meat is already grounded.
5. Try out new recipes by making a combo of different meat
Don’t just stick to using only lamb meat or beef. Try combining the two and see a new dimension it gives your taste buds. Experts who have combined lamb and beef while cooking spaghetti Bolognese have spoken very highly of this combination.
Tips to effectively clean your meat grinder
Preparing a sumptuous hamburger is one part of the equation, however, keeping it clean and free from other elements like microbes is essential if you want to continue eating healthy homemade recipes, and also maintain the lifespan of your meat grinder. The tips below will help you clean your meat grinder after use.
1. Have slices of bread handy
It might sound weird to the ordinary mind, but feeding slices of bread to your meat grinder is the first step to take if you want to effectively clean your machine. The slices of bread help to remove the greasy and oily residue that breeds microbes.
Simply feed about two to three slices into your meat grinder and grind as you would grind your meat. This has to be done before dismantling your meat grinder.
2. Remove the removable parts from your meat grinder
After passing the bread from your meat grinder, the next thing to do is remove the removable parts from your meat grinders such as the blade, plate, feed tube, and cover. If your meat grinder is the electric model, remove the grinder from the power source before dismantling the parts.
Most meat grinders are very easy to dismantle, however, if you encounter any difficulty during the process, use the grinder manual for more clarity.
3. Use soapy water to soak the removable parts
While the bread will do a good job in removing grease and oil particles from your grinder, soaking these parts in warm soapy water will help remove any oil and grease that might still linger. Simply soak the dismantled parts into warm (room temperature) soapy water for at least 10 to 15 minutes for the best result.
Note: do not soak the motor part of your grinder if it is electric.
4. Scrub with brush and rinse with clean water
Once the parts are soaked for the specified time duration, use a sponge to scrub the parts of the grinder, or better still use a bottle brush to get access to areas that wouldn’t have been possible with a sponge.
The bottle brush can also be used to clean the holes of the blade that are likely to retain meat residue and bread crumbs.
Rinse the washed parts with clean water and separate them to dry easily.
5. Wipe the parts with a towel
Wipe the dried part with a towel to prevent rust. After cleaning, still, keep them in the open to air dry for a while before storing them.
As much as you would like to follow the easy way to clean your meat grinder, ensure you keep them away from dishwashers as they can harm your meat grinder. Clean your meat grinder immediately after use for the best result.
How fast does meat freeze?
This depends on the content of the freezer. As stated earlier, you should freeze your meat for at least 15-20 minutes before grinding, but in general, it takes at least 2-hours to freeze a 2-inch food pack. To increase the freezing time, ensure you set the freezer to the coldest setting.
How long can raw meat sit out?
No matter the condition you might find yourself in, never allow your fresh food such as meat and seafood to stay at room temperature for more than two hours. This is to prevent any source of microbes from forming which can be detrimental to the quality of the food.
Is it okay to leave meat out to thaw overnight?
No, it is not. Experts do not recommend you to defrost meat at room temperature, and if for any reason you have to defrost meat that’s already frozen, try running it under tap water for a couple of minutes.
Does meat thaw faster in cold water or hot water?
Thawing meat in cold water is not only considered safe, but faster compared to hot water as long as the water temperature is 40 degrees or lesser.
How Long To Freeze Meat Before Grinding – Conclusion
No kitchen is complete without a freezer, and that’s why it’s recommended to get one if you don’t have any (click here for more info).
Freezing your meat and meat grinder before every use will save you time and energy in the long run, and I hope you use the steps and tips outlined in this article to good use. Kindly drop your comments and suggestions if you have any. Cheers!!!