Grind it Baby, Grind it!

There is nothing like grinding butt. We aren’t talking about life in the club, particularly since we’ve never actually been clubbing. True story. No, the grinding butt we speak of is in the culinary sense. Ground pork butt. The same love extends to ground beef, lamb, turkey, chicken or whatever meat needed in a smaller, tenderized state. Grinding your own meats are one of those culinary tricks which can improve your dishes and open up the doors to creations which would otherwise be difficult to achieve. Want to make a Turkey and Bacon Fried Springroll? It will usually be easier to find the fowl’s mammaries at your local grocer than it is the ground version. Are you hamburgers good, but just not quite perfect yet? Want to start making your own sausage? Grind it baby, grind it.

Grinding your own meats is one of those things which can be utterly pointless to some. It’s way more convenient to just buy pre-ground meat. But we are kind of nutty, as you may have noticed and like to find out how things were done in the old days. If anything, our justification lies in seeing if it makes a significant difference in the quality of the recipe. In this case, our explorations proved fruitful and now we rarely purchase pre-ground. Our beef & grind attempts haven’t all been good. We’ve made a few mistakes in choices of cuts to grind. Rule #1: There is no substitute for fat. Fat = Flavor and Juiciness. Never forget that. With out the fat, the meat will nearly always seem flat and dry. If you are waistline conscious, park a few spots further away from the grocer & burn those extra calories getting your tasty meat home.

Grinding their own meat or having the butcher custom grind the meat is something D’s parents nearly always insisted upon for their gatherings. Of course, there were so many things they always insisted upon, that some of their requirements for a proper feast have since slipped D’s immediate mind. After being reminded of it, the memories flood back and the knowledge has been gained once again. The self grind gives control over fat content, allowing you to adjust it as needed for the different dishes. The texture is nearly always an improvement over store ground. It can be a bit courser and handled less than store bought ground meat, allowing for a more defined texture in the final dish. Ground meat can be a delicate beast. Treat it gently and avoid working it too much or you’ll risk deadening your labors. This goes for all ground meat, not just the self-ground variety. Better texture, better flavor, both are reasons enough for us to grind. Another added bonus… meat grinders have sausage stuffer attachments and that is next on our shopping list. We are lucky enough to have some excellent sausage available at a couple of our local spots, so we haven’t been in a rush to get the sausage stuffer attachment, but for ’08 that is another exploration we will have to participate in. For now, time to make Bò Lá L?t.

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