Just like Bubbie's
We see recall after recall of ground beef from the USDA -- 37 million pounds in 2012, and even more likely in 2013. Indeed, ground beef was one of the top 5 food items recalled last year in the U.S. And in other countries, we saw meat recalled for being other than what was labeled – remember the horsemeat scandal in the UK? And those words "pink slime"? And now we proceed to poultry – Exactly which parts are included in the ground chicken and turkey we buy? And the hot dogs. . . well let's not even discuss those.
NO, we are not giving up our packaged grounds - not unless we hire a full time cook and personal butcher. Happily we buy kosher, so we are more confident about quality and consistency because our meats and poultry have an extra layer of supervision, sourcing and transparency. But, when we do have time and when we want the best – we have started to grind our own meat. Just as we enjoy baking homemade pastries and breads, but also utilize the convenience of a bakery, when we have the time, we grind away. Yes, just like our grandmothers – remember that ground by hand chopped liver? In fact, the new tool we are using is so similar to the classic model that mom and Bubbie used—Fante's Cousin Sandro's Meat Grinder.
Why grind? Most meat mavens agree that grinding provides a major upgrade in flavor freshness, balance and quality. It's really easy once you get the hang of it. Plus, YOU have the control – and what can be better than complete control when preparing food. Experts also say that grinding at home reduces the risk of E. coli contamination. So for better burgers, meatballs and ground meats - get cranking.
We tested Fante's Cousin Sandro's Meat Grinder. What fun. The cast iron grinder clamps on the counter top (1/2" to 2 ¾") just like Bubbie's, and makes grinding simple. It is equipped with a stainless steel blade, and an attachment for sausage making. Wash it all in hot soapy water.
Some grinding tips adapted from Bon Appetit:
Customize your Blends
Add spices and herbs to your mix. Grind chicken with garlic and chives for flavorful meatballs; grind fresh salmon with capers and parsley for salmon burgers; Experiment! Choose cuts with some fat to ensure a moist, flavorful result; try dark-meat poultry, and beef chuck. Or try firm, meatier fish like salmon and tuna,
Chill and Cut
Put the protein and grinder in the freezer first. It's essential to producing a clean grinding cut and minimal loss of juices. Remove gristle and bones.
Cut meat, fish or poultry into 1-inch cubes. Place in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and transfer to freezer. Chill protein until very cold (it should feel firm but still give when pressed with your finger), about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, place all grinding parts in the freezer until very cold, at least 15 minutes.
Includes attachments so you can make your own sausage
No we could not find kosher sausage casings. However, a great online tip we did find was to use parchment paper as the casing. Simply grind the sausage (beef, lamb, vegetarian) onto parchment and then roll like a log.
More meat safety temperature tips: http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/mintemp.html
To purchase this meat grinder: Fante's Cousin Sandro's Meat Grinder
For more information http://www.hickitchen.com/Whats-New-At-HIC/Fantes-Cousin-Sandros-Meat-Grinder.aspx
HIC Harold Import Co. is offering one of these nifty grinders to a lucky KosherEye reader. Enter to win here.