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Grinding your own meat - Mare749 - 11-04-2012

The other day I saw a post by Denise, I think...correct me if I'm wrong. She mentioned buying turkeys to grind up herself. I have only done this on rare occasions, in small amounts, but would like to be doing this on a more regular basis. So would appreciate any and all advice on grinding your own chicken, turkey, pork and beef.

Two questions that I have: When grinding poultry, do you use skin and visible fat? When grinding beef and pork, how do you know how much fat to add? I don't like ground meat to be overly dry and figure I can always drain off the excess anyway.

Re: Grinding your own meat - cjs - 11-04-2012

Well, I'll start what I'm sure is going to be a great thread.

Turkey/chicken first - I don't use chicken but I do a lot of turkey and I finally have a spicy turkey sausage that we love. Not dry and lots of flavor.

And, the fat I add to turkey is bacon strips - just adjust the number of slices for fattiness/unfattiness you prefer.

Spicy Hot Italian Turkey Sausage

First made 7/26/12 – so very good and spicy

4 1/4 lb ground turkey
3/4 lb bacon
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Heaping tablespoon fennel seed
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
Heaping teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs cold water
Casings, medium hog or not (I prefer bulk sausage)

1. Combine the turkey, bacon, and remaining ingredients except water in a large bowl. Grind through a 3/8-inch plate. Moisten with the water and mix until well blended.

2. If using casings, stuff and tie at 5-inch intervals.

3. If leaving for bulk sausage, divide into amounts that work for your family.

Source: Adapted from Hot Links and Country Flavors, Bruce Aidells and S. Kelly.

Author Notes: This is spicy hot and doesn't taste like other bland turkey sausage I've tried


I have pork in the freezer now (from a loin, so very lean) that I want to use in place of turkey for the above.

When I feel very flush and/or healthy, I buy chuck roast & boneless short ribs and grind for ground meat and I like the % that when I buy I look for. 82%/18%fat. My buther is always will to give me pork fat for next to nothing.

for years I used the sausage grinder attachment to my K.A., but I was never really happpy with it and finally spent the money for Waring Porfessional MG800 grinder -


I love it!`

I think the most surprising to me was making frankfurters! The minute I smelled the mixture, I knew I had a great batch in the makin'.

Have made Chorizo, Bratwurst, all kinds of heat levels of Italian sausage, it's really fun.

And, most important of all - look for our bible: Charcuterie, by Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn

Re: Grinding your own meat - labradors - 11-04-2012

Fat content depends upon your own preference AND what you are making. If you make sausage, you'll need a good amount of fat or the sausages will be dry when you cook them.

I've had the butcher do the grinding for me. When I make sausage, I'll calculate 71% and 29% of the amount I intend to make. I base that upon using 30% fat for sausage but allowing that the meat already has some fat on it. Then, I tell the butcher to grind the appropriate weights of meat and fat together and to wrap it all into a single bag. This has given me the best results when I make both Jean's Italian Sausage and the Jimmy-Dean copycat recipe. When I didn't do this, people for whom I would make the sausage would always say they were good (and good enough to order again, obviously), but after I adopted the 30% ratio, they raved about them, instead.

Re: Grinding your own meat - Gourmet_Mom - 11-04-2012

Maryann, if you buy the Charcuterie book, there is a great venison recipe in there. It's a great book. I plan to do lots more of that kind of stuff when I retire.

Re: Grinding your own meat - Mare749 - 11-04-2012

Thank you all for your input. The Charcuterie book is going on my wishlist unless I can find it used on Amazon. I meant to buy that one a long time ago.

Labs, I'm not real sure that I followed what you were trying to explain to me. Are you saying that if I have a lb. of meat, then I should use 5.3 oz. of fat and 10.7 oz. of meat?

Also, when grinding turkey, do you use the skin or remove it?

Re: Grinding your own meat - labradors - 11-04-2012


Labs, I'm not real sure that I followed what you were trying to explain to me. Are you saying that if I have a lb. of meat, then I should use 5.3 oz. of fat and 10.7 oz. of meat?

One pound is 16 ounces.

70% of 16 ounces is 11.2 ounces.

30% of 16 ounces is 4.8 ounces.

Thus, 11.2 ounces of lean meat plus 4.8 ounces of fat.

If the meat part is not as lean (i.e. already has some fat in it), use a little more meat and a little less fat to account for the fat content of the meat, itself, and to try to end up with a total of 30% fat (i.e. counting the fat already in the meat).

It sounds a bit odd when you're only working with one pound. When you're making ten pounds of sausage, or more - no problem.

Re: Grinding your own meat - cjs - 11-04-2012

discard the fat of poultry (unless you want to just fry it up into cracklins............... ) imo.

That math is giving me a headache.....
For Spicy and Sweet Italian Sausage this is the proportion I use:
~4.5 lbs. boneless pork shoulder butt
8 oz. pork back fat
plus other ingred.

then again, for smoked andouille, it is 5 lbs. pork shoulder butt to 0 fat added.

2.5 lbs. beef short rib meat to 0 fat.

All just depends on what you're making. You'll have fun checking out the 'bible.'