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Meat Grinder vs. Food Processor – Which is Better?

Store-bought ground beef is fine in a pinch, but it rarely beats the quality of home-ground meat. The pre-packaged ground beef you find in the supermarkets is usually made from the not-so-good bits that are left over once steaks and roasts have been carved off the animal, and each serving of the store-bought stuff can contain meat from dozens or even hundreds of animals. By grinding meat at home using a meat grinder or a food processor, you will have a lot of control over the type and origin of the meat. In this article, we compare the two main methods of grinding meat at home – the food processor method and the meat grinder method.

Using a Food Processor to Grind Meat

You can use a food processor to grind meat, but it doesn't process meat as evenly as a meat grinder, which means the minced meat will contain both larger chunks and very fine pieces. When using a food processor to mince meat, there's also always the risk that you may over-grind the meat and accidentally turn it into paste rather than nicely ground meat.

Tip: If you decide to use a food processor to grind meat, cut the meat into large chunks and process the chunks in batches using the pulse button until desired consistency is reached. Some cooks also recommend freezing fresh meat chunks for half an hour before processing in order to counteract some of the friction heat produced by the processor. Keeping the meat firm makes the process easier and improves the texture of the minced meat.

Using a Dedicated Meat Grinder

Food Processor vs Meat Grinder
LEM Products' manual meat grinder, available through and in Canada through

A meat grinder is the perfect tool for mincing meat for burgers, meatballs, meatloaf, sauces, and more! It produces finely chopped meat that's loosely packed and juicy, and that has an even texture. And, while it is not nearly as multi-functional as a food processor, it is a surprisingly versatile kitchen tool: many sturdy old-fashioned meat grinders can also be used to crush tomatoes for sauces, grate hard cheeses to go on pizza, extrude pasta dough to make fresh noodles, and grind dried bread to make breadcrumbs.

Tip: If you regularly grind meat at home, you might want to invest in a proper meat grinder. There are plenty of models out there, ranging from more expensive electric meat grinders to cheaper hand-operated grinders. If you have already have a KitchenAid stand mixer, you can also just get one of the many food grinder attachments (FGA's) that are available for KitchenAid's popular stand mixers (check out, for example, this all stainless steel FGA for KitchenAid stand mixers or Chef's Choice popular 796 and 799 attachments).

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