I was very pleasantly surprised at how easy this was. I asked for a meat grinder for Christmas because there is no place close that sells quality sausages and I wanted to make my own, but I figured while I have a grinder I might as well go ahead and make my own ground beef as well. All of that stuff about pink slime really freaked me out, not to mention the fact that I've often gotten ground beef that had lovely red meat on the outside but was brown on the inside, which means the meat was exposed to air and was probably older and just covered in pretty fresh meat so they didn't have to discount it for looking bad. Now I know that I am having fresh, 100% ground beef. Well, more like 95% beef, 5% fat, but still...
About half an hour before you grind put the meat and the grinder in the freezer. It's much more sanitary to use it partially frozen.
Cut the beef into cubes. I used a thick steak with some nice marbling that I got for about 5 dollars and it's a little over a pound. A little bit more expensive than preground beef but since I'm getting all beef and no fillers, it's probably actually about the same. (Side note, see what my pink counters do to my pictures. They make everything look pink. Yuck)
I have a kitchenaid attachment which for a home cook is probably all you need. If you are a homesteader and processing large amounts of meat, obviously you'll need more. This one is so handy because it works well but it's small enough to not take up a lot of space. Feed the meat into the hole.
You can adjust the size of beef that come out. Also, don't put in whole chunks of fat because it will clog around your blade. I just ground it straight into the skillet. Kitchenaid recommends to put the setting on 4 and it look about a minute for it to get everything out. I did turn it up to 6 at the end to help push out the rest.
Cooking freshly ground beef was an entirely new experience for me. It smelled like a steak. I know you may be thinking, "Of course it does, it's beef isn't it?" but ground beef rarely smells like cooking meat. It doesn't small a whole like anything except the times I've gotten meat (especially when it's organic for some reason) that smells almost like oatmeal. I assume that this is the filler. But this beef smells so incredibly good.
Even on the smallest setting the meat was in much wider strands than you get at the grocery. I was a little iffy about that being a problem but it wasn't at all. The meat didn't clump together but cooked into nice perfectly sized chunks. I assume that groceries grind it so much smaller because they're using discarded bits of meat that need to be blended. In my beef each strand had the same red and white marbling that the original steak did.
And it was not cooking in a small pool of fat. I didn't even bother patting it dry, unlike the spoonfuls of fat I usually have to scoop out.
Grinding my own beef cost me about 1 additional minute, although I did have to remember an half an hour ahead of time to put it in the freezer. It was not messing, or bloody...It looked and smelled so much better, and I feel a lot better about feeding it to my family. I think the days of buying pre-ground beef are done for us.