Taking the Scrap and Making it Delicious
We’ve carved up our elk and made use of all the best steaks and other cuts. Now that it’s all finished, there will be a very sizeable pile of scrap meat just waiting for you to “turn lemons into lemonade”. Wild game burger is a true staple for the western hunter, used for hamburgers, taco meat, spaghetti, and an infinite number of other uses.
Clean It Up
The first order of business is to simply remove anything from the trimmings pile that you personally wouldn’t want to ingest. Any bloodshot meat, other coarse or undesirable pieces, and as much silver skin as possible should be removed.
Before grinding, cut all the meat into one-inch chunks or less so that it goes through the grinder easily. Now, determine your desired beef suet/tallow (5%- 15% depending on preference) and/or bacon (one strip per pound) or beef chuck if you want a mix of venison and beef. If you use any pork, make sure that burger is always cooked to 160 degrees.
Some people add seasonings during the grinding process so they don’t have to do it each time they cook. It’s not wise to do this, as salt can break down proteins and allow the meat to stick together and make longer “noodles” than desired. Don’t add salt until very near the cooking process.
Make sure all your hamburger grinder pieces are clean, and put them in the freezer for an hour so they are cold. Also, put the meat in a freezer for 20-30 minutes before grinding to firm it up so that it has a better consistency for the grinder.
Get a good-sized catch bowl. If desired, put some saran wrap over the top portion of the grinder outlet (secure over the neck with a rubber band) and let the hamburger “ride” underneath it to avoid splattering.
Now, grind the lean red meat with a coarse plate. Then, grind the suet with the same plate. Fill the hopper as needed with the correct ratio, but don’t overfill or cram. There’s no need to bog down the grinder.
Voila, you’re now an expert hamburger grinder.