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How to grind meat without a grinder?

I’m sure that most of the people happened to need ground meat for a recipe and they only had large pieces of meat at that moment and no meat grinder. It surely happened to me dozens of times. What do you do if you are desperately craving for a good homemade burger and you don’t have ground meat to make some?

Or you want to make your favorite meatloaf, but still don’t have the ground meat nor the grinder to make it. You can decide to quit and make it some other day or you can make ground meat yourself, quick and easy. And I will show you how.

Prepare the meat

There are two ways to make the ground meat at home. You can either grind it in the food processor or you can mince it using knives. Whatever way you choose, you need to prepare the meat. You will first remove the cartilage, bones and the tissue if there are any on your piece of meat.

You may want to leave some of the fat because it cooks better and of course it tastes better too. In case you want to grind it in the food processor, you will dice the meat into small cubes, 1 to 1.5 inches.

In case you want to mince the meat using knives, you will slice the meat into thin but long stripes. After you have diced or sliced your meat, you need to put it in the freezer for 15-25 minutes. You will place it on a baking sheet in an even, thin layer. 

The meat won’t freeze in this time period, but it will get a bit firmer and the fat won’t melt when you start mincing it. You should also put your knives or food processor blades in the freezer for the same reason.

Using  a food processor for grinding the meat

If you decide to use the food processor to mince your meat, you will have it in a lot quicker and easier way. You need to use a food processor that has a pulse option. You will fill your food processor bowl halfway with the meat cubes and start pulsing. You need to pulse at least 10-15 times.

You will notice that it starts to create a lump of meat that has finely minced pieces. You are done then. You don’t want to over mince the meat because it will lose its texture. Repeat the process until you have minced all of the meat. If your meat is still chunky after 10-15 pulses, grind it a bit more.

Using knives or cleavers for mincing the meat

If you don’t have a food processor or you don’t want to use it, you can still make your own minced meat. You can use very sharp knives or cleavers to finely mince the meat. This option is more labor-intensive and louder, but the results will still be present.

You need a cutting board and two sharp knives or two cleavers, whichever you prefer. If you don’t have two, you can use one. It will still give you the results you want, but a bit slower and more difficult. You can watch the entire process here: 

The other way is for those of us that don’t really know how to cut meat at 45-degree angles. You will prepare the meat in the way we already explained. Then, you will take your sliced and slightly frozen meat and your two knives and chop dow the meat in a rapid, hammer-like manner.

With this second approach, you don’t need any special skills, just chop down onto the meat and you’ll be done in no time.

Going to the butcher

The third option and I believe the easiest for most people is this one. Just go to your local butcher, choose a piece of meat you want and ask them to grind it for you. This is actually one of the services they offer.

This option is great in case you don’t want to mess with knives or you don’t have a food processor. Just visit your local butcher and have your meat ground. It is the simplest and the least labor-intensive way to grind your meat.

The good side of this option is that you may get a professional opinion on what piece of meat to choose for your minced meat.


  • Choosing the right piece of meat is crucial for ground meat that is good and tasty. You have to have 15 to 12 percent of fat in your meat so that it would not only cook well, but also taste good.
  • The best parts of meat for this purpose are the shoulder cuts in beef, pork and lamb and dark meat if you’re using poultry.
  • Choose a butcher that you are certain they are neat and clean.

What choice to make?

Your choice depends on many things. If you want a mess-free, quick and easy way to grind your meat, going to the local butcher is the best option.

If you enjoy acquiring new skills, the knife option is the best for you. You will get to experience how it was back in the days when there were no grinders. You can also control the size of your chunks and you will use your strength to make it.

However, if you do have the food processor and you need your ground meat fast, there’s no dilemma. You will use the food processor to get excellent minced meat.

All in all, whichever option you choose, you will get the healthiest and tastiest meat with great texture and flavor. You can either use knives, food processors or a local butcher to get your meat ground. You will do the following:

  • Prepare the meat (cut it into pieces and freeze)
  • Mince it using your preferred method

The process is very simple, but if you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section. I’d be happy to help you!

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