DIY mince is about as easy as it gets. It allows you to turn scraps, leftovers or big hunks of meat into an ingredient that can be used in so many different ways. You can use the mince in a chilli or lasagna, you can make your own DIY burgers or sausages, really it is a very versatile ingredient. Also you do not just have to settle for the usual beef or pork mince. Your only limit is your imagination (and maybe your budget). I regularly use beef, pork, chicken and lamb but I have lots more ideas to try out in the future.
Here in the UK a couple of years ago we had the big horse meat scandal. In some ready meals, which included burgers and lasagnas, there was found to be horse meat as well as beef. This was big news and then all of a sudden all sorts of companies were having their products tested to see what was really in them. Now I am not going to go into a big rant about large companies only caring about profit etc (if you want that I am sure there are other sites out there for that), but I will say that when you buy “convenience” or ready meals that you really do have no idea what is in them. With DIY mince you choose the type of meat and cut of meat and know exactly what is going into yours and your family’s food.
On a much lighter note, lets talk mincers. I believe that if you are going to give this a go, then you will have to go out and buy a mincer. I have heard people say that you can use a food processor or chop it by hand, but really that takes more time and doesn’t get as good results in my opinion. You can get a basic hand mincer for less than £10 online and get a free workout every time you want to use it. Personally I use a mincer attachment for my trusty Kenwood Chef. This just means I don’t need different machines for my different My DIY Food projects, I can just change the attachment. I do think that if I buy any more kitchen gadgets I will run out of room in my kitchen for actual food. I would say whatever you choose to do, avoid mincers that have working parts made of plastic. You want something strong and durable so metal is the way to go.
This post covers the basics for any type of mince but on this occasion I am using beef as I have some after doing my DIY steaks. The important things to do are to cut up whatever meat you are using into small enough pieces to fit into your mincer, and to then make everything you are using as cold as possible. I put my meat and my metallic mincer parts into the freezer for around half an hour before starting. This means when you starting mincing, the meat and mincer parts don’t get as warm as quick. This is important and when this starts to happen, any fat in the meat starts to melt and instead of nice separate pieces of meat and fat you get one meaty gooey mess. It clogs up the mincer and really doesn’t look appealing.
With DIY mince it is totally customisable. You can control, not only what goes into it, but also how big or small you make your mince. I prefer a much bigger grind for a chilli or shepherds pie but then a medium or small grind for making burgers and sausages. The great thing with DIY mince is you can try out the different sizes and see what is best for you and what you are making. You can also control the fat content. If you want lean mince, then choose a lean cut of meat or trim any excess fat off. If, like me, you know that fat = flavour, and also a lot of nutrients then you can leave it in. Also for things like sausages you need a good fat content to help keep them moist. For these I would actually add extra fat in as well as the meat.
Comparison for DIY mince
Store bought should just contain the meat and fat of the animal but you do not normally know what cut of meat or cuts are used. Traditionally mince is made with lesser cuts and trimmings.
DIY will contain the cuts and fat that you have chosen so you know exactly what is in it.
Store bought is all done for you and ready to go.
DIY will take around half an hour not including the chilling time for you mincer and meat as you can be doing other things while they chill.
Store bought cost varies massively depending on the meat, cut and quality. It can be anything from £4 per kg up to around £10 per kg in a supermarket
DIY will also vary depending on the meat, cut and quality. Overall I would say that will always be slightly more expensive. What I do is look out for some reduced price meat or buy in bulk and then I can freeze the mince one made.
DIY mince is fun and easy to do and allows for complete customisation of your mince. As more bacteria can grown on mince than a whole cut of meat (due to having more surface area) by reducing the time between mincing and cooking you cut down on the amount of bacteria. This is less important when cooking you mince all the way through but if making DIY burgers and you enjoy them a bit pink then it is something to bear in mind. Already cooked cuts of meat can be minced and used in recipes so you can also end up reducing food waste.
Will I do this again?
To be honest for everyday use I will buy and use store bought mince. It is quick, easy and generally a good product. If I am doing something special like DIY burgers or I get a large piece of meat cheap then I will tend to do DIY mince.
Have you ever done DIY mince?
What is your favourite meat to mince?