Effect of Food Processor on Already Ground Meat

I’m not talking about grinding meat but adding spices, bulgur, etc. on already ground meat. Does it toughen the texture? I can’t imagine why it would because the fat content remains the same, and meat toughness depends on temperature & method of cooking, but I’m not a food scientist.

If there are only a couple of pounds of meat I just mix by hand if I’m making patties or a loaf. For large quantities I use a paddle in a stand mixer. If I’m cooking the meat in bulk for a sauce or chili I just add the spices to the meat as it cooks in the pan.

A food processor honestly would not occur to me. I fear the sharp blade would break down the meat too much and smear the fat across the muscle fibers.

Your question sent me to Google which indicates grinding meat in a food processor is actually a thing. You said you are starting with already ground meat so that doesn’t apply to you. Which sends me back to the top of my post. grin

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Putting already-ground meat into a food processor is something done when making the outer shell of kibbeh. I’m going to experiment with adding fine bulgur to ground beef as a filling for stuffed cabbage and I was wondering whether it would make the meat stick together more. I dislike adding egg to stuffed cabbage meat. I find it makes the meat a bit too structured.

The sharpness of the blade probably would break down the meat and smear the fat – exactly. So I’m wondering what happens when this is braised.

Well, there’s only one way to find out!

Ah. Kibbeh is supposed to be a bit of a paste before cooking, is it not?

Agreed. I treat filling for stuffed cabbage much like meat loaf so it gets an egg as binder. You however dislike that so we’re exploring. It seems to me that braising ground meat after another trip through a food processor is likely to come out a bit more greasy than would expect. That could make the stuffed cabbage come apart. If you buy more lean ground meat like 85/15 or 90/10 perhaps that would be mitigated. Certainly lacing or toothpicks would do as well. All this is speculation on my part so as you say we well have to see. Please report back. We all learn from mistakes as well as successes and to share is good karma.

I’d also run it through if I was making, say, a seekh kebab to get the paste texture Dave mentions.

Coming apart: that’s exactly what happened. Next time will lace with toothpicks.

But…the texture was wonderful. I liked it way more than my usual meat & rice mixed by hand stuffing.

Next time: 90/10 and toothpicks.

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You could use the plastic kneading blade, if your food processor has one.

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I’m going to walk back the “coming apart” part. Some were, some weren’t - I think it’s because, following a Chef John suggestion, I rolled them a bit loosely. He recommends rolling loosely because he uses raw rice and a long, wet, braise. I don’t think I needed to do that using fine bulgur. But I will use the toothpicks.

I typically put about half of the ground meat in any given recipe for meatballs, meatloaf, etc into the food processor along with the onions and garlic and process it to a paste before mixing it with the remaining meat and other ingredients (eggs, etc.). It functions like the primary bind in a sausage and keeps the fat and other liquids from seeping out during cooking, resulting in a much juicier and more tender texture than ground meat alone.

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I would call that a successful experiment. Something was learned.

That is kind of what I did - I have the 7 cup Cuisinart. I found that 1.5 lbs of meat plus 3/4 c. bulgur was a bit much for it (maybe it could have handled it but I was cautious). So part of it was pretty pasty and part was less so. I mixed the two by hand. I really liked the texture a lot. It was way different from just mixing by hand.