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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ground Pork

We live in a small community with two grocery stores (No Frills, Sobeys) and a Walmart although that just changed with the closing of Sobeys.  Of those stores, Sobeys was the grocery store to find foods like fresh seafood, ground pork or turkey and other foods besides the basics.  Even then it was hit or miss as to whether ground pork or ground turkey would be available.    Much like our beloved peameal bacon that also has a hit or miss availability I have resorted to making ground pork and turkey myself.  Recently No Frills had pork loins on sale for $1 per pound.  I ended up with 23.302 kg at a total cost of $51.27.  I ground one of the pork loins.

pork loin strips for grinding
Pork loin is a fairly lean cut of meat so it is idea for pork loin chops and peameal bacon but it is also good for ground pork.  In order to grind the meat, I cut into about 1 - inch strips that would fit in the hopper of the KitchenAid® food grinder.  Just look how nice and meaty the strips are!  Note that the middle piece was a bit fattier but I used it anyway.  The reason being, a little fat is necessary for flavour and texture.  Once the meat was cut into strips, I chilled it in the freezer for a half hour.  Cold meat grinds better than meat that has not been chilled.  After chilling the meat strips were ready for grinding.

first pass of pork through grinder
The KitchenAid® food grinder has a coarse and fine grinding plate.  The meat strips are passed through the coarse grinding plate first.  The process is quite easy requiring only guiding the meat strips through the grinder on setting 2.  It is important to not force the meat, simply guide it and the grinder attachment will do the rest.

A whole pork loin will take about 10 minutes to go through the first pass of the coarse grinding plate.   The resulting ground meat can be passed through the coarse grinder again which aids in mixing any fat evenly in the ground meat. 

coarse ground pork
After the meat strips are passed through the coarse grinder the ground meat (pictured) can be left as is and packaged for the freezer.  However, a second pass of the coarse ground meat through the fine grind plate gives a nicer result.  Simply change out the grinding plates then guide the ground meat through the hopper again.  This process will take about 5 minutes but the results are well worth it.  This will give a finer texture with a more even distribution of any fat.  While a third pass through the grinder is desirable with some cuts of meat, it is not necessary with pork loin.

fine and coarse ground pork
 Note the difference between the fine ground pork (left) and the coarse ground (right).  The fine ground gives a nicer texture for burger patties, meatballs and meatloaf.  After the final fine grinder plate pass, I packaged the ground pork into vacuum seal freezer bags but did not seal them immediately.  If I had the meat would have been very much squished which is ok but not what I wanted.  I folded the tops over then set in the freezer to freeze.  Once frozen I then vacuum sealed for longer storage.  This method prevents the meat from becoming a huge meatball.  I ended up with four about 1 kg packages of lean ground pork from one pork loin.

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