Monday, October 19, 2009

Buying A Meat Grinder

I am such a weirdo. I mean, how many of you have considered buying a meat grinder? Or maybe you're a weirdo just like me and you've already taken the plunge. I've thought about getting one off and on ever since I turned (even more) frugal a year or so after we got married.

Plain and simple, ground beef is ex.pen.sive. And the "good stuff" is not often marked down, and when it is it's still an arm and a leg per pound (instead of both arms and both legs). I don't mind buying the full-fat ground beef, but my prefrence is the leaner, the better I don't always want to brown and then drain the hamburger before I use it, and I think the leaner stuff makes better whatever.

I'm in the "thinking about it" mode these past couple weeks. Beef roasts seem to be the "loss leader" sale item lately, and I'm just WISHING that I had a meat grinder so I could buy some of these really nice roasts that are on sale for $1.77/lb and make some really nice lean ground beef!

I brought it up to Daniel last week when I saw Food Lion's new salepaper, and we talked about it a little, but I don't know how serious to go with this idea. I checked online and it looks like the best reviews are going to the Waring Pro MG800... and it comes with a price-tag of about 200 smackaroos. So then I have to wonder if it's worth shelling out the $$ to have good quality ground beef for less?

Here's some random figures:

if we eat 100lbs. ground chuck (full fat)/year @ $1.99/lb (on markdown) = $199.00/yr.

If we bought the meat grinder @ $189.00
+ 100lbs. lean roasts @ $1.77/lb
= $3.66/lb the first year
= $2.71/lb the second year
= $2.40/lb the third year
= $2.24/lb the fourth year
= $2.14/lb the fifth year
= $2.08/lb the sixth year
and so on and so forth

Even by the second year (and maybe even the first, I haven't looked at full price) it would be cheaper per pound than full price lean ground beef. Now, I really have no idea how much ground beef we do or would eat per year, but with our expanding family, in another year or two, it's going to start increasing.

You might wonder why I wouldn't go with a manual grinder. Well, my quick answers to that are, first off, it has to be mounted and I'm not really interested in having one of those gizmos bolted to my counter top or kitchen table. And second off, it would take some serious arm gumption to grind through multiple pounds of roast since I would buy several roasts at once to grind through... and to get a nice grind you have to do it more than once, so if I bought 10 lbs. of roast, I would end up grinding 20 lbs. Yes, we could hook a drill up to the grinder (it works great for
Squeezo's!) but then we still have the mounting issue. Even if we would mount it to a block of wood, then we need to have a surface to clamp the whole apparatus to, and neither my counter top or kitchen table would work for that. I could always do it outside on a saw-horse & plywood table, I guess...

And ground beef would only be the beginning! Think of pork roasts that go on sale for under $1.00/lb? Ground pork... homemade sausage of whatever flavor we wanted... Shucks if we wanted to get super healthy we could buy turkeys when they are on sale for $.39/lb and make turkey-burger!

Call me silly, weird, extreme-country-chick, whatever, but I'm really liking the idea of having this machine on my pantry shelf. And yes, I just measured to be sure, and it will just fit on my main appliance shelf :)

Next week I might want to buy a milk cow and butter churn.


Katie said... [Reply to comment]

I totally understand wanting a meat grinder Miriam! If we didn't have family friends who have a commercial sized meat grinder (they raised cattle, so I'm sure they had good reason to have such a hefty one!) I would be looking at buying one too. Grinding your own burger is awesome, such a money saver and it is so nice to control how much fat you put in the burger. My hubby elk hunts so we make elk burger, it is so lean that we have to add fat to it, plus know one can tell it's not beef! I feel pretty lucky that so far I have never had to buy burger from the store!

Speaking of kitchen gadgets, do you have a bread machine? I am looking to get one and would appreciate any suggestions on which brand to buy, there are soo many to choose from!

Meghan said... [Reply to comment]

I have not ran this figure but if you had your own meat seems like that hamburger is always leaner than the stuff in the store and it is labeled ground beef.

Either way good idea!

Sally said... [Reply to comment]

Well...are you sure you're not into the pregnancy energy spurt here? Just wait until George arrives, and see if you still want to put more time and energy into food preparation. I guess I'm a lazy Lou-Lou over here, but especially since the arrival of my kids, it's awfully hard to talk me into more food preparation steps. Maybe I just assign my energy to pizza making marathons and making my own bread. I don't even buy whole chicken and cut them up like you do. I just simply feel like I don't have the time. But, you know what's important to you. And, if you get one, we'll all wish we lived closer and could borrow it from time to time!

P.S. I sure wish we could have stayed longer and visited you all yesterday. I'm glad we at least got to see you though!

Liz said... [Reply to comment]

I want a meat grinder!!! My husband shot a deer a couple years ago and we made sausages ourselves. We first were trying to use a hand grinder. What a nightmare! Ended up borrowing one and it worked awesome. I've wanted one ever since! (So your not so weird. Or maybe I'm just weird too.)

Miriam said... [Reply to comment]

Katie - yes, I do have a bread machine. It is a Sunbeam, my mom gave it to me for Christmas. What I like about it: it works great for mixing up dough! I also like the timer so I can delay when it starts. I've never tried any of the fancier settings (jams, sweet breads, etc) so I don't have a review for those. What I don't like about it: The shape of the loaf if I bake it in the machine. Neither the 1.5 or 2lb loaf recipes make a good sandwich sized piece of bread. Also, the dough is almost never the same consistency for me each time. I don't know if it's the recipe or the flour, but my dough tends to be dry and I have to add more water (not so good if you have it set to start in the middle of the night!). My baked-in-machine loaves never look very pretty, either, and is usually tougher than if I bake it in bread pans. I use mine mostly for mixing up dough if I'm in a pinch and don't have time to do it, then I just bake it in reg. bread pans. I would say look online at reviews, talk to people you know that have one, and get one that makes a nice finished-product loaf :P

Miriam said... [Reply to comment]

Meghan - that's another reason I'd like to have one, in the event we ever would butcher our own cow or hog, which is something we like to think we'll do someday.

Sally - haha, yes, I think you just assign your food energy into making mass amounts of food every so often, something I don't do.

Rachel said... [Reply to comment]

In my exhausted state tonight, I am not interested in a meat grinder or any other gadget. Tonight, I make a motion that my household just decide to go along with my first instinct which is that it is not necessary for anyone to eat actual meals. Oatmeal, fruit, vegetables and a little bread here and there and drink plenty of water and eat a Hershey bar a week. That is all anyone really needs. Please, not more gadgets. (I know no one agrees with me, but I know this is true.)

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

THis is me - When we get enough steers fattened up we will sell it to you right on the hoof. Right now we are fattening 1 and as soon as these 2 cows have their calves we will start on the calves!! We will probably do more fattening for people in the future. It is def. the best way to go. I love our fresh off the hoof meat!!

Katie said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks for your bread machine advice :)

Phoebe @ Cents to Get Debt Free said... [Reply to comment]

I'm dying for a meat grinder! Willie hunts, too, though and I want it to be able to process our own meat. He already does all the deboning and stuff, so why not go ahead and grind it into burger.

Ooh, and to have turkey burger for .39/lb?!?!? You'd be the envy of every frugal-ite. :)