When and how to grind the meat for the freezer


8 Years
Oct 27, 2011
We have some old hens we want to process and we have a meat grinder so we thought about trying it since the meat is usually more tough on them.

After we butcher, do we cut the meat off the carcass right away and put it through the grinder?

Do we put the carcass in the fridge and wait the 3 days and then cut it off and grind?

Do we grind raw or should we cook it first?

Add some skin? No skin?

If someone could give me some direction or send me to a link that would be great!
I don't think you need to let it rest if you are going to grind it. I would probably just grind it right away if you are going to eat it right away. I prefer to freeze meat in larger pieces and grind when I need it, I feel that grinding meat adds alot of surface area for air to dry it out (freezer burn) and you have a greater chance of introducing bacteria into the meat. Just my 2 cents.

I grind meat at home, but I usually pull it out of the freezer and partially thaw it first. Beef and venison grind easier in my little grinder if there are still ice crystals in the meat.
Grind it raw. Cut the meat from the bones. There will be a lot of meat left on the bones, so simmer those for broth and to pick the cooked meat off and use for soups or barbecue sandwiches.
I like the taste of older hens. They have a good flavor profile and good marbleizing of fats. I would add some of the fat in with the grinding. I grind raw and use Ziploc freezer bags.
Depending on the grinder you may have a hard time grinding the skin. It will be easier to do it the chicken it still a little frozen. I would cut it up and then freeze it some. Either pull it and grind before fully frozen or defrost it some and grind when you need it.
This is very helpful. Thanks for the info. We are going to work on it this weekend. The coop is TOO full of freeloaders... = )
I have made a lot of ground turkey and sausage and the way I do it is to just skin the turkey or rooster and not bother with the feathers or skin at all. Ground skin does not sound very appetizing to me, but that's me. I debone it all and make chicken stock out of the bones by simmering them in a large pot with fresh onions, garlic,carrots salt and pepper. The meat I find grinds best, it I cut it into 1inch to 1 1/2 inch wide strips and put them in a single layer inside a plastic bag, on a sheet pan in the freezer for about 10 - 20 minutes, to firm them up. Do not freeze them, or the refrozen meat will be a bit mushy when thawed. You can add seasoning for sausage before putting it into the freezer and let it absorb into the meat for a few hours or overnight, in the frige, tossing it in the bag a few times to get the seasoning well distributed. I often add a beef chuck roast (cut into the same size strips to ground burgers or sausage and grind them together, beef and poultry burgers or sausage and the fat on the roast makes the lean chicken or turkey taste better, I think. I do not use the fat from chickens or turkey. I know some people who render it and use it for frying. If I am going to use the ground burger or sausage within 3 months, I use regular zippered plastic freezer bags. If I make a lot, as most sausage seasoning spice blends call for making 25# at a time, I vacuum package in seal-a-meal type bags. I hope this helps, but hens will be falling off the bone tender if cooked in a crock pot/slow cooker for 8 hours. When making chicken stock, only bring it to a simmer, not a boil. Simmer the bones until the meat falls off and reduce the stock to a concentrate to put into smaller freezer containers for recipes calling for chicken stock, which is most recipes these days. Restaurants seldom use water in recipes, it's mostly chicken stock!
Thanks! I was wondering about the chicken stock and wondered why it always seemed so tasteless after I took the meat and bones out. I bet I didn't cook it down enough. I will definitely need to try that.

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