Minced Meat can be any type of meat that has been ground or chopped. The typical meat used is beef, pork, veal, lamb, turkey or chicken. However, any species can be used. Mincing meat lends itself to using non-tender cuts of meat and increasing the value by making it more palatable. Technically, mincing is taking whole muscle meat and finely dicing it with a sharp knife or a food processor.
Commercially, equipment used to make minced meat is a grinder or a chopper also known as a silent cutter. Different textures and tastes are created using different grind sizes, degree of chopping, mixing times and fat content. Minced meat lends itself to using a multitude of different species combination, spice and seasoning combinations and spice levels.
In the United States, the term “ground” is used instead of “minced” because the minced meat is formed by using a meat grinder. Other parts of the world the term minced meat is used. Generally, it means one type of species, as opposed to a mixture of types. However, minced meat or ground meat sold in North American supermarkets can be, for example, 1/2 lean ground beef, 1/4 ground pork, 1/4 ground veal.
Minced meat is used as fillings in the manufacture of items such as the Italian dish lasagna which is popular in the U.S., the Argentine dish salpicon and the dish Phat Kaphrao, popular in southeast Asia.
Processing of Minced Meat
Mincing is taking whole muscle meat and finely dicing it with a sharp knife or other mechanical means. As previously mentioned, a grinder is frequently used to manufacture minced meat. Depending on the size of the holes in the grind plate different coarseness is achieved and thus the texture of the product will vary. Minced meat with a lower fat content will be a bit drier and more apt to crumble. Unless you add more fat on purpose, minced meat will usually be leaner.
Minced meat that has been put through a meat grinder, is a mixture of lean and fat. The meat been forced through a metal die or grind plate with many holes in it, then quickly sheared off by a rotating blade. This process causes some heat to build up from friction, and the processor needs to keep the meat cold. If not, the batch could become unusable due to fat smearing and increased bacterial count.
A meat chopper or silent cutter is sometimes utilized. The degree of mincing and product texture is dependent on knife speed, bowl speed (measured in revolutions per minute) and length of process. An advantage of using the chopper or silent cutter is the spices and other non-meat ingredients can be added and mixed during the mincing process to aid in efficiency.
Food Safety Remember the general caution with all minced meats; that because any bacteria that was on the surface or the equipment in the processors work area is now spread throughout the entire meat, the meat must be cooked thoroughly. In conclusion, mincing meat is an excellent method of utilizing non-tender but yet highly nutritious cuts of meat with low value to increase value and thus increase profitability for the meat processor.