I have an ancient Oster meat grinder that still works well.
I use 50% venison, which is very lean and 50% whatever beef is on sale. I will also use the ends of whole top sirloins after I portion them out. While I leave the fat cap on any sirloin roasts, I cut some into steaks and I trim those closely. There is also a fat tail on a top sirloin and I cut that off. I portion the beef fat into 1oz-4oz portions and freeze it.
Most of the beef, like chuck, is sufficiently marbled for hamburger. But the venison is very lean. I weigh the venison in ozs and then add 10% of the weight of the venison in fat to the mixture. So, if I have 3.5 lbs of chuck, I use 3.5 lbs of venison plus 5.3 oz of beef fat. I chunk up the meats, put them in separate bowls and measure the cut-up beef fat and add it to the venison. By alternating what goes into the grinder, I minimize the amount of mixing. I found that the mixing could change the texture of the ground meat. If I need to mix it up, I use a light touch and both hands and do it quickly. I have ground with both a coarse and a fine grinder blade. The fine blade produces a ground meat that holds together better when made into a patty.
I also begin with meat that is still partially frozen. It cuts better, it grinds just fine and I minimize any chance of contamination. I will wear nytril gloves while handling the meat. I usually do 7 lbs at a time, total. I weigh out 1#-1 1/4# into quart freezer bags, express all the air, mark them w/weight/content/date and place them in a large freezer bag. That way, they are all in one place and I can see at a glance what I have on hand.
7lbs, ground, takes me an hour, total, including cleanup. I am scrupulous about keeping the grinder parts clean and don’t store them away until they are totally dry.
If you don’t have a hunter in the family, it can pay to ask around. A lot of people hunt, but their families won’t eat venison and they are happy to give it away. Or they just keep the backstraps and perhaps have some jerky or sausage made up at a locker and there is still a lot of meat that isn’t used. Most of the folks I know process their own venison.
Usually the sale beef is around $2/pound. Mixed with free venison (I figure the license and other hunting costs are the costs of my husband’s and his friends’ recreation) and beef fat that would normally be thrown out, the hamburger costs $1/pound for 90%-85% lean (depends on fat content of the beef). Another source of fat (and some meat) is the lip on a whole ribeye. I will buy the entire ribeye, lip on, trim off the lip, cut the ribeye into steaks and freeze 1 pound packages of the meat and fat trimmings. I mix the lip trimmings with venison. Great flavor, since there is meat on the trim and probably a bit more fat content to equal 75%-80% lean hamburger.
We have done this for several years and now, if we run out of venison and limited to only ground beef, it tastes almost too bland. If I have to buy burger, I feel I am overcharged.
You are like an encyclopedia for meat! (That’s great because we didn’t have a lot of meat while growing up—economic reasons—so on the culinary meat scale, I’m tone deaf. Gotta leave it up to my husband with all his thermometers and grilling gizmos.) Will ask around re: venison. We don’t get to civilization all that often.
My husband could handle hunting w/the long guns; I worry about not getting a clean kill and wasting an animal for no good reason. (Sarah Palin’s my idol LOL!)
Thank you for all the great information. Have copied and pasted. A Happy and Safe New Year to you and yours!