Best Value for Your Money: Meat Grinders

Homemade sausages made possible, right in your own kitchen!

Homemade sausages made possible, right in your own kitchen!

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Whether you are a hunter, restaurateur, keen cook, or amateur sausage maker, a meat grinder is a great addition to any kitchen.

Grinding can greatly reduce the cost of your weekly food budget. It can even be beneficial to your health. After all, when you grind your own meat, you know exactly what you are putting into your body.

Many processed meats are full of additives and preservatives and may contain animal products from many different sources. Sometimes, you might not even be certain of which animal you are eating, as we saw during the 2013 horse meat scandal.

Grinders are also simple to use. Their relatively straightforward construction means that anyone can learn how to do it, and changing the hole size to produce different consistencies of meat is also quick and easy. This means you don’t have to change your lifestyle in order to grind, but you certainly can improve it!

Grinder Types

There are three basic types of grinder and, as with any kitchen appliance, they all have their pros and cons.

Manual Grinders

A manual grinder is great for those who may not do as much grinding as others. Using them is labor intensive, so this type may not be suitable for everyone. On the other hand, you will get a little exercise—not to mention the satisfaction of being very connected to the entire process.

As no electricity is required, manual grinders can be perfect for use in remote locations or as a backup if you live in an area that experiences frequent blackouts.

Meat Grinder Attachment

Some stand mixers will let you add an attachment to allow you to grind meat.

This is a versatile method that frees up some kitchen space. The motor is the main component of both a mixer and a grinder, so why not have your appliance do both? However, a meat grinder attachment is not ideal for large quantities of meat. If you intend on doing a lot of grinding, a dedicated standalone grinder may suit your needs better.

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Standalone Grinders

Need to grind large quantities of meat? If so, then a standalone grinder is the best tool for the job. Hunters and restaurant owners will especially benefit from owning one of these heavy-duty machines. After all, using a manual device to grind thirty pounds of deer meat will get tiring in a hurry!

Standalone grinders usually come with variable-sized holes so you can produce meat with different consistencies. This feature gives you the opportunity to experiment with finding which sizes are best suited to your particular requirements.

The size of the holes determines the consistency of the meat.

The size of the holes determines the consistency of the meat.

So, you’ve decided you want a meat grinder. Which model should you buy? Check the list below for descriptions of a few popular brands and models.

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Popular Models

Shopping for a meat grinder takes a bit of research. It’s all about finding one that—wait for it—meets your needs. Here are a few names to get you started.

LEM .75 HP

LEM products have a good reputation. This manufacturer uses high-quality components, and their .75 HP model has the ability to grind large quantities of meat without sticking.

The .75 HP is reasonably priced and will get the job done. These machines are very dependable and have the ability to grind bone.

Another benefit to the .75 HP is that there’s no need to freeze the meat before you start grinding. Its “Big Bite” feature allows it to grab and cut through any type of meat.

This model is a pleasure to use. Its only drawback is its weight. Coming in at around 47 pounds, it can be a little difficult to move this device around. But, if you want a strong machine with great components, you’re going to need one that’s cut out for the job. A machine with this much power isn’t going to be lightweight.

See the LEM W780A Stainless Steel Big Bite Electric #12-Meat Grinder (.75-HP) at Amazon

This type of grinder produces minimal noise when in operation. It can grind bones, and it rarely overheats when used for small durations of time. Also, it can grind any meat and is very portable. It comes with a big bite Auger that sucks meat into the grinder in the shortest time. However, the stuffing tubes are made of plastic so one should be very careful not to damage them. Some of its notable features that might attract you include, large meat tray, handle that is heavy duty and roller bearing that increase its reliability and durability.

This grinder is very quiet when in operation so you will not need to worry about noise pollution that’s associated with some machine grinders. It comes with an added tray for storing knives and plates. It has big Auger that sucks in more meat in less time, and it provides sizeable stainless steel meat pans, has a fully assembled 13H inches dimension grinder. This grinder can grind 11lbs per second. It comes with a Five-year warranty that may help you get repair services at a minimal cost.

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Waring Pro MG855

The Waring Pro MG855 is another good machine that will get you a lot of bang for your buck. It looks great and has an engine powerful enough to grind all types of meat. Moreover, you can get through large quantities of meat thanks to its large hopper.

It is very useful in preparing freshly ground meat, pates, sausages, and fish soup. It has a durable brushed stainless steel body that lasts for long, and it’s very sturdy and stable. Has a die-cast hopper that can hold vast chunks of chopped meat for grinding, it comes along with a metal chopping plate and can also be used to grind vegetables. This grinder provides two sausage attachments that help in making thin or thick sausages. Some of its notable features include a switch with an on/off reverse operationality, 350 Watt Motor and it’s heavy duty. This is a good choice if you want a grinder that can serve your home grinding needs well.

See the Waring Pro MG855 Professional Meat Grinder at Amazon

In addition to combining great design and value, the MG855 is very easy to assemble and use. No big cons with this product—it is a great all-rounder!

Other Notable Models

The STX 3000 MF Megaforce is an efficient, powerful, and well-designed machine.

This particular grinder has 3 cutting blades all of the stainless steel, three grinding plate and three sausage stuffing tubes. This grinder is not suitable for grinding bones but can crush all types of meat. Its grinding head is made of aluminum which prevents rusting. The grinder has a Kibe attachment and should never be cleaned in a dishwasher. You should wash it with detergent, disassemble its parts and dry them out as quickly as possible. This makes the grind to be able to serve you for an extended period.

See the STX International STX-3000-MF Megaforce Electric Meat Grinder at Amazon

The Sunmile SM-G31 comes with some great accessories, including the Kubbe attachment for sausage making. However, you cannot clean it in a dishwasher, which may be a drawback for some.

This particular meat grinder comes along with Stainless steel cutting blade, three grinding plates that ensure you get meat with the texture that you want. You get three sausage stuffing tubes when you purchase this grinder. Has big capacity tray that can hold large chops of meat during grinding. Within sixty minutes the grinder can grind up to 150lbs.

See the Sunmile SM-G31 ETL Electric Meat Grinder at Amazon

The Norpro meat grinder is a good manual grinder that can also mince, and be used to make pasta. This, along with the fact it doesn’t require an electrical source, makes it one of the most versatile grinders on the market.

Norpo Meat grinder provides two screens coarse mincing plates. It has five pasta attachments that come in handy during grinding and mincing. This particular grinder is useful for making homemade sausages and hamburgers and is very easy to handle and move around. Its price is also favorable and spare parts are also available at Amazon.

See the Norpro Meat Grinder, Mincer, and Pasta Maker at Amazon

Ensue Meat Grinder Mincer

Ensue Grinder is of size 12 which makes it easier for you to move it around. It has a sturdy body made of stainless steel which prevents rusting or peeling out. It comes with fine and coarse grinding plates that help in deciding what meat fineness you want. It’s an excellent tool for making sausages and hamburgers at home. Cleaning of the grinder is made easy by its stainless steel construction which makes sure that the grinder does not suffer from rusting.

Check it out at Amazon.

Atosa Electric Meat Grinder

This is a stainless steel meat grinder with a heavy-duty capability. It comes with different cutting blades and sausage making tubes. Has a permanently greased gearbox and a handle with tray support. The grinder can reduce the time used in grinding because it’s operated by electricity. It comes with a one-year warranty.

Get a closer look at this model at Amazon.

Owning your own meat grinder opens up a ton of culinary possibilities. So, have fun grinding, folks—you’ll be an expert in no time at all!

Best Meat Grinder For Venison

Going into the country with your camouflage fatigues and contrasting high visibility bibs is as popular as ever. Though some may see it as cruel, a good hunter takes pride in his pastime.

These days hunting just for the skill or pleasure involved is not as popular as it once was. Fewer people hang buck heads in their house outside of Wyoming and Montana and a select few states.

For many, the best way to argue their case for going hunting is to use the meat to feed themselves and their friends and family. And it’s a pretty good reason beyond the necessary culling that sees more animals survive the long winter. Not only is the animal not going to waste, but also there are a lot of hungry people around in today’s economy.

Venison is wonderful meat, flavorful yet lean, it commands high prices in restaurants. If you are a deer hunter yourself or have a friend who is, it is a great idea to learn how to take a prize buck and turn it into restaurant quality food for your family…essentially for free.

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It is getting a little expensive to get your deer ground up these days, so it is good to know how you can make the most of your deer hunting experience.

You can get a decent grinder for a reasonable price, but depending on how many deer you kill in the season it may be better to invest in something a little higher grade. It will pay for itself in the long run.

Once you have the deer home you will want to piece it up, take out the steaks and choose which parts you are going to use for grinding.

Some of the better cuts can be barbecued, sautéed or roasted. The other cuts can be used for burger patties or ground meat. These will have a level of quality and flavor to rival anything you will find in your local butchers.

Storing

Hopefully, you’ll get twenty to thirty pounds from a good-sized doe and it’s well worth taking a little extra time to portion the meat carefully. A two-pound piece is a good size for freezing and small enough to defrost and use on the same day.

Wrapping it in freezer paper and marking it with the date is also not a bad idea. You should add a brief description of the deer; when and where it was culled and its approximate age.

You can save a lot of money by using everything that is available to you. Why go to the store and spend your hard earned money when you can simply go to your freezer box? You might also want to consider using a vacuum sealer to preserve your game.

Getting started

Presuming you have not bought the deer and you’ll first need to skin it. When it’s opened up it may appear quite dark but this is normal, it’s not chicken.

The two tenderloins are what you will want to remove first. These should be handled very carefully. They are on either side of the spine and you will know them when you see them if you know what a pork loin looks like.

Don’t be afraid though, peel the meat with confidence and trust your blade. They should come right out, don’t start sawing into the prize cut.

These tenderloins will melt in your mouth after a quick fast, hot cooking. You don’t need to stew this cut!

Bones

Do you need to grind bone? Here are some tips on how to do it.

Don’t be afraid if you cut into the bone, there is nothing wrong with a little bone. Best to trim off the silver but remember to keep it for grinding. Follow the bone, the seam will show you where to go.

On the cutting board

Now that you have the meat on the cutting board, you need to feel it to find the non-edible portions. You can salt if you want but it is most important to remove the ligaments and cartilage.

Follow the knife through the knee and elbow joint; it should fall off the bone. You can use any sharp knife but a filet knife is best.

Into the grinder

No need to be overly worried about which parts go into the grinder. It will all look great after you run it through the grinder a couple of times.  This is to mix it up a little and get an even distribution of fats and meat.

‘Grinding rough’ is a method using bigger gauge holes. This method will give a more robust texture. If you want to get a smoother texture more passes may be necessary, decreasing the size of the grinding hole as you go.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best size grinder I can purchase?

I would advise you to purchase the large size. The larger the size of the grinder, the higher the volume it can handle and the faster it can get the work done.  If you want the manual grinder, you need to know that the giant grinder requires a lot of power to turn the crank. However, this is compensated on larger grinders since they come with a large crank handle that provides more leverage.  If you want an electric grinder, you need to know that the larger the size, the more powerful is the installed motor. Large machine grinders require more power to move a large volume of meat into the machine. Therefore, if you want to purchase either a manual or electric grinder, you need to know its size, the bigger it will be, the more it will push a large volume of meat. Also, a bigger grinder will give you speed, but it’ll require more power to operate.

What is meant by grinder plates and how are they used?

It’s also known as the cutting plate. It consists of either carbon or stainless steel plate that has several holes that sit at the end of the grinder. When the user forces the meat via the hole of the plate, it will be cut by the spinning plate that moves across the hole. The grinding plates have different numbers to fit the size you have. Also, they have different holes sizes that allow you to make small, medium or chunky meat. The grinders always come with one grinding plate depending on the model and brand. However, you can purchase additional plates to offer you a variety of various meat sizes you want to produce. Also, the plates require to be replaced when they get dull. I would advise you to change both the plates and the knife at the same time.

Can I use meat grinders to crush bones?

Usually, the meat grinders are not designed to crush bones, and it’s rare to find a grinder that can grind bones including the enormous commercial grinders.  Bones are hard and they can damage the integral parts of the gears and motors and you’ll end up with a defective grinder. The warranty from the manufacturer might be voided if you grind bones using the grinder. However, from my personal experience, I have found that large, powerful grinders are capable of breaking and crushing small and soft animal bones, like rabbit bones and chicken bones. The performance of the grinder will depend on it size, the larger the size, the better it will grind the bones. For example, if you want to prepare food for your pet, I would advise you to purchase the highest wattage all-metal grinder available. The LEM grinders will grind soft bones because they consist of all-metal gears and are powerful. You should avoid crushing large animal bones because they are hard, dense and thick and they can damage your grinder.

How can I maintain my meat grinder?

If your grinder is made of stainless steel, whether manual or electric, then it’s easy to maintain. Lately, the grinders are maintenance free and require minimal cleaning and lubrication.  If your grinder is made of cast iron, then avoid immersing it in a dishwasher. You can reduce the chances of rust by washing the pieces with warm water and mild soap. Grinders made of cast iron should be protected from corrosion by keeping them away from the moisture. After cleaning, make sure you dry all the parts with a dry cloth. Also, you can coat it using mineral oil or cooking oil to protect it from rusting.  Store the disassembled components in zip-top bags. You can use the dry ice to surround the pieces to absorb the moisture in the air.

Are the grinder plates and knives made of stainless steel better than carbon steel?

The plates and knives made of stainless steel are expensive than the carbon steel. However, the stainless steel is more durable than carbon, and it will retain its sharpness three times longer. Also, the stainless steel plates and knives do not rust while the carbon steel will need a lot of care to prevent it from rusting. You need to keep the carbon steel dry and cover it with oil to prevent rusting.

The result

You now have tasty, healthy and conveniently portioned out meat in your freezer. Deer is not just any old meat either, lean and gamey; this could be one of the best burgers you will ever eat.

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Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons: Mike M. and Aaron P.