How to Use a Meat Grinder: A Complete Guide
A meat grinder is an important purchase for all those who like to enjoy homemade burgers and sausages. The device comes handy in grinding the meat in the most hygienic way.
There are more and more people preferring to use meat grinders for homemade snacks. Its because they can ensure the freshness of the meat as well as add a blend of their personal taste to the food.
Using a meat grinder is one of the simplest things that you can do. Here are some of the benefits of grinding your own meat at home.
Why You Should Grind Your Own Meat?
There are a couple of agreeable reasons that will persuade you in grinding meat at home. Let’s see:
1. Freshly Ground Meat is Safe
Grinding meat is as easy as cutting vegetables at home. Once you expose it to the air, the quality will start to wane. At the same time, the meat becomes more vulnerable to contamination and bacteria.
Ground meat that you get from the market can be full of bacteria because no one can guarantee for how long has it been preserved or exposed to the air.
Since you are grinding meat at home, you can rest assured that it is of the safest category and it increases the freshness and hygiene of overall food.
2. Increases Taste
Since the home ground meat is fresher and cleaner, you can expect better taste than market. It also doesn’t have the chance to lose its juices and flavor because you don’t preserve meat at home for later use. Whenever you want to make burgers, you can simply grind the meat there and then to enjoy it to the fullest.
When you are grinding meat at home, it gives you the power to customize your content just the way you like. This can be related to the fat portion or adding other meats such as veal or pork in the whole meal. You can control the meat usage according to the likability of the family.
Type of Meat Grinders
Technically, there are two choices: Manual and Electric. Here you can read all about both the types and their respective strengths and weaknesses:
1. Manual Meat Grinder
Manual meat grinders, as its name suggest are for manual use. There is a container in which you place the meat and a hand crank that you have to operate manually.
As the meat passes through the blades, it is finely grinded and collected in a container beneath. Most manual meat grinders are clamped to the counter or table.
These grinders are slower so they are not suggested to grind meat in bulk quantity. They can grind 2 – 3-pounds of meat in a minute.
There are multiple cutting plates that rotate against a cutting knife. These can produce small or large bits of ground meat with 3/16-inch small chunks and 1/2-inch larger ones. You can use these grinders to process meat like chicken, beef, turkey, pork, duck, veal, etc.
Certainly, you don’t need electricity to operate these machines so they not only help in saving on power bills but also don’t bind you that if there is no electricity, you won’t be able to grind the meat.
Also, these are affordable, and easy to clean. Plus, the performance is very consistent. However, it does have a downside too that you won’t be able to process large quantity of meat and it has slow performance.
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2. Electric Meat Grinder
The design of electric meat grinders is a bit complex but functionality remains same. There are 2 – 3 different sized cutting plates that can produce meat in 3/16, 1/4 and 1/2-inch chunk size.
Electric machines have more to offer. There could be a collection of sausages extrusion tubes as well that helps in pushing the ground sausage in different types of castings for interesting shapes.
Also, most of these machines have a reverse function that helps in clearing the jammed meat in the tubes.
The benefit is that you don’t have to use a muscle to grind meat. It works on push of a button. Plus, it can produce higher volume of meat in one go.
But, one the downside, these machines are expensive that its counterpart and it requires electricity to run which can add to the utility cost.
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Well, the difference is pretty clear. If you have small and occasional needs of grinding meat then save your money and go with the manual model.
However, if you have a large family to feed and don’t want to spend most of your time in grinding meat then electric one is your product.
How To Prepare Meat for Grinding
- You should start preparing the meat. Start by trimming away all the excess fat, cartilage, and tendon using a sharp knife. Cut the pieces in smaller sizes so that they can fit the opening of the grinder.
- After cutting it in pieces, you should probably refrigerate them for 30 – 40 minutes till they are cold enough. Make sure that meat is not ice-like hard but just cold. You should note that cold meat always retains its shape perfectly well. Also, the coolness will prevent the fats from melting.
- In case of manual grinder, you should also place a large clean bowl in the freezer as well. As soon as you start grinding the meat, place the bowl on the exiting end. This way, you can ensure the meat to be cold all throughout. It also prevents the growth of bacteria in it.
- In case of electric grinder, you should put the grinding plate and cutting parts in the freezer.
How to Use Manual Meat Grinder
Using a manual meat grinder is super simple. You can follow these steps:
1. Installing the Manual Meat Grinder
So, here is a comprehensive theory on how you can install a manual meat grinder.
Recognizing the Parts
You should start buy ensuring that all the components are there in place. It should include a grinding plate, main body, an eye screw, collar, a nut, locking ring, handle, cross knife, auger and hopper.
It is important to wash and sanitize all the components before you start assembling them together. Simply wash them with soap and water and let them dry.
Placing the Handle
The next step includes you to place the handle to the main body. You should insert it at its place and fix with a feeding screw. Make sure that it is running freely and if it is rubbing or slipping too much. If it is causing any such trouble then you probably have to fix it again.
Fixing the Auger
The auger is basically a screw-like component and it has to be inserted in the main body. Make sure to place it suitable so that it does not shake at all.
Assembling the Blades
Auger is responsible for effectively holding the plates and the blades. The plates are in 3 forms such as fine, coarse and medium. You have to select one of these and install.
You should first fix the blade in the auger that will help in restoring the plates. The meat will come out of the plates and move through the blades and lastly the auger.
The last step in the installation process is mounting. You have to place the grinder on the compartment where you want it and secure the position. You can use wedges for securing the position.
Once the mounting is done, you can start to grind the meat.
Note: The process of every manual model can be a bit different but it is more or less the same. You are encouraged to use the manual for the most accurate installation of a particular model.
2. Process of Using the Meat Grinder
- Take out the prepared meat and start moving the crank in a slow motion and place a meat slice in it. Keep moving the crank and let the grinder blades pull the meat. Also, make sure to not use your fingers to push it down.
- Repeat the process with all the meat slices and once its done, run a slice of break to clear the last few bits stuck inside the blades. You can simply pick the break pieces and discard them.
A manual meat grinder might demand some muscle but it is very suitable for the most consistent meat.
How to Use Electric Meat Grinder
In this process, the meat preparation remains the same. You can start by putting together the grinder.
1. Installing the Electric Meat Grinder
The assembling of electric meat grind is also not too complex. Here is the entire process:
Recognizing the Parts
So, the first step with both the grinders remain the same. You have to identify all the components. There should be the main body, a grinding plate, hopper, eye screw, pusher, blades, and a cover. Make sure you clean all the components and wash the ones that can be washed. This is an important hygiene step.
Place the Header
You need to start by placing the header. For that, simply attach and press it in clock-wise direction. Make sure to tighten it properly.
Assembling the Knife and Blade
Some meat grinders have fully assembled heads and some doesn’t. If yours fall in the latter category, you should take the components like locking screw, blade, plate, and handle and insert them accordingly.
Placing the Hopper
Hopper is basically the container where the meat is filled for grinding. Make sure to place it on the head and fill the meat in.
2. Process of Using The Electric Meat Grinder
Using an electric meat grinder could be the easiest thing you can do. Let’s take a look:
- Start filling the hopper with the cold meat. You can add other ingredients like a garlic or other herbs that you like in your meat.
- To prevent bacterial growth, you can take two bowls, a large one and a smaller one. Fill the larger one with ice and place the smaller one on top of the ice. This way, the collected meat will stay cool and there won’t be any bacterial growth.
- Turn on the meat grinder and since different electric grinders have different speed settings, you should probably follow the instruction manual to make accurate selection.
- Since there are pushers, you can use them to push the meat in and keep doing it till you are done.