A meat grinder is a kitchen appliance used in grinding meat. These grinders are primarily found in delis, butcheries, and grocery stores. They are also rapidly gaining popularity in households due to the high demand for freshly ground meat.
These meat grinders can either be electrically or manually operated. They are easy and comfortable to use, and they both work perfectly in grinding your meat. However, if you are running the machine for the first time, it can be challenging to know where to start off.
That is why I crafted this article to help beginners understand operating meat grinders. The article covers how to use both the electric and manual meat grinder, fixing any mishaps that may arise when using it and how to clean it after use.
So, let us learn more.
How to use an electric meat grinder
Electric meat grinders use electricity to operate and are available in many brands and prices. They are fast, and they practically do all the grinding for you without having to break a sweat. Here is how you should use an electric meat grinder.
Assembling the grinder
Step-1. First, ensure that all parts of the grinder are clean and well dried.
Step-2. Disconnect the grinder cord from the power source.
Step-3. Place the T link on the enclosure at the front part of the grinder and tighten it using a screw.
Step-4. Insert the screw pushing bar into the T link and rotate it until it gets to the back.
Step-5. Add the cutting blade to the screw pushing bar.
Step-6. Add the round knife (course cutting plate) on the other end of the screw bar and check to ensure it sits well.
Step-7. Attach the screw ring to the T link.
Step-8. Lastly, attach the food pan (hopper) to the top part of the T link, and the machine is all set!
Step-9. You can then go ahead and connect it to the power source and get ready to grind.
Preparing the meat
Remove any bones and skins on your meat, then cut it into smaller cubes of 3-5cm long. After cutting, arrange them on parchment paper, then place them in the freezer for 30 minutes. You can also set the cutting blades into the freezer to fasten the grinding process.
Add the meat to the grinder.
After the meat is adequately chilled, put it in the hopper. If your grinder came with a pusher, it will be a lot easier to feed the meat. If you are working with large batches of meat, you can place it in ice to prevent bacteria growth as you work on the rest.
Place bowl under blades
The bowl will act as a catcher for the ground meat as it exits the machine.
Switch power on
Now it is time to power up the grinder. Switch on the grinder and set the grinding speed you comfortable working with. Keep feeding the grinder with meat until all your batch runs out.
Disconnect the grinder power cord
After the grinding, disconnect the cords from the power source.
Clean the grinder
Wash your grinder parts with some water and rinse them out. Ensure you sanitize them and leave them to dry.
Advantages of using an electric meat grinder
- Can grind meat in different sizes.
- Easily handle large volumes of meat.
- Clogged meat can be unclogged with reverse function.
Disadvantages of electric meat grinders
- Require electricity to operate.
- Can be costly
How to use a manual meat grinder
Unlike their electric counterparts that operate by electricity, these grinders work with a handle that rotates an auger to grind meat. They are simple and quite convenient for home use. Here is how to operate a manual meat grinder properly.
Cleaning the grinder
Check that your grinder is clean and ready to use. Detach all the parts and wash them properly, then rinse and air-dry them.
Assembling the manual grinder
- Place the handle in the body of the grinder, making sure that it can move freely. Check that the grinder is secured to your working surface for easy operation.
- Attach the cutting blade to the bolt extending from the screw-like part of the handle, then the extrusion plate.
Place the grinder on a stable and robust working surface.
You can secure the grinder with wedges placed on the underside of the working surface.
Get the meat ready
Cut the meat to more refined pieces and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Chilled meat prevents clogging of the grinder’s head and makes the grinding process more manageable.
Place bowl at grinders exit
You can place a chilled bowl under the exit point of the grinder, where it will collect the ground meat.
Add the meat to the grinder and turn the head crank in slow motion as you lower the meat into the grinder’s mouth. Do not push the meat. The grinder blades will suck the meat into the machine.
Soak oils with a slice of bread
Lastly, add a slice of bread into the grinder to clean up the remaining bits of meat stuck onto the grinder. You can then go ahead and discard the bread after it exits the grinder.
After the grinding, clean the grinder and store it appropriately.
Advantages of manual meat grinders
- They are easy to clean.
- They don’t require electricity to operate.
- They are cheap.
Disadvantages of manual grinders
- They are slower compared to the electric meat grinders.
- They cannot handle large volumes of meat.
How to fix a meat grinder
If you are a lover of ground meat, it means you use your grinder occasionally. When operating the machine, some inevitable problems might occur. So here, I have compiled some of the common grinder mishaps and how to fix them.
Problem switching it on
If you use the rechargeable battery grinder, check to ensure that the battery charge hasn’t depleted. Either way, check the power cable. If the grinder doesn’t turn on, then check the power source.
With the corded grinders, you should check to ensure that the cord is not damaged and the outlet where it is connected is well set.
Grinder teeth problem
Grinder teeth tend to wear down after prolonged usage. These teeth should be sharp enough for efficient grinding. Ensure that the teeth are in good shape. To inspect them:
- You will first disconnect the grinder from the power supply.
- Remove the grinder casing.
- Then using a screwdriver, remove the teeth from the unit.
- Inspect the teeth to determine whether they need replacement. If they do, then get new ones and fix them.
Problem with the grinder head
The grinder head pushes the meat downwards. At times, the grinder can clog, making it hard for the meat to pass through it efficiently. It is not something to worry about as you can fix the problem by yourself. Here is how to:
- Ensure the grinder is disconnected from the power source.
- Open up the unit and let the head be exposed.
- Check to ensure that the head is correctly fixed by pressing it down. If there is some resistance, then the head is set correctly. If not, then detach the grinder pins and attach them again.
Friction issues arise when one puts dry meat and tendons in the grinder. Grinding dry meat can be very messy. To prevent the problem, chill your meat in the freezer for half an hour and if you don’t have one, apply some edible oil onto the meat.
How to clean a meat grinder
Meat grinders get really dirty when grinding, especially if the meat was too fatty. Cleaning the grinder immediately after use is essential so that meat residues don’t harden on the blades, which would make the cleaning process harder.
Use bread to clean off the oil.
After grinding meat, there is a lot of greasy mess that is left on the blades. These oils could tamper with the grinders’ teeth operations, and that is why bread is used in cleaning them off. All you will do is feed a piece of bread into the grinder head and grind it, just like you would grind meat.
Disassemble the grinder
Pull the grinder parts apart by detaching the blades, hopper, feeding tube, pusher, and plates. Keep the screws safe, so they don’t get misplaced.
Cleaning the grinder parts.
- Fill a bowl with some warm water,
- Add dish detergent into the water.
- Soak all the grinder parts in the water for some time.
- Scrub off the dirt from the parts using a sponge. Have a handy bottle brush to clean the hopper, feed tube, and plate holes.
- Do not forget the grinder body. Wipe it off with a damp cloth to eliminate any meat residues.
Rinsing and drying
After washing, rinse the parts off in a bowl of some warm and clean water. The next step is air-drying the grinder parts; you can even dry them with a clean kitchen towel.
Store your grinder appropriately. You can oil it with lubricants, so it doesn’t rust.
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Video: How to use a meat grinder Perpectly
Now that we have looked at operating both the electric and manual meat grinders, you can grab one that suits your needs without worry. Just ensure you fix any arising issues and maintain them well to serve you for a long time.
Rita C. Donnell (Jennifer) has spent the last 26 years studying and practicing nutrition science. She has used a larger part of this time in improving people’s livelihoods. She has done so by coming up with unquestionable ideas on how to tackle food problems in her community. Readmore