Are you considering buying a meat grinder? They are usually found in stores that sell raw meats and produce, but they have evolved from only being used by professionals, to find them in home kitchens as well.
So, what exactly is a meat grinder? A meat grinder is a kitchen appliance that grinds up raw meat into smaller pieces. Meat grinders are great for making sausages, hamburger patties, and even just mince for things like spaghetti bolognese or chili con carne.
They’re good for preparing large amounts of food in advance or just making small amounts of food for a family dinner.
There are many different types of meat grinders on the market today, so it is important to know what features will best suit your needs before making a purchase. We recommend looking for one with blades made out of stainless steel, an easy-to-clean body, and something with variable speed options.
In this blog post, we will talk about what types of meat grinders there are, what to look for when buying one, and some recommendations if you need help deciding which one to buy,
What is a Meat Grinder?
Let’s go into what a meat grinder is in more detail. As the name suggests, meat grinders grind up raw or cooked pieces of meat into smaller chunks.
Meat grinders can be used in many different applications for food preparation. The main use of a meat grinder is to make ground beef, but it can also be used to make sausages, burgers, kebabs, and many other types of processed meats.
There are three main types of grinding plates that you will come across when looking at the best meat grinders: fine, medium, and coarse. Fine-ground beef is best for burgers and tacos; medium-ground beef works well in casseroles and sloppy joes; coarse-ground beef goes great on sandwiches or with pasta.
The main feature that sets a quality grinder apart from the rest is its blades; look for ones made with stainless steel as they will hold up much better in high-volume kitchens than those that are not. It’s also important to consider what type you want: electric or manual?
Electric models have an on/off switch so there’s no need to keep pushing down like with the hand model which means less fatigue They usually come with variable speed options too which allow you both finer and coarser grinding depending on your needs. But they’re more susceptible to breaking and more expensive.
But we’ll get into the manual vs electric debate later in the article!
How Does a Meat Grinder Work?
A meat grinder works by using two disks, one with holes and the other without. The disk with holes is called a plate or blade. This is what actually does all of the work as you push down on it to grind up your meat.
To use, simply put raw or cooked pieces of meat into the hopper at the top and turn on the machine to start grinding until desired consistency has been achieved.
What are the Different Types of Meat Grinders?
There are only two different types of meat grinders: manual and electric.
Manual meat grinders are typically cheaper and while they require some work on the user’s part, they are usually more durable.
Electric models often come with variable speeds for finer or coarser grinding depending on your needs; however, these also tend to be a little pricier than manual ones.
Different Meat Grinder Attachments
Although there are only two types of grinder, there are many different types of grinder attachments. The two main attachments for a meat grinder are the blade and die.
The blade is what does all of the work as you push down on it to grind up your food. These can be made with stainless steel or plastic depending on quality and cost.
A die, which looks like an upside-down funnel that attaches at one end of the blade, is used to push your food into a small hole where it will come out as ground beef. The die can be made with either horizontal or vertical holes depending on what you need; this sets the desired thickness of your ground beef.
However, as well as these attachments, there are many other accessories that you can add to your meat grinders to give them slightly more capabilities. Here are a few examples.
Stuffing tubes are used to fill sausages. The most popular size for this is 16mm, but you can also find 24mm and 32mm tubes as well. It works by attaching to the end of your die and then sucking in meat using a vacuum. You will need to buy sausage skins to use these though.
There are three main types of grinding plate that you will come across when looking at the best meat grinders: fine, medium, or coarse.
Fine-ground beef is best for burgers and tacos, medium-ground beef works well in casseroles or sloppy joes, and coarse ground beef goes great with sandwiches or pasta.
Grinding plates are also available for different types of meat like chicken, pork, vegetables, etc.
A meat grinder can also come with a cutting blade attachment which is used to cut the ground beef into different sized pieces depending on what you need for your food.
The most common sizes are ¾”, ½”, and ¼” so that it fits well in any dish you’re making.
A stomper is an attachment that goes on the side of your meat grinder and is used to push ground beef into casings, usually for sausages.
If you’re looking for a good quality stomper, it’s best to get one made from stainless steel as they will hold up much better than those made out of plastic, especially in high-volume kitchens.
A grinder knife is an attachment that goes on the side of your meat grinder and is used to cut ground beef into small pieces. This works well for any dish where you need chopped or minced meats such as chili, dumplings, etc.
It’s important to note that a grinder blade can also be called a grinder knife. But a grinder blade typically has a round or oval shape while a grinder knife is more likely to be rectangular with either straight or serrated edges.
It’s also worth noting that you can use your regular kitchen knives for this function if you don’t have a grinder knife attachment.
What Should You Look for in a Meat Grinder?
So, what should I look for in a good-quality grinder? A high-quality grinder will have blades made out of stainless steel so that it can hold up better against wear and tear from frequent use.
It is important to look at all other features as well such as how easy it is to clean, its size (both if you plan on leaving it out or storing it in your kitchen cupboards), speed settings if you’re looking for an electric model, and any additional attachments like stuffing tubes, grinding plates, and cutting blades.
But, let’s have a deeper look into what you should look for in a meat grinder:
Size is pretty important when it comes to meat grinding, and I’m not talking about the size of the grinder (although we’ll get to that). You should make sure that the meat grinder can fit all types of cuts of meat.
Ultimately, you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a grinder only to find out that the meat it produces isn’t fine enough. So, make sure you have a look at what size of grind the meat grinder can produce and if it can handle all types of meats.
An electric grinder has different settings that you will be able to adjust depending on your needs, but an important thing to look for is how many speeds are offered by the machine. If there aren’t enough options for speed levels, then you may need to do more manual work and constantly change out your blade.
Type of Meat Grinder
The type of meat grinder you should look for depends on what you’re using it for, but there are two main types: a hand-cranked manual machine or an electric model. Electric models usually have the option of continuous feed or batch feed (for when you’re not using it and need to stop at intervals).
- Manual model: This type of meat grinder usually sits on the countertop, is easy to use with no installation required. It can be tricky to use with some larger cuts of meat, and it’s much more effort to grind. It’s also important that this model has a crank that is easy to turn.
- Electric model: Some electric models are more powerful than others, so make sure you’ve done your research before you purchase. An important feature is the speed settings. This will help determine how much manual work you’ll have to do in order for it to function properly. Plus, although electric models are easier to use, they are usually larger, more expensive, and break easier.
How much meat can fit in your grinder at once? This is particularly important for larger-scale kitchens or catering businesses that might need a more powerful model. If this is the case, then you want to make sure that there’s enough capacity for your needs.
Be sure to look for an efficient meat grinder. You don’t want to be grinding meat for too long, especially if you’re using a manual meat grinder because this will put unnecessary strain on your arm.
If it’s an electric version that you’re after then be sure to check the energy rating before you purchase as it’ll determine how much power it really has.
This is not always important, but it can give you an idea of how well the manufacturer stands behind its product.
Usually, with warranties, there’s some sort of limitation in place so that the company doesn’t have to pay for the entire repair. So, make sure to take note of the terms and conditions of the warranty, and how long it will last before you buy.
As well as the features of the machine, it’s also worth considering your own budget. Make sure you know how much money you have to spend before you start shopping for a meat grinder. Grinders vary in price, so remember this.
I would never recommend buying a meat grinder without looking at the reviews first, and this is partly how we decided on the best meat grinders on the list. Reading reviews means you can find out what customers didn’t like about a product before it’s too late or has an idea of how durable it’ll be with some questions answered.
Ease of Cleaning
This is a pretty important one. If you’re looking for a meat grinder that will save you time, then it needs to be easy to clean.
Considering that this is a machine built for handling raw meat, it’s essential that you can clean it properly or you risk getting bacteria in your food. Make sure that your meat grinder is easy to clean, and that you will definitely be able to get all the meat and bacteria out of the cavities.
Unless you don’t mind forking out a load more money for added grinder accessories, it’s worth considering what attachments your chosen meat grinder comes with. For instance, if you’re looking for a manual meat grinder and it doesn’t come with the blade or cutting board attachment, then that could be an issue.
As well as the size of the meat that it produces, it’s also important to consider the size of the grinder itself. This might not be an issue for people with a large kitchen or a commercial organization, but it can come into play if you’re using your grinder in smaller spaces, have limited worktop space, or are using it at home.
As such, it’s often worth measuring the space available before you bring your new grinder home.
Nobody wants to purchase a new machine for it to instantly break! As such, it’s important to consider the durability of a machine before you buy.
For instance, if you’re purchasing an electric meat grinder and notice that some parts are made from plastic then be wary as this could increase wear and tear over time. Strong materials like metal are more durable and will last for many more years.
How Often Will You Use It?
It’s important to consider how often you’ll use your new grinder before you buy one as this could affect your purchasing decision. If it’s only for occasional recipes then a cheaper model might do the trick, but if you’re looking for something that can handle large-scale cooking then invest in a more powerful machine.
The Major Differences Between Electric and Manual Meat Grinders
There are several differences between electric and manual meat grinders, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for before you settle on one.
As well as how fast you can grind meat, this will also help determine how much manual work you’ll have to do in order for it to function properly. The capacity is also an important factor to take into consideration because electric grinders tend to have much more room than manual ones.
The last difference is the price. Electric meat grinders are generally more expensive but they’re also very efficient – so if you want something quick and easy then an electric grinder is a good option. Manual meat grinders are cheaper, but they can take longer to use and require more work on your behalf.
But, we’ve broken down the advantages and disadvantages of each, so you can choose for yourself.
The Advantages of Electric Meat Grinders
- Easy to use – simply plug them in, load your meat into the feed tube and press the ‘On’ switch.
- Powerful motors make cutting through bones simple and easy.
- You can also work through tougher types of meat with ease.
- You can get through larger amounts of meat much quicker.
The Disadvantages of Electric Meat Grinders
- The motor and electrical components, despite all their advantages, can cause issues over time.
- If the grinder has plastic components, these can wear down.
- They can be quite large appliances, which might be a problem in smaller kitchens.
- The internal motors can be quite noisy.
- They are useless without a power supply, so not suitable for outdoor use or camping.
- They are often very expensive to repair.
The Advantages of Manual Meat Grinders
- They are very simple and easy to use.
- They are free to use – you don’t need to pay for power as it’s all manually controlled.
- Manual grinders are much smaller appliances, ideal for small kitchens or home cooking.
- Light and easy to carry.
- You can use them anywhere as they don’t need to be plugged in.
- They are significantly cheaper to buy.
- They are often easier to clean than their electric counterparts.
- Simple functionality means cheaper repairs if something goes wrong.
- Manual meat grinders usually last longer than electric ones.
The Disadvantages of Manual Meat Grinders
- It can be quite tricky to grind a lot of meat.
- They can be tiring to use after a while.
- Any hard parts like bones or tough bits of meat can take a long time to grind.
- Even with normal types of meat, it takes longer to use. Particularly for working kitchens, this can be a problem.
Meat Grinder Best Use Tips
Here are some top tips for getting the most out of your meat grinder.
- Always grind cold meat and use cold equipment – this will help to prevent the meat from sticking and it won’t warm up during the process.
- Put your ground meat in an air-tight container for storage, this will keep it fresh and make sure that nothing leaks out of the package when you are transporting it.
- Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly before handling ground meat. This is because of the risk of cross-contamination from other foods that are not yet cooked or prepared properly.
- Choose your cut of meat carefully. Some cuts are more stringy and can be harder to grind than others. Using pork, lamb, or beef will be easier to grind due to the natural consistency of their fat which helps them grind much quicker.
- Freeze your meat and grinder parts before using them. A sneaky top meat grinder tip is to freeze all your components before you use them. This will help to prevent the meat from sticking and it will also make everything a lot easier.
- Don’t overload your grinder. This can cause problems with the motor of your grinder and result in unnecessary food waste.
- Experiment with seasonings. You can season your meat before grinding it if you want to change the taste, but don’t just stick to salt and pepper. Different seasonings and spices will enhance the flavor of the meat and make it taste more intense. For example, if you are using lamb then a spice like cumin or paprika will work well.
- Grind the meat more than once. If you are using a manual grinder, then it might be beneficial to grind the meat twice. This ensures that you get a nice and even consistency in your meat.
- Don’t leave raw meat out of the fridge too long. This will risk the chance of bacteria growing and making you ill. raw meat shouldn’t be out of the fridge for more than 2 hours.
- Never put your hands in a grinder. You risk grinding your fingers and getting seriously hurt.
- Thoroughly clean your grinder after use. This will make sure that it doesn’t accumulate bacteria and stays hygienic. Always disassemble the grinder and sanitize it thoroughly with soap and warm water.
My Top Meat Grinder Recommendations
I chose these meat grinders based on affordability, availability, and positive customer reviews.
KitchenAid Metal Food Grinder
The metal blades of this grinder slot onto the head of any compatible mixer and churn out superb ground meat every time. Three grinding plates come with your purchase, giving you the option of grinding your meats fine, medium-sized, or coarse.
The lightweight aluminum construction means that the grinder should serve you years of service without rusting, and with an extra-large meat tray, you can process substantial batches of meat without constantly stopping and starting.
If you want to take your grinder away with you, it comes with a handy carry case that can fit a range of accessories as well as the appliance.
However, it’s worth pointing out that, in order to get started with this grinder, you’ll need a KitchenAid mixer as well.
- Easy to use for any kitchen.
- Comes with a carry case and extra aluminum attachments
- Good sized meat tray
- Compact design
- Needs an additional KitchenAid mixer in order to work (stand of any model will suffice).
- Only offers one speed
Cuisinart Electric Meat Grinder
This Cuisineart model is an excellent choice for a meat grinder because it allows you to process lots of different types of meat with ease, from beef and turkey to venison and chicken.
Three pounds of meat can be ground through in one minute with this 300-watt motor machine. Furthermore, with 3 cutting plates, you can get finely ground, medium-ground, or coarsely ground meat to suit your tastes.
The three-way switch makes this machine easy to operate. You can simply toggle between on, off, and reverse. However, it’s worth mentioning that this grinder is fairly loud. As such, it might be a deal-breaker if the noise level is a big consideration.
- Powerful 300-watt motor
- Comes with 3 cutting plates
- Easy to operates
- Quite noisy
STX Turboforce Electric Meat Grinder
This heavy-duty meat grinder is ideal for high-volume kitchens. It comes with a wide choice of attachments, accessories, and blades combined with a sturdy build.
The meat grinder is designed for huge volume and speed. In just one hour, this powerful commercial meat grinder can process up to 240 pounds of raw meat per hour without breaking a sweat. This should be enough for any reasonable need at home, and smaller commercial kitchens.
With a 3-pound capacity and an oversized opening, this grinder is capable of grinding large pieces seamlessly. The meat grinder also comes with cutting plates (in 3 different sizes) that make it easy to prepare an array of dishes in your kitchen.
It doesn’t do so well with bones, but if you only want to grind raw meat, this is a safe investment for your needs.
- Heavy-duty and extremely well built
- Comes with a range of accessories and cutting plates
- Can grind up to 240 pounds of raw meat in an hour
- A bit expensive
- Can’t handle grinding bones
Weston Pro Series Electric Meat Grinder
The Weston Pro Series is a heavy-duty meat grinder that has an air-cooled motor with a 1500-watt capacity. One of the most efficient meat grinders, this machine can generate up to 18 pounds of meat in just one minute.
The rugged steel gears complement the powerful motor and, although this unit is bulky and heavy, the handle makes it easy to move around the kitchen.
With this grinder, you’ll get plenty of accessories to help with your projects – from a sausage stuffing kit to a high-speed auger. All the parts are removable for easy cleanup, but you will need to hand wash them as they’re not suitable for the dishwasher. Lastly, it comes with a 5-year warranty.
- Air-cooled 1500 watt motor
- Can generate up to 18 pounds of ground meat per minute
- Comes with a 5-year warranty
- Plenty of accessories included
- Quite bulky and heavy
Top Meat Grinder FAQs
Question: What Kind of Meat Grinder is the Best?
Answer: The best meat grinder will be the one that suits your needs. You can either opt for electric or manual but, if you want a high-quality product, then look for stainless steel blades or ceramic ones which are both very durable and long-lasting.
Question: Which Type is Best – Metal or Plastic?
Answer: Metal can be really durable if well looked after; it’s also easier to sterilize and doesn’t break as easily.
Plastic, on the other hand, is cheaper and more lightweight which might be a better choice if you need to take it with you while traveling or hiking. It will, however, break extremely easily, so overall metal meat grinders are the best.
Question: What Type of Meat Should I Put Through my Grinder?
Answer: Some good examples would be pork, lamb, or beef as they will grind much more easily than others. Avoid using leaner types such as chicken (as it can get stuck) or turkey (which is too dry). Never use fish in a manual grinder as it can damage the unit.
Question: What Should I do if my Meat Gets Stuck?
Answer: If your blades are frequently getting clogged then you might need to clean them first or change the size of the grind plate that they’re on – this will make sure there is enough space between each blade and let all the food through without a problem.
If you’re using a manual grinder, then try grinding the meat in batches. When the blade gets stuck, there is usually a reverse function on the grinder that allows you to backtrack what you’ve done. This should unstick the machine.
Question: Can a Food Processor Be Used as a Meat Grinder?
Answer: The blades in a food processor are much thinner than those in a meat grinder, which means you might not get the same consistency. They are designed for blitzing foods and can work well for making sauces and pastes, but it’s inadvisable to try to use them to grind meat.
Question: Do I Need to Cut the Meat Before Grinding?
Answer: Yes, this can help break down the meat and make the grinder go quicker. Plus if you’re cutting fat then this will reduce any chance of the grinder getting clogged up. Just remember to grind in batches so that your blade doesn’t get too hot.
Question: Is it Worth Buying a Meat Grinder?
Answer: In short, yes. If you’re going to be cooking a lot of mince-based dishes then it’s well worth investing in one because they will save so much time and effort – plus the end result will taste better too.
Question: How Much Does a Meat Grinder Cost?
Answer: Meat grinders can range in price from around $20 to over $250. You might not need an expensive one, but it is worth paying a little bit more for higher-quality blades and other features that will last you longer.
Question: Can you Grind Cooked Meat?
Answer: No, you can’t use a meat grinder to grind cooked meat because the act of cooking changes its consistency. This means you’ll need to use a food processor instead if you want to make any dishes.
Question: What is the Life Expectancy of a Meat Grinder?
Answer: The life expectancy of a meat grinder will vary depending on how often it is used and what type of food you put through it.
Electric grinders are more likely to wear down quicker than manual ones, but as long as your blades don’t get too dull then they should last for at least 8 years with regular use. On average, a meat grinder will last between 10-15 years.
There are indeed many choices when it comes to buying a meat grinder. But, the important thing is knowing what you need.
Then, it’s just a case of finding one with those features at the best price point possible. We highly recommend the STX Turboforce Electric Meat Grinder due to it’s durability and ability to handle large amounts of meat.
This guide has covered everything you need to know about finding the best meat grinder for your needs and budget. Whether you’re looking for an electric or manual meat grinder, there are plenty of options to choose from.
We hope you now know how to find the best meat grinder for your needs. Hopefully, our tips and tricks have helped narrow down your search for what will work best in your kitchen.