Meat Grinder Guide

A Meat Grinder takes a chunk of meat and when you run it through a blade and knife, it creates a ground down version of whatever cut you are grinding. Many customers who purchase bulk meats or catch their own wild game can turn whole chunks into ground meat with ease.

What’s a Grinder Plate & Knife?

Meat Grinder Plate & KnifeThe Grinder Plate is used to create the size of the ground meat. Each grinder plate has holes, which are generally measures in millimeters and/or inches. The Grinder Knife rests against the plate and does the actual cutting of the meat as it’s pushed through the meat grinder.

Note: You should periodically check you knife and plate for grooves. When the plate and knife are not smoothly paired together, shavings of metal can end up in your ground meat. It’s common to lubricate the plate and knife on each use with food safe lubricant. It’s recommended to replace your grinder plate and knife together.

Check out our Meat Grinder FAQs article.

How Do You Size Grinders?

Meat Grinders are sized by the number. #5 is the smallest outlet opening, where #12 is larger and so on. At Meat Processing Products, we carry a wide range of Meat Grinders including #5, #8, #10/#12, #22 and #32 manual and electric meat grinders.

There are 3 main types of meat grinders: manual, electric and commercial. All three have their own use cases and perform differently than others. Below we will break down the differences in each and what the best use case is for.

Manual Meat Grinders

Manual Meat GrinderTypically found in the home kitchen, these economical grinders are made from either cast aluminum and coated, or stainless steel. While the cast aluminum manual grinders are more inexpensive, they require additional cleaning so they do not rust over time; where stainless-steel manual meat grinders do not require the same attention (though should be hand washed thoroughly). Manual Meat Grinders are typically only used in smaller applications, recommended 10 lbs. or less per sitting, only a few uses a year.

Manual Meat Grinders are used in home kitchens or backyard butcher shops. Not generally found in commercial establishments.

Electric Meat Grinders

Electric Meat GrinderYou’ll find Electric Meat Grinders in the home or commercial kitchen. Electric Meat Grinders are a big step up from Manual Meat Grinders, as they turn the knife with a motor versus your raw strength at a constant speed. Electric Meat Grinders will range in power ratings, horsepower, and wattage; a good thing to consider when purchasing an electric meat grinder. Most grinders will have a pound rating per minute/hour, which needs to also be considered.

Example: You have 100 lbs. of meat to process, and you are shopping for a meat grinder to do it quickly. You can purchase an entry level grinder that does 3 lbs/minute, but this will take about a half our or so if your meat is fully prepared to grind. If you choose a grinder with 10 lbs/minute, you will likely spend 10 minutes or so grinding the meat (if fully prepared to grind).

Electric Meat Grinders are used in home kitchens, butcher shops, restaurants, and other food service applications.

Note: A good tip for grinding meat quicker; cut your meat into strips instead of cubes, this will allow the meat grinder to “pull” the strip into the grinder versus you “stomping” the meat through the opening.

Commercial Meat Grinders

Commercial Meat GrinderLet’s say you have a butcher shop, or you’re an avid hunter. Then a Commercial Meat Grinder may be the solution for you. Commercial grinders speed up the process quite a bit. They generally have more power and are dedicated to grinding meat. Commercial Meat Grinders are larger than electric above, perform better, and last longer. These grinders are mostly stainless steel throughout, with hardened steel gears for longevity. (not recommend to stuff sausage)

Commercial Meat Grinders are commonly found in butcher shops and restaurants. While the most expensive meat grinders on the market, they perform the best and last the longest.

Stuffing Sausage with Meat Grinders

Many meat grinders will include stuffing tubes for stuffing meat into sausage casings. This may seem practical; however, you keep in mind this is a meat grinder and not a sausage stuffer. We do not recommend using electric meat grinders as sausage stuffers as you cannot control output speed. We do recommend using one if the manufacturer includes a dedicated stuffing gear/speed. For the best control stuffing sausage, we recommend using a Sausage Stuffer.