What is a meat grinder?
A meat grinder is a culinary tool used for finely cutting (sometimes known as “mincing”) and/or combining raw or cooked meat, fish, vegetables, and other similar foods. Tools like the mincing knife are replaced by it (which are also used in the preparation of minced meat, filling, etc.). A funnel that is positioned on top of the grinder receives the food that will be minced. The material then enters a horizontal screw conveyor that is either operated by an electric motor or a manual crank. The food is mixed and squashed by the screw. The food is fed via a fixed plate at the screw’s tip before leaving the machine. The size of the holes on the plate affects how finely the food is minced.
It is also possible to make breadcrumbs or stuff sausage casings by altering the hole plate. The retainer may be dropped, and then the hole plate can be changed. The grinding device may be entirely dismantled for cleaning by removing the mounting screw. In addition to residential grinders that are operated manually or mechanically, there are also grinders for butchery (such as table- or shop grinders) and the food business. Several tons can be produced every hour by certain huge machines.
Karl Drais created the first meat grinder in the nineteenth century. The first meat grinders were hand-cranked devices that drove meat onto a metal plate with a number of tiny holes, creating long, thin strands of flesh as a consequence.
As the availability of electricity increased, manufacturers created powered equipment, and contemporary electric meat grinders can easily and evenly process several pounds of beef. The functionality of some models, including sausage-making, kibbe, and juicing attachments, has substantially expanded the range of applications for meat grinders.
The mixer unit is a standard add-on for bigger grinders. With the use of this device, different types of meat (such as beef or pig) may be blended together uniformly. The meat can also be blended with seasonings before being ground. Without one of these mixers, the additives must be incorporated into the meat after it has been ground, which compromises the flavor and look of the majority of products. Salt is used specifically to lower the number of microorganisms present, preserving food for longer and imparting a salty flavor.
Commercial vs Home Use
Thousands of pounds of meat are processed every hour using commercial meat grinders. Down to -25 °C, frozen meat blocks can be processed by frozen meat grinders. The force exerted may be between 80,000 newtons (18,000 lbf) and 120,000 newtons (27,000 lbf), and the frozen blocks can be between 90x50x15 cm and 90x50x20 cm.
A single-rev drive, which is suited for grinding frozen meat blocks using a single auger, and a two-rev drive, which forces the product through a cutting knife using an auger and subsequently through a perforated plate, are the two distinct drive types used in industrial meat grinders.
The auger inserts the frozen meat into the star-shaped cutting blade. After being sliced, it is pushed through the plate, which serves as a second cutting surface. The plate will break up or eliminate any fat deposits and further reduce the size of the result. The Hobart 48/22 Meat Grinder is an illustration of a highly popular industrial meat grinder.
Different Types of Meat Grinders
Meat grinders are available in two main categories: manual and electric.
- Manual Meat Grinder – Meat grinders that are operated manually don’t require power. They are efficient and portable but turning the handle for the physical grinding requires a lot of labor. Manual grinders are also perfect for grinding only tiny amounts of meat.
- Electric Meat Grinder – Electric meat grinders can process a lot of meat at once and are powered by electricity. Since there is no physical labor involved, the output is quicker, and consumption is fairly convenient.
With the concept of healthy eating gaining momentum, more and more people prefer to grind meat at home rather than buy ready-made stuff. Once not the most common kitchen tools, meat grinders are in high demand nowadays, so if you are also one of those looking to purchase this useful appliance or replace your older helper, you are in luck because the choice has never been so rich and diverse.
However, if you want a product able to cater to your needs and serve for years, do not rush to order the first fancy-looking grinder you run into. Set enough time to research the offering and choose your perfect fit based on expert advice. Here are the main things to consider before buying yourself a meat grinder.
Most meat grinders can grind soft bones that are found in small animals such as chicken, rabbit etc… If these are the kind of bones you plan to grind, a standard commercial meat grinder should do.
If you do not have bones, and you simply need to mince up bones chunks of meats into a paste for patties etc.. then you could go for a low budget option like a mini chopper with mincing blades. Be it for home use, small bones or industrial grade, you can get the best electric meat grinder prices in Sri Lanka.
On the other hand, if you are planning on grinding heavy bones from beef, deer meat etc… then you need to choose meat grinders specifically designed for this purpose. Heavy duty machines built to grind big bones usually come with a cooling system to prevent any damages to the motor from the heat build up created from crushing big dense bones.
Despite what you may think, not all modern kitchen appliances are driven by electricity, and you still can buy a classic manual variant – as powerful as your arms. Wittiness aside, they are not only a great choice for places without electricity but also for those people who are not plotting to grind huge quantities of meat. Manual grinders have their own virtues: they are small, cheap, and can be your best bet if you need a grinder only from time to time.
Now, let’s focus on electric grinders because they are what you need if you are looking for a hard worker. If you plan to grind meat regularly, process different blends, and even make food for your pet, then there is no dilemma: you will have to look either for a standalone electric grinder or a mixer grinder attachment if you already own Kitchen Aid or similar wonder. Each option comes with certain pros and cons, so if you are interested in the details, you can find out more here, as well as read expert reviews on the most popular products. Once you choose the type, you can move forward and think of the quality-price ratio, specific details, and functions.
If you do not want to buy a new meat grinder every two years, then you need a model that is intended to withstand a solid amount of usage and last longer than a standard or extended warranty. Of course, such models cost more than those designed to stop working the next day after the warranty expires but they do serve longer and, as a rule, ensure far better performances.
So, how to recognize the product that will serve for many years? First of all, the less plastic, the better. Look for a cast aluminum body and stainless steel cutting blades, avoid any plastic details that are directly engaged in operations. Stainless steel is a must not only because it provides for incredible sharpness but also because it is rust-resistant.
Usability and Cleaning
Do not underestimate the easiness of both use and cleaning – we bet you already have a couple of tools you do not use because it takes ages to clean them. Given that you are going to work with raw meat, all parts of the grinder should be 100% clean, leaving no chance for bacteria and mold to build up on the surfaces. Again, stainless steel is king but you also can opt for dishwasher-safe models. Besides being uncomplicated to clean, your future meat grinder should be easy to operate.
Pay attention to the size and location of the feed tube, as well as the position of a power switch in relation to the output. Also, do not forget to consider the exact place your meat grinder is going to take in the kitchen and think of its usability in line with this. Before ordering a certain model, be sure to find and read its instruction manual to get a clear idea of all steps you will have to perform to grind a piece of meat.
Meat grinders can come in the basic variant with only two grinding plates (one for coarse and another for fine grains) but if you want to get more for your money, look for those models that offer additional perks. Love sausages? Now you can make them at home if you buy a meat grinder with a special extra that allows making sausages of different sizes while pasta buffs can take advantage of a pasta maker and enjoy home-made spaghetti.
Do not forget that people buy kitchen tools to make life and cooking easier, not vice versa. Meat grinders are no exception, hence look for a powerful, durable, and convenient to use appliance able to meet your demands.
You should choose machines with a higher power if you want a meat grinder to grind more meat at once. Low-power entry-level devices might not be able to handle a lot volumes, and the output might not meet expectations. Therefore, if you have more meat to grind, always opt for a meat grinder with more power.
Beyond only grinding meat, meat grinders have other uses. These appliances include a variety of attachments that may be used for various purposes. The machine comes with several blades to grind various types of meat, veggies, and even cheese in a variety of textures. For making delicious handmade sausages, some machines even have sausage stuffer tubes.
Even if there are several price ranges for meat grinders, you still need to decide how much you want to pay. Go for the mid to upper varieties, which are costly yet effective if you want to use them as a main appliance for a long time. Entry-level versions are cost-effective and suitable for the function, making them a good option for people on a tight budget or those who do not use meat grinders frequently.