A meat grinder can be a very useful kitchen tool for people that like to cook and prepare their own fresh foods. You can make your own hamburgers, sausages, soups, and much more. Making these things yourself, from scratch, can also be a lot healthier because you can make the foods you love without all of the preservatives, nitrates, sodium etc. that you would find in store-bought foods.
Grinding your own meat at home is also a great way to save money because it is a lot cheaper to buy large cuts of meat than it is to buy pre-ground meet at the grocery store. If you are convinced that a meat grinder might be something you could use in your kitchen, then you might want to continue reading our meat grinder buyers guide for tips on what to look for before you make a purchase.
Consider How Much and How Often You Will Use a Meat Grinder
When you’re shopping for a meat grinder you can get a manual grinder or an electric grinder. A manual grinder will be sufficient for smaller jobs and will be a lot less expensive than an electric meat grinder. Manual grinders are designed to be clamped to your counter or table and they use a hand crank to grind meat. You can typically grind approximately 2 to 3 pounds of meat per minute.
For bigger jobs, you really want to go with an electric meatgrinder. If you make a lot of hamburgers, sausages etc. and you plan on grinding a lot of meat, you will save a lot of time with an electric meat grinder. You will also save yourself quite a bit of physical exertion, who wants to be physically cranking the handle for hours on end?
Motors and Grinding Plates
The motor and the grinding plates are the workhorses of an electric meatgrinder. You can find motors ranging from about 1/3 hp all the way up to 1.5 hp or more. 1.5 hp is enough power for commercial applications. If you are a hunter and you’re going to be grinding up meat from an animal you killed, a more powerful motor may be something you would want. For a lot of people, a 1/3 hp motor is plenty powerful enough.
The grinding plates for a meatgrinder come in a number of different sizes and each size is best suited for a particular job. For example, smaller diameter grinding plates, from about 3/32″ to 1/8″ are great for very finely ground meat needed for things like making bologna or hotdogs. A diameter of 5/32″ to 3/16″ is ideal for things like sausages or hamburger. A diameter of 1/4″ to 5/16″ is also good for hamburger, pepperoni, salami etc. Larger blade diameters are good for things like chili meats, stew meats, and vegetables.
Finding the Best Meat Grinder for You
It shouldn’t take long for you to figure out whether a manual grinder or an electric grinder would be best for you. After that, you need to see what’s available and start comparing prices. It’s also a good idea to research user reviews to see what other people are saying about some of the different meat grinders available.
I would highly recommend shopping online for a meat grinder. Shopping online allows you to conduct a lot of research very quickly. Most websites will allow you to sort the available meat grinders by price so that you can quickly find several options that are within your price range. After that, you can quickly look at user reviews to see what other people are saying. Reading reviews online will help you quickly get an idea of whether a particular meat grinder is a good quality item, or something to be avoided.
Several years ago (It was 1973! I remember it well . . .because I am still using it, 42 years later ) I “invested” in a quality stand mixer (Kitchen-Aid) Kitchen-Aid also supplied a line of attachments that could be plugged directly to its “power head.” My son has always drooled over this mixer and is waiting until he inherits it. About a year ago, I came across another Kitchen-Aid stand mixer. . .virtually identical to my old 1973 model except for one major difference: It has a One HP motor! (As opposed to my old one that has 1/2 hp motor) Driving home, I put my brain to work; and, came up with an idea that would make my son happy; and, solve a “problem” of my own. . .How to make a quality burger for myself!
I enjoy a good burger made with quality meat. . .And, if you’ve been to the super-market and read the labels on the ground meat that they peddle as “hamburger” it has to send you up the wall with fear for the life of your arteries! “Ordinary” cheap burger meat is between 65% and 73% FAT; and, “premium” ground beef is still in the 85%-90% fat region. And, it costs between $2.50 and $4.99 per pound! The grocer is not exactly giving the meat away in spite of its being pretty low on the “classy meat” scale!
Thinking this out further, I determined that I could give the old K-A to my son (He was ecstatic!); buy the new, more powerful Kitchen-Aid mixer for myself; and, buy a grinder attachment for the new mixer. . .
Here’s the numbers: Cost of new Kitchen-Aid mixer ($259.00. . .I purchased it online and found one with Free Shipping); Cost of Grinder attachment ($35.00. . .again, purchased online with Free Shipping). . .Total cost: $294.00 (By the way, I had paid $135.00 for the old mixer in 1973)
And, here are the numbers for my QUALITY ground beef: I purchase a 20-25 lb “slab” of Top Sirloin at my local super-market when it’s on special for $2.69/lb (I often buy two of these slabs, putting one in the freezer. Thus, I am able to “bridge” the periods when the meat is NOT “on special). This is where a freezer pays for itself! I trim the fat at home and, there is approximately 8%-10% fat content (I’ve weighed it on an $8.00 digital kitchen scale . . .a very handy item to have in any kitchen!) [By the way, cuts like top sirloin are so naturally lean that you need some fat when they are cooking] Sometimes, I will add pork to mix as a “change of pace flavor-enhancer.” And, I buy pork roasts when they are “sub $1.00/lb” (last week, I paid 88 cents/lb) I trim the fat from the pork; and, add it to the beef when I am working at the grinder. . .I store the ground beef (and, pork) in zip-loc sandwich bags (one bag = 1 lb) and, they stack neatly in the freezer; and, they’re ready for the grill or skillet. And, the cost of the burger is a combination of the cost of the beef ($2.69/lb) and cost of the pork (88 cents/lb). . .For example: a burger made 75% beef and 25% pork is approximately $2.25. . .for a REAL ONE LB. Burger. . .NOT a “quarter pounder!” And, it’s far “healthier” than a Big Mac King Bugger [Of course, we’re cheating a bit on the “health thing” when we indulge ourselves with a burger! ]
And, the mixer does all sorts of OTHER tasks that a “dedicated meat grinder” cannot do! In my house, for the past 50 years, Sunday morning has always been “Time for Waffles!” And, this mixer makes great waffle batter. I also make cheesecake just like my grandfather taught me; and, mixing up for a REAL cheesecake is a breeze in this mixer!
Think of it this way. . .you should always buy “quality” (NOT always determined by the price you pay ) And, if you’re gonna clutter up your counter space, try to purchase appliances that are capable of performing more than one task! In this case, I’ve described one of the best quality appliances; and, a complimentary attachment which will perform a very specialized task (grinding meat). . .And, you can depend on it to perform for years! (By the way, the meat grinder attachment has a special attachment for ITSELF, a sausage attachment!)
PS. . .I happen to like Kitchen-Aid stand mixers! And, I have 42 years on which to base my “attachment!”
PS. . #2. . .The “old” Kitchen-Aid stand mixer (c. 1973) that I gave to my son will accommodate the meat grinder attachment. . .However, you will have to be a bit more “careful” because the motor is not quite as powerful as the new one.
Caveat: When buying the new Kitchen-Aid mixer, BE SPECIFIC and ask for the “One HP model” . . .They make a 3/4 hp model; and, I was told that the 1 HP model “did not exist!” Have no fear. . .be persistent! It exists! I know, because I have one; and, it says so on the label attached to the mixer!
Thank for sharing! I’m using STX INTERNATIONAL STX-3000-TF Turboforce 3-Speed Electric Meat Grinder and this model makes me disappointed as while it can easily grind meat, it’s not as efficient when the skin is left on