More and more people are becoming interested in cooking. While some are trying all sorts of recipes and succeed, others have difficulties with handling the kitchen appliance. Maybe everybody knows how to cut with a knife, but it’s not the case with a meat grinder.
Many tasty recipes include meat, and that’s not a novelty. But, not any type of meat: minced meat. That’s where many beginners in cooking stop and change the recipe. What a pity. Because it’s really easy. If you’re not convinced yet, then keep reading, and by the end of the article, you’ll learn how to use meat grinder.
Types of Meat Grinder
Before learning how to use meat grinder, first, you need to know how many options you have, and their particularities.
There are 3: Manual, Electric, and Commercial Meat Grinder.
Manual Meat Grinder
Obviously, this type requires your handiness.
You’ve surely seen one. In its disassembled form, it somehow looks like a gun that fires and whose bullet is in movement.
- The head, with 7 pieces;
- The auger, which has a washer, or sometimes a bushing (that goes in the back of the head);
- The removable stud. If you break one, you can drill it and easily take it out/ buy another.
How to Assembly?
There was a guide attached to a manual meat grinder on how to assembly. The most important instructions found there will be on the following list.
Important: Before use, always! disassemble the grinder and wash it properly, in warm soapy water. Remove all the grease and wait for the parts to dry, before re-assembly.
The auger and the washer slide inside the head. In many shapes, but always with a sharp edge, the knife goes towards the plate. The cutting occurs between the knife and the plate. The knife slips over the stud, and then the plate slips over the knife. Spin, until you find a little notch. Be careful to tighten well, but it’s recommended not to overdo it. Then, the retaining ring slides on top and will push the plate back on the knife, which will cut the meat, as it goes through.
Meat Grinder tips & tricks
- Prepare the meat in advance: clean it, remove the skin, tendons, etc., cut it into smaller pieces, so as not to have difficulties and work smoothly; otherwise, the grinder might get clogged
- Do not overload the grinder
- Fat types of meat (such as pork) are likely to be a little messy and remain in the head of the grinder. Useful tip: when this happens, use some vegetables to mince them, and the meat will pass along with them
- Be careful, as the grinding plates are sharp
- Find a good storage place for the meat grinder
- Always clean it before & after using it.
How to Clean the Manual Meat Grinder?
Usually, cleaning is the only thing required to maintain a manual meat grinder. Never leave the fats and oils in meat dry on the grinder. Many put a slice or two of bread in the grinder like they would do with meat, to absorb the excess left. That will facilitate the cleaning. Then, disassemble the grinder. Clean piece by piece. The sharp parts are best cleaned with a sponge, to avoid hurting yourself. For the rest, you can use a brush. Clean everything with water.
Which are the advantages & disadvantages of a Manual Meat Grinder?
- You can be sure of the conditions in which the meat is prepared
- You can choose the meat and know everything about the provider
- You can use it whenever compared to the Electric one. Think of power outages
- You can prepare the meat with the moisture and texture you desire
- Takes more time & effort. Both in cleaning & grinding the meat
- You might hurt yourself if not handled properly
- You could lose key a piece unexpectedly & require to buy another one
- Meat could be uneven
Electric Meat Grinder
An electric meat grinder is a tool preferred by many, whether a chef or a beginner.
Although used primarily for meat, it can also be used for many other things, like vegetables or fruits, as it’s equipped with many tools.
Which are the advantages & disadvantages of an Electric Meat Grinder?
Advantages: Time-saving, many options in terms of cooking, less mess, easy to use;
Disadvantages: More expensive.
One thing both types have in common is cleaning them before and after every use.
How to choose an Electric Meat Grinder? Criteria
As it is very useful, it comes in a variety of shapes, colors, functions, even. So, how to choose when they all seem the same? Consider some aspects:
- Brand / Provider
Crucial. Go only for the brands you’ve tried before and satisfied you. Or, choose very popular ones. Or at least, searchable. Check reviews if needed, but don’t buy from brands or suspicious providers. Better pay more and last longer.
- Motor Power
The higher the power, the faster the grinder, so the quicker the dinner.
Many choose the grinder that also includes other tools, that would be of good use in preparing different dishes. Many come with tools for tomatoes, for example. But obviously, nobody would use that tool only for tomatoes. Also, some come equipped with tools for mincing the ingredients for pastry.
- What’s made of?
The material used is an important thing to consider, as it could influence the durability.
- Reverse Function
Sometimes, even the best kitchen appliances might get jammed at one point or another. And a meat grinder is likely to get into trouble like that. But, some of them have special functions, such as “Reverse Function”, which reverses the motor, to clear up any jam. The blocked pieces (of meat, of vegetables) will be taken out through the upper side of the grinder.
It might deserve a higher place in the list, but it’s obvious everybody chooses based on how much they’re willing to spend.
How to Use Electric Meat Grinder?
Although not as meticulous as the manual type, it has its requirements:
- Sanitise: your hands, and all parts before use. Let them air dry
- Make sure the power cord is disconnected before assembly
- Use User Manual if needed
- Prepare the meat accordingly: remove the skin, tendons. That’s a rule
- Disconnect the power cord before disassembly
- Repeat step 1.
- Important tips: Keep meat refrigerated. Never use frozen meat.
- Don’t overload your meat grinder
Commercial Meat Grinder
Besides the average ones, there are some types especially used in fast-foods and restaurants. Those are the commercial types and have certain particularities that assure bigger quantities of meat. Their capacity ranges from 50 kg/ hour to 300 kg or more, up to 600 kg. They are used by chefs and unlikely to be needed in the average house. Unless you really are a meat lover.
What to do if I don’t have a meat grinder at home?
This question is not uncommon, many people don’t have one. As useful as they are, not everybody thinks that to have or know how to use a meat grinder is something indispensable, or so. Some simply buy the meat already minced, and they like it like that, some eat at home the meat they cook themselves, some eat out and never worry about any of the previous options, and so on.
Can you mincemeat without a meat grinder?
Actually, yes, if you own a blender, but probably the best way to try that alternative would be to make sure the meat is completely prepared and already cut in the smallest bits, so that the blender would just make it even smoother.
Is it safe to use a meat grinder?
For the electric meat grinder, there are big risks if you don’t take account of certain warnings, such as disconnecting the power cord before assembly or disassembly. In terms of the manual meat grinder, the risk is that of cutting yourself if you don’t pay attention. Others than that?
Not really. In terms of health for both them, cleaning is key, if want to use a meat grinder. Clean the meat, clean your hands, clean the grinder before and after, storage in a clean place. Everything related to the cleanliness. It’s a must.
Chefs use all the kitchen appliances, depending on the occasion. All the cooking shows offer tips & tricks in preparing and cooking meat. Regarding meat grinders, they all agreed on one thing, particularly: pick the right meat.
Usually, and fair enough, people go for the electric type. But there are also people who don’t break up with tradition and use the manual type. Which is equally good, if that’s their choice. All that matters is the final result and the fact that you know how to use meat grinder.