If you enjoy ground meat, there is nothing that compares to the taste of fresh ground meat that you prepare in your own home. With a meat grinder, you can forego buying ground meat at the grocery store or the butcher (which sometimes, isn’t so fresh,) and grind fresh meat on your own. Considered a luxury appliance, a meat grinder certainly isn’t a necessity; but, if you enjoy making things like fresh ground beef for hamburgers or meatloaf, or for making your own sausage, than you will certainly consider a meat grinder a necessity in your kitchen.
While a meat grinder will certainly be handy appliance to have, find the best one for your needs can be a bit of a challenge. With so many different options available, it can be difficult to determine which one will best suit your particular needs. To help you on your quest for finding the best meat grinder, we have put together this handy buyer’s guide for you. In this guide, you will find all of the information you need to purchase the best meat grinder for your specific needs. This guide highlights the different types of meat grinders, the factors to consider when purchasing this appliance, the available features and the best brands.
Types of Meat Grinders
In order to find the best meat grinder for your particular needs, you first need to know that there are different types of meat grinders, and that each type offers different benefits. There are two main types of meat grinders, which include:
- The manual meat grinder
- The electric meat grinder
To find out more about the differences between these two types of meat grinders, below, you will find a summary of each one.
The Manual Meat Grinder
The manual meat grinder is meant to process small qualities of meat. It is designed to be clamped onto a counter top or a table top and features a hand crank, which you use to grind the meat. The manual meat grinder can process approximately two to three pounds of meat per minute. It typically comes equipped with several different cutting plates, which rotate against a cutting knife. You can produce ground meat in various size, from small (about 3/16 of an inch) to large (about ½ inch.) The food you intend to cut is fed by hand into a funnel, which is located on the top of the grinder’s body. The food is driven by a spiral auger into a cutting blade, which feeds the food through the cutting blades. A manual meat grinder can process a variety of foods, including turkey, chicken, duck, venison, vegetables and cheeses. This is typically the most economical meat grinder, as it usually has a lower price tag than an electric meat grinder and it doesn’t require electricity to run, which will keep your utility bills down. On the down side, you will have to use your own force in order to operate this type of meat grinder, which can become tedious after a while, especially if you are grinding denser materials.
The Electric Meat Grinder
The electric meat grinder has a more complex design than the manual meat grinder, but it functions in a very similar manner. It is equipped with two or three different sized cutting plates; a 3/16 inch, a ¼ inch and a ½ inch plate, for example. This type of grinder may also come equipped with a tool that pushes the food through the machine, as well as different sausage extrusion tubes that can be used to assist with the flow of ground meat into different types of casings. The majority of electric meat grinders will offer operational functions that will allow you to reverse the motor if a jam occurs in the grinder. You can also remove the knife and the cutting plate to clear out any clogs. The electric meat grinder can process higher volumes of food than manual meat grinders with much less effort, which are two definite pluses. It can also process denser foods with greater ease. On the down side, this type of meat grinder is usually more expensive than the manual meat grinder, and it usually takes up more counter or table top space.
Things to Consider When Purchasing a Meat Grinder
There are several different factors that you should take into consideration when you are shopping for a meat grinder. By taking these factors into consideration, you will be able to find the best meat grinder for your specific needs. In our opinion, some of the top things to keep in mind when shopping include the size of the grinder, the versatility and the amount of food it can process, among other things. To learn more about the factors that we think are the most important to consider when shopping for a meat grinder, please keep on reading.
How much food can it process?
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a meat grinder is the amount of food that it can process. Obviously, this will have a huge impact on the amount of food that you can make at one time. If you are going to be preparing ground meat for several people, or if you intend on making large quantities of food, then you are going to want to choose a grinder that can process more meat at one time. As mentioned in the ‘types’ section of this buyer’s guide, electric meat grinders can process more food at one time, so if you plan on preparing a lot of food in one preparation, this may the best option for you.
How versatile is it?
Do you want to use your meat grinder to do more than just grind meat? If so, than you are going to want to look for one that offers versatility and can be used to grind different types of foods, such as vegetables and even cheeses. Look for a grinder that comes equipped with different types of cutting plates and attachments, which can be used to process different types of foods.
How big is the meat grinder?
Another important factor to take into consideration is the size of the meat grinder. You want to consider how much space you have available to accommodate the appliance, because obviously, if you don’t have enough space, you won’t be able to use the grinder properly. It should be noted, though, that the smaller the grinder is, the less versatile it will likely be and the less food it will be able to process at one time. Generally, manual meat grinders are the smallest out of the two different types; however, some manual meat grinders can be pretty big. Typically, electric meat grinders are very big and bulky, which means that you may want to keep it out on your counter all of the time, and you will need to have enough space available to accommodate it without compromising the rest of your available counter space.
How durable is it?
The best meat grinders are made of strong and durable materials. The stronger and more durable the materials are, the more efficient it will be, and the longer it will last you. Stainless steel is the best material, as it is durable and strong and will withstand regular use.
What type of plates does it come with?
The best meat grinders come equipped with several different cutting plates. These plates are used to cut the meat, and the more that the appliance comes with, the more versatile it will be. The size of the cutting plates will determine the types of meats and other foods you can grind. Cutting plates that have ¼ inch holes are ideal for grinding coarse meats for sausages like salami and pepperoni. Cutting plates that have 3/8 inch holes are best for making chili, linguica and chorizo. Cutting plates that have ½ inch holes are ideal for first grinds and coarse stew meats and chili.
Is cleaning easy?
To make cleanup easier and more convenient, look for a meat grinder that you can easily clean. The best meat grinders are easy to take apart, features dishwasher safe components for quick and easy cleaning, and are easy to put back together.
How much does it cost?
You should also take your budget into consideration when purchasing a meat grinder. This appliance can vary widely in price, and you want to make sure that you don’t spend more than you are comfortable with when you are shopping. Generally, electric meat grinders are more expensive than manual models. Also, grinders that offer more features will usually have a higher price tag.
Available Features for Meat Grinders
There are several different types of features that are available for meat grinders. These features are intended to make the appliance easier to use and more versatile. However, as mentioned above, the more features the grinder offers, the more expensive it will be. It is important to understand the different types of features that are available and what their intended purposes are so that you can determine whether you want or need specific features.
Here is a look at some of the top features that meat grinders can offer.
A meat grinder can become jammed with food while it is being used. If you purchase a manual meat grinder, clearing out the jam is as easy as turning the crank in the opposite direction; however, if you are buying an electric meat grinder, you should look for one that features a reverse operation, as it will make clearing out the jam much quicker and easier. Clearing out a jam in an electric meat grinder that doesn’t offer this feature can be very difficult.
If you plan on making sausage with your meat grinder, look for one that features a sausage stuffer. Essentially, a sausage stuffer is a funnel that is used to guide ground meat into a casing. This feature simplifies the process of making sausage, makes it much cleaner, and takes less time. Look for sausage stuffers that are durable and sturdy so that you can get the most out of them and make the job of stuffing sausage as easy as possible.
If you want to have maximum control, look for a meat grinder that features variable speed settings. With variable speed settings, you can choose the speed you want your meat to grind at so that you can achieve the perfect results.
The best meat grinders come complete with a warranty. A warranty will protect your investment. Should anything happen to the appliance during the span of the warranty, you will be able to have it repaired or replaced, or you may be able to have your money reimbursed. Do make sure you read the fine print of the warranty so that you know exactly what it covers.
The Best Meat Grinder Brands
There are several manufacturers that make meat grinders, which can make it tough to determine which brand to go with. We have assessed countless user reviews and tested out models from different manufacturers ourselves, and have determined that the following meat grinder brands are the best of the best.
Meat grinders from STIX International consistently receive high ranking user reviews. They are made of durable materials, are easy to use, offer a variety of features and produce excellent results.
We also liked the meat grinders from Gourmia. This company uses high quality materials and construction to create superior meat grinders. They also offer a number of features and are very easy to use.
The meat grinders from LEM Products are also extremely high quality and have received excellent reviews from users. We liked how quickly they ground meat and how much food they could process. We also liked how easy they were to clean.
Sunmile is another meat grinder brand that we think is a worthwhile investment. This company uses the latest advances and durable construction to create top quality meat grinders that last a long time.