A meat grinder is a fantastic kitchenware to have in your home!
It gives not only more fresh and tastier sausages, but adds better flavor to all your meat preparations.
People love what their meat grinders do, but not everyone takes care of them like they should. It’s either that they don’t care about keeping their grinder clean or don’t know how to.
But since you’re here looking for some guidance on how to clean and maintain your meat grinder for deer, pork, beef, or others, we can safely assume you love it very much.
Don’t worry; we’re going to give you exactly what you came here for: some very useful and practical tips on how to use and clean your grinder.
By the end of this guide, you’re going to know exactly how to maintain the grinder to let it work all year long.
So, keep on reading!
Why Get a Meat Grinder?
All of the ground meat in the local supermarket comes from hundreds of animal farms with no credible sourcing. These days, one can’t even be sure about what kind of meat it is. Not only that, but the meat that retails in the supermarkets is not made from the best portions of the cattle.
So, getting yourself a meat grinder will make sure that not only you get safe meat for your loved ones but also you feast on the best in quality.
Even if you think the meat in the local market is just fine, you’d not want to go back to that supermarket offering once you have tasted the meat ground in your own kitchen. Supermarket meat never mentions anything about the meat except the fat content. But if you grind your own meat, then you make sure you have the perfect meat every time you cook.
The meat prepared in the house kitchen is obviously going to be fresher. Packaged meat is often kept on shelf unattended for days. And to make that possible, they are loaded with preservatives. Not only that makes the meat taste bad sometimes but also can be a serious health hazard for you and your family.
When I weighed in these factors, I knew I had to get my own meat grinder as soon as possible. And I don’t regret my decision.
If you are thinking of getting one too, make sure you get one from a reputed brand and clean it properly. Here are some tips just for that!
But, before we begin talking about the cleaning of a new meat grinder, let’s talk a bit about the right way to grind meat in the first place.
How to Grind Meat?
1. Keep the meat cold
Hot meat will never result in good ground meat and it might even hurt the grinder in the process. Make sure to cool down the meat at least for an hour before you start firing up the grinder. This will make sure that the meat is evenly ground and doesn’t stick on the landing plate. Also, if a freezer is available, keep the blade and plate of the ground cool in there.
2. Keep the meat small
A good and obvious piece of advice is to keep the meat die small. This makes sure that the ground meat is even and doesn’t get stuck in the screw of the grinder. A good practice is to cut the meat into quarter-inch pieces. Make sure they don’t have tendon or sinew.
That’ll screw up the grinder screw. And if you want finer meat, just grind it again. It’ll be even and not a hot lump of a mess.
3. Season it just right
One of the most important things is how you season it. If it’s for a burger don’t season the meat before getting it through the grinder, to ensure the best flavor. If it’s sausage, then season it prior.
Now that you have ground the perfect meat. Let’s get to the cleaning to make sure that it keeps on doing that for years to come.
How to Clean a Meat Grinder?
You’ll need a sink with hot and soapy water. Don’t use the dishwasher for cleaning the grinder parts as it’ll wear them out. Also, you’ll need a pair of safety gloves to handle the blade properly. My advice will be to get a cut resistant glove that doesn’t mind getting wet.
You may also need a screwdriver depending upon the kind of cover that holds the plate and the blade together. But as in with most grinders it won’t be necessary.
Before starting the disassembly of the grinder for cleaning, run a piece of bread through the mill to make sure the resilient sticky meat gets out of it. Turn off the grinder properly and now start disassembling it. There are 5 parts in the grinder.
The hopper, the screw, the blade, the plate and the cover. Unscrew the cover to get the blade and the plate out. Do it carefully because the blade is sharp enough to grind any meat, even your fingers. Now take out the screw carefully.
Make sure you don’t put a lot of force in pulling it out. Consult the manual of your grinder to make sure you are doing it right.
While cleaning, make sure that the water is lukewarm. Wash the parts gently with a sponge or a piece of cloth to make sure it doesn’t take away the shine of the grinder. Be extra careful while washing the blade as it’ll cut your fingers if you’re not careful or not wearing gloves.
Once the cover, plate and the blade are clean, start cleaning the screw. Make sure there’s not anything left on the crevices and it’s squeaky clean. Then, take a dry piece of cloth and wipe it off or let it dry up on the rack.
For the hopper rinse some water through it. Make sure that it’s not more than what’s needed and be extra careful if it’s an electric grinder as it may short-circuit the motor. Use a bottle brush to carefully wash the hopper and make sure that there’s nothing remaining in there.
Take a moist piece of cloth and wipe the casing of the grinder carefully and wipe off the extra moisture with a dry piece of cloth.
One of the ways to make sure that the grinder stays pristine for a long time is to oil the blade and plate after washing. I recommend to use food-grade mineral oil but any edible oil will do. Apply a thin coat of oil on the metal parts to make sure it stays shiny and new like the first time you bought it.
Either use a brush or a spray to make sure it has an even coating. Let it rest with the oil for a while and then wipe it off before putting it back together. Or you can put the parts in a freezer as a meat grinder work the best when it’s cold.
Make sure that you clean the grinder properly after every time you grind. Not only it will ensure a long life for the grinder but will also make sure that you don’t get sick with food poisoning.
How to Sharpen the Blade?
Once in a while, you’ll need to sharpen the blade of the grinder. If the blade goes blunt then grinding will become a hassle and it will ruin the meat.
Here are some tips to make sure the blade is always sharp and ready to roll.
You will need to prepare well for this job. You’ll need an even slab of glass, one piece of 120 grit sandpaper, one piece of 600 grit sandpaper and one pair of workingman’s gloves that are cut resistant. I recommend using a pair of workman’s glove for it. It’s perfect for the job. Clean the glass slab with a moist piece of cloth and make sure it’s just moist and not dripping wet.
Now for easier sharpening, cut the sandpaper into sizes that suit the blade beforehand. It’ll be a whole lot easier to do it that way.
Now that you are all set with the equipment, it’s time to do the job. Don’t forget to make sure that the blade is clean before you start this.
Start by placing the blades at 45º to the 120 grit sandpaper. Slowly swipe it over the sandpaper in a circular or figure-8 motion. It’ll make sure that it’s evenly grinding. Keep on doing this slowly and carefully. The gloves should help grip it properly. Repeat this process for 10-15 times till it’s all shiny and sharp. Make sure to do it evenly for every wing of the blade.
Take a clean piece of cloth or paper towel to clean off the dirt and sand particles.
Now take out the 600 grit sandpaper to do the fine job. The blade will be even and sharp all across with that.
Repeat the same process as before. Place it at 45º and swipe it in a circular or figure-8 motion. But don’t overdo it this time. Do this only for about 4-5 times to make sure you don’t chip away a lot.
After that, rinse the blade with warm water and wipe it carefully with a clean dry piece of cloth. You can also apply a thin coat of food-grade mineral oil to make sure it retains its shine. Just be sure to wipe it off before you put it safely back in the grinder.
Sharpening the blade once in a while is extremely important as it’ll make sure that the meat you grind is even and perfect. A blunt blade will ruin the grinding experience and you’ll have to put in more efforts while doing it.
Just make sure you clean and sharpen the blade frequently enough. Clean it after every time you grind something and sharpen the blade after grinding about 2-3 times.
That’s it then! With these tips, you’ll be good to go on your meat grinding experience.
It’s way nicer to grind your own meat for the ingredients instead of getting whatever is on the shelf of the local supermarket.
Once you start grinding your own meat, you’ll not be willing to go back to your previous ways.
Just make sure to take good care of the grinder once you get it. Keep it clean and sharpen the blade often to keep the grinder in the best condition always.
With this, I hope you have a great experience and some tasty meals!