People who believe in feeding themselves and their families high-quality burgers, meatballs and other ground meats find that grinding meat at home is their best option. You don’t need butchering skills to do this, and it’s an easy way to make sure that you avoid the nasty chemicals and additives that prepackaged meat comes loaded with.
Grinding your own meat produces a light and airy product that actually tastes like the cut of meat you have ground up. When you buy prepackaged meat from the store, it’s often a mystery as to what you are actually eating; it tastes like meat, but you can never be sure exactly what it is. You’re in charge when you grind your own meat; you never have to worry about eating old cuts of meat that have been mixed with preservatives and pink slime.
If you properly care for your meat grinder, you greatly reduce the risk of E. coli contamination, and you’ll produce ground meat that tastes better and is safer to eat. The great thing about cleaning manual models, electric grinders and mixer attachments is that they all operate in the same way, so they all cleanup in basically the same way. Meat passes through a tube with the help of a pusher or tamper, and this meat is pushed through a grinding plate and blade with a screw. All of these parts need to be cleaned thoroughly after every use.
If you follow these cleaning and maintenance tips, your meat grinder will consistently produce a high-quality product that doesn’t have the contamination risks that store-bought ground meat has:
Removing excess raw meat from your grinder makes it a lot easier to clean, so before you disassemble your grinder for cleaning, run a piece or two of bread through the feeding tube. When you do this, the bread acts like a sponge, and it soaks up little pieces of meat that may be lodged in your blades, plates or tubes. You don’t have to do this, but it really makes the cleaning process easier; if you have a lot of meat residue to clean up, it’s more likely that germs and bacteria will form in your grinder.
You need to take your meat grinder apart to wash it. If it’s an electric model, make sure to unplug it from the wall socket before you do this. Remove the unit’s grinding screw, plates, blade cover and cutting blade. Make sure to be careful when handling the blade; it’s made to cut through tough pieces of meat, so it’s extremely sharp.
In order to properly wash a meat grinder, you’re going to have to do it by hand. Dishwashers tend to ruin the metal that most machines are made out of. A dishwasher will also dull your blades after a couple of cycles.
Fill a large bowl with some warm and soapy water; let all of your pieces soak in there for about 15 minutes. Soaking loosens any meat residue that is still on your pieces. After your pieces have soaked, scrub them inside and out with a sponge. Use a bottle brush to clean your grinding plates, hopper and feed tube. Make sure to be thorough; you don’t want germs and bacteria building up on your pieces when you store them.
If you’re using an electric grinder, never submerge the motor in water; you can use a moist rag to clean the motor housing, but you never want to put the base in water. Also, we can’t stress this enough; the blades are sharp, so make sure to handle them with care.
After you are done washing your parts, dry them with a clean towel; this helps prevent rust and oxidation. Leave them out on a towel to air dry completely.
Oil will prevent rusting and oxidation, so it’s important to coat your parts with a thin layer of oil; most people choose to use a food-grade mineral oil for this, but in a pinch, others will work as well. We like to use a spray bottle of mineral oil. It coats your parts evenly, and it’s a lot easier to use. Spray or wipe all of your metal parts including your pusher and screw with the mineral oil, and then store them in a plastic bag.
You can throw a handful of rice into this bag; the rice absorbs moisture, and this prevents rusting as well. When you’re ready to use your parts again, you can spray them with some bleach to make sure that they are disinfected, but make sure to wash the bleach off before you put any food through the unit. You can make the bleach solution by adding one tablespoon of bleach into one gallon of water.
You don’t really have to sharpen your blades often; the act of grinding meat and rubbing against the grinding plate automatically sharpens them, but if you use your unit enough, you will need to sharpen them eventually. If your blade becomes dull, your best bet is to take it to get professionally sharpened, or you can just buy a replacement. You can prolong your blade’s lifespan by wrapping it in cloth when it isn’t in use; this prevents it from rubbing against other pieces and getting dulled or nicked during storage.
Adding a meat grinder to your home appliance collection is an easy way to make sure that you and your family know exactly what you are eating. You avoid chemicals, additives and the bacteria that are found in most store-bought meats, and it only takes a couple of minutes to get your meat ground up. Maintenance is important when you use your own grinder, but fortunately it isn’t very hard to do. It should only take a couple of minutes to maintain your grinder, and we feel like those minutes are time well spent when you consider how much better you’ll be eating.