Meat Grinder Tips from

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Note from Lubos at I got an email few days ago from Matt Millensifer, who not too long ago started a website dedicated to meat grinders, He wanted to share some tips with you, and since grinding meat is such a huge part of traditional Slovak cooking, I thought this was quite fitting. By the way, I have not yet ordered anything from him, but he seems like a really nice guy and a good contact in case you are looking for meat grinders or meat grinder tips.

Since most of you are avid followers of, my guess is that you are preparing to celebrate zabíjačka. Since most of you will also use a meat grinder to prepare homemade sausages at this age old tradition, I thought it would be fitting to remind you of a few tips necessary to not only ensure that you get a good grind, but also stay safe and keep it sanitary.

#10 meat grinder meat grinder cleaning kit
The popular #10 meat grinder and a meat grinder cleaning kit. Images courtesy of Matt.

  1. Grinder tips – There are many options out there for which meat grinder you should use. Most decisions are based on cost, time, amount of grinding, and type of meat. The most standard sizing for a grinder is based on the size of the “head”, or “throat” of the grinder. Grinders are labeled by this particular specification (i.e. #5, #8, #10, #12, #22, #32). The larger the number, the larger the head of the grinder. This means that you can send more meat through at one time, increasing your Lbs. per hour. A #10 grinder is the most popular, since this is a middle of the road option. When it comes to what type of grinder will work for certain types of meat, the reality is that the actual grinder won’t influence this, the size of the cutting plate will. Use this quick chart as a reference for which cutting plate you should use…
    Fine: used for breakfast sausages, spreads, pâtés, baby food, and hamburgers.
    Medium: used for Polish and Italian style sausages, ground meat in soups or relishes.
    Coarse: used for salami and larger style sausages, ground meat for chili or with vegetables.
  2. Preparing the meat – One area people typically neglect is preparing their meat to be run through a grinder. There are a couple of important things to remember here. First, you need to make sure that the meat is chilled throughout the process. This will not only allow the meat to run through the grinder much easier (without mashing), but will also ensure that the meat is sanitary. Second, you need to trim away as much of the excess fat, cartilage, and tendons as possible so your machine doesn’t clog up. Though you will need to stop a couple of times and clean your machine while you grind, this will be much easier if you prepare in advance.
  3. Set up the grinder You always want to be sure that your grinder is mounted to a stable surface. Once you have mounted the grinder, be sure to rock it back and forth to ensure that your grinder will stay in place.
  4. Grind only the meat Try not to grind items that aren’t recommended for the grinder. I know this seems like an obvious point, but you have no idea how often this issue comes up. Grinding bones, dry food, etc. will dull your blades and could possibly ruin the unit.
  5. Stopping to clean the grinder – when you stop to open up the grinder and clean it, make sure you remove any tendons, bones, and gristle so your unit will continue to run smoothly. Once again, neglecting to do this will severely decrease the lifespan of your grinder. A nice trick is to run a few slices of bread through your grinder to clean it. This will pull out all the excess junk that is hard to reach.
  6. Cleaning Once you are finished with your grinding (and stuffing), be sure to disassemble the unit and clean the grinder with antibacterial soap and water. You’re asking for trouble down the road if you don’t clean your grinder thoroughly. Also, remember to completely dry your grinder once you are done cleaning it. If you don’t, your grinder will rust. Another nice trick is to store the grinder in a bag with rice. The rice will absorb the excess water, keeping the unit dry.

The most important factor in extending the life of a meat grinder is cleanliness and maintenance. Follow these steps, and your grinder will last you for years! Happy zabíjačka everyone!

Bio: Matt Millensifer is an outdoor enthusiast who lives in the Idaho and loves golf, hunting, college football, and spending time with his family. Growing up around hunting and game processing, became a dream realized in 2011. His website specializes in meat grinders and meat grinder accessories. For more information on meat grinders or general questions please email him at