How to Use a Hand Operated Meat Grinder

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Hand-operated meat grinders will turn out tasty, freshly ground meats of any variety. Give your arm a workout, while you control the texture of your ground foods, by using a manual grinder. Run a cold operation for food safety and to keep your meat from releasing its flavorful fat.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand-operated meat grinder
  • Sharp knife
  • Meat
  • Large bowl
  • Slice of bread
  • Secure your grinder to a stable surface in your kitchen with the built-in clamp or included bolts.Try rocking the installed grinder back and forth and winding the crank, to be sure that it will not wobble.

  • Trim away excess fat, tendon and cartilage before cutting meat into pieces narrow enough to fit into the opening of your meat grinder. Excess gristle will clog manual grinders; by removing most of it ahead of time, you will avoid the hassle of cleaning it out of your machine later.

  • Chill the meat chunks in the fridge or freezer until they are cold all the way through. Cold meat keeps its shape better in the grinder and will keep the heat generated by friction from melting the fat.

  • Chill a large, clean bowl in the freezer and place it under the exit end of the grinder, to catch the ground meat. Keeping the meat cold at every stage in the process limits the possibility of bacterial growth.

  • Turn the hand crank on the side of your grinder in a slow steady motion, as you lower the first piece of meat into its mouth. Allow the grinder's blades to pull the meat in through the machine---never push it down or cram it into the cavity with your fingers.

  • Once the last of your meat has gone through the grinder, run a slice of moist bread through it, to clean out the last few bits. Pick the bread pieces out of the meat bowl and discard them.

Tips & Warnings

  • Read the instructions for your individual hand-operated meat grinder for disassembly and cleaning instructions, so you know how to thoroughly sterilize your unit between uses. Some manual grinders come with different blades for chunkier and finer cuts. Attachments may also be available to capture your ground meat in a casing for sausage. Meat grinders are capable of grinding vegetables and fruits, as well many different varieties of meat. Finely grind cooked fruits and vegetables in a well-cleaned manual grinder for homemade baby food.
  • Manual grinders don't know the difference between meat and human fingers. Never place your fingers near the blades for any reason, until the machine is taken apart.

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