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Commercial Meat Grinder Buying Guide

Making your own freshly ground beef or sausage is one way you can set your restaurant apart from the competition. Any establishment where meat is prepared, from a butcher shop to a deli counter, will likely want to have at least one commercial meat grinder available for use. Finding the best meat grinder for your needs is a relatively simple process. Once you understand what is available, and evaluate your own specific needs, you'll be able to find the right one for you!

Types of Meat Grinders

Like most pieces of commercial kitchen equipment, meat grinders are available in a variety of sizes and configurations.

Weston 36-1001-W #10 Deluxe Manual Meat Grinder

Manual meat grinders mount to your table or countertop and are designed for low-volume use. Because of their relatively small capacity and the need to turn the crank by hand, this type of grinder likely won't be used too often in a commercial setting.

Purchasing Considerations

  • Use a table clamp to stay in place, as some models won't attach to a thick table
  • Not intended for frequent commercial-level use

Electric meat grinders come in a variety of sizes, from small countertop units all the way up to large, high-output floor mounted models that are best suited for meat processing facilities or busy butcher shops or meat counters.

Avantco MG22 #22 1 1/2 hp Meat Grinder - 110V

It's important to pay attention to the number of pounds of meat a particular meat grinder can process per minute (or per hour) when comparing models. If you purchase a unit that can't keep up with your output requirements, you'll shorten its life and negatively impact your own productivity.

Purchasing Considerations

  • Match the output of the machine to your business needs
  • Pay attention to the materials and construction of the grinder; stainless steel is dishwasher safe and resists corrosion
Hobart 84186-1 Buffalo Chopper Food Processor with #12 Hub - 1 hp

Horizontal food cutters, more commonly known as Buffalo choppers, are an extremely versatile piece of equipment that are able to shred chicken, pork, and other meats that you don't want finely ground. They also work great for making things like coleslaw, potato salad, chicken salad, and more because you can add seasonings and sauces as you're cutting the meat or vegetables. Some models even boast a powered take-off hub (PTO) where you hook up a meat grinder or vegetable slicer attachment to have the best of both worlds!

Purchasing Considerations

  • Decide whether you want to purchase a model with a #12 hub
  • Pay attention to safety features; the blade is more exposed on this type of unit
  • Evaluate space; these models can take up a bit more countertop space than a traditional countertop meat grinder

Common Accessories and Related Products

Sausage Stuffer Attachments and Sausage Stuffers

Avantco MG22TUBE 3/4 inch Sausage Stuffer Tube for MG22 Meat Grinder

Many meat grinders have an optional sausage stuffing tube or tubes of varying sizes that you can use to grind meat directly into casings for hot dogs and sausage. Using a stuffing tube with a meat grinder, particularly if you don't have a "stuffing die," can be a slow process because the machine doesn't output the ground meat nearly as quickly as a dedicated sausage stuffing machine. If you want to produce a lot of sausage or hot dogs, you'll be much happier and more productive with a standalone sausage stuffer.

Meat Mixer

Weston 36-2001-W 44 lb. Manual Meat Mixer with Removable Paddles

A meat mixer is a relatively simple product, where you add ground meat and seasonings to a hopper and turn a crank to mix the product together. This is great for sausage, meatloaf, meatballs, and other seasoned meat products. A few of the largest commercial meat grinders we offer have this capability built-in, which is helpful for food processing or extremely high output situations.

Multiple Grinding Plates

Most meat grinders come with several sizes of grinding plates, or dies, with holes of varying sizes. And with many manufacturers, additional sizes are available for purchase separately. Obviously, the smaller the holes, the more finely ground the final product will be. For the smaller grind sizes, it's best to grind the meat starting with the largest hole size first. Then, re-grind the meat through successively smaller grinding plates to achieve the best results. Follow the guidelines in the table below for optimal results.

HOLE SIZE
GROUND TYPE FIRST GRIND CHILI /STEW CHORIZO BRATWURST HAMBURGER BREAKFAST SAUSAGE ITALIAN SAUSAGE BOLOGNA / JERKY / FORCEMEAT
Hobart 3246PLT-1/2S #32 1/2 inch Stay Sharp Grinder Plate for 4146, 4246, 4732, MG2032, and MG1532 Meat Grinders / Choppers
3/4"
Very Coarse            
Hobart 12PLT-1/2S #12 1/2 inch Stay Sharp Grinder Plate for 4812 Meat Choppers and Chopping Ends
1/2"
Very Coarse            
Hobart 22PLT-3/8S #22 3/8 inch Stay Sharp Grinder Plate for 4822 Meat Choppers and Chopping Ends
3/8"
Coarse          
Hobart 3246PLT-3/8S #32 3/8 inch Stay Sharp Grinder Plate for 4146, 4246, 4732, MG2032, and MG1532 Meat Grinders / Choppers
1/4" - 5/16"
Coarse            
Hobart 12PLT-3/16S #12 3/16 inch Stay Sharp Grinder Plate for 4812 Meat Choppers and Chopping Ends
5/32" - 3/16"
Medium          
Hobart 3246PLT-3/16S #32 3/16 inch Stay Sharp Grinder Plate for 4146, 4246, 4732, MG2032, and MG1532 Meat Grinders / Choppers
3/32" - 1/8"
Fine            

Meat Grinder Tips and Tricks

  • Most commercial meat grinders are not really designed for animal bones.
  • Don't take your meat out of the refrigerator until you're ready to grind it.
  • Chill your grinding plates, knife, feed tube, and auger in a freezer or ice bath before grinding a batch of meat. Since grinding creates friction and will warm the meat up, keeping everything as cool as possible will help with food safety!
  • Cut the meat into evenly sized chunks and feed it through the funnel gently; don't force it!
  • A sharp cutting knife is a must. Replace dulled ones for better performance!
  • Thoroughly clean and sanitize all components immediately after use. Stainless steel components are dishwasher safe!
  • For cast aluminum or cast iron components, try storing them in a small food pan with some cornstarch. It will absorb excess moisture.
  • Use a food-safe lubricant to maintain and protect all moving parts.

Identifying Your Grinder

If you need to figure out what size grinder you have, measure one of your grinder plates across the center to get the diameter. Check that measurement against this table to find your hub size.

Plate Diameter
Grinder / Hub Size
3 7/8"
#32
3 1/4"
#20 - #22
2 3/4"
#10 - #12
2 1/2"
#8
2 1/8"
#5

Watch this helpful video to learn the basics of how to use a countertop meat grinder:

How to Use an Avantco Meat Grinder

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