How to Use a Manual Meat Grinder

Last Updated on January 31, 2023 by Claire

Manual meat grinders are an affordable and ideal option for those who would like to get a little more involved in their grinding. Whether you use a basic cast-iron, stainless-steel, or heavy-duty meat grinder, there are a lot of upsides to using these simple hand-operated machines. However, using them can sometimes seem a little difficult as they require a little finesse to get the best out of. To help you meet your kitchen needs, this article explains how to use a manual meat grinder (everything from assembling to actual use), as well as some tips to keep in mind.

How to use a manual meat grinder

How to use a manual meat grinder

A manual meat grinder is simpler to use than you think. Below guide will help you use your manual meat grinder properly for the best grinding result.

1. Identifying the essential parts of a manual meat grinder

The first step to using a manual meat grinder is identifying the basic parts that make up the machine and their respective functions.

Here are the basic parts that make up a manual meat grinder:

  1. Suction base: A suction base is what helps to keep the grinder in place and prevent it from slipping when in use.
  2. Hand crank: This part is what allows you to grind the meat without much effort. Just rotating the hand crank using its handle in a circular “up and down” motion is all that’s needed to grind your meat or veggies.
  3. Other parts such as the: loader, dispenser, auger, auger stud, blades, stuffing tubes, and clamp screw.

The loader and dispenser are quite self-explanatory, whilst the other parts can be easily identified and will simply “slide into place” without much fuss. some of the advantages of meat grinders:

  • Simple to setup and use
  • Relatively affordable when compared to electric meat grinders
  • They don’t take up much space
  • They can be used anywhere because they do not require electricity for operation.

2. Assembling the manual meat grinder

Understand how to assemble a manual meat grinder to help you know how a meat grinder works and how to properly use one.

Here’s a step-by step guide on how to assemble a manual meat grinder:

  1. Ensure all the basic parts are clean, dry and free of rust. check on the blades to see if they are well-sharpened and not blunt.
  2. Fix the hand crank to the main body of the manual meat grinder as tight as possible. Not doing this properly will make cranking difficult, cause damage to the grinder, surface and might even result in injuries to you!
  3. Fix the blade and extrusion plate to the machine properly. When it comes to choosing extrusion plates, the smaller the holes, the better the quality of the meat is. So you need to make sure you use the correct extrusion plate.
  1. Mount the meat grinder on a proper work surface. A stable grinder is essential for excellent grinding outputs. So you need to make sure the surface you are placing your grinder on is strong, stable and non-slip to prevent your grinder from slipping when in use.

3. Prepare the grinding materials

Now that you can identify the basic parts and assemble them in place, its time to get down to the business of grinding the meat.

Materials needed:

  • A manual hand-cranked meat grinder
  • Sharp knife
  • Meat
  • Tray
  • Bowl (container)
  • Slice(s) of bread

4. Grinding the meat

The final part is grinding meat. You can use your machine to make hamburgers from fresh beef chuck, grind pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, game meats, and even buffalo. You could always freeze your meat before grinding. Place a single layer on a parchment-lined sheet pan, and allow it to freeze for about 15-20 minutes before grinding. When cold, the meat will be firm and will grind cleanly during grinding—ThermoWorks.

Read also: get this best knife grinder

How do you grind meat in a manual grinder?

The grinding procedure includes the following:

  1. Choose and prepare the meat that’s suitable for your recipe

For best results with very little inconvenience, remember to cut your meat into smaller one or two inch chunks before putting them into the meat grinder to avoid getting it clogged. If you need to grind bones, keeo in mind that they can only grind bones that are considered soft, per the One Stop Jerky shop. Meanwhile, consider this meat grinder for your dog’s bone food.

  1. Freeze the grinder plates, blades, a large clean bowl and the meat you want to grind

Spread out the meat chunks evenly on a tray, and then place the tray in a freezer for about two hours- You want the meat to be partially frozen.

Also remember to put the grinder plates and blades in the freezer for the same amount of time.

Tip: This step might seem unusual, but it will enable you to easily grind meat without having a hard time cleaning your grinder afterwards and will also give you excellent results.

  1. Assemble the grinder

After two hours, take out the partially frozen meat and grinder parts from the freezer. Then properly reassemble your meat grinder into a unit as discussed earlier in this article.

Tip: Make sure all the grinder parts are clean and properly sanitized.

  1. Place your grinder on a stable surface

As previously mentioned, make sure the meat grinder is properly secured and fastened to a strong, stable and non-slip surface. You can use the included bolts or clamps to secure the meat grinder in place.

Tip: Try to see if you can shake the unit, or crank it vigorously to see if it stays in place. If not, you won’t get the best results out of your manual meat grinder with minimal effort.

  1. Feed the meat chunks or veggies into your grinder

Put a chilled, large and clean bowl (container) below the meat grinder’s dispenser to collect the ground meat and feed the meat into the manual grinder. Even if you’re vegan, a meat grinder would still be useful in your home.

Do not use your hands to do this! Instead use a meat pusher to push the cold meat chunks into the grinder via the feed tube.

Tip: Make sure your grinder blades are sharp enough to avoid getting smashed and chewy meat from your grinder. Also ensure the meat is kept cold at every stage of the grinding process to prevent bacteria growth.

  1. Crank the handle

Turn the hand crank using its handle in a slow and steady motion. Allow the meat pusher and grinder blades to do the job of pulling the meat inside it while you simply crank it.

  1. Run a slice of bread through the meat grinder to make cleanup easier

Once you finish grinding the meat, running one or two slices of moist bread through the grinder will help to easily clean out the last few bits of meat from the grinder. Thus making cleanup easier.

Just remember to pick out the bread pieces from the meat bowl and throw them away.

  1. Repeat the grinding process as needed

Manual meat grinders allow you the option of repeating the grinding process until the desired level of results are met. You also don’t have to worry about energy costs since they do not require electricity to be operated.

Finally, disassemble the meat grinder right away and give it a thorough clean.

Dos and don’ts

For consistent high-quality results, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Check the paperwork that came with your manual grinder for proper instructions on how to disassemble, clean, and sanitize your machine.
  2. To avoid a mess after grinding meat, make sure you freeze the grinder plates, blades, a large clean bowl and the meat you want to grind for about two hours or till they become partially frozen.
  3. Make sure your grinder is safely and securely placed on a stable surface before use.
  4. Do not use your hands to push meat into the machine! Always use a meat pusher to push the meat into it via the feed tube.
  5. To prevent meat from getting smashed and chewy, double-check the grinder blades to make sure they are sharp enough before grinding.
  6. Ensure you’re using the proper blade for the job. This is because some meat grinders have different-sized blades for different types of cuts.
  7. Other than just grinding meat, meat grinders can be used for other purposes such as making breadcrumbs, mashed potatoes, dough, juicing, grinding vegetables, nuts, and others.
  8. Grinder attachments make it easier to collect ground meat for specific use, so it’s worth checking if your meat grinder comes with an attachment for that purpose.
  9. Grind and regrind as needed till your desired result is achieved.

How to sharpen meat grinder blades?

Although there are various ways to do this, the easiest way to sharpen your meat grinder’s blades is to:

  1. Disassemble the meat grinder

Learning to identify and put together the basic components of a meat grinder is critical to knowing how a meat grinder works and how to keep it in good condition.

Note that the process of disassembling your meat grinder will depend on its model, so its best to consult the owner’s manual that came with your machine for proper instructions on how to disassemble, clean, and take care of it.

  1. Wear protective gloves

Putting on a pair of protective gloves will help to keep your hands safe whilst handling the blades or any sharp parts of the meat grinder.

Tip: Leather gloves are recommended because they are tough and very resistant to sparks and abrasions. They also protect the hands from rough and sharp objects that will easily penetrate other types of gloves.

  1. Use sandpaper to scrape the surface of the blades in a circular motion for 10 minutes

Taking one blade at a time, use one hand to hold the blade firmly (with your gloves of course), and use the other hand to repeatedly scrape the surface of the blade in a “fore and aft” type motion for about 10 minutes.

Tip: A 100 grit or higher sandpaper is best for this

  1. Lightly rinse the blades in water

Dip the blades in cold water to rinse off any dust or debris accumulated on the blades surface.

Tip: Do not use hot water to rinse the blades as hot water will make your blade dull more quickly.

  1. Use a clean cloth to wipe the blades

Use a clean, dry cloth to rub up, down and over the tips of the blades to clean off any water or moisture on them.

Should I freeze meat before grinding?

Yes, it’s important to freeze meat before grinding.

Freezing meat prior to grinding is a great way to make sure it stays firm, cuts cleanly and evenly during the grinding process with minimal effort on your part.

Freezing the meat before grinding will also allow you to easily grind meat without making a mess afterwards because frozen meat stays in shape and passes through the grinder easily compared to thawed meat.

Lastly, keeping the meat chilled at every stage of the grinding process is critical to preventing bacteria growth.

To freeze your meat, simply spread out your perfectly sized meat chunks on a tray, and then place the tray in a freezer for about two hours until it’s partially frozen.

How long does manual grinding take?

So far you follow proper instructions and your meat are properly cut into perfectly sized one or two-inch chunks before feeding them into the grinder, manual grinding should take you between 4-8 minutes to achieve your desired results with very little inconvenience.

However, this depends on the amount of meat you intend to grind.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use a meat grinder as a juicer?

Yes, a meat grinder can be used as a juicer. However unlike juicers, the juice produced may contain some grind-up skin, pulp and even seeds. It must be mentioned that the results usually depend on the model of the meat grinder in use for juicing.

Which way does a blade go on a meat grinder?

The blade should be placed over the end of the grind screw and fit snugly inside the housing with the sharp side facing out. It doesn’t fit in properly, take it out, turn it over and put it in again. Always ensure the sharp side of the blade is facing outwards.

Can you grind bones with a manual meat grinder?

Yes, strong, sturdy and high-quality manual meat grinders can grind bones effectively

Are manual grinders hard to use?

No, manual meat grinders are actually very easy to set-up and use. They are durable, don’t require a lot of upkeep, sturdy, very reliable and long-lasting especially when compared to electric grinders.

Read also: how I ripen banana in 1 hour daily


Using a manual meat grinder isn’t as difficult as it seems. Simply following the steps outlined in this article should get you rolling in no time and give you consistent high-quality grind meat.

Just remember to take some precautions before, during and after using your manual meat grinder to keep it in good shape and to get many more years of use from it.