How Does a Meat Grinder Work

The core design of a meat grinder stayed the same since its invention in the 19th century by Karl Drais. So the next meatball you pleasantly eat, remember the name who started it all.

But you might not want one because you don’t know exactly how does a meat grinder works properly. Just follow the steps below and buy a meat grinder for a healthy and tasty home-cooked meal.

I’ve also included a brief yet handy buying guide and some important tips. Hope you’ll like it.

How Does a Meat Grinder Work Properly?

how does an electric meat grinder work

The components of the meat grinder will work well if you use them correctly. Yeah, seems like a simple process of pushing down hammered meat into the tube and collecting the ground meat out of the lattice. Let’s find out the proper working principle of a meat grinder.

Step 1. Prepping the meat before grinding

function of meat grinder

Get a big piece of meat and clean it with water. Then cut off extra fat and give it a gentle wash again. Use a part towel to wrap up the meat for a couple of minutes. Then place it in the freezer to cool down.

I cut my meat into the right size and then use silver wrappings for hygienic sanitization. Then I put it into a freezer to cool down.

Please note that you’ll need to cut the meat slice according to the size of your meat grinder’s feeding tube.

The meat needs to cool down so it won’t stick to the grinder’s wall. If you can, freeze the grinder blade too. It’ll enhance the grinding speed and efficiency.

Step 2. Meat grinder assembly

Before you start, let’s assemble the meat grinder first. See the user manual and follow the instructions.

Step 3. Putting the meat into the feeding tube

how does the kitchenaid meat grinder work

Now take the semi-frozen meat out of the freezer and place them into the feeding cylinder. Please make sure the meat is sliced into small enough pieces for proper grinding.

Step 4. Slice and grind

how does an electric meat grinder work

Once the meat reaches the lower extruder, the blade slices the nest, and the ring screw pushes the meat out through the lattice/grinding plate. Oh, don’t forget to place a bowl to gather the ground meat.

Step 5. Change the lattice/ grinding plates if necessary

You should grab a few different sizes of lattices. So you can get different sizes of grinding portions according to your needs. It could be a meatball or sausage shape.

Step 6. Finish up the grinding in a hygienic manner

function of meat grinder

Once you’re done with the meat grinder, clean it thoroughly. Make sure that there are no residues of meat left in and outside of the meat grinder.

But how do I clean the inside chamber of the meat grinder?

I grind bread through the meat grinder for easy cleaning. It’s useful and prevents your inner components from getting wet every day.

how do i clean the inside chamber of the meat grinder machine

Manual meat grinders are easy to clean thoroughly. I mean, you can at least wash them every once in a week with soap and water.

But the electric meat grinder demands systematic cleaning stages. Please follow your manufacturers’ recommendations in the user manual or watch the video below.

What to Consider Before Buying a Meat Grinder

The right size

Every meat grinder comes with a size label.

Meat grinder sizeLattice/ disc-shaped grinder plate diameter/ meat grinder exit plate
52 ⅛
82 ½
122 ¾
223 ¼
323 ⅞

The chart shows the typical size of meat grinders best for homes. The bigger the meat grinder, the larger the feeding tube. You can change the exit grinding plate type to make meatballs, sausages, and others.

Make sure it has a reverse function.

The meat will get stuck into your meat grinder someday. So it’s essential to see if your meat grinder, especially those electric ones, has any reverse motor function or not. Without the feature, it’ll be hard to unclog the meat grinder.

Must look for sausage attachment

Why? Because you’ll want to make sausages at some point. So make sure your chosen meat grinder model offers a sausage stuffer or sausage attachment option.

Nothing but stainless steel

I’m talking about the grinder blade. Do not settle for anything less than a stainless steel cutting blade because the stainless steel blade stays sharp for a long time. It’s also hygienic and less prone to rusting over time. This durable and sharp cutting blade is the reason for the ground meat and vegetables you crave for.

Never compromise on durability.

Durability was never an issue for manual meat grinders. But with electric meat grinders, manufacturers use plastic frames as a cost-cutting incentive.

I’m not saying plastic meat grinders are bad. Besides, it’s mostly the outer shell; the inside structure is made of aluminum or steel. Still, if you want that ultimate meat grinder, go for the cast aluminum build.

Should you go for the manual or the electric meat grinder?

If you want something simple, durable, dependable, and operating without a power source, the manual meat grinder is your bread and butter.

But if you don’t like to stress out your arms because there are lot of grinding to do, settle for an electric meat grinder.

Want a meat grinder for your home or your restaurant?

If you need a grinder to make some meatballs, sausages, ground meat dough, etc., for your home, get a low-powered electric meat grinder.

But for restaurants, you can’t settle for anything less than a commercial electric meat grinder. They are big and offer faster grinding power at a ridiculous speed.

Meat Grinder Price

best manual meat grinder

Price Is an essential part of them all. The cost will vary from model to model. Base models are focused on budget buyers, whereas the top models tend to be for commercial use.

My suggestion is to decide on a budget and then browse through to see your budget grinder features. Try not to be too stingy with the price, though because quality products cost more.

Meat grinder components

Although there are different types of meat grinders, they exist. But their core design and mechanism remain the same with a few tweaks and upgrades from build quality to the blade’s design.

The operating methods are different, though. The manual meat grinder needs your arm’s rotation, and the electric meat miner is just a switch press away.

To understand how does meat grinder works properly, we’ll have to identify how each component works.


Let’s take the apparent difference-maker out of the way first. You’ll see a motor with an electric miner only. Their rated power ranges from 300-500 watts. More wattage means more torque from the motor. And more torque means more grinding power in a short time.

Meat pan/ tray

The tray sits on top of the meat grinder. So you can’t miss it. Make sure the plate is made of stainless steel because it won’t go bad over time like rusting, chipping, or denting.

The meat access cylinder

Right below the tray, there is a “T” shaped round cylinder to insert the meat.

Ring screw

The ring screw acts as a mechanism (also known as the extruder) to take the meat out. Once the meat reaches the bottom tube, the ring screw gets pushed towards the grinding plate.

The cutting blade

The cutting blade is located at the end of the extruder. The blade is made of stainless steel. So it won’t rust over time.

Lattices/ Grinding plates

It’s a small rounded metal or stainless steel made plate with holes. Once the meat is sliced properly and pushed by the extruder with the help of the O’ ring screw, the meat comes out of the lattice in pieces.

The hole size differs depending on the type of meat you’re grinding. There are three types of sizes available.

Large: 0.6- 0.8 cm.

Average: 0.4-0.5 cm.

Small: 0.3-0.35 cm.

There is also a beef stroganoff up to 3 cm with elongated slots.

Stuffer tool for sausages

If you wish to prepare some sauces, then this sausage stuffer tool needs to be attached to the ring screw.

Meat stiffer

It’s a plastic stick to shove the meat into the feeding tube of the meat grinder.

Other accessories

There are different types of nozzles to process vegetables and fruits. You can do sausage or meatball shapes or just grind out a few doughs in shortcrust shapes.

How to sharpen your meat grinder blade?

Different parts of a meat grinder could cost you hundreds of dollars. So instead of replacing them, why not re-sharpen the meat grinder blade and those plates?

Some things are easy to understand by watching rather than reading about it.

How to Store Your Meat Grinder?

You have to properly store your meat grinder, whether it’s for a day or a few months. Let’s say you might not use it for months. In that case, applying a layer of oil coat will protect your meat grinder from rusting and oxidizing.

Please use food-grade oil. Don’t use oil that is not consumable.

You can polish the oil using your hand or with a pastry brush. However, I use a spray bottle to apply oil because it’s faster. I like to lubricate my meat grinder thoroughly.

Once you’re done lubricating the metal parts along with the meat tray and pusher, wipe them thoroughly with a cloth. Just to let you know, I use a microfiber cloth.

Once they are appropriately wiped, wrap each part of the meat grinder with cotton clothes. However, I pack them up either with polythene or plastic bags.

You can also try burying each part of the meat grinder into a pile of rice. The rice soaks up the moisture, preventing damage from rust. It also acts as a disinfectant that will protect your meat grinder from microbes and bacteria buildups.

Keeping the grinder buried for a long time could build up rice films. Just wash it off with some bleach before using it again.

Sometimes I leave my meat grinder in the refrigerator the day before use—a cold blade slices through those meats like butter.

Hey, a friendly tip. If you ever drop a phone in the water which isn’t waterproof, bury it in the rice for half an hour.

What is an Electrical Meat Grinder?

How Does a Meat Grinder Work

Are you tired of rotating your arms to grind your meat? Get an electric meat grinder. It’s the same as the manual meat grinder but uses a motor to grind the meat.

The electric meat grinder is fast, reliable, and expensive compared to the manual meat grinder. Plus, you can grind a large portion of meat without burning out your arms.

I’m not going to recommend a manual meat grinder unless you are short on cash and don’t need to grind a lot of meat within a specific period.

But why an electric meat grinder?

Let’s say the meat you are cutting down has bones hidden inside. You can use a manual meat grinder to cut it and grind it. But that’ll take nearly a maximum effort without much efficiency.

But an electric-powered meat mincer can slice and grind out those types of meats in no time.

Electric meat grinder problems

Unlike the manual meat grinder, an electric meat grinder has its meat grinding limit. Gears separate the power delivery systems. So if you try to operate your meat grinder into an overdrive, it might fail.

A broken meat grinder is hard to repair, and most of the time, you’ll need just to throw it in the trash and buy another one. But if you replace the damaged part with new spare parts, it’ll become usable again.

Another standard troubleshooting for the electric meat grinder is the gear system malfunction. If you face this sort of dilemma, don’t stress about it. Just relax and find solutions in the owner’s manual guide. Or you could just DIY the answer by yourself.

Electric meat grinder pros

Hygienic: Meat is safer after cooking. But what about before? Raw meat could contain harmful bacteria and microbes that could be an issue for you. An electric meat grinder allows you to grind without minimal to no contact with the meat. It’s also faster, which slows the degradation process due to less heat exposure from warm air.

Power: It’s like both sides of the coin. Limited motor power is a disadvantage, but the maximum power delivery is an advantage. The ability of a manual meat grinder depends on your strength. Now let’s say, you’re not very strong. That’s where an electric meat mincer shines.

Their power is enough to crush and grind typical-sized meat promptly. For faster meat grinding pounds each minute, look for the higher wattage, horsepower, and stainless steel material before choosing your next meat grinder.

Plug & Play: Unbox your new electric meat grinder and assemble it as instructed. Now plug in the grinder and let the mincing begin. You don’t need to bolt in down the surface and no need to shove the meat into the grinder. The electric meat grinder has a roller plate that pushes the meat through the machine easily.

Efficient & Effective: The biggest selling point of an electric meat grinder is how fast it can grind through cubed meat. You can easily grind big portions of tough meat from games like elk and deer. Or you could simply grind down one batch after another of chicken, pork, and beef in no time.

Industrial design: You can’t use a manual meat grinder on an industrial scale. But there is an electrical meat grinder designed to meet commercial standards and efficiency.

Electric Meat Grinder Cons

Plastic gears: Don’t buy those electric meat grinders with plastic gears. Because they will go bad pretty fast if you keep on grinding meat to its limit. Trust me, the repairing cost and long-term outcome Aren’t worth it.

A tad bit pricey: It’s a no-brainer that the electric meat grinder costs more than the manual meat grinder. Please don’t go for the cheapest option. The overall performance and consistency will be reduced.

Lacks a compact design: One of the most significant drawbacks of an electric meat grinder is the need for a power source. You will have to grab the manual meat grinder for outdoor activities, like long hunting tours, picnics, hiking, camping, etc.

What is a Manual Meat Grinder?

meat grinder manual

A manual meat grinder is the right choice if you use it occasionally. But I think it’s the right choice for beginners to understand how does a meat grinder works. Besides, you can’t say no to working out your arms in exchange for some delicious meatloaves.

A manual meat grinder is the only option if you don’t have a power source nearby. And you need to constantly move your culinary setup from urban areas to the most remote places. I think owning both manual and electric meat grinders is worth the money you spend in the long run.

And who can say no to the sturdy build quality, simple mechanism, and reliability of a manual meat grinder? Did I forget to mention a little biceps curl on the side?

But if time and strength are not your strongest side, please don’t buy the manual meat grinder.

Manual meat grinder pros

Portable: Unlike the electric meat grinder, a manual meat grinder requires no power input source. So you won’t have to worry about a power source for the meat grinder to work in remote areas, like hunting or camping trips.

Besides, it’s not as heavy as those electric meat grinders. So expect easy portability from place to place. It takes less space to operate compared to the electric meat grinder.

The price: Another biggest selling point of the manual meat grinder over an electric meat grinder is the affordable price tag. Those who are new or low on a budget should consider buying a manual meat grinder.

Electric bill: An electric meat grinder can draw 150- 500 watts of power depending on the model. Over time, the power consumption will add up and cost you a lot more than anticipated.

Manual Meat Grinder Cons

Not very convenient: The absence of a motor in a meat grinder has some disadvantages. You will only have your arm’s power to rely on. So it’s impossible to match the exact precision and power of each portion of meat.

Risk of catching diseases: I recommend using surgical gloves to avoid those infectious diseases from raw meat. The risk gets higher when the raw meat stays exposed to hot and humid conditions for longer. And you can’t avoid the warm condition of the kitchen. But there is a way. You can grind a large batch of meat after proper refrigeration.

Muscle stress: I remember grinding a couple of pounds of pork for Thanksgiving. Even a hunk like me got tired, and my right biceps was on fire. If you have to grind a large portion of meat daily, then don’t buy the manual meat grinder. It’s a more suitable option for special occasions.

A few Frequently Asked Questions About the Meat Grinder

What is a good meat grinder for a home?

It depends on the meat grinding volume you’re looking for. If you plan to use the meat grinder 2-3 times a week, then go for the electric meat grinder.

And those occasional users’ best bet is the manual meat grinder. I like manual meat grinders because they cost less, are easy to transport, and are less prone to get faulty. Besides, there is no power demand to operate. Cool.

What happens if there are bones in the ground meat?

Don’t worry. The blade of the meat grinder is strong enough to crush the bones. But it can only slice through softer meats like chicken, waterfowl, rabbit, ducks, and other small birds.

The slicing gets easier when the bones cool down. But remove them from the refrigerator before it freezes up and becomes a piece of steel. Now that is bad for your meat grinder’s blade.

Do I even need a meat grinder?

I don’t see why not. Because you love meatballs and your kids probably love sausages. Of course, you can buy frozen sausage and meatballs from the supermarket. But which is better? Grinding fresh meats to make them or buy processed food with the extra cost?

What is the right size of the meat grinder?

The size of the meat grinder depends on two things. The plate/tray size is on top of the feeding tube and the plate where the ground meat comes out of. So you need to read the specifications very well before buying the meat grinder.

Wrapping Up

If you don’t have a meat grinder yet, consider getting one. Why? Be because you can make cookie dough, grind meat and vegetables, and make some meatballs and sausages. Since you already know how to make a meat grinder work properly, it shouldn’t be a bad investment to experience the miracles of meatballs, my friend.