Home butchery and food preparation is becoming more and more popular, but we hunters have been doing it forever. One of the most versatile tools available for the home chef and game-meat consumer is a meat grinder.
But with all the options available, how can you choose the right ground meat machine?
There are plenty of poor-quality alternatives on the market, so this guide highlights meat grinders that are known to be quality, long-lasting products. Any of the machines listed here will make a good addition to your meat-processing equipment.
The 8 Best Meat Grinders of 2020: Outdoor Empire Reviews
- Best All-Around Grinder for Deer: Apuro Heavy Duty Meat Mincer
- Best Medium-Heavy–Duty Grinder for Deer: Weston Pro Series 3/4 HP
- Best Large Electric Grinder: Kitchener Elite
- Best Small Electric Grinder: Luvele Ultimate
- Best Home Grinder: Lem 1158 Mighty Bite
- Best Home Grinder: Lem #10 Stainless Steel Clamp-On Hand Grinder
- Best Manual Grinder: Porkert #32
- Best Commercial Grade Grinder: Hakka Brothers TC Series TC12
|Category||Best Small Electric Meat Grinder||Best Meat Grinder for Deer||Best Manual Meat Grinder|
|Product|| || ||
|Speed control||2 + reverse mode||3/4 HP motor||Manual|
|Weight||16 lbs||42 lbs||27.6 lbs|
|Dimensions||12 in x 8 in x 14 in||20.5 in x 13 in x 18.9 in||- Leg height: 1.5 in
- Handle length: 11 in
|Warranty||1 year||2 years||Not specified by manufacturer|
|Cost||Check Price||Check Price||$|
1. All-Around Best Meat Grinder for Deer: Apuro Heavy Duty Meat Mincer
For anyone that processes a large amount of meat, it makes sense to invest in a quality ground beef machine that saves time and money in the long run.
Putting several deer, an elk, moose or other large game animals through the grinder every year counts as a large amount of meat, and you don’t want to spend extra hours cutting the meat into tiny pieces to feed into a choking grinder.
The Apuro Heavy Duty Meat Mincer is the real deal when it comes to professional-grade grinders, and it won’t let you down.
- Dimensions: 410 mm x 517 mm x 328 mm
- Output: 600 pounds per hour
- Power type: 800 watts, 3.64 amps
- Voltage: 220 volts
- Warranty: one year
- Weight: 58.8 pounds
- Easy-clean stainless-steel hopper
- Supplied with 6 mm and 8 mm mincing discs
- Overload protection
- Reverse function for grinding coarse meats
- Energy-efficient motor with cooling fan
- Precision gear drive
- Three sausage stuffer nozzles and adaptor
The average whitetail produces 40 to 70 pounds of boneless meat. Once the meat is boned, sliced and ready to grind, the Apuro should get the entire job done in 10 minutes or less — can’t go wrong there!
- Stainless steel
- Commercial quality
- High output (600 pounds/hour)
- Energy efficient motor with cooling fan
- Precision gear drive
- Reverse gear
- Heavy (58.8 pounds)
The Apuro Heavy Duty Meat Mincer is a top piece of equipment and not really required if you only process a few pounds of meat now and then.
Buy it if you grind a lot of meat and want a machine that won’t let you down. It should be the only grinder you’ll ever need.
2. Best Medium-Heavy–Duty Grinder for Deer: Weston Pro Series 3/4 HP
If you don’t want to fork out a lot of money on a grinder but still want to buy quality, then the Weston Pro Series 3/4 horsepower grinder is a very good option. For the deer hunter, this machine will make quick work of game meat and give you a pile of ground meat for whatever recipes you have in mind.
- Offset-head design with high speeds
- Precision-engineered steel gears
- Permanently lubricated, air-cooled motor (120 volts, 60 hertz)
- Sturdy handle for carrying and transportation
- Non-slip rubber feet
- 3/4 horsepower
- Wattage: 550 watts
- Weight: 42 pounds
- Includes a stainless-steel grinding knife, coarse (7 mm) and medium (4.5 mm) grinding plates, three sausage-stuffing funnels (20 mm, 30 mm and 40 mm), 10 mm stainless-steel snack-stick funnel and high-speed stuffing auger, a stuffing star/spacer and heavy-duty stomper
- Two-year limited warranty
The Weston is quite a manageable machine for the kitchen. It’s still relatively heavy at 42 pounds, but that’s a trade-off for quick grinding. It’s got a solid grab handle to help moving it around.
- Two-year warranty
- High output (540 pounds per hour)
- Permanently lubricated system
- Carry handle
- Air-cooled motor
- 3/4 horsepower model doesn’t include reverse function or tray hand guard
- Weston brand has customer service complaints
- Not suitable for grinding pet food bones
The Weston Pro Series 3/4 HP is a solid grinder for heavy-duty work. It’s a high-output machine with plenty of accessories to make it quiet, efficient and practical. Buy it if you’re after a good quality, moderately priced grinder for processing your game meat.
3. Best Large Electric Meat Grinder: Kitchener Elite
The Kitchener Elite Electric Meat Grinder is a high-quality product that is more than capable of tackling most home-meat-processing tasks. With coarse and fine grinding plates and four sausage-stuffing attachments, it can make a variety of products quickly and efficiently.
- Air-cooled, steel-gear-driven 120-volt 60-hertz motor
- Output: 720 pounds per hour (12-pounds per minute)
- Output power: 3/4 horsepower; 550 watts
- Food-safe, heavy-duty SUS304 stainless-steel construction
- Includes two grinding plates (coarse = 3/8 inches; fine = 3/16 inches); stuffing plate; neck; auger; cutting knife; meat pan (13 inches x 9 inches x 2 3/8 inches); four sausage-stuffing tubes (3/8 inches, 1/2 inches, 3/4 inches, 1 1/8 inches in diameter)
- Waterproof switch
- Weight: 41 pounds
With a powerful steel-geared motor, the Kitchener Elite is up for heavy-duty tasks. This helps get the job done quicker and without making the machine work too hard.
- Quality heavy-duty grinder
- Stainless-steel components
- High output (720 pounds per hour)
- Storage compartment in base for attachments
- Waterproof switch
- No reverse gear
The Kitchener Elite Electric Meat Grinder is one of the best machines available. Buy it if you have a variety of processing tasks in mind, particularly if there’s some heavy-duty work involved.
4. Best Small Electric Meat Grinder: Luvele Ultimate
Not all of us use a grinder very often or have large volumes of meat to process. For those of us who do some grinding now and again and want a reliable machine for when they do, the Luvele Ultimate Electric Meat Grinder is a good choice.
At 16 pounds it’s easy to move, and at a relatively small size, it’s easy to store when not in use.
- Die-cast aluminum body
- Stainless-steel sausage nozzles (32 mm, 22 mm and 16 mm diameters)
- Cutting plates included (5 mm, 8 mm, and sausage-filling plate)
- Nonslip suction feet
- Two speed controls, plus a reverse mode
- One-year warranty
- Weight: 16 pounds
- Watts: 700 watts
- Air-flow induction cooling system
- Metal gearing
- Electrical Rating: 220 volts to 240 volts, 50 hertz to 60 hertz
- Dimensions: 12 inches x 8 inches x 14 inches
Most components of this grinder are metal, with the body formed from aluminum and metal gearing. This makes for a strong and attractive unit that’s easy to maintain. The stainless-steel sausage nozzles are more durable and easier to keep clean than plastic alternatives that may snap or get scratched.
- Three grinding plates and sausage nozzles included
- Stainless-steel sausage nozzles
- Aluminum body to reduce weight and retain strength
- Small and light
- Two forward speeds plus reverse gear
- Can be awkward to wash
- Shouldn’t be run continuously for longer than 10 minutes
For the person who wants a quality little grinder that still makes meat processing a simple task, the Luvele Ultimate Electric Meat Grinder makes the perfect tool.
5. Best Home Meat Grinder: Lem 1158 Mighty Bite
For a small grinder for around the home, the Lem 1158 Mighty Bite fits the bill. With a sleek, aluminum body, carry handle and deep feeder tray with an oversized hole supplying the auger, grinder includes a lot for its size.
- Power type: 500-watt or 1000-watt peak power
- 120-volt permanently lubricated motor
- Two speeds plus pulse reverse
- Oversized feed-tube hole
- Three stainless steel plates (3/16-inch, 3/8-inch and sausage-stuffing plates)
- Three plastic stuffing tubes (1/2 inches, 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches in diameter)
- Meat pan holds up to three pounds
- ETL approved
- Five-foot cord stores under housing
- Includes a goofproof stainless-steel knife and a meat stomper
- Weight: 16.5 pounds
The Mighty Bite comes with three sizes of grinding plates as well as three sizes of sausage-stuffing tubes, so this machine has plenty of versatility. Add to this the two-speed motor and a reverse gear, and the Lem is good value for money.
- Convenient size for transport and storage
- Good power to process quantity of meat
- Carry handle
- Two speeds plus reverse gear
- Oversized feed-tube hole allows larger pieces of meat to be fed to the auger
- Can struggle with heavy-duty grinding
- Sausage-stuffing setup is a slow process
For a simple meat grinder with plenty of versatility when required, the Lem 1158 Mighty Bite will keep users happy. It’s a good machine whether you’re processing your deer or some meat from the butcher’s.
6. Best Home Meat Grinder: Lem #10 Stainless Steel Clamp-On Hand Grinder
Not every job needs an expensive electric-powered grinder. The simple hand-powered meat grinder is still as versatile as it’s always been. The Lem #10 Stainless Steel Clamp-On Meat Grinder is extra useful because of its stainless-steel construction, which makes it easy to maintain.
- Heavy-duty stainless-steel construction
- Clamps fits up to 1 1/4 inches
- Two stainless-steel plates (coarse = 3/8 inches; fine = 3/16 inches)
- Stainless-steel knife
- Set of three stuffing tubes (1/2 inches, 3/4 inches, 7/8 inches) and stuffing star
- Weight: 7.95 pounds
Manual grinders have few moving parts and are therefore easy to put together, take apart and keep clean. Simply turning the handle the opposite direction puts it in reverse.
- Simple design with no motor and few moving parts
- Easy-to-clean stainless steel
- Clamp doesn’t fit all surfaces
- Low-grade stainless steel does show signs of rust if not properly maintained
Meat grinders don’t get much simpler than the Lem #10 Stainless Steel Grinder. Don’t let that turn you away from the unit though. It’s small, light, portable and very easy to use.
This grinder is great if you’re on a budget, and it comes with multiple grinding plates and sausage-stuffing equipment.
7. Best Manual Meat Grinder: Porkert #32
When it comes to manual meat grinders, Porkert has been known as one of the industry leaders since 1906. Made in the Czech Republic, these machines are known to outperform and outlast the competitors.
- 3/16-inch holed, hardened-steel grinding plate
- Leg height: 1.5 inches
- Handle length: 11 inches
- Weight: 27.6 pounds
- Cast-iron construction with double-tin plating
- Wooden handpiece
The #32 is a big unit — the biggest available — and as such is designed for heavy-duty use. Bolted down to a work surface, it makes the sturdiest grinder.
With a large crank handle and neck opening, it’ll process big pieces of meat with ease. You’ll need someone to feed the meat in to try and keep up while you crank it!
- Recognized as premium product for over 100 years
- Table-mountable with screw holes to attach feet to surface
- All–cast-iron construction for best strength
- Double-tin plating of iron for best finish
- Largest hand-powered unit on market
- Requires effort to use
- Expensive unit for a hand-powered machine
- Only comes with a single grinding blade
If you’re looking for the best in a manual grinder, look no further. The Porkert #32 with make light work of whatever processing task you throw at it and be ready to keep going when you are.
8. Best Commercial Grade Meat Grinder: Hakka Brothers TC Series TC12
One requirement for commercial-grade food-preparation equipment is food-ready components. The Hakka Brothers TC Series TC12 meets that need with stainless-steel construction and a food-grade plastic plunger that accompanies the machine.
This means everything is easy to clean and keep clean and has minimal chance of causing food contamination as long as proper cleaning techniques are followed.
- Processes 350 pounds per hour
- Stainless-steel outer housing allows for easy clean-up
- Stainless-steel feed assembly and auger
- Equipped with a circuit breaker for safe use
- Motor-cooling fan
- Precision gear drive
- Sealed gearbox
- Forward and reverse gear
- Dimensions: 18.3 inches x 19.3 inches x 12.6 inches
- Weight: 48.9 pounds
- Spiral auger design
- 6 mm and 8 mm grinder plates
- One crossing knife
- One sausage-making tube
The Hakka is an affordable commercial-grade grinder with a simple yet strong design. It’s made to do heavy-duty work, so it packs plenty of punch for its size.
- Stainless-steel construction
- Auger design resists jamming and runs smoothly
- Designed to grind heavy-textured meat
- Doesn’t require lubrication
- Less output than some commercial grinders
The Hakka Brothers TC Series TC12 is a strong grinder in a relatively small package, and its stainless-steel construction makes for best in food hygiene. If you’re concerned with keeping things clean, and especially if you process meat for others, it’s a good choice.
Why Should You Choose a Quality Meat Grinder?
The most important thing about the quality of a meat grinder is the precision design of its working parts.
Have you ever been frustrated by a cheap pair of scissors that folded the paper instead of shearing it? Imagine that paper being a soft, fatty piece of meat with small bits of hard and springy sinew mixed in.
A cheap pair of scissors isn’t going to cut that. Neither is a blunt knife or a grinder with a gap between the blade and grinding plate. If there’s too much space between the auger and the barrel of the grinder, the meat will barely reach the blade, let alone be forced through under pressure.
For a grinder to work well, everything has to be just right. That’s why precision engineering is so important.
Grinders are also asked to work hard. Everyone that’s used one knows that the meat getting fed in at the top has to be cut relatively small in order to mince efficiently. The sinew, tendon and connective tissue must be removed to avoid clogging the machine.
Regardless of that advice, many people throw any old thing into the spout and jam it down with the plunger. The first thing they complain about it is a gummed-up plate, barrel or some other part; leaking seals; seized motors; and broken components.
Even when it’s just cutting meat, the motor of the grinder is under considerable stress. Putting anything under pressure in a confined space while simultaneously spinning a large auger bit is hard work.
Quality machines and components can handle this strain, while cheaper knock-offs fall apart relatively quickly. And if they don’t flat-out break, they take ages to get through the job.
Buy a quality grinder. You’ll save money in the long run, and a lot of time.
How to Choose?
There are a variety of grinders on the market and plenty of low-quality alternatives to established brands. It’s safest to stick with names that are recognized as quality products rather than grab something that doesn’t cost much.
Quality meat grinders — even manual ones — should cost over $100. Cheaper machines generally won’t be precision-machined and therefore are unlikely to stand up to work in the long run or just make poor quality processed product.
The idea is to get the meat minced and back into refrigeration as soon as possible, and poorly designed grinders take too long.
Whether you choose an electric grinder or manual one depends on how much work you’ll be doing and how much effort you’re willing to put in.
If you like a bit of exercise, then a hand-powered grinder is great. You’ll get good quality for the money you spend in a machine with few working parts that can break, become worn or get lost. They are also highly energy efficient, as they only require a bit of a workout to be used.
For processing large volumes of meat on a regular basis, it makes sense to invest in an electric grinder. Spending a little extra for a top-quality unit is the best approach in the long run, and there are plenty of professional-grade options available that are made for daily use.
Steel — preferably stainless steel — is the best construction material for all grinder components. They won’t rust and will show minimal wear during regular use. It’s also nonporous, making quality stainless steel the best choice for food hygiene reasons.
Unless you’re planning to process large quantities of meat on a regular basis, don’t get too hung up on the stated processing output of a machine.
One of the most important factors in using a grinder efficiently is prepping the meat correctly beforehand — cutting it to an appropriate size and removing all tendons and sinew, and chilling the meat to make it firm.
As long as you then feed the machine at a regular but not crammed rate, it’ll cut a lot of meat in a pretty short time.
It’s worth picking a machine that has a few attachments or can take additional attachments. Being able to process different grades of ground meat makes a machine — and your recipes — more versatile. Making homemade sausages is also a fun activity that’s only limited by your imagination once you get started.
Porkert has been making the best manual meat grinders since 1906. Their design arose during a time when quality meant longevity — and many people still use the same machine that has been passed through generations.
Finding a Porkert in a secondhand shop with all fittings is as reliable a purchase as getting one new from the manufacturer. There’s just something about owning quality.
Porkert products have always been manufactured in the Czech Republic. Continuity of production is another reassuring factor of these machines.
Their grinders are aimed for the top of the manual-grinder market. They are professional pieces of equipment and used by butchers and restaurants as much as home chefs.
They are heavy duty and therefore a great machine for the tough jobs of grinding the less-than-prime old buck into tasty burgers or mincing up light bone, chuck and other ingredients meant for pets.
There is no way that you’ll be disappointed with the purchase of any Porkert product — unless you were expecting it to have a motor!
Apuro is a manufacturer of commercial food-processing and food-preparation equipment.
They are known for their quality and widely considered to be the first name in robust professional catering appliances. They’ve built this reputation over 18 years and continue to develop new and innovative products.
Catering to professional food preparation businesses, Apuro is without a doubt top quality. For the home butcher that has plenty of work for a grinder, this is the type of equipment that’s required.
Weston is a consumer-grade appliance manufacturer with a cool ethos. Their products are built with the modern hunter-gatherer in mind, and that’s a refreshing perspective.
With this in mind, their equipment is built to withstand the rigors that this work entails. Processing wild game can mean a serious slab of meat to get through. They supply everything from saws to packaging to cooking equipment — all with the simple workmanship that the name is known for.
Weston products are affordable and get the job done.
Luvele make a wide range of kitchen appliances for the keen home chef. The brand is all about doing it yourself with the best ingredients available. Their products are sturdy and affordable while also being conveniently sized for the home kitchen.
Luvele products cater to the new age of healthy eating and whole-food ingredients. They are as in touch with social media as their manufacturing line, revealing an interactive company with good customer service.
While some of this might sound a little “soft” for the hunter looking to knock together a batch of venison burgers, their products actually stand up in the quality and design department. They make good gear.
How do I make my grinder work best?
Most of the problems with grinders not cutting properly, getting clogged up or taking a long time to process meat comes down to preparation of the meat itself.
Start off by trimming all of the tendon, sinew and other connective tissue from the meat. This stuff is tough, stringy and elastic, and grinders don’t cut them.
Once this sort of tissue gets into the grinder, it starts gumming up the blade and grinding plate, and it gets caught along the barrel and anywhere else it can wrap around.
This limits the effectiveness of the grinder at cutting the actual muscle tissue fed into it, so the best way to avoid this problem is to keep it out of the grinder in the first place.
Cut the meat into small chunks — about one to two inches square. The bigger the chunk, the longer the muscle fiber, and the more work the grinder has to do to squeeze it through the barrel and cut it.
Small chunks make small lengths of muscle fiber that are easier to cut up. Don’t go too small, though — it’ll take longer to cut it all up and feed it through the machine.
Chilling the meat in the freezer before starting is another good practice.
Don’t freeze it — just keep it in there until it’s firm. This gives the meat more structure as it’s passing through the grinder and makes it easier to be pushed through and sliced cleanly instead of folding over and being mashed up instead.
How do I clean my grinder?
As with all food processing, hygiene is paramount for food safety.
Take apart all the grinder parts that come into contact with meat after each use. Some designs are easier to clean than others, but always take the time to get every bit of meat out of the barrel, grinding plates and anywhere else that it gets caught up.
Using hot water and soap is the best first step, followed by a rinse in scalding hot water to sanitize the component. If the parts are machine washable, a dishwasher is good at sanitization.
Wipe down all surfaces of the machine with hot soapy water and rinse with hot water. Allow all parts to air dry, and store the machine in a location where it won’t gather dust. As long as it stays clean during storage, it won’t need more than a quick wipe down before the next job.