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Recent Posts

  • Equipment Header Meat Processing Equipment: 202 Grinder Maintenance

    Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!

    Plates and Knives

    Lubricate your plates and knives with white oil before your turn on your grinder. If you do not do this then you are going to cause friction and heat with your plate and knife and will end up with a mushy product. For a more complete list of tips for plates and knives check out this post on extending the life of your plates and knives Also, you should marry plates and knives, meaning if you have two different plates you should have two different knives and you only use them with each other.

    Grinder Parts Grinder Parts Safety Plate Locking Ring

    Do not use a wrench to tighten the locking nut on your grinder head! Some models of grinders come with a wrench that is specifically designed to loosen your grinders locking nut. They are NOT designed to tighten them down, you want to tighten it down with your hands or you are going to create too much pressure between the plate and knives which will lead to a host of problems!

    Augers

    Check your auger stud and replace if necessary. This the part of the Auger that the plate and knife sit on and they are replaceable in many models. A worn down stud is going to allow everything to start bouncing and will eventually ruin your auger which is a lot more expensive to replace than your stud.

    Stuffing With a Grinder

    If you are using your grinder to stuff product into a casing make sure you are using a star stuffing adapter! If you do not then your auger is going to ride on the bottom of the throat of your grinder and you will be lucky if you don’t ruin both your auger AND your head.

    Run Time

    Check your manufacturers operating time instructions and abide by them. Some grinders are not designed to be run for 20 minutes at a time, the motors are just not powerful enough and some of them have plastic gears. If you have to do 4 5 minute stretches that is a lot better then ending up with a blown motor! Grinders like the Weston Pro and Butcher Series.

    Cleaning Your Grinder Parts

    Also check the manufacturers operating manual for cleaning instructions, not all grinders are made the exact same way so some of them require different parts to be cleaned than others. Some have parts that are dishwasher safe and some don’t, my suggestion is to hand wash everything. We like using Neutra Sol General Cleaner but you can also use Dawn or other dish soaps on most parts, again check your manual.

    If you miss something and some meat residue makes it’s way deep into the throat you are going to have a nasty surprise the next time you grind something! After you have cleaned everything I like to spray it with Sanitizing rinse as well. Cleaning it with soap gets the fat, meat and dirt off of it but sanitizing it will make sure anything living on it will be killed.

    Getting a grinder head cleaning brush can make cleaning the throat of your grinder a lot easier on you. It can be hard to get anything down the throat the grooves and just running water down there is not going to work!

    Clearing Jams

    If your grinder has a reverse function and you have a jam you can run reverse for a second or two and see if that clears it. If it does not you need to turn off your grinder, unplug it and then break it down and clean the throat, plate, knife, and auger.

    Stomper

    Before you turn your grinder on check to make sure there is nothing like a knife hanging down from the pan into the throat. This seems unlikely but I wouldn’t be telling you to check if it hadn’t happened! This is also where you should check the length of your stomper, some of the westons come with this white covering that is placed over the top of your tray, without this the stomper could easily hit the auger as you are pushing the meat down, this could damage your auger and could shave pieces of plastic off of your stomper and then that is going to be in your food!

    Shop waltonsinc.com for Grinder Shop waltonsinc.com for Cleaning Supplies

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  • Equipment Header Meat Processing Equipment 201 - Automatic Syringe Injector Maintenance.

    Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!

    Types of Injectors

    Automatic/Pump Syringe - These types of injectors have a draw tube that will go into a bowl or other container that has the solution already mixed in it. The action of the injector will draw the solution up into a chamber, or canister on the injector and then out through the needle and into the meat. These type of injectors can have either artery needles or, more commonly, spray needles that have 4 or more holes that the solution will come out.

    Marinade Injector - On these types of injectors the needle acts as both the draw and injector. When you want to fill the injectors chamber you need to pull back on the trigger and draw it into the chamber, to inject you press down on the trigger. The drawback of these styles is that all the holes on the injector needle need to be covered or you will draw air into the chamber.

    Soap and Water Plunger xxxxx Maintenance for Automatic Injector

    First, we are going to go over simply breaking it down and how to put it back together as you should be breaking it all the way down before your first use to clean off the oils. The first thing you will want to do is to remove the needle to get it out of the way. Run hot water through this to clean it.

    Now unscrew the locking ring that connects the manifold to the cannister. Once this is done set the manifold aside and remove the canister from the base. If you cannot just pull it out press the trigger and stick your finger behind the cannister to slide it out. Now remove the O-ring from the front of the canister and set both of these aside.

    Next take the draw nozzle, which is the piece that connects to the manifold that draws the solution up into the canister and twists it until it comes off, be careful not to lose the spring in there. This spring is the same side on both sides, this is important to note for reassembly. Now remove the plunger from the draw nozzle, note that the plunger faces down. The plunger and spring allow the solution to come up the tube but block it when you want to inject your solution. Also, remove the o-ring that sits below the threads of the draw nozzle.

    Thoroughly clean the spring, plunger, and assembly in warm soapy water. If you don’t properly clean this the plunger will get clogged and you won’t be able to suck up the solution into your injector.

    Next, remove the needle holder base by twisting it. Note that this spring is wider on one end, this is the end that you want to position closest to the base so the narrow end is facing towards your needle. There is another plunger in there that goes into the hole on the manifold side. This allows the solution to travel towards the needle but blocks it when you are refilling the cannister so no air or solution can make it back from the needle. Also, remove the o-ring around the manifold and remove the needle base protector.

    I like to soak all these parts in warm soapy water for 10 minutes and then spray them with water and remove any noticeable build up to form the solution. Pay special attention to the plungers during this process as if these are not cleaned well the injector will not work. Make sure everything is clean and dry before reassembling it.

    Now that everything is cleaned you can put it back together. First, insert the canister back into the base, the easiest way to do this is to press the trigger and then push it in. Next put the o-ring back into position and set this aside.

    Now put your locking ring over the manifold and screw that onto the base of the unit. Replace the O-ring that you removed earlier over the threads of the nozzle. Now place your plunger back into the draw nozzle with it pointed downwards and put the spring that is the same size on both ends over the plunger and screw this back into the manifold.

    Now place the o-ring back around the manifold opening and replace the plunger so that it is pointing back towards the cannister. Now take the spring that is thicker at one end and place it over the plunger and screw the needle base back into the manifold. Now reattach the needle base protector and screw on your needle.

    Maintenance for Marinade Injector

    These are far simpler to clean. Simply take remove the plunger from the chamber and clean the inside of the chamber and the O-ring around the plunger. Then run hot water through the needle and the chamber and let everything soak in hot water. Once everything is dried simply reassemble it.

    Should You Buy One

    If you do a lot of whole muscle smoking or curing then one of these styles is essential. The ability to get the seasoning, cure and other additives deep into the meat quickly is a large advantage over having to rely on osmosis.

    Best Choice For Beginners

    It will depend on the style you want and how often it will be used. If you will rarely use it and just want a simple injector then Walton’s 4 oz Marinade Injector would be the one I would go with. If you are going to be using it often and want something more convenient to use and don’t mind the increased complexity then the Walton’s Automatic Syringe Injector would be my recommendation.

    Other Information

    There are also Brine Pumps that are more useful in commercial applications and Multi-needle Injectors that would be used in larger plants.

    Shop waltonsinc.com for Injectors Shop waltonsinc.com for American BBQ Systems Smokers

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  • R

    @austin sounds good keep us posted if you do come up with one. The small 3/8 tubes are brutal to stuff through.

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  • @revid The only thing we offer motorized on vertical sausage stuffers is the Walton’s 26 lb Electric Stuffer. This is a self-contained unit though, and is not an option to add to other vertical stuffers.

    I do plan on trying to add an external motor to our existing line of sausage stuffers in the next year, 2019 (no promises, but I hope to make things work), but currently, we do not have another option.

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  • R

    @jonathon do you have or know where to buy motors for vertical stuffers?

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  • Equipment Header Meat Processing Equipment 104 Smokers

    Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!

    Different Types of Injectors

    Automatic/Pump Syringe - These types of injectors have a draw tube that will go into a

    Rotisserie Smoker Vertical Smoker How Do They Work? Vertical Smokers -

    Vertical smokers have a heat source, usually, gas or electric, at the bottom of the smoker and the pellets or wood chips sit on top of the heat source causing them to smolder and smoke. There will be one or more dampers on the bottom of the smoker and one at the top to allow smoke come up from the bottom and out of the top, drawing the smoke up and over your product. The one disadvantage to these units is that they are not suitable for grilling, they really can only be used as a smoker.

    Offset / Barrel / Ceramic -

    If you like Charcoal and wood smoking then a Ceramic, Barrel or offset Smoker like the ABS Pit Boss might be the best way for you to go. These work great for smoking large amounts of meat at a time or large cuts of meat. The Pit Boss has a rotisserie inside it that keeps the meat moving to make sure everything gets the same amount of smoke and prevents you from having to worry about any cold spots in your smoker. These smokers can range anywhere from basic to very advanced with electronics monitoring the amount of air flow and rotisserie. These types of smokers provide the most classic smoke flavor as they use wood chunks and/or charcoal as both the smoke and heat source. In my opinion, the only disadvantage to these types of units is the cleanup and setup required.

    Pellet / Combo Smoker -

    A pellet combo smoker is a good choice for someone who will do some smoking but always wants to be able to easily grill on the same piece of equipment. These use wood pellets and can smoke at temperatures as low as 150° or grill up to 500° or more. They have a hopper with the pellets on one side, an auger that feeds those pellets down into a heat source than then burns the pellets to act as the heat and smoke source. A chimney will be set off to the opposite side from the hopper to draw the smoke out of the grill area. The advantage to these units is the ease of use, just hit a button and they are ready to go. The disadvantage would be that you are not going to pick up as much smoke as you would with a wood smoker and you generally won’t be able to start below 150°

    How Important Is It?

    Smokers are an essential part of the homemade sausage and meat snack making process. For commercial processing, a good smokehouse is where I would recommend you spend more money as you can make it back faster than on almost any other piece of equipment. For home processors, a quality smoker will give you a much better-finished product and make your entire process more enjoyable.

    Alternatives

    People without a way to smoke can absolutely still make Summer Sausage, Snack Sticks or really any other type of meat snack. You can cook all of these items in an oven and you can add smoke flavor by using Hickory Smoke Powder. Of course, a smoker is preferable as it will give you a more authentic taste.

    Should You Buy One

    Absolutely you should get a smoker. If you don’t think you will smoke enough to spend the money on a dedicated smoker you can get a pellet combo grill to replace your propane smoker! Meat that comes off of a pellet grill/smoker has a much different flavor than meat cooked on a propane grill.

    Best Choice For Beginners

    The Weston 30" Vertical Smoker is an inexpensive and easy to use vertical smoker that, with some practice, will let you smoke almost anything you can think of!

    Other Information

    Make sure that you are using the correct fuel source for you vertical smoker. Some, like the PK-100, need to use sawdust only and pellets can create issues.

    Shop waltonsinc.com for Vertical Smokers Shop waltonsinc.com for American BBQ Systems Smokers

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