Meat Processing Equipment
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.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
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.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 Shop waltonsinc.com for Injectors Shop waltonsinc.com for American BBQ Systems Smokers
@austin sounds good keep us posted if you do come up with one. The small 3/8 tubes are brutal to stuff through.