Meat Processing Equipment: 202 Grinder Maintenance

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    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!


    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.


    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!

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