Particle definition



  • In watching the Walton videos I hear them speak of particle definition. In grinding summer sausage 2 grinds are recommended (In the videos)1st grind is a 3/8”(10mm) plate and 2nd grind in a 1/8” (3mm) plate. I don’t own a 3mm plate so I use a 4.5 mm that come with my grinder. My first grind is great but my second grind is almost a smear job. I’m only making 10# batches as this works best for my smoker. My meat is pre-cut in strips that will fit into my grinder without using plunger then frozen hard rock!!! When I get ready to make a batch I get it out of the freezer and start working the strips apart for use. As I start my 1st grind (10mm)some of my meat is still partially frozen. Everything goes very quick and as soon as my first grind is complete the plate is changed and the 2nd grind (4.5mm) starts. This turns into a chore and the product comes out in a flat appearing ribbon with nearly no particle definition. I can only imagine what my product would look like if I used the recommended 3mm plate. My plate and knife have maybe 60-70 lb total of grind on them. I wouldn’t think they are dulled. They are the factory set and probably not the best quality. The finish product has the appearance of a bologna meat. It taste fine and get compliments on that part. Any thoughts?


  • Team Orange PK100 Dry Cured Sausage

    What grinder do you use? Do you rechill your meat before your second grind?

    As a matter of personal taste, I actually tend to prefer a coarser grind in my sausages (with the exception being emulsified ones). I just do a single grind–8 mm for beef and pork sausages and 4.5 mm for chicken. The coarser grind does take a little more mixing, but I like the final product better.


  • Team Orange Power User Masterbuilt

    denny66
    I also use a 4.5 mm plate with no issues. Your meat sounds like it’s cold. How about the grinder head? I put mine the freezer prior to grinding. Wouldn’t use a 3 mm plate unless you’re doing bologna or hot dogs. As TexLaw said, what size is your grinder?


  • Regular Contributors

    1/8 is fine. Cold meat and SHARP plate and knife



  • TexLaw said in Particle definition:

    What grinder do you use? Do you rechill your meat before your second grind?

    As a matter of personal taste, I actually tend to prefer a coarser grind in my sausages (with the exception being emulsified ones). I just do a single grind–8 mm for beef and pork sausages and 4.5 mm for chicken. The coarser grind does take a little more mixing, but I like the final product better.

    I use a LEM #12 grinder. No rechill on the meat. When I start my process the meat is partially frozen and I’m only making 10# batches. The only time it’s handled is dropping it down the chute. After 1st grind the plate is switched and the second grind starts. All this is done very quickly.
    I did make some pork breakfast sausage back in January only using one grind. I don’t remember what number Plate we used as it wasn’t my grinder. I really liked the texture. I was pleasantly surprised.



  • PapaSop said in Particle definition:

    denny66
    I also use a 4.5 mm plate with no issues. Your meat sounds like it’s cold. How about the grinder head? I put mine the freezer prior to grinding. Wouldn’t use a 3 mm plate unless you’re doing bologna or hot dogs. As TexLaw said, what size is your grinder?

    Sorry PapaSop I failed to mention that the grinder head had been in freezer for and hour + before we started.
    In case you miss my response to TexLaw I have a LEM 12 grinder.


  • Team Orange Power User Masterbuilt

    denny66
    That is very strange. Hmm.



  • I make mostly venison summer sausage and snack sticks. It sounds like my partially frozen meat (cubed when we bone it out) going through the grinder is very similar to yours. I grind it with a 4.5mm plate just one time making sure the knife is sharp and get good texture with particle definition.



  • I should mention that this finishes as a courser grind, but that is what our gang prefers.


  • PK100 Masterbuilt Big Green Egg

    If this is a one time incident it could be a piece of meat or fat got stuck between plate and blade. I’ve had that happen and my second grind was nearly impossible to grind and came out in ribbons like you mentioned.


  • Team Blue

    is your blade in right



  • rich said in Particle definition:

    is your blade in right

    Yes Sir, I’ll have to admit I came close to doing that once but caught it before I got started.

    I think after a discussion with my wife we figured it out. She said when she washed the auger and the head both had a Very thick layer of pork fat coating the auger and inside the head. That got me to thinking, this pork shoulder was brought to us by my son. We did cut it in our usual fashion but It hadn’t been in the freezer as long as normal thus the pork was not as cold as normal. Sorry to all who wasted their time trying to get me straightened out but also a big Thanks to those who jumped in with their thoughts.
    I’ll let you know the results on the next go go round


  • Power User

    I think you have a dull knife



  • Well I can’t say that it’s not dull but I purchased the grinder new and as I stated I’ve only grind about 60-70 lb. I don’t know how long a factory blade last but I though I’d get more grind out of one than that. It does so good on the first grind I’d thought if it was my blade I’d see some issues there too?


  • Team Blue Dry Cured Sausage Admin Walton's Employee Canning

    denny66 the #12 could be part of the problem. When I used the #12 butcher series it would smear much more than when I used a #22 or bigger, now it will work for sure and i made 100’s of batches with the #12 but the step up to a #22 is significant in the 2nd grind.

    Make sure you have SHARP plate and knife as smearing often is caused by that more than anything else.

    Finally, try putting it back in the freezer for 20 minutes between first and second grind. Partially frozen will help a great deal but step 1 is replace the plate and the knife.


  • Team Blue

    Jonathon I second this With the #12 a refreeze between is 100% if your looking for particle Definition, Also the fat in you grinder when cleaning is a dead giveaway the things got a little warm on you.



  • denny66
    I don’t really know that much since I have only done couple of grinds. I used a Weston #12 that came with a 7mm and 4.5 mm plate.
    I did chill grinder in frig before starting and meat was slightly frozen. Did a lot of reading before my first grind and maybe that is what saved me from the problem you had. I had a large metal bowl and a smaller on that set inside the large on and was surrounded with ice. So the first grind went into a chilled pan surrounded with ice. when we finished the first grind we took the meat pan out and put in the frig while I changed plates. It came out of that grind looking great. Think its all about keeping the meat cold as possible through the entire process.

    Just a newbie thought


  • Team Orange Masterbuilt

    denny66 Do you have a knife paired with each plate?
    If not I would buy another knife and keep them paired.


  • Team Blue

    HaroldR you hit the nail on the head. All that extra set up is saving you some headache!



  • Well gentlemen I got half of it right. I do put my plate in the same way each time… but they share the same knife. I plan to fix that issue soon!


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