Extending the Life of Your Grinder Plates and Knives
Hi guys this is Jon from Meatgistics. We are going to start posting more things that are going to show you how to properly care for your equipment. We are doing this in the hopes of helping you get many years of enjoyment out of your equipment! Today we are going to talk about how to properly care for your grinder plates and knives.
The first thing to know is that there are two basic types of plates and knives, Disposable and Sharpenable. Before we talk about the differences in these plates let talk about how you want to care for both of them. You may have heard that you want to “marry” a plate and knife, this means that you should only use a specific knife with a specific plate. This is important because it allows the knife and the plate to wear at the same rate, if you have a sharper plate and a duller knife or vice versa both will dull prematurely and you will not get as good a grind.
We also want to make sure that we are always using white oil on the plates and knives, white oil is a highly refined packers tech oil that will not gum up and is 100% food safe. If you do not oil your plates and knives before you use the grinder then when you turn on the grinder and that knife starts spinning you are going to have un-lubricated metal grinding against metal and that is going to cause a lot of friction. This friction is going to heat up your grinding surfaces and your product is going to slightly cook as it is pushed through the plate. You also want to oil your plates and knives when you are done cleaning them as this will help prevent rust on the plate and knife and extend their life.
Now the sharpenable plates and knives can be used until they are dull and then sent in to us or another company for resharpening and when you get them back they will be as good as new! We sharpen the plates by grinding the entire surface of the face down so all the round holes have squared edges again and a square metal edge is a sharp edge! The knives are a little more difficult, with those we sharpen the leading edge and grind an angle onto them so that only the leading edge comes into contact with the plate. This allows less of the plate to be worn away during your grinding. Before choosing a company to send your plates and knives to ask them if they send back your plates to you or if they rotate stock. We send you back the same plates and knives that you sent in to us because plates and knives can only be sharpened so many times and there is no good way to ensure you are getting a plate that has the same number of sharpenings left as the one you sent in.
The disposable ones are just what they sound like, you use them until they are dull and then throw them out. The disposable ones are cheaper but in the long run the extra money you pay for the resharpenable ones can be made up as the cost of resharpening is far lower than the cost of a new set of plates and knives!
Another good tip to extend the lives of plates and knives is to only hand tighten down your grinder head ring. You might have a wrench for the grinder ring but this is only designed to be used to remove the ring if it can not be removed bu hand. If you use a wrench to tighten down the ring then the plate and knife will pressed too tightly against each other and will dull quicker.
Sharpening a plate!
Sharpening a knife!
Kenjamin last edited by
Great article, but is there an easy way to determine if your knives/plates are disposable?
Thanks, we are wanting to do more and more on maintenance stuff here so people can take care of their equipment. There is no rule that is 100% accurate but almost all plates with a hub like this on one side are going to be resurfaceable, some are two sided plates so they are resurfaceable without a hug though. A really good indication is how much you paid for them, if you spent 20 something on a plate for a #32 then they are probably disposable, if you spent $50 or so then they probably are. Knives are even harder and have less rules but the cost thing holds true, if you spent less then $20 for a knife of any size then probably disposable $25 or more then probably resharpenable. If you want to take pics of any knives or plates you have questions on I should be able to look at them and tell you!
Just an FYI, everybody that received snack sticks for Christmas last year loved them… I just ordered another batch of Willie’s Snack Stick spice blend to do it again this year!
Jonathon, I have to agree that 275 is too hot… If you have the time I’d shoot for 225, but if it needs to be “done”, then 250 would be the max I would do…
I have always filled the water pan for everything I smoke… 2 reasons, first it does tend to add moisture during the long cook thus keeping the bark from turning to shoe leather… and second because the water pan acts as a heat sink and helps maintain the temperature (in my vertical propane smoker) a bit more accurately… I’ve heard folks tout using apple juice in the water pan to impart a sweeter flavor, but I’ve never tried it…
On the other hand, my dad smoked for years, mostly in a converted fridge with an electric hotplate in the bottom… he never used a water pan and never had an issue with dry meat…
As for the type of wood to use, that’s just a trial and error, personal preference thing… I happen to like steaks cooked with oak… that may be too strong a flavor for your taste (my GF hates it)… Recently I have been using a lot of maple for NC bbq, chicken and even cheese… I like the maple for the meats, but next batch of cheese will go back to the hickory / cherry mix that I was using…
I followed the instructions on the video. It may have something to do with the sausage not getting as firm as it should. I used the cotto salami on duck breast with pork fat. It sure tastes good. But it’s a little soft.
I’ve done a lot both ways. I would highly recommend a stuffer and I have the Weston grinder with the auger stuffing attachment. It’s slow, but if you’re doing 5# or 10# batches, it’s not that bad. I’ve had small 5# stuffer, old school cast iron Enterprise, 11# vertical and now a 35# hydraulic. Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t trade the hydraulic but the 11# vertical I got on amazon had a lot of versatility. I think your bigger decision should be what type of stuffer should I buy. I would recommend the taller, smaller diameter instead of the large shorter one. The smaller diameter allow for a higher pressure for doing sticks with cure in them. The large short ones would be great for doing pork sausage or larger diameter casings, not 19-22mm sticks with cure. It would be fine as long as you’re doing fresh like breakfast or something like that. If you go the stuffer route I’d get it from Waltons and get the Weston-they stock parts, other no name from amazon is a one shot deal, once ours broke couldn’t find parts. Plus they have so many tube sizes now and Walton’s does a great job helping with casing and stuffing horn sizes, they carry them all.
I purchased a stuffer off Amazon for under $100 and would never go back to using the grinder. With the grinder, it was always a two man job and took forever. The stuffer is much faster and have no problems doing it all by myself. Plus with a hand crank stuffer, no electricity usage and wear and tear on your grinder.
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