Meat Processing Equipment 103 - Meat Mixers
Meat Processing Equipment 103 Meat Mixers
Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!
What Are The Main Functions?
A Meat Mixers main function is to mix in seasoning, cure and other additives with your meat. It also plays a very important role in protein extraction when making a cured sausage product.
How Do They Work?
Most retail meat mixers, like the Weston 20 and 44 lb models work on an axle and paddle system, where you turn the axle with the hand crank and the paddles spin through the chamber. The meat is added first and sits on the bottom of the mixer, the paddles are angled which allows them to scoop the meat off the bottom, rotate it up and drop it back down to mix it. This way you are getting multiple impacts to help break up the proteins as the seasoning is mixed in.
How Important Is It?
Mixing seasoning, cure and other additives in with your meat can be achieved by hand fairly easily, so if you are making a lot of fresh sausages then a meat mixer offers a convenience but it is not necessary. However, if you are making cured sausages then you need to achieve high levels of protein extraction during the mixing process. Protein extraction is a very important part of making certain types of meat snacks, anything that is going to be smoked generally needs protein extraction to keep the meat, fat, water and seasoning all bound together. If you don’t have good protein extraction you run the risk of “fatting out” which is when your fat renders out of your product during the cooking process. This leaves you with an unappetizing fatty film on the outside and a dry product.
You can mix in seasoning, cures, and additives by hand or you can add them between the first and second grind on your products and let your Meat Grinder do some of the work for you. These methods are easier to do with uncured products but it can also work for cured products, it will just be more time consuming and you might end up with an inferior product.
Should You Buy One
If you are making cured products then I believe them to be absolutely necessary, right up there with Stuffers and Meat Grinders. Lack of proper protein extraction can lead to a host of problems during cooking and smoking products. If you are making only fresh products then it is not necessary but it can be convenient to have.
Best Choice For Beginners
The Weston 20 lb Meat Mixer is a nice size for making smaller batches, the scoop and drop action helps with protein extraction and it is fairly easy to break down and clean, all for right about $100.
Be sure that you are spinning the crank an equal number of times in both directions, this will help disperse the seasonings and cures quicker and ensures an even distribution. Some mixers like the 44 lb Weston will hook up with Weston Butcher and Pro Series Grinders, size 22 and above and it will do the mixing for you.
You also need to use a certain amount of the capacity for this type of mixer to be effective, trying to do a batch that is much below 1/2 of the capacity will give you issues.