Meat mincers are the versatile tools that allows you to make meat preparations with different grains. The result is apparently similar to that of a multifunctional appliance. But gourmets and lovers of good food can recognize the difference in taste in the blink of an eye.

A meat grinder is a household appliance that every true cooking enthusiast dreams of owning, as it allows you to work different types of ingredients quickly and easily.

Another important advantage offered by the meat grinder is that it has full control over the quality of the meat you want to process. Very often, in fact, we read alarming news on the contents of the packets of minced meat sold by large retailers. Bad choice cuts, minced waste together with the meat, too fatty and unhealthy parts are just some of the problems that can be encountered when purchasing the already minced meat. This is especially the case when purchasing frozen and prepackaged products, such as hamburgers, stuffed pasta, cupcakes, or single portions of ready meals.

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What to Look for Before Buying Meat Mincers

Buying a meat mincer is a choice that allows you to monitor the quality of the ingredients on the one hand, and to save money on the other. There are also many Italian families, still dedicated to the home preparation of sausages, cold cuts, and preserves of various kinds, for which the use of a meat grinder becomes even more necessary.

Operation and Power Supply

The high speed blades of the robot chop the ingredients, reducing them to a homogeneous mixture. If you want to grind meat like that of a butcher instead, you can’t do without the meat grinder.

Before purchasing a meat mincer, however, it is necessary to read up on the technical and structural characteristics that the different models on the market may have. In fact, there are substantial differences between the various products linked on the one hand to the type of use made of them, on the other hand, to the price range. In this buying guide, we will examine these elements, and we will analyze specifically what are the most important aspects to evaluate in order to choose the most suitable meat mincer for your needs.

The first of these elements is certainly the functioning of the product: it is possible to find manual meat mincers, which do not require any type of power supply or electric meat mincers. To this latter group belong two sub-categories of products: the meat grinder with timing belt and those that use only the motor. Let’s see specifically the operating modes of all types of meat mincers existing on the market (and suitable for more or less intensive domestic use).

Manual Meat Mincers

Manual meat mincers are the simplest and cheapest type, given that in these products, there are no advanced technological components. Precisely for this reason also their price is considerably lower. To work the various types of meat, these products use pressure: a good meat grinder must not squeeze the pieces, but cut them finely, leaving the juices and organoleptic properties of the ingredient intact.

To obtain ground meat with these products, the pieces of meat must be inserted in the upper tray, which will slowly fall into the part that contains the rotating knife. By turning a crank, the knife will rotate (quite slowly compared to an electric meat grinder), allowing you to cut the meat and push it towards the holes, from which the finished product will come out.

The main disadvantage associated with using a manual meat grinder is that you have to employ a good dose of physical strength, especially if you need to work large quantities of ingredients. The result obtained, however, if the internal blades are well sharpened, is certainly optimal. A slow rotation ensures that the meat in contact with the steel of the blades does not heat up and loses juice and consistency.

Electric Meat Mincers

As anticipated, two categories of products belong to the sub-group of electric meat mincers: those equipped with a timing belt and those without. The difference between the two types is that in belt-driven mincers, the motor is connected to both the shaft and the belt, ensuring a better distribution of the power that is delivered gradually, while in the beltless mincers the motor is connected only to the shaft. In the first group of products, we will, therefore, find more powerful motors, while in the second group, the power in watts will be lower, but the efficiency (on short or medium-long processes) will be the same.

The operation is instead similar for both products. As for the manual meat mincers, inside, there is a spiral knife block which, rotating, cuts the meat and pushes it towards the disc from which the mince will come out.
The advantage of the electric meat grinder is to automate the whole mincing phase in an absolute way: you just have to insert the meat in the upper tray, and the machine will do the rest. It will also be possible to work in a very easy way, almost all types of meat, even the most nervous ones, and in some cases even dried fruit, cheese, or tomato sauce.

However, we find two more or less significant defects: on the one hand, the energy consumption, which could become conspicuous if the meat grinder is used for prolonged or very frequent sessions, on the other hand, the rotation of the internal knives which, being faster, risks compromising the quality of the meat obtained. If you want to buy an electric meat grinder, then be careful not to set a rotation too fast.

Materials and Structure

After taking into consideration the technical characteristics, let’s move on to the structural ones. It is, in fact, possible to differentiate the various meat mincers also on the basis of the materials that compose them and on the overall dimensions. We find essentially two macro groups of products: those with a plastic body and those with a metal body. Clearly, in both cases, the discs and knives are in stainless steel, the only material that guarantees resistance to wear and deterioration.

Plastic meat mincers are usually the most compact and light models, and often do not have an engine but a crank. The small size, together with the low price, certainly represents the great qualities of this type. However, plastic meat mincers are sometimes unsuitable for processing all types of meat, as they often do not have many optional accessories and are more difficult to clean than metal models.

The products made of die-cast aluminum or stainless steel, on the contrary, are more solid and resistant, and usually have an engine and can have variable dimensions. For those who want a product that can be subjected to intensive use, it is advisable to focus on metal mincers, while those who want to make occasional use of the appliance and must especially make simple preparations (such as hamburgers) can instead also orient themselves on a plastic meat mincer.

Size of Meat Mincers

The size of the meat grinder should not be underestimated: the choice between a compact model and a larger model is mainly linked to the quantity of meat you want to work and to the type of use (intensive, occasional, semi-professional) that will be used.

For example, those who have the habit of working beef and pork to prepare cold cuts and sausages to eat throughout the year will need a large, powerful model made with good quality materials, i.e., a product is able to work for 3/4 continuous hours without affecting performance. The more compact meat mincers are instead ideal for cooking enthusiasts who, while working different cuts of meat, do not have to deal with such abundant quantities.

Accessories

A meat grinder can be more or less equipped. The presence of additional components is mainly linked to the price range, so the higher the price, the more equipped the model will be. We can divide the additional components that can be supplied into two groups: the discs, which will allow you to choose between different levels of grinding, and the other secondary accessories. Discs are certainly the most important components of a meat grinder. The ingredients, in fact, after being processed by the blades, pass through them, and it is precisely this step that determines the thickness of the ground coffee that will be obtained.

Depending on the preparations to be made, it will be necessary to have a more or less fine ground. For the filling of fresh pasta, for example, you need a very fine mince, which is not only composed of raw meat but also of other ingredients. To increase the versatility of the mincer and make it suitable for all types of mince, it is, therefore, advisable to purchase a product that has at least three interchangeable discs.

Another accessory widely used is the one for making sausages, that is a cone that can have different sizes, and that allows you to automatically insert the minced meat inside the casing. In addition to these accessories, all related to meat preparations, it will also be possible to find components that allow you to work cheeses and tomatoes bypass. Specific discs for these two preparations will then be provided. In some products, instead of the discs, there will be second support to be fitted to the machine body, and inside, it can be inserted different types of cones that will allow not only the processing of the cheese but also the choice of the type of grain to be obtained.

Maintenance

The last aspect to consider concerns the ease of maintenance of the mincers. Cleaning them well after use is a fundamental operation to ensure that the product lasts a long time and that it is always in optimal hygienic conditions. The easiest to clean electric meat mincers are made up of elements that can be dismantled and washed both in the dishwasher and under running water. The machine body cannot instead come into contact with water.

Plastic meat mincers can usually be washed completely safely, thanks to the absence of a motor and electrical connections. However, there are various models, usually cheaper and made of plastic or die-cast aluminum, from which only external components such as discs, tray, and possibly bowl can be extracted and washed. In these cases, routine maintenance may take longer and be slightly more difficult. A small trick that you can use with this type of product is to insert some stale bread into the appliance after processing the meat and put it into operation. The bread should be able to stick to the fat and meat residues, which will then be expelled through the discs.

If you do not want to waste too much time cleaning the meat grinder, we advise you to buy a model that offers the possibility of disassembling all the internal components (except the motor unit). In some cases, they are fixed with screws and bolts but can still be unscrewed, while in other cases, they are simply stuck together.

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