Anyone have experience with Manual Meat Grinders?
There were a few relevant posts a year or so ago, but does anyone have experience with a purchasing and using a manual meat grinder? I have done my homework and then some.
Reviews on the web seem to be mixed.
Brands include: Weston, Porkert, and others.
Would love to hear from a hound that actually uses a manual to grind in the neighborhood of 5 lbs of meat on occasion.
I am thinking of making sausage, and occasionally ground beef.
Folks with electrics, no need to chime in. I really want a manual.
I have a Keen Kutter from my grandmother that must be at least sixty-seventy years old, and likely older (yes, it's older than I am!). It works flawlessly. There are three grinding discs, from coarse to fine, it clamps onto a counter edge and I turn the handle. That's it. Simplicity itself.
Five pounds of meat is probably as much as I have ever ground at one single time. I have made sausage with this as well as grinding beef and chicken for different preparations.
We also grind cranberries and oranges at Thanksgiving but that's for nostalgia more than anything else.
I would carry this out in case of a fire, I like it that much.
It has been a while since I used one... I think it ran away from home on one of my moves, but yes, it will handle about anything you want to do as long as the blades are sharp. I don't remember what brand mine was, but it clamped to the table or one of those old fashioned slide-out bread boards with a screw you tightened it with. I did go to the Weston website just to make sure we're talking about the same thing. We are. My only warning would be that I see they have some models that sit on four feet atop a work surface, and frankly, those scare me. there were times when I had to crank rather hard, and for that, firmly anchored is the best (and only) way to fly! But on closer look, I don't think those are free standing. They appear to have holes in the feet to be screwed to a work top. Obviously for dedicated cooks! I'm rather stunned that their electric and manuals run in the same ball park, price wise. I had NO idea mine was that valuable. I think you'll be happy with it. Good luck!
I hope you'll allow someone who formerly used a manual grinder to chime in.
The grinding parts are pretty much identical in manual and electric grinders, so the quality of the grind should be the same. In fact, the disks and blades come in more or less standard sizes and often can be used in either type. Five pounds of meat will require a lot of cranking, but the main problem I had with my old manual grinder was securing it to the counter top. As Caroline noted, you absolutely must clamp, bolt, or screw it to your counter top or some other stable surface or it will be impossible to crank. That can be difficult as most models are not designed to be clamped down, and most people like their counter tops without holes in them. I used to have my roommate hold the grinder down when I needed to grind only a pound or two, but when I started making 5 lb batches I gave the manual away and bought a relatively inexpensive electric grinder from Northern Tool.
So if you have a counter top or sturdy table you can drill holes through, or a strong and helpful roommate, by all means get a manual grinder. It will do the job just fine.
Our hand Grinder (actually my Grandmothers, maybe older) gets used for 3-5 pounds of meat, but really no more than that. The main problem is that our modern countertop is too thick so the 'clamp' on the grinder doesn't fit. I now use it out in the workshed, with a table built just for sausage making.
Works well, just keep the disks sharp and your arms in shape.