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Nov 9, 2009 12:55 PM

Need advice on my new meat grinder

I recently acquired a Waring Pro meat grinder. This is the first time I've owned a meat grinder of any sort, and I have a few questions about it.

First, it comes with three grinding discs, fine, medium, and coarse. The manual recommends using the fine grind for burgers, so I tried that and it was a disaster. I ground up some chuck and the gristle in the meat totally clogged the holes, and when I was finally able to force it all through, the meat was more like paste with clumpy strands of gristle. So I'm guessing the manual was wrong on that?

In a related vein, should I be trimming all the gristle out of the meat before grinding? I know chuck is recommended for burgers, that seems like an awful lot of work, there's
a lot of gristle in your typical chuck roast.

The manual also says the parts cannot be put in the dishwasher. Since the parts are all solid metal, why not? Is this just the company taking a CYA approach and saying put it in the dishwasher at your own risk?

Finally - any special tips on meat grinding in general for a newbie?

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  1. I use a KitchenAid attachment, but most of what I say will probably translate.

    When I'm going to make burgers, I also use the find grind. However, I always grind through the coarse plate first, and then the fine plate. This also helps the myosin develop so that the meat sticks together better.

    I don't trim the meat much at all, unless there is something super hard inside of it.

    I also don't like an all chuck burger. If I have to grind just one piece of meat for a burger, I use brisket. But, for a perfect burger I like 2 or 3 parts chuck, to 1 part brisket and 1 part short rib.

    Also, the manual probably says to cut the meat into 1" or 1/2" cubes before grinding. I find that if I make long strips that are about 1/2" square by 3" or 4" long I get better results as the strips get pulled through the plates better.

    Finally, I'm guessing your plates (like mine) aren't stainless steel. Usually you don't want to put non stainless metal in the dishwasher.

    1. The meat should be very cold, even partially frozen for best results. You should not have to remove gristle unless it's a big hard piece of it. It almost sounds like you are trying to grind without the cutting blade in place. I grind chuck with the fine plate all the time (Kitchenaid), no problems with gristle.

      1 Reply
      1. re: absurdnerdbird

        +1 on the absence of cutting blade.

        Ah..this takes me back to my first couple of times trying to SHOVE the meat through those little bloody holes!

        Back before I knew about Chowhound and its knowledgeable, helpful, denizens!

      2. Bob, go the extra mile and clean your meat. Chuck is made of several muscles. In between each one is a thin connective tissue and often there is some silverskin connective tissue that should come off. This should not clog your plate but does wrap around the auger. It's pretty easy to seperate some of the muscles. They just pull apart and with the aid of a sharp knive it's a chinch to clean it up well. Remove anything you woudn't want to eat. Hard fat is fine and there is enough intramuscular fat in chuck that if you want to go a litle leaner you could leave some of that out too.

        If you have freezer space, put your grinding tube and parts in the freezer or you can grind a couple of ice cubes to get it cold. Just drain out the water before grinding the meat. The meat shoudl be cold. It doesn't have to be frozen. With a Waring Pro you should be able to grind a big roast before there is any significant heat to melt the fat. I use to have an occasinal probelm with my KA but not with my Tasin grinder. When I had a probelm wiht my KA and fat smearing it would bog the whole grinding process down.

        1 Reply
        1. re: scubadoo97

          Another consideration: it takes a little practice to screw the retaining ring down just right . If it's too loose, you will get lots sinew clogging things up.

          The disks and screw and usually the blade are mild steel, but you can put them through the dishwasher as long as you cancel the heated drying phase and pull them out as soon as the wash is complete. Dry the pieces with paper towels and put them in a ziplock bag with a cup or two of rice. And if they get a little rusty, no big deal.

        2. -I always grind my chuck through the largest disc. I have no desire to make burgers or chili (or anything else) out of finely chopped meat.

          -I usually cut my chuck into strips just big enough to put in the feed chute. Cutting everything into little cubes means you get tiny strands of meat, which I'm not a fan of.

          -I've never bothered to remove sinew/connective tissue.

          -I hand wash everything right after I finish. As mentioned previously, some of the components are not stainless and they will rust if left sitting in water.

          My special tip would be to enjoy yourself. Once you start grinding your own meat, you'll never buy prepackaged ground again. Trying out different meat combinations for burgers, meatballs, chili, etc. can be very fun.