Meat grinders are used to mince meat at home for health reasons, to make home-made sausages and burgers or if you are particular about the texture of ground meat and find that a food processor grinds it too finely. They attach to a work surface so they can be stored out of sight until you need them.
– Mincing your own meat at home means that you can get just the texture you want. A tabletop grinder that you clamp onto a work surface gives you a chance to feel the texture of the meat and to choose the ‘grind’, changing it to make it rougher for sausages and burgers and finer for meatballs. You can also mix types of meat in one grind and experiment with the addition of quantities of fat to suit the recipe.
– The minced meat is fresher when you grind it yourself. It doesn’t have a chance to spoil and minced meat goes off more quickly than a solid piece. You also know the provenance of the meat because you bought it yourself, you know its quality and the chances of contamination are lower than buying pre-packed minced meat.
How to look after your tabletop grinder
– If you buy an antique grinder use it only if it is not rusty or if the surface of the metal has not bubbled. Make sure it is spotless and intact before putting meat in it and that it is easy to wash.
– Be careful where you attach your grinder as it can scrape a good table. Place a small piece of card between both sides of the metal clamp
– Wash and dry the grinder thoroughly immediately after use. If possible, don’t mince chicken in your grinder, stick to beef or lamb unless it is a new one and is dishwasher proof.
Tip for making quick burgers in a grinder: Put chopped beef or lamb or a mixture into the grinder with garlic cloves still in their skins. Add a bunch of washed parsley. Grind together to the correct texture. You can do it in a food processor too.