The 5 Best Meat Grinders for 2023, According to Chefs
Aug 03, 2023
Bring the meat counter home with these easily accessible electric and manual models.
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Food & Wine/Maria Ridgway
If you’re reading this, you’re likely at least somewhat interested in a meat grinder. Maybe you’re looking for a way to process beef to make homemade hamburger patties. Or perhaps you’re looking to start making your own sausage as a hobby. Even some might be here to tackle Nonna’s famous meatball recipe. But did you know you can use a meat grinder for many other meatless kitchen tasks? For example, some can shred cheese, make breadcrumbs, grind veggies for exceptional veggie burgers, and even be used for jam or as juicers. To find the best meat grinders, we researched the top available items on the market and spoke with professional cooks about which ones they swear by for streamlining all sorts of cooking tasks.
Pros: We love the power, accessories, and design of this grinder.
Cons: The only thing we didn’t like about this model was that it’s loud.
This meat grinder hits the perfect midpoint on nearly all metrics — it’s powerful without being too big and has useful attachments (like sausage stuffing tubes and plates, meat shredder claws, and a slider press), is midrange in price, and has multiple settings without confusion. It’s the ideal grinder for home use because it has all the power and durability you’d find in a commercial model without the hefty footprint and price tag. The large hopper, which holds three pounds of prepped meat, and the wide meat tube make this model easy for home cooks since it processes large volumes quickly so that you can move on to the next step. It’s hard to find a flaw with this machine, though if we really had to pick, it can be pretty loud, which is to be expected, but it’s good to keep in mind.
Price at time of publish: $160
Pros: The handy features offer convenience and limit messy tasks.
Cons: We were disappointed that the accessories for this model are made of less durable plastic.
This grinder has a few great features you didn’t even know you needed. For example, there’s a reverse button to quickly and easily clear clogs without having you get your hands dirty. Its 300-watt motor can grind up to three pounds of meat per minute, and at under $100, that's quite the value. When it comes time for clean up, use the included cleaning brush to avoid getting your hands in all the nooks and crannies. This grinder is an excellent deal for the price because it has all the power and features you want without any useless extras that you don’t. The body is stainless steel, but the attachments and other pieces are made of plastic which can feel flimsy and break easily, so we would handle it with caution.
Price at time of publish: $100
Pros: This grinder is powerful and can accommodate nearly any task due to its thoughtful design and powerful motor.
Cons: This model is large, making it heavy and hard to handle.
This meat grinder pulls out all the stops. It’s perfect for anyone serious about grinding their own meat and needs equipment to easily keep up with their needs. This heavy-duty model doesn’t shy away from tough tasks; it has a large hopper at the top that can hold much more than similar models, meaning it’s easier to work in fewer batches and can grind up to seven pounds per minute. It also has a permanently lubricated motor with improved grease formulation to reduce motor noise. It comes with many attachments, like various-sized plates, three stuffing tubes, and a meat stomper, and the high-quality and powerful motor can even grind through bones, something our best overall pick cannot do. The downside of the workhorse design is that this model is hefty and cumbersome at over 30 pounds, making it difficult to maneuver and store.
Price at time of publish: $530
Pros: The primarily stainless steel construction makes this grinder easy to clean and heavy-duty.
Cons: The handle and clamps are made of less durable materials.
If you don’t mind a little bit of elbow grease, a manual grinder is for you, and this is the best manual grinder on the market. It’s made of hyper-sturdy stainless steel, withstanding years of wear and tear, and its wide clamp can be fixed securely to almost any countertop. Plus, it’s easy to clean since everything rinses right off. The only parts of this grinder that aren’t stainless steel are the grip on the handle and the clamp. Unfortunately, these two stress points make this grinder slightly less durable.
Price at time of publish: $150
Pros: This attachment is space-saving and economical.
Cons: This attachment is only compatible with a KitchenAid Stand Mixer.
If you already have a KitchenAid stand mixer at home, we couldn't recommend this grinder more. Since it hooks into the top of your mixer, it's more compact than the other bulkier countertop models. And with all the power that comes from your KitchenAid, it’s incredibly heavy-duty and can take on even the toughest grinds, including ones that take advantage of the mixer's different speeds. Sonny Ingui is the executive chef of Urban Farmer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a steakhouse with an in-house butcher who loves his KitchenAid attachment. “It’s the most economical, and a lot of people already have the mixers,” he says.” This is really a matter of space saving for me. The stand-alone grinders are more powerful but larger, and I’ve never needed such a device for home cooking.”
Price at time of publish: $80
You won’t find a better all-around grinder than the STX International Turboforce 3000 due to its comprehensive list of features and versatility. If manual grinding is more your speed, look no further than the LEM #10 Stainless Steel Clamp-on Hand Grinder for durable construction and easy use.
Both electric and manual meat grinders get the job done. Which is suitable for you depends primarily on how willing you are to roll up your sleeve and do a bit of hard work. Electric meat grinders do all the work for you, but they come at a high price tag that you might be fine with paying for the ease and convenience of just flipping a switch. Manual grinders are much cheaper but require muscle some work to crank the lever and move the internal parts to push the meat through. Manual models might not be for you if you’re not physically (or mentally) up to the task. But if skipping your bicep curls at the gym in favor of making burgers for dinner appeals to you, snag a manual model and save a few bucks.
Meat grinders come with various settings, attachments, and attachments that can be bought separately. Consider what you plan to use your grinder for when deciding if these are worth it. If you love the idea of stuffing your own sausage, those attachments will come in handy, but if you know you’re just planning to make a few burgers, forgo the attachments for a more simplistic model. Though, if you’re buying a meat grinder to explore the world of ground meats, consider picking a model with a wide variety of settings and the option to purchase more attachments to give yourself room to grow in the future.
Meat grinders come in sizes anywhere perfect for a couple of pounds of meat up to those suited for a couple hundred pounds of meat. When deciding on a size, consider your family size or how many people you’ll likely feed when you use it. Some people love to grind their own meat because they like to buy several pounds at a time and make burger patties to freeze or chili for the whole block. In that case, size up and look for a larger hopper to avoid the time-consuming process of multiple batches. If you have a smaller family or know you’ll be a more occasional user, a smaller model will fit your needs just fine.
Meat grinders have many internal parts, so pulling them all out and cleaning them thoroughly can be a major headache. Catherine Snowden, the CEO FascinatingSky, warns against skipping regular cleaning. “Neglecting maintenance can lead to problems such as clogging, dull blades, and even motor damage…A dirty meat grinder is a breeding ground for bacteria,” she says. “Keep it clean for the sake of your health. Meat grinders that are not cleaned properly after use can harbor bacteria and other harmful pathogens that can cause foodborne illnesses.” Some pieces can be hand washed, so check the manufacturer's instructions if that’s something that appeals to you. Extra parts mean extra cleaning, so if you want to reduce cleaning time, look for simpler designs.
As the meat heats up, it becomes much harder to clean, so a quick tip to wipe all that leftover meat out of the inside before taking your grinder apart calls for one item likely already in your kitchen: a single slice of bread. Tear it up into 1-inch pieces and feed it into the hopper. It’ll grab onto and wipe up any smeared meat and help push any last bits out to curb waste. Just be sure to stop the machine before it comes out of the die.
From the outside, meat grinders can look pretty intimidating, but inside, they’re relatively simple machines (for the most part.) The hopper is the top part where you add your meat cubes; this feeding tray directs the chunks into the shaft, where it meets a large corkscrew-shaped device, the auger, that pushes it through the shaft and down to the blades. From there, the mechanical motion of the auger presses the meat into the rotating blades. As the meat is cut, it’s pushed further through the machine and eventually up to the die, or grinder plate, where it is extruded from the holes. Some models have a slightly different internal mechanism, but most meat grinders work the same way overall.
Generally, you’ll encounter either manual or electric grinders. They both work the same way; it’s just a difference in the type of power used to work the auger. An electric model plugs into the wall, and the auger moves when the grinder is turned on, leaving your hands free to feed meat into the hopper. A manual grinder requires a hand crank to rotate the auger.
The answer to this question depends on who you ask. To a butcher or those enthusiastic about fresh-ground meat, yes. Grinding your own meat can be a fun (and delicious!) way to experiment in the kitchen and develop your own signature burger blend, gluten-free sausage, or even vegan falafel. A meat grinder allows you to control your burger's fat level and grind — not to mention freshness. But it probably doesn't make much difference for someone who prefers convivence and doesn’t mind the sometimes lackluster flavor of frozen sausage or fast food burgers. If you find yourself somewhere in the middle, give them a try.
You’ll often see these two numbers as descriptors on meat grinders, indicating the size of the plate the meat comes from. A number 12 size is smaller and will have fewer holes, while a number 22 size is larger and will have more holes. You’ll often find a number 12 recommended for home use; it’s great for smaller batches and projects. The number 22 variety is usually categorized as commercial and is commonly used in butcher shops and restaurants. Though, if meat grinding is something you think you’ll often do, it’s worth it to invest in the larger size.
Nick DeSimone is a writer and cook with nearly a decade of professional cooking experience. They have spent many hours grinding meat for restaurant kitchens, so they know firsthand how important a good meat grinder is. Nick also spoke to Catherine Snowden, an expert in recipe development and product testing, to get her insights. They also spoke to chef Sonny Ingui whose restaurant’s in-house butchery program grinds hundreds of pounds of meat at a time. Pros: Cons: Price at time of publish: $160Type: Weight: Included accessories: Pros: Cons: Price at time of publish: $100Type: Weight: Included accessories:Pros: Cons: Price at time of publish: $530Type: Weight: Included accessories: Pros: Cons: Price at time of publish: $150Type: Weight: Included accessories: Pros: Cons: Price at time of publish: $80Type: Weight: Included accessories: