From the One Minute Butcher #1
Congratulations on deciding to process your own harvest. Home processing is extremely rewarding and not nearly as hard as you think it is. Like Bob Ross used to say, there are no mistakes, only happy accidents. If you ever do mess something up while you are butchering, just add it to the burger and sausage piles. Did you know that you can salt cure version and make delicious smoked ham or bacon? So you like ribs? Wild game provides us with some amazing succulent mouth watering ribs. But it all begins with two things, a great set of knives and a top flight grinder.
When it comes to home processing, one of the biggest investments you will make is purchasing a grinder. This is not a place where you want to buy the cheapest one you can find. Do your research, as you want to purchases one that will give you a lifetime of continuous service and dependability. When you are purchasing a grinder there are several things that you will need to consider. Check out this link to see the full line of Weston grinders, http://www.westonsupply.com/Meat-Grinders-s/68.htm
The first thing that you need to take into consideration is how many animals will you be processing per year and how big will those animals be? If you are only processing one or two deer a year, a counter top grinder will probably meet your needs. However, if you are processing larger game like elk or moose, or larger numbers of deer, say four or more, than I highly recommend going with a commercial grade grinder. I use the Pro-350 number 8 grinder from Weston. It is built tough like a tank and I never have to worry about it overheating thanks to it’s permanently lubricated and air cooled motor.
The second thing that you need to consider is speed. The speed I am referring to here, is how many pounds per minute do you want to be able to grind? My 1/2 horse power Weston Pro-350 can grind around 6 pounds a minute making short work of any deer that I need to process. However if I was processing an elk, or multiple deer at the same time, I would opt for something with a little more horse power like the Weston Pro-750 that has a full one horse power motor and can grind up to 12 pounds a minute.
The third thing you need to think about when buying a grinder, is the material that it is made from. I prefer an all stainless steel grinder with stainless steel parts that are easy to remove, and easy to clean. After each use I thoroughly wash the parts in hot soapy water and then air dry. Before I reassembly the grinder I protect and lubricate all the parts with a silicone spray / sanitary lubricant. That way it is all ready to use next time, and you wont have to worry about your meat sticking to the inside of your grinder.
One of my favorite features of the Weston Commercial Grade Grinders is they all use steel gears that will not wear out like their plastic counterparts found in other grinders. Another reason why I chose the Weston line of products is they have an extra wide throat (the part where you stuff the meat in) which makes grinding your meat so much simpler. Plus the head of the grinder is rifled to help push the meat out through the grinding plates. Here is the link to Weston commercial line of grinders. http://www.westonsupply.com/Weston-Commercial-Meat-Grinders-p/commercial%20grinders.htm
Finally when purchasing a grinder look at the ancillary materials that come with your grinder. Does it come with sausage stuffing funnels? How many meat grinding plates does it come with? What size are the grinding plates? You might also want to consider if you can run additional attachments from your grinder, like a mixer, meat tenderizer, or a burger patty maker. IF you want to know more about all the different accessories you can buy for your grinder check out the link below. http://www.westonsupply.com/Meat-Grinder-Accessories-s/91.htm
A lot of people ask me why I use Weston products and the answer is simple, they are best. I know that if have question about anything, all I have to do is pick up the phone. You see Weston is not just about selling products to make processing easier, they also educate the consumer and help them become the best home processor that they can be and that is important to me. If you are thinking about jumping into the home processing movement, give Weston Products a look, I promise you that you will not be disappointed. If you have any questions about any of Weston’s product, do not hesitate to reach out to me. Until next time, just remember, vegetarian is just the old Indian word for a bad hunter.