A meat grinder is an exceptional investment, both financially and for the health of you and your pet. Grinding your own meat is a great way to save money, especially if you’re a hunter or use a lot of ground meat. A grinder means your ground meat will be the freshest, with the exact ingredients and additions you desire. Who doesn’t like fresh, juicy burgers? So, why are you paying the butcher to do what you can easily do yourself?
While even heavy duty grinders can’t cope with something like pork or deer bones (except very large and very, very expensive industrial models), it may surprise you to learn that there are many affordable meat grinders that can chew through small bones like rabbit and chicken. Being able to grind bones like these is a fantastic way to add nutrients to your pets food, along with a natural flavour they will love.
Buying a grinder, especially one that is suitable for grinding bones can be frustrating. Different models have different features, capabilities, engines, speed and feeding tube sizes. To help you out, we’ve put in the research to explain the basics, so that you can make an informed decision when purchasing a meat grinder. Keep reading for our top choices and their various advantages.
What makes a good meat grinder?
To choose the best grinder for your needs, there is plenty to consider. The types of meat you plan to process will affect how tough it needs to be, and the quantity of meat you want to process is important to think about. If you are an avid hunter, then it is definitely worth looking at grinders that have larger feeding tubes. A large feeding tube means less time cutting the meat as the pieces can be larger, resulting in more meat in less time.
The caliber of construction and materials is vital, as your new meat grinder should be an investment for years. You do not want something that will break after only a few uses. An important thing to look at is the power of the motor. More powerful engines can grind tougher meat, with less strain and faster results. Motor power is also vital to consider if you are planning to make pet food. Only some of the models out there can handle the chicken and rabbit bones that are recommended as an ingredient in fresh, natural pet food.
Unfortunately, many meat grinders are not advertised that they are suitable for bones because it leads to increased wear on the machine, more breakages and replacements. However, the following grinders are all suitable, although only some will provide warranties if you use them for grinding raw meat and bones for pet food. Always remember to read the fine print and consider if the warranty even applies to you (eg. most are only valid for continental United States).
Why grind my own meat and bones?
The most obvious benefit of owning your own meat grinder is the freshness it produces. Also, if you follow proper hygeine, you will lower your chances of food poisoning and find a better, fresher flavor than bought meat. Grinders make it possible to adjust the fat content, types of meat, herb and spices, meaning you will soon have a secret recipe for the best sausage or burger patty in town.
People want to look after their pets, but the processed dog or cat food you are used to buying is more like junk food than a healthy diet. Fresh ground meat, with extra nutrients from bones and vegetables, will get your pet healthy, happy, and full of energy – potentially saving thousands of dollars in future vet bills.
The benefits of investing in a meat grinder are huge, both for your finances and your health. Once you start, it is unlikely you will ever stop using a meat grinder. If you choose one that is suitable for bones too, then you can create delicious, natural pet food as well.
Of course, always remember to cook your meats to safe temperatures by using a reliable probe thermometer!
Top Meat Grinders
Sportsman MEG300 3/4HP 350W Electric Meat Grinder with 3 Cutting Plates (Fine, Medium and Course Grind)
At the bottom end of the price scale (but still suitable for grinding chicken bones or gristle) is the Sportsman MEG300. It features a 3/4 HP, 250W motor and claims a maximum of grinding up to 100 lbs per hour. Reviewers say that it is an easy machine to set up and clean, which is very useful and often one of the main differences between different brands of meat grinders.
The stainless steel food tray (where you load up your ingredients ready to feed into the machine) is larger than many similar products and it can also be detached easily for washing and sanitizing. Some reviewers say they have ground large quantities of various types of meat, from a whole deer (excluding bones) to whole chickens (including bones and skin) without trouble. If the machine does jam, the reverse function will help clear out the blockage easily. It includes several attachments with a range of purposes. There is also three different sizes of cutting blades for either processing different types of meat or just for personal preference of how you like the texture of your burgers.
See the Sportsman MEG300 3/4HP 350W Electric Meat Grinder at Amazon
One downside mentioned is that the blades are irreplaceable if they wear out, which they eventually will do. However, for the incredibly low price that is not a big deal, as you can always buy another one. Some buyers have used it for years without issues, so if you are looking for a cheap but good looking option to grind your meat and bones, this is a great choice.
Best Choice Products Meat Grinder Electric 2.6 Hp 2000 Watt Industrial Meat Grinder Butcher Shop New
Still well under a hundred dollars, this is a powerful little machine that has a great, simple design. At 2.6Hp it is suitable for just about any application and even markets itself as useable in heavy duty conditions such as commercial kitchens or supermarkets. Like most meat grinders available, it comes with a selection of three different cutting blades which range from fine to coarse. The other additions are fairly standard, but are reviewed favorably as good quality.
It includes a nice owners manual with advice on grinding as well as on cleaning. Buyers report that although it can be messy (as grinding meat always is) the clean up only takes a few minutes with some hot soapy water, and when dried well it is like new again. Reviewers also say that this machine is a fantastic choice for most users and can handle chicken bones with ease. The engine is well made and features steel gearing which help provide strength and reliability to the motor when you use it.
See the Best Choice Products Meat Grinder Electric 2.6 Hp 2000 Watt Industrial Meat Grinder at Amazon
For the price, this is the closest you will get to a commercial grade meat grinder. A few users have complained about the noise created by this machine, but given its power and speed that is to be expected. The cooling fan might be a little loud, but it means you never need to stop. You could grind for hours without this unit overheating. At a very affordable price but with a high powered motor and some outstanding features, this is one of the best entry level meat grinders available, one that is also suitable for bones.
Weston No. 12 Commercial Meat Grinder and Sausage Stuffer, 3/4-HP
The Weston No.12 Commercial Meat Grinder and Sausage stuffer is a great 3/4-Hp machine. Certified for commercial use, it is built to a very high level of quality in manufacturing, design and materials. Sausage making is a breeze with this machine as it is fast and powerful. It comes with five different sizes of sausage making attachments, as well as different cutting blades for a range of coarseness. There is also a two year warranty on this machine for peace of mind.
It has been proven by many different buyers to breeze through tough jobs such as preparing large quantities of venison, or grinding its way through pound after pound of chickens, bones and all. A fantastic feature is the outstanding feeding tube. Larger than most available meat grinders, the feeding tube of this machine is wider and better designed, ready to grind meat faster than you can feed it. It is even capable of processing whole chicken legs – without cutting them up first. That will save you hours of hard work. Depending on how you value your time, this could potentially mean that while more costly than other options, this grinder may well be worth it.
See the Weston No. 12 Commercial Meat Grinder and Sausage Stuffer, 3/4-HP at Amazon
While this is an expensive meat grinder compared to other models, it is probably the best option for those who grind very large quantities of meat. Several people have processed dozens of whole animals with this machine, without experiencing problems with the machine. If you have the means to purchase one of these meat grinders, you will not be disappointed.
STX International STX-3000-TF Turboforce 3-Speed Electric with 3 Cutting Blades, 3 Grinding Plates, Kubbe Attachment and Sausage Stuffing Tubes
The STX International Turboforce 3000 Series Electric Meat Grinder delivers 800 Watts – 1200 Watts of power during normal use, but it is possible to use up to 3000 Watts. STX International has been selling meat grinders for a long time now and has tens of thousands of satisfied customers. This machine features all the attachments you need to create a range of ground meat and sausages. Reviews show the top of the line quality of this machine, and that for a very reasonable price you can get a meat grinder that is almost as good as the professional ones.
See the STX Turboforce 3000 Series 3 Speed Electric Meat Grinder at Amazon
Buyers say the feeding tube is amazing for their grinding purposes, allowing rapid meat processing with less effort. While the 100% guarantee is only valid for thirty days and only within continental United States, the standard of this machine is so high that you need not worry. It is also possible to get your STX meat grinder repaired or replaced for free, valid up to three years. With guarantees and reviews like this, along with its fair price, this is one meat grinder (suitable for bones) that won’t break down on you easily. It is also a good, compact size with a high level of performance.
Best meat grinder for bones and the best for the money
Owning your own meat grinder can save you money in the long run. Grinding your own meat provides you with the very freshest and purest results, whether to enjoy yourself or to feed your pets a more natural diet. It can be complicated though to choose which machine is right for you. The prices for grinders can vary from under $50 right up into the thousands. There are lots of different features and materials for grinders, and they come in a huge range of sizes and engine speeds. However, now you have seen a variety of affordable but worthy options to check out.
Out of the many products we reviewed for you, there was one exceptional model. Due to its very reasonable price tag and powerful motor, the STX International STX-3000-TF Turboforce 3-Speed Electric is our top recommendation for meat grinders on the market. Whichever model you choose though, we hope you enjoy the many benefits that will follow as both you and your pets get the very best ground meat available.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also be interested in this article on the best meat grinder for processing your own venison!
Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons: Mike M and Allen S