I've been asked to provide a few more tips on grinding burger and making sausage, so here goes.
Per the photo, I use the 'medium' plate for grinding hamburger and will grind the meat only twice, as this is sufficient. If I were making 'chili meat', I would only use the 'large' plate and grind just one time.
For sausage, I prefer the 'large' plate for the first grind and then will switch to the 'medium' plate for the second grind. If you prefer the coarser grind, then please feel free to leave the 'large' plate in without switching it out.
Before you start grinding any type of meat, make sure the ring (above) is screwed onto the head TIGHT
, otherwise the hamburger meat will come out all squiggly shaped and the head will clog up. I usually use a knife steel or a wrench to tighten and untighten it with.
I like to cut the meat into strips first, about 1x1x6 inches and place it in the freezer until it's almost frozen. Keep the meat in the hopper so you don't waste time getting it to the feeder tube. This applies to the sausage meat, as well.
After the first grind, put a good amount of meat in the hopper for the second grind. When you run low, shut the grinder off and refill the hopper. DO NOT RUN THE GRINDER EMPTY!!
This will burn what meat is in the head, plus metal against metal will result in a burning smell and add to early derterioation of the parts.
This what the Chuck Roast looks like after the first grind. Make sure to grab a pinch of the first grind and mix it back thru before you begin the second grind.
and after the second
After the last grind and you take the grinder apart, you will notice a few ounces of ground meat still in the head, near the plate and the knife. This meat is perfectly fine to use, just make sure there are no pieces of bone or gristle stuck in there.
When stuffing sausage.....this is important.....after the second grind, REMOVE
the plate and knife from the head of the grinder. Place your stuffing tube in the head and replace the ring, making sure it's tight. It may feel loose, but once you start pushing sausage through it, it will tighten up.
Wash the grinder in hot, soapy water and then rinse in hot water to rinse. Do not let the grinding plate, knife or the ends of the screw air dry, or else they will rust. Hand dry all parts as quick as you can. Take a food grade Mineral Oil, found in the medical supply section of your drug or grocery store, and rub it lightly on all parts of the grinder that will be stored away, including the threads on the inside of the ring. This inhibits rust from forming and also to keep the parts lubed for best use.
The above tips are specifically for the $89-99 grinder from Northern Tool, but some of it does apply to all grinders.