NEVER operate your Meat Chopper or attachment “dry” or without product, as it can overheat rapidly and damage your machine. Always have meat in the hopper when you start the machine and be sure to have some USDA lubrication on the plate & Knife. This is doubly important because for many manufacturers, failure to use adequate lubrication will void the warranty on their grinders.
Inspect your chopper plate pin(s) on the inside of the cylinder. These pins hold the plate in place so it does not rotate during the grinding operation. Pins are inexpensive and should be replaced when worn to avoid problems later.
Also inspect the washer on the end of the worm/feed screw and replace it if it is worn out. This washer allows the worm to turn freely and allows it to protrude out the cylinder by the proper amount. These washers can be made of fibre or brass material.
For optimal performance, replace your “Feed Screw Stud” when it shows signs of wear by allowing irregular rotation of the knife against the plate surface. The stud is attached to the end of the worm or feed screw and looks like a round pin with a square base that the knife slips over. If the stud is worn down too much, it could allow the tip of the knife to hit the pin that holds the chopper plate in position, causing a major problem.
NEVER over-tighten the Cylinder End Ring as this could create excessive friction and heat, damaging the plate and knife and possibly the grinder motor too. Just tighten the ring by hand, not with a wrench that could make it too tight.
When using a chopper attachment on a 3 speed mixer, operate this product in 3rd speed only and when using a 4 speed mixer, use 2nd speed only during operation.
AVOIDING ‘MUSHY MEAT’ WHEN MEAT-GRINDING
The ‘mush” usually comes from the meat being pushed by the feedscrew through the plate holes but not being cut cleanly by the knife. This is caused if the knife and plate are dull. Dull plates and knives should be re-sharpened or replaced immediately. The tension between the plate and knife should be sufficient to allow the knife to cleanly cut the meat. The tension between the plate and knife is set properly when the ring is tight against the plate, but not overly tight. This can only occur if the plate protrudes out of the cylinder somewhat to allow the ring to contact the plate and tighten it against the knife. Most feedscrews have a washer on the rear feedscrew round shaft that can wear out or get lost. This allows the feedscrew to insert too far into the cylinder thus allowing the plate to recess into the cylinder instead of protruding out. Also, meat ground too many times will become ‘mushy’. Never run meat thru a grinder more than two times.
Always match the cutting edges of the plate & knife. When you install a new knife, make sure it is matched to a new plate surface so the meat can be cut cleanly. Reversible plates (without a center hub on one side) give you two surfaces for grinding. Worn plates do not have the necessary sharp edges on the plate holes, and may have grooves worn into them by the old knife, so they must be changed or re-sharpened.
Clean the entire grinder head (cylinder, ring, feed screw/worm, pan, stomper, plate & Knife) thoroughly after every use. Make sure that all meat is removed from the cylinder threads and end ring so it will easily tighten by hand to fit perfectly. Wash & dry thoroughly to avoid rust forming. Before using again, lubricate the plate & knife with a USDA approved lubricant grease or oil.
WHY CHANGE THE GRINDER PLATE WHEN I CHANGE MY KNIFE?
A worn meat grinder/chopper knife is easy to spot. Besides the obvious chips and dings, you can usually tell when your knife is dull to the touch and needs to be replaced. A dull plate is not so easy to discern, but it is just as important in getting good product from your grinder. The knife spins against the stationary plate in every grinder and chopper. This steel on steel movement (no matter how well lubricated both components are) will result in the edges of the plate holes becoming dull and the face of the plate wearing down with somewhat of a groove. Installing a new knife on an old plate results in a gap between the knife & plate that causes the meat to exit the plate holes looking mushy and not cleanly cut. This is where the advantage of a reversible plate comes in – when you install a new knife, use the reverse side of the plate for a good match with the new knife.
SHOULD I USE A HUB OR HUBLESS STYLE PLATE ON MY GRINDER?
Years ago, the construction of size 32 and larger grinder heads required the use of plates with a hub on one side to better support the worm or feedscrew when grinding meat. This extra support helped keep the feed screw from wobbling and wearing down the stud prematurely. Equipment engineers have improved grinder heads so that today a plate with a hub is usually not necessary. Without a hub, grinder plates have two flat sides that allow grinding on both sides. When a new knife is required, the operator now can just turn the plate over for a fresh, sharp plate surface instead of replacing the plate. Note: the operators must keep track of which plate side was used with the old knife.
USING SAUSAGE STUFFING TUBES
The ‘mush’ can come from the above listed reasons so start there. If everything looks okay with the plate and knife – then . . . The ‘mush’ is occurring because the meat is staying in the cylinder too long, allowing the feed screw to pulverize the meat. The meat stays in the cylinder too long because the stuffing horn creates a bottleneck slowing down the meat delivery out of the cylinder. As the feedscrew turns the meat slips between the feedscrew edge and the cylinder wall, instead of moving forward and out of the cylinder, it is getting ‘mushed’ up. This is called bypass. Older and worn feedscrews and cylinders have a wider clearance between them allowing even more meat to bypass. Using a spacer plate (two or three-hole kidney plate) without a knife, when stuffing off a grinder will keep your meat from being ground again but a spacer plate does not deal with the bottleneck created when a stuffing tube is installed (it does not speed up the meat movement through the grinder cylinder).
The longer meat spends in the cylinder with a turning feedscrew, the ‘mushier” the meat becomes, and it loses its “bloom” or redness. If you stuff off a grinder using a stuffing tube, grind the meat first through a kidney plate (with 2 or 3 large holes), then install the final grind plate, usually a 3/16” or 1/8” hole plate and the stuffing tube. Then grind and stuff on this second grind. The best solution might be to buy a meat/sausage stuffer. They were invented because of problems associated with stuffing sausage casing using a grinder. You will get an improved meat texture stuffing with a sausage stuffer.