Another holiday season is upon us! Time for family gatherings, reconnecting with friends & family, enjoying time off from work, and the warm holiday cheer that only accompanies the refreshing Autumnal breezes and anticipation of the special times ahead. Good times are just over the horizon!
And good food. A lot of good food. Of course there’s spending time with the people you love, but doesn’t that usually accompany the practice eating delicious holiday meals? Delicious, yummy holiday food. There’s stuffed turkey, smoked turkey, ham, smoked ham, roasted turkey breasts with gravy, turkey meatballs with spaghetti, stuffed chicken, honey glazed ham, chill, lasagna, homemade sausage... I could go on for hours!
For most people in the world, holidays means family and friends gathering together to enjoy time together, usually with a carefully prepared mea
l as the centerpiece. That means a lot of food and a lot of food preparation. As the primary cook for my family, it can be exhausting to prepare enough food for a large gathering, even if everyone brings something.
Since meat is typically the cornerstone of a delicious meal, it gets the most attention and can be the most time consuming, but even things like chopping a large volume of vegetables--a laborious and monotonous task if there ever was one--can take a very long time if there’s a lot to do. At the end of the day, while the holiday meal is a big part of the holidays, nobody (including your family and friends) wants you to spend YOUR holidays slaving away in the kitchen and not enjoying the rest of it with them.
I recommend every household that frequently prepares homemade meals for more than a couple of people to invest in an affordable electric meat grinder. Not only will it grind up meat for your dishes with perfect consistency in a fraction of the time it would take you manually, it will free you to select the best tasting fresh meats you want for your dishes, rather than relying on the pre-ground, graying meats that are treated with chemicals at the supermarket.
Not to mention the hours of your life you will get back every year by letting the machine chop up your vegetables--oh yeah, they do that too!
But when you bring up electric meat grinders, a lot of people think of the ones used in a commercial and don't want a big, ugly appliance in their kitchen. Understandable! Thankfully, due to the broad range of electric meat grinders available online today, we can pretty easily focus on the best electric meat grinder for home use.
Shopping online is easier too, thanks to Amazon and the power of reviews. An electric meat grinder like the Sunmile SM G50 Electric Grinder or the STX International Electric Meat Grinder are incredibly good buys for the price, considering their lifespan and their endless utility in the kitchen. And don’t think for a second you’ll use the electric meat grinder for Thanksgiving and Christmas and then store it away for the rest of the year...
On the contrary, when spring and summer come around, you’ll be making the best hamburgers and sausages your family and friends have ever had!
Every mildly serious chef should have a quality electric meat grinder to do the brunt work. We’ve written an in-depth electric meat grinder 101 page if you’re interested in a more in-depth discussion of how they work, what they’re good for (pretty much everything!) and why they’re worth the small investment over the span of 10+ years, but in this post, we’re just going to briefly touch on three essential details to know to find the best electric meat grinder for you.
Although grinding meats and chopping vegetables appears to be pretty easy for the best electric meat grinders, it takes a lot of internal power for them to make mincemeat out of large chunks of meat and to chop a lot of vegetables. This work puts wear and tear on the internal gears, and if they fail, you’ll you having to purchase new parts or a new grinder.
This is why you should never get a grinder with plastic gears, as they will not provide you with long lasting value, and you’ll be left holding the bill when they break.
Stainless steel, however, is the absolute best electric meat grinder material on the market. Stainless steel meat grinders can easily handle a large volume of meat to grind, they can easily handle vegetables in bulk, they are sturdier, heavier duty, and will last years and years longer than any plastic or aluminum device.
It’s true that stainless steel grinders tend to be heavier than non-metal or aluminum meat grinders, but that translates into an extremely stable, safe, and powerful machine that will serve you for many, many years. Unless you intend to carry it around with you (who does this?!) then it’s just not a big deal. Stainless steel electric meat grinders are the best electric meat grinders, hands down.
Your next best choice is aluminum, especially if you only intend to use your electric meat grinder occasionally. They’re less expensive than a stainless steel, but for occasional use, will suit you well while being easy on the wallet.
One downside of an aluminum electric meat grinder is that they are more prone to rust and wear than a stainless steel machine, so are more of a low budget machine. You will get good use out of yours, but for a small increase in price relative to the increased length of utility, you’ll get a lot more value from a stainless steel device.
Bottom line: Stainless steel electric meat grinders are a bit more expensive than the aluminum alternatives, but they offer an exponentially higher value and function. Many users report using their stainless steel electric meat grinders for 10+ years!
The numbers for electric meat grinders, such as #5, #8, #12, #22, #32 and so on, refer to the diameter of the blade/plate assembly.
#5 is the smallest and the size goes up from there accordingly. Typically, the smaller the holes, the slower the grinding, but the ideal size for you depends on the volume of meat you anticipate grinding.
A smaller size is alright if you have a smaller volume, too. If your electric meat grinder is for just a few pounds here and there, then a #5 or a #8 will probably do you just fine. But if you anticipate a higher volume or frequency, or prefer to have the extra firepower, definitely seek out a #12, #22, or #32 for your electric meat grinding needs. You’ll appreciate the extra speed it has when going through larger volumes.
We've posted the reference chart below for the grinder # size and corresponding plate diameter!
A lot of electric meat grinder users enjoy making homemade sausages. After all, if you can select the finest fresh meat at the store and make delicious homemade sausages instead of spending more on buying less fresh pre-ground sausages, why wouldn’t you?
Users have reported the fresh homemade sausages tasting so much better than the ones you buy at the supermarket that they never intend to go back!
The same can be said for making homemade hamburgers, but luckily you don’t need an attachment for that!
So if fresh homemade sausage sounds like something you’d enjoy, definitely look for an electric meat grinder that has sausage making attachments available. You’ll definitely thank yourself later.
The Internet is pretty clear... and we agree. The best bang for your buck electric meat grinder is going to be the one that fits your needs and your budget, preferably made of stainless steel for long term value.
If you want to get a lot out of the investment get a stainless steel, consider your anticipated use, volume, and frequency and then choose the size (#5, #8, #12, #22, or #32), and keep in mind whether you’ll want to use attachments for homemade sausage.
We've already assembled a list of the 5 most popular and best electric meat grinders for home use for your convenience.
For more in-depth info about key features of the best electric meat grinders, see our consumer's buying guide to ensure you get one that will last you for years.
As always, thanks for reading! Leave us a comment if you have any questions!