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Equipment Header Meat Processing Equipment 103 Meat Mixers
Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!What Are The Main Functions?
A Meat Mixers main function is to mix in seasoning, cure and other additives with your meat. It also plays a very important role in protein extraction when making a cured sausage product.Meat Mixer How Do They Work?
Most retail meat mixers, like the Weston 20 and 44 lb models work on an axle and paddle system, where you turn the axle with the hand crank and the paddles spin through the chamber. The meat is added first and sits on the bottom of the mixer, the paddles are angled which allows them to scoop the meat off the bottom, rotate it up and drop it back down to mix it. This way you are getting multiple impacts to help break up the proteins as the seasoning is mixed in.How Important Is It?
Mixing seasoning, cure and other additives in with your meat can be achieved by hand fairly easily, so if you are making a lot of fresh sausages then a meat mixer offers a convenience but it is not necessary. However, if you are making cured sausages then you need to achieve high levels of protein extraction during the mixing process. Protein extraction is a very important part of making certain types of meat snacks, anything that is going to be smoked generally needs protein extraction to keep the meat, fat, water and seasoning all bound together. If you don’t have good protein extraction you run the risk of “fatting out” which is when your fat renders out of your product during the cooking process. This leaves you with an unappetizing fatty film on the outside and a dry product.Meat Mixer Alternatives
You can mix in seasoning, cures, and additives by hand or you can add them between the first and second grind on your products and let your Meat Grinder do some of the work for you. These methods are easier to do with uncured products but it can also work for cured products, it will just be more time consuming and you might end up with an inferior product.Should You Buy One
If you are making cured products then I believe them to be absolutely necessary, right up there with Stuffers and Meat Grinders. Lack of proper protein extraction can lead to a host of problems during cooking and smoking products. If you are making only fresh products then it is not necessary but it can be convenient to have.Best Choice For Beginners
The Weston 20 lb Meat Mixer is a nice size for making smaller batches, the scoop and drop action helps with protein extraction and it is fairly easy to break down and clean, all for right about $100.Other Information
Be sure that you are spinning the crank an equal number of times in both directions, this will help disperse the seasonings and cures quicker and ensures an even distribution. Some mixers like the 44 lb Weston will hook up with Weston Butcher and Pro Series Grinders, size 22 and above and it will do the mixing for you.
You also need to use a certain amount of the capacity for this type of mixer to be effective, trying to do a batch that is much below 1/2 of the capacity will give you issues.Shop waltonsinc.com for Meat Mixers Shop waltonsinc.com for Summer Sausage Seasonings Shop waltonsinc.com for Snack Stick Seasonings
Equipment Header Meat Processing Equipment 101 Meat Grinders
Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!What Are The Main Functions?
The main function of a grinder is to take a whole muscle cut of meat and break it down into a ground format that can then be seasoned, cured, stuffed into a casing and then cooked.Grinder Parts Grinder Overhead Grinder Closeup How Do They Work?
Electric grinders have a hopper at the top where you load your meat that you are preparing to grind. The hopper has a hole in it that leads down to the throat of the grinder where an auger that is powered by the motor pushes the meat towards the plate and knife that will curt and grind your meat. The grinding knife goes behind the plate with the sharpened surface facing towards the plate, this cuts the meat and forces it through the holes of the grinding plate, the larger the holes on the grinding plate the faster your meat will grind and the coarser your product will be. Many products need to be ground twice, sometimes through a larger plate first and then through a smaller plate and sometimes twice through a larger plate.How Important is it?
It depends on what type of meat you will most often be starting with. If you are going to be starting with whole muscle cuts then it is the most important piece of equipment that you can have! Other than a Bowl Chopper, which is an expensive commercial piece of equipment, will allow you to take a whole piece of meat and break it down into a ground product.Alternatives
Like we said above, a Bowl Chopper will offer you similar functionality but the cost makes them unreasonable for the home processor. The main alternative to a Meat Grinder is to purchase already ground meat. If you want to make snack sticks you can buy ground pork, seasoning and cure it and then use a Sausage Stuffer to stuff it into casings.Should You Buy One
If you are choosing between a grinder and stuffer to make meat sausage at home I would say a wild game processor should go with the grinder as it will allow them to break down the carcass and stuff and the person using beef or pork should get a sausage stuffer and buy pre-ground meat from the store.Best Choice For Beginners
The Weston #12 750 Watt Meat Grinder is a nice choice for beginners as it gives you a medium-sized plate, with a powerful enough motor to break down larger cuts while staying under $200.Other Information
Grinders come in different sizes with different grinding capacities, the number associated with the grinder corresponds to the size of the head assembly as well as the plate and knife you can use with that grinder. Standard sizes are #5, #8, #10 and 12 which are the same size, #22 and #32. A #5 grinder will use a plate that is 2-1/8" in diameter and generally has the ability to grind around 2-3 lb of meat per minute under ideal circumstances.
A larger grinder like a #32 grinder will use a plate that is 3-15/16" in diameter and something like the Weston #32 Pro Series can grind upwards of 18 lb a minute. The power on a meat grinder also plays an important role in how many lb a minute it can process and how long it can be run for. Power can range from 500 watts on a small #5 up to 2 horsepower for the Weston Pro #32 series. The amount of horsepower is important as this is what drives the auger in the head assembly and more power means you can grind faster and use larger chunks of meat saving you processing time.
Some meat grinders do have the ability to act as sausage stuffer as well as a grinder. You can switch out the plate and knife for a star stuffing adapter, attach a stuffing horn and stuff your ground product into casings or meat bags. While the stuffing capability is a nice thing to have it is much harder and will take longer to stuff with your grinder versus using an actual sausage stuffer. Because of the pressure required to stuff a product into smaller casings meat grinders will not work on anything smaller than a bratwurst or hotdog sized product.
Both plates and knives are available in both disposable and sharpenable versions. Disposable should be used until they are dull and then thrown out, sharpenable plates and knives can be sent into Walton’s and we will sharpen them for a small fee. These types of plates and knives are more expensive initially but it is much cheaper to have us sharpen them than buy new ones, plus they are made to a higher quality and will give you a better-finished product. You can see the difference between a disposable and sharpenable knife just by looking at it, the disposable will look like a pinwheel and just has a flat edge, the sharpenable knife has a quality piece of steel on each arm that sticks up from the body.Shop waltonsinc.com for Meat Grinders
Equipment Header Meat Processing Equipment: 204 Bag & Casing Clipper
Attend this Intermediate level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!Overview
Anytime you are making large quantities of summer sausage one of the most difficult and sometimes annoying things is clipping them securely closed. Since the end that has the hanging string on it is also the side that is pre-tied all of the weight of your meat is going to be pushing down on the side that you need to secure. Probably the most common way to do this is with either regular or auto-load hog ring pliers but when you are doing large quantities of summer sausage this can be a pain.Clips faced Outward Works on Meat Bags Operation
The Bag and Casing Clipper operates from a similar design to the Max Pac Stapler. 9/16th-inch staple are loaded onto the arm with the opening facing away from the body of the stapler. Then you slide this weight over the top, this will push down the staples so that as you use the staples a new one is immediately in place for use again. The other arm of the stapler is how you close the staple. You just pull it down and it closes the securing block to keep your product in place and then press the handle down a little harder and it will push a staple down and around the neck of your product and crimp it just like a hog ring. There is a set screw on the securing block to allow you to adjust the size of the gap between the base and the securing block. This knob on the back adjusts the tension of the spring which will affect how hard it is to move the lever down. I would suggest that you leave both this and the set screw around the securing block at the factory settings unless you have a specific need to change them.All Purpose
Works on a variety of Sausage casings styles and sizes. 1.5-inch fibrous casing, 2 inches, 2.5 inches, and a 3-inch casing. As you can see it closes it tightly and securely without any issues and since this is the clip that will be supporting the weight of the product as it hangs this is important! It also works well on meat bags as, simply twist the bag closed, lay the neck of the bag in the opening, pull the handle and you have a sealed bag for long term storage.Value
The Bag & Casing Clipper is not going to be a good investment for everyone, if you are a home processor who does 25 lb batches at a time with 2.5 lb chubs then you have to close 10 bags, you can do that with a Auto Load Hog Ring Plier without too much difficulty. However, if you are doing large batches or using very small casings then the time saved from being able to quickly and reliably close your casing or bag might be worth the investment. Also, Walton’s Bag and Casing Clipper is a quality piece of equipment at a fraction of the cost of other similar stapler type machines.Shop waltonsinc.com for Bag & Casing Clipper Shop waltonsinc.com for 9/16" Casing Clips
Equipment Header Meat Processing Equipment: 208 Using Oven at Low Temperatures
Attend this Intermediate level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!Starting Low
For almost any type of cured sausage one of the best things you can do is to start the temperature of your smoker or oven at no more than 20° higher than the body temperature of the animal was. This prevents the proteins in the meat from suffering too much heat shock damage.
The problem is that most home smokers or ovens won’t go that low. One of the ways people combat this is by propping the lid of their smoker or oven open to let some of the heat “bleed” out. To do this you will need a probe thermometer that has the ability to act as an ambient temp thermometer so you know what the actual temperature of the oven is. We began by setting the oven to 175° which was the lowest that our oven will go and propping the door open a good amount to let the heat escape. We quickly found out that this was too much propping and that only a very small opening was necessary.Probe Thermometer Sous Vide Pepperoni Texture Cooking Temperature
We were able to stabilize our top rack at exactly 120° but our bottom rack continued to change dramatically so we gave up and moved everything to one rack. We are also lucky enough to have a convection oven option in this oven so for the first hour I turned that on to keep the air moving, this mimicked the are flow of a smoker with dampers wide open so it worked well for our initial drying phase.
After they had cooked for an hour at 120° we began to experiment with moving it higher and higher. We were able to get the top rack to reach 130° by closing the door even more and then 150° by opening the door more and raising the temperature and finally 180 by simply closing the door and setting it to 175°.Finish Sous Vide Style
We also decided to pull these and finish them up sous vide style. We moved some into a sous vide cooker 100°, some at 120 and some at 135 and we moved one of the 120° pepperonis to a pot of water that we had set to 170° on the stove to prove that even if you don’t have a sous vide cooker you can still get a sous vide style finished product as long as you are patient and carful.
We have done this before and we again found that you should wait until your product is around 120-135° before moving it. The pepperoni we moved at 100° did not have as good of a texture as the ones that had dried longer in the oven/smoker.Tips Shop waltonsinc.com for GrillEye PRO Plus Shop waltonsinc.com for Sous Vide Immersion Circulator Shop waltonsinc.com for Fibrous Sausage Casings
Equipment Header Meat Processing Equipment: 207 Advanced Grinding
Attend this Intermediate level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!Overview
Grinding meat is one of the most common things that most home processors do, it doesn’t matter what sausage you are making or if you are just making a bulk ground product to add to products later, it all has to go through a grinder and getting it ground as quickly and cleanly as possible is going to help you make the best product you can.
So we wanted to show you two huge factors in what effects the length of time it takes you to grind your meat. Remember, the longer it is out of the cooler the more chance it is going to have to grow microorganisms and the warmer the meat is the harder it will be to grind and the more likely the fat is to smear.Probe Thermometer Pro-Cut #22 Second Grind Importance of Cold Meat
We are using our Weston Pro Series #22 and we will grind 2 separate batches to show you the difference cold meat can have on the speed of a grind. One was straight from the cooler and the other was sitting in our blast freezer for about 20 minutes. The first grind through a 3/8" on the meat from the cooler took us 3 minutes and the one from the freezer took us 2 minutes 35 second. So that is a small amount difference, certainly nothing to get excited about.
However, the real benefit is on the second grind which will always take longer. The 2nd grind, through a 1/8 inch plate took 14 minutes and the one from the freezer took 12 minutes 15 second. That is significant savings in time and also keeps your meat safer through this process.
If you really want your grind to go fast you can also put your head assembly, including plates, knives, and auger into the freezer for you grind.ProCut #22 Grinder
The other thing that can really affect the speed and quality of your grind is, of course, your grinder. Obviously, size matters here but that’s not the only thing that matters. We repeated the test we did on the Weston pro #22 with our Pro -Cut #22 grinder. We used the same plates and knives so there was no difference with that. We also repeated the cooler vs freezer experiment here.
The first grind through a 3/8" on the meat from the cooler took us 2 minutes on both the batches. Honestly, the thing slowing this process down the most was probably my ability to keep pushing the meat down the throat of the grinder.
The 2nd grind, through a 1/8 inch plate took 5 minutes 30 seconds, compare that to 14 minutes on the Weston Pro #22 and the one from the freezer took 3 minutes 50 seconds instead of the 12 minutes it took with the other one. So clearly the grinder you are using matters as does the temperature of the meat you are trying to grind.
Now, obviously the pro-cut #22 is significantly more expensive than the Weston pro #22 but this is a good example of the advantages that commercial processors have over what you are trying to do at home. So, if you are trying to make a product at home that is as good as what you can get in the store you need to take every advantage of every little trick that you can!Tips
If you really want your grind to go fast you can also put your head assembly, including plates, knives, and auger into the freezer for you grind.Shop waltonsinc.com for Grinders Shop waltonsinc.com for Grinder Parts
Equipment Header Meat Processing Equipment: 206 Advanced Sausage Stuffers
Walton’s has 3 styles of Sausage Stuffers, the 7 lb single speed which operates on a horizontal gear with a threaded rack that is raised or lowered by turning the handle that is attached to the gear. The Electric Stuffer that has a 26 lb capacity. And we have 4 different sizes of dual speed stuffers. We have the 7 and 11 lb for smaller batches and then the 26 and 33 lb stuffers for larger batch processing. The only difference in the dual speed stuffers, apart from the size is that the 26 and 33 lb stuffers have a handle on the front of the cylinder to help with loading and moving the cylinder.
Walton’s dual speed sausage stuffers have stainless steel frames, cylinder and stuffing tubes which are 3 main portions of the stuffer. The cylinder locks into the frames in 4 places which keeps it securely in place during the stuffing process. The stuffing tubes are easy to switch out, simply unscrew the trefoil nut, place a stuffing tube up against the machine and screw the nut back on.Top & Bottom Gear Gasket Orientation Gear Box Gear Box Gears
Walton’s stuffers have 2 gears on the side that you can hook the handle up to for moving the piston. The top one is a high speed gear and should only be used when backing the piston out of the cylinder. The bottom gear is the one you should be using to stuff sausage off of. The gear box is aluminum with zinc plated gear steel gears and when you turn the crank it moves the gear and pushes the rack down through the cannister.Piston & Gasket
Now, the rack lines up with the gears in the box so it moves up and down as you turn the crank, at the bottom of the rack it has a screw that allows you to attach the piston, The piston is aluminum with a durable plastic gasket that goes around the outside to prevent meat from escaping back up into the cylinder, it also has an adjustable air release valve to allow air to escape the cylinder and not be pushed down into the sausage. As the piston goes down it will push your meat through the opening at the bottom and into the stuffing tube and into your casing. There was a change at some point in how you orientate the gasket so now instead of the outer most part going at the bottom of the piston it goes at the top like this. I have done a lot of testing and if you put the gasket in upside down it will still work you just might get a little more of the meat escaping around the edges of the piston.Tube Sizes
The Walton’s Dual Speed Sausage Stuffers come with 4 sizes of stuffing tubes, a 12mm for snack sticks and breakfast sausage, a 16mm for hot dog sized sausage, a 22mm for bratwurst and smoked sausage and a 38 for large summer sausage and for stuffing into bulk bags.Tips
A few tips on using a sausage stuffer. A wood clamp like this one can be a huge help, especially when processing alone as it can prevent the stuffer from rocking back and forth during cranking. You could also remove the frame from the base and screw it into a table, if you have a spare table that you can easily sanitize. While we are talking about cranking, if you are cranking and handle is having a really hard time moving you need to back it out and make some adjustments to your batch. The first thing I would do is adjust the air release valve, if that doesn’t do it then I would put the entire canister in the freezer and cool it down for a while, meat that is very cold will stuff much easier as the fat will be less sticky. Finally if those don’t work you might need to add some water to your batch. If you try to keep cranking you could be building up pressure and when you let go of the handle it might spin rapidly in the opposite direction and could injure someone.
If you are trying to determine which size will work best for you you should take a few things into account. The first is obviously batch size, if you are making mostly 5-10 batches than the 7-11 lb stuffers would be a better option, if you make large batches than the 26 or 33 lb stuffers will end up saving you a lot of time. Another thing to take into account is strength and effort. The piston on a 26 and 33 lb stuffer is far bigger than the 7 and 11 lb models, this means that they will require more effort to turn the crank as there is more surface area and more meat to be pushed down through the cylinder.Electric Stuffer
Finally you might also want to look at the 26 lb electric sausage stuffer. This stuffer takes almost all of the effort out of stuffing sausage. It has a speed dial on the side so you can set how quickly you want to stuff and a foot pedal so you can start and stop the piston from going up or down simply by pushing down with your foot or taking the pressure off. This stuffer might not help you stuff much faster than a hand crank but it will be much easier. This would be a good stuffer for someone who does a lot of stuffing by themselves or for someone looking to make the process of sausage stuffing easier. One note on this stuffer is that it will not currently work for smaller diameter snack stick sized products, it should only be used for bratwurst and larger sized sausages.Shop waltonsinc.com for Stuffers Shop waltonsinc.com for Stuffing Tubes
Equipment Header Meat Processing Equipment: 205 Maintenance for your Sausage Stuffer
Walton’s stuffers have 2 gears on the side that you can hook the handle up to for moving the piston. The top one is a high-speed gear and should only be used when backing the piston out of the cylinder. The bottom gear is the one you should be using to stuff sausage off of, using the top gear to stuff can break your gearbox. The gearbox is aluminum with zinc plated steel gears and when you turn the crank it moves the gear and pushes the rack down through the cannister.Top & Bottom Gear Gear Box Gasket Orientation Replacing Gear Box
Depending on how much and how well you use the stuffer you might have to replace a gearbox and even if you aren’t replacing it you will want to oil or grease it from time to time. The 7 & 11 lb take the same smaller size gearbox and the 26 and 33 lb take the larger size. Replacing one really isn’t that hard. The first thing you need to do is to remove the 4 screws underneath the gearbox to release the plate. Once that is off you can remove the rack through the bottom of the stuffer. Next, you have to remove the 4 screws from either side of the housing. Remove the housing by grabbing it from the back and pulling it slightly down and then away then rotate it up and pull it out the front. If you are just wanting to grease or oil your gearbox periodically you can stop at this step, just add some food safe grease, it cannot be regular grease, or even some white oil to the gears and turn the handle a few times to make sure it is as coated as you want and then put the housing cover back on.
Next, we need to remove the two bolts from either side of the housing. These are metric so you will want to use a 14 metric socket. Remove two from one side and then brace the gearbox underneath with your hand and remove the two from the other side. Now gently pull out the handle side of the frame and the gearbox will come right out. Your new gearbox is already greased so you can just slide it in and reverse the process to install your new gearbox and the put everything back together in the opposite of how we took it apart.Gasket & Air Valve
There was a change at some point in how you orientate the gasket on the piston so now instead of the outer most part going at the bottom of the piston it goes at the top like this. I have done a lot of testing and if you put the gasket in upside down it will still work you just might get a little more of the meat escaping around the edges of the piston. We highly recommend that you lubricate your piston gasket with white oil before each use, I’d also recommend that you have a spare on hand as if this breaks you won’t be able to use your stuffer.
The Air Valve on the piston needs to be fully removed before cleaning, there is a spring in here that allows you to set how tight the valve is. To remove it just unscrew the screw on the top, making sure you don’t lose the washer, then take out the plug and the screw that sits on top of it. Wash & Dry them thoroughly and reassemble.Shop waltonsinc.com for Gear Box for 26 & 33lb Stuffers Shop waltonsinc.com for Gear Box for 6 & 11lb Stuffers
Equipment Header Meat Processing Equipment: 203 Mixer Maintenance
Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!Disassembly
The first thing to know is that when you are disassembling it you do not want to unscrew the pivot knob until after you have taken out the axle. Under the pivot knob post there are two securing screws that need to be loosened with an allen wrench, once these have been loosened you should be able to pull the knob away from the mixer. This is going to pull the pivot pin away from the axle and give you enough room to remove the axle.Grinder Parts Safety Plate Safety Plate Pivot Knob
Now that the axle is out you need to unscrew the pivot knob. You can do this either by grabbing the brass pivot pin on the inside or by tightening the set screw closest to the mixers body. Once that is unscrewed the brass pivot pin will come out into the mixers tub. Thoroughly wash everything making sure to remove all fat and meat from all parts. You need to pay special attention to the pivot base and the slotted section on the other side of the tub. The easiest way I have found to clean these is with a pipe brush. These areas can accumulate meat and the next time you go to use it you will have a sanitation issue on your hands.Reassembly
Now reassemble it by reversing the above steps. As you are reassembling it you will want to tighten the inside set screw so the pivot knob will screw back in but then don’t forget to loosen it or your shaft will not spin. After loosening that one make sure you tighten the set screw right next to the knob to keep everything in place.20lb Mixer Disassembly
The first thing you will do is to unscrew the knob that holds the handle on the shaft, remove the handle and the pull the brass pin out of that hole. The pivot knob on the opposite side is a bit of conundrum as the tighter you screw it on the looser the pin on that side will be, so tighten it all the way, you can see the pin moving back further into the pivot base as you do this. Once it is all the way tightened grab the pivot knob and pull that away from the tub of the mixer and slide out the axle. Now you need to loosen the knob, as you do so you should see the pin being pushed farther into the tub. Once it is all the way off you can pull the pivot pin out and the spring that is behind that will come out as well.20lb Mixer Reassembly
Thoroughly wash and dry everything before reassembling. Again, pay special attention to the whole on both sides of the tub, a pipe cleaner is again the best way to clean these. To reassemble reverse this process by first pushing the pivot pin with the spring into the pivot base and screwing the knob on all the way so as much of the pin is hidden inside the base as possible. Once you have finished reassembly you might notice that quite a bit of the pin from the handle side is showing. You need to loosen the pivot knob until you see the base of the pin on that side come in contact with the axle.Mounting Mixer on Grinder
Real quick while we have this out you can see the gear like pattern of the handle pin, if you remove the head on a butcher or pro series then you see that the same pattern is repeated here behind the auger, this is how these model grinders power this mixer.Shop waltonsinc.com for Mixers Shop waltonsinc.com for Cleaning Supplies
Equipment Header Meat Processing Equipment: 202 Grinder Maintenance
Lubricate your plates and knives with white oil before your turn on your grinder. If you do not do this then you are going to cause friction and heat with your plate and knife and will end up with a mushy product. For a more complete list of tips for plates and knives check out this post on extending the life of your plates and knives Also, you should marry plates and knives, meaning if you have two different plates you should have two different knives and you only use them with each other.Grinder Parts Grinder Parts Safety Plate Locking Ring
Do not use a wrench to tighten the locking nut on your grinder head! Some models of grinders come with a wrench that is specifically designed to loosen your grinders locking nut. They are NOT designed to tighten them down, you want to tighten it down with your hands or you are going to create too much pressure between the plate and knives which will lead to a host of problems!Augers
Check your auger stud and replace if necessary. This the part of the Auger that the plate and knife sit on and they are replaceable in many models. A worn down stud is going to allow everything to start bouncing and will eventually ruin your auger which is a lot more expensive to replace than your stud.Stuffing With a Grinder
If you are using your grinder to stuff product into a casing make sure you are using a star stuffing adapter! If you do not then your auger is going to ride on the bottom of the throat of your grinder and you will be lucky if you don’t ruin both your auger AND your head.Run Time
Check your manufacturers operating time instructions and abide by them. Some grinders are not designed to be run for 20 minutes at a time, the motors are just not powerful enough and some of them have plastic gears. If you have to do 4 5 minute stretches that is a lot better then ending up with a blown motor! Grinders like the Weston Pro and Butcher Series.Cleaning Your Grinder Parts
Also check the manufacturers operating manual for cleaning instructions, not all grinders are made the exact same way so some of them require different parts to be cleaned than others. Some have parts that are dishwasher safe and some don’t, my suggestion is to hand wash everything. We like using Neutra Sol General Cleaner but you can also use Dawn or other dish soaps on most parts, again check your manual.
If you miss something and some meat residue makes it’s way deep into the throat you are going to have a nasty surprise the next time you grind something! After you have cleaned everything I like to spray it with Sanitizing rinse as well. Cleaning it with soap gets the fat, meat and dirt off of it but sanitizing it will make sure anything living on it will be killed.
Getting a grinder head cleaning brush can make cleaning the throat of your grinder a lot easier on you. It can be hard to get anything down the throat the grooves and just running water down there is not going to work!Clearing Jams
If your grinder has a reverse function and you have a jam you can run reverse for a second or two and see if that clears it. If it does not you need to turn off your grinder, unplug it and then break it down and clean the throat, plate, knife, and auger.Stomper
Before you turn your grinder on check to make sure there is nothing like a knife hanging down from the pan into the throat. This seems unlikely but I wouldn’t be telling you to check if it hadn’t happened! This is also where you should check the length of your stomper, some of the westons come with this white covering that is placed over the top of your tray, without this the stomper could easily hit the auger as you are pushing the meat down, this could damage your auger and could shave pieces of plastic off of your stomper and then that is going to be in your food!Shop waltonsinc.com for Grinder Shop waltonsinc.com for Cleaning Supplies
Equipment Header Meat Processing Equipment 201 - Automatic Syringe Injector Maintenance.
Automatic/Pump Syringe - These types of injectors have a draw tube that will go into a bowl or other container that has the solution already mixed in it. The action of the injector will draw the solution up into a chamber, or canister on the injector and then out through the needle and into the meat. These type of injectors can have either artery needles or, more commonly, spray needles that have 4 or more holes that the solution will come out.
Marinade Injector - On these types of injectors the needle acts as both the draw and injector. When you want to fill the injectors chamber you need to pull back on the trigger and draw it into the chamber, to inject you press down on the trigger. The drawback of these styles is that all the holes on the injector needle need to be covered or you will draw air into the chamber.Soap and Water Plunger xxxxx Maintenance for Automatic Injector
First, we are going to go over simply breaking it down and how to put it back together as you should be breaking it all the way down before your first use to clean off the oils. The first thing you will want to do is to remove the needle to get it out of the way. Run hot water through this to clean it.
Now unscrew the locking ring that connects the manifold to the cannister. Once this is done set the manifold aside and remove the canister from the base. If you cannot just pull it out press the trigger and stick your finger behind the cannister to slide it out. Now remove the O-ring from the front of the canister and set both of these aside.
Next take the draw nozzle, which is the piece that connects to the manifold that draws the solution up into the canister and twists it until it comes off, be careful not to lose the spring in there. This spring is the same side on both sides, this is important to note for reassembly. Now remove the plunger from the draw nozzle, note that the plunger faces down. The plunger and spring allow the solution to come up the tube but block it when you want to inject your solution. Also, remove the o-ring that sits below the threads of the draw nozzle.
Thoroughly clean the spring, plunger, and assembly in warm soapy water. If you don’t properly clean this the plunger will get clogged and you won’t be able to suck up the solution into your injector.
Next, remove the needle holder base by twisting it. Note that this spring is wider on one end, this is the end that you want to position closest to the base so the narrow end is facing towards your needle. There is another plunger in there that goes into the hole on the manifold side. This allows the solution to travel towards the needle but blocks it when you are refilling the cannister so no air or solution can make it back from the needle. Also, remove the o-ring around the manifold and remove the needle base protector.
I like to soak all these parts in warm soapy water for 10 minutes and then spray them with water and remove any noticeable build up to form the solution. Pay special attention to the plungers during this process as if these are not cleaned well the injector will not work. Make sure everything is clean and dry before reassembling it.
Now that everything is cleaned you can put it back together. First, insert the canister back into the base, the easiest way to do this is to press the trigger and then push it in. Next put the o-ring back into position and set this aside.
Now put your locking ring over the manifold and screw that onto the base of the unit. Replace the O-ring that you removed earlier over the threads of the nozzle. Now place your plunger back into the draw nozzle with it pointed downwards and put the spring that is the same size on both ends over the plunger and screw this back into the manifold.
Now place the o-ring back around the manifold opening and replace the plunger so that it is pointing back towards the cannister. Now take the spring that is thicker at one end and place it over the plunger and screw the needle base back into the manifold. Now reattach the needle base protector and screw on your needle.Maintenance for Marinade Injector
These are far simpler to clean. Simply take remove the plunger from the chamber and clean the inside of the chamber and the O-ring around the plunger. Then run hot water through the needle and the chamber and let everything soak in hot water. Once everything is dried simply reassemble it.Should You Buy One
If you do a lot of whole muscle smoking or curing then one of these styles is essential. The ability to get the seasoning, cure and other additives deep into the meat quickly is a large advantage over having to rely on osmosis.Best Choice For Beginners
It will depend on the style you want and how often it will be used. If you will rarely use it and just want a simple injector then Walton’s 4 oz Marinade Injector would be the one I would go with. If you are going to be using it often and want something more convenient to use and don’t mind the increased complexity then the Walton’s Automatic Syringe Injector would be my recommendation.Other Information Shop waltonsinc.com for Injectors Shop waltonsinc.com for American BBQ Systems Smokers
Equipment Header Meat Processing Equipment 102 Sausage Stuffers
Sausage stuffers are the best way to take a ground product and get into a casing or meat bag. They can be vertical or horizontal, hand crank, electric, hydraulic or vacuum powered. The Walton’s Sausage Stuffers are vertically orientated and come in 7, 11, 26 and 33 lb models.Hydraulic Stuffer Stuffer at an Angle Stuffing How Do They Work?
These stuffers have two gears, one on the bottom that is designed for stuffing and one above that can only be used to quickly reverse your piston out of the cannister. The canister is secured to the frame by 4 brackets, 2 on each side. The bottom bracket supports the canister during stuffing from vertical pressure where the top bracket locks it in. Your ground and seasoned meat is loaded into the canister by tilting the canister backward, once it has been filled it needs to be locked back in place. Attach the hand crank to the lower of the two gears on the side and begin cranking. As you crank the gears will turn in the gearbox, forcing the rack down and pushing the piston down through the canister. This will force your meat down and out the stuffing tube at the bottom and into your casing or meat bag.How Important is it?
A Stuffer is an important piece of equipment for any home processor. Stuffers make it easy to get near perfectly filled casings nearly everytime. They also allow you to use much smaller casings than you would be able to if you were trying to stuff off of a grinder.Alternatives
Most Meat Grinders have some stuffing capability and they certainly can be used for stuffing sausage. However, it will be much slower than if you used an actual sausage stuffer and you generally cannot stuff small diameter products like snack sticks off of a Meat Grinder.Should You Buy One
If someone is looking to make their own homemade fresh sausage a sausage stuffer might be the first thing I would recommend. You can purchase already ground meat, mix in the seasoning and stuff them into casings and you are done. If you are making cured products you will probably need a few other pieces of equipment but a stuffer is, in my mind, still a very important piece of equipment. If deciding between a Stuffer and a Meat Grinder for you,r first purchase it will come down to the question of how you are obtaining your meat. For a hunter, I would absolutely recommend you buy a grinder first but to make a really quality product you are going to eventually want a sausage stuffer.Best Choice For Beginners
7 lb or the 11 lb Sausage Stuffer are my two favorite models for small batches, which is what you will probably do at the beginning. The reason for this is that the piston on both of these models have a smaller diameter, which means that it requires less force to crank down the handle.Other Information
The size of your stuffing tube and casing will play a large part in how much effort it takes to turn your crank. The larger the tube the easier it will crank as there will be less resistance, the fat content, water content and other factors of your product can also play a large part as well.
Walton’s Sausage Stuffers are made from stainless steel and zinc coated aluminum. They come with 4 different sized stainless steel stuffing tubes, a 12mm, 16mm, 22mm, 38mm, and a 10mm is also available for purchase for stuffing very small snack sticks. Just remember that the smaller the tube the more force that will be required to crank the handle.Shop waltonsinc.com for Sausage Stuffers Shop waltonsinc.com for Snack Stick Seasonings Shop waltonsinc.com for Summer Sausage Seasonings
Equipment Header Meat Processing Equipment 104 Smokers
Automatic/Pump Syringe - These types of injectors have a draw tube that will go into aRotisserie Smoker Vertical Smoker How Do They Work? Vertical Smokers -
Vertical smokers have a heat source, usually, gas or electric, at the bottom of the smoker and the pellets or wood chips sit on top of the heat source causing them to smolder and smoke. There will be one or more dampers on the bottom of the smoker and one at the top to allow smoke come up from the bottom and out of the top, drawing the smoke up and over your product. The one disadvantage to these units is that they are not suitable for grilling, they really can only be used as a smoker.Offset / Barrel / Ceramic -
If you like Charcoal and wood smoking then a Ceramic, Barrel or offset Smoker like the ABS Pit Boss might be the best way for you to go. These work great for smoking large amounts of meat at a time or large cuts of meat. The Pit Boss has a rotisserie inside it that keeps the meat moving to make sure everything gets the same amount of smoke and prevents you from having to worry about any cold spots in your smoker. These smokers can range anywhere from basic to very advanced with electronics monitoring the amount of air flow and rotisserie. These types of smokers provide the most classic smoke flavor as they use wood chunks and/or charcoal as both the smoke and heat source. In my opinion, the only disadvantage to these types of units is the cleanup and setup required.Pellet / Combo Smoker -
A pellet combo smoker is a good choice for someone who will do some smoking but always wants to be able to easily grill on the same piece of equipment. These use wood pellets and can smoke at temperatures as low as 150° or grill up to 500° or more. They have a hopper with the pellets on one side, an auger that feeds those pellets down into a heat source than then burns the pellets to act as the heat and smoke source. A chimney will be set off to the opposite side from the hopper to draw the smoke out of the grill area. The advantage to these units is the ease of use, just hit a button and they are ready to go. The disadvantage would be that you are not going to pick up as much smoke as you would with a wood smoker and you generally won’t be able to start below 150°How Important Is It?
Smokers are an essential part of the homemade sausage and meat snack making process. For commercial processing, a good smokehouse is where I would recommend you spend more money as you can make it back faster than on almost any other piece of equipment. For home processors, a quality smoker will give you a much better-finished product and make your entire process more enjoyable.Alternatives
People without a way to smoke can absolutely still make Summer Sausage, Snack Sticks or really any other type of meat snack. You can cook all of these items in an oven and you can add smoke flavor by using Hickory Smoke Powder. Of course, a smoker is preferable as it will give you a more authentic taste.Should You Buy One
Absolutely you should get a smoker. If you don’t think you will smoke enough to spend the money on a dedicated smoker you can get a pellet combo grill to replace your propane smoker! Meat that comes off of a pellet grill/smoker has a much different flavor than meat cooked on a propane grill.Best Choice For Beginners
The Weston 30" Vertical Smoker is an inexpensive and easy to use vertical smoker that, with some practice, will let you smoke almost anything you can think of!Other Information
Make sure that you are using the correct fuel source for you vertical smoker. Some, like the PK-100, need to use sawdust only and pellets can create issues.Shop waltonsinc.com for Vertical Smokers Shop waltonsinc.com for American BBQ Systems Smokers