What plates do I need?

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by nomorenicksleft, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. I have a #10 Enterprise/Chop-Rite hand grinder (someone beat me on ebay for the #22... still frustrated by that). The grinder itself is in good shape, but I'll need to replace the knife and plate (only one with it, too rusted to fix, I think).

    For now, I'd just like to grind hamburger meat. Maybe make a few simple sausages (I was thinking uncased italian sausage for pizza, lasagna, or maybe some brats).

    Are there any good deals out there? Are there any places I should stay away from? For instance, I notice that some places list their plates as carbon steel, others as stainless...
  2. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic

    Any pictures of the plates and blades? They are probably 3/16", which are standard for these grinders. That would be the typical hamburger/sausage grind.

    Unless they are terribly rusty (and even if they are), you may be able to rehab them for use.

    Get some wet/dry sand paper in the 200 grit range, and you will need a flat surface to rub them on. Piece of plate glass, flat plate steel, etc. Simply rub the back of the plate that mates with the blade back and forth, round and round over the sand paper. This will brighten it up and true it up. Same with the blade. Rub the bottom part that mates with the plate back and forth to true them up. What you need to see is a dead flat, shiny surface on those blades. The leading edge of each blade needs to mate up with the plate. No gap or upturned tips at all.

    Somebody (not me) attempted to sharpen this blade and ruined it:

    They tried to sharpen the leading edge instead of the back. Blades now work like ski tips and ride over the meat and sinew, vs. shearing it off. This blade won't last 5 cranks of the handle before the plate balls up with sinew. (Which is why the former owner probably never used it and when I found it, was virtually like new......except for that messed up blade). The reason he probably tried to sharpen it was because he failed to screw the ring down tight. A loose ring gives the same affect as a dull blade.

    As for sharping, these blades are hardened steel, and you will play hell doing much, if anything with them. If totally ruined, you might try using a belt sander. You can't do any more harm.

    For our purposes, I think hardened carbon steel is fine. They don't get that much use.

    If rusty, get a product called EvapORust, found in auto parts stores. It chemically binds with and removes the rust, and cleans up with soap and water. Pour some in plastic tub and dunk the plate and blade completly. Let soak about 24 hours. There may be some pitting left, but still perfectly usable (if the blades are true).

    If all else fails, you can find replacement blades and plates at Bass Pro, Gander, Cabela's etc. (LEM stuff fits these) or online from a bunch of sources. Chop Rite will even sell you the originals.

    But in the meantime, try to fix what you have.
  3. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Check out SausageSource.com. They have what you're looking for. Here is a link to their grinder parts (grinder knives and plates).
  4. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic

    If you do want more than one plate, look for a 3/8" or 1/2" (or metric equivalent). Some things you want to grind twice, and these larger plates make the first grind to a lot easier.
  5. I spoke too soon, merely looking at pictures that had been taken. My #10 arrived, and this thing has never been mistreated. The amount of rust on any part is negligible, the sort of thing you might see on iron that has been kept inside for decades. Maybe a tiny spot or two here and there, and it rubs off with your finger, no abrasives needed.

    The plate is a 3/16". It's perfect, and the Enterprise original. The knife is rust free as well, no one's tried to sharpen this and did a poor job. It feels dull to my finger... but let's be honest here, I'm an idiot when it comes to these things. I've always used cheap Walmart kitchen knives, don't know how to sharpen one to save me life, and used them dull.

    The knife doesn't seem to be sharp enough (removed) to make a cut in paper. But, on the shiny edge, there is no rust. It's almost polished looking. And it lays flat on the plate. No pits or nicks in the edge. I'm going to at least try it, but I think it's going to work ok... if I buy another, it will just be a spare.

    As for plates, I may get the 1/2" as recommended, for double grinds. I kind of still want a #22 or #32, so I'll hold off getting the other plates until I get one of those... though, the more I look at recipes, they don't seem to be used very much.

    Thank god I didn't have to pay $240 for a new Chop-Rite... I got this one for a tenth of that amount.
  6. hog warden

    hog warden Smoking Fanatic


    These blades are not sharp as with a kitchen knife. More like a pair of scissors. They actually work like scissors. The screw forces meat into the holes, where it is sheared off by the blade. All meat cuts better if chilled to the point of being stiff to partially frozen. Too stiff and it won't push into those holes. Too warm and it will smear. You can test this with any kitchen knife to see at what level of "chilled stiff" cuts best. Second part of this is to work in small batches so the bulk of the meat doesn't warm up on you half way through the grind.

    But back to the scissors analogy, these work best when the two sides are forced together tight.......very tight......so the cuttee doesn't slip between the two. Same problem as with scissors when the screw is loose. They won't cut anything. That is why the ring on the plate is cranked down tight. Starting out, the handle needs to be borderline hard to turn. Eventually, the fat from the meat will lube it up. You could rub a little lard or grease on the back side (handle end) of the screw, where it presses up against the body of the grinder. Remember all that difficulty in cranking is due entirely to friction from compression. Plate and blade on one end.....screw and body of the grinder on the other.

    The compression also causes wear between the plate and blade, which is where the self sharpening comes in. Keep it tight when in use and it will work fine for years.

    A #10 Enterprise is the biggest clamp-on they made. Same body as a #12. That will handle gobs and bunches of meat. Easily, a pound a minute. The only thing that will slow you down is getting chunks of meat to feed into the throat and screw. Smaller cubes help with this. Your biggest concern is to find something sturdy to clamp it to. Make it something you don't care about. You will get clamp marks from it.

    Let us know how it works.
  7. tlzimmerman

    tlzimmerman Meat Mopper

    Just my .02, I would go ahead and get a 1/2 inch plate and extra knife, no more than they are they are worth having. We grind everything twice, and when making sausage as well its nice to be able to grind once, mix and grind again. No nothing really uses a 1/2 plate, but grinding twice has always worked better for us.

    Sounds like you got a good deal, an old enterprise will work forever. When you put the parts away coat the knives and plates with either food safe grease or mineral oil and it will last you a lifetime.

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