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Course grind hole size

fnp16

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I've always preferred grinding twice, as it is a lot easier on me and the grinder, and produces a smoother product. I mainly process wild game, deer, ducks, geese, bear, and hopefully an elk this year. In the past I used a "coarse" followed by a "fine" on my dad's grinder. Those are in quotations because I can not recall what the hole sizes were on those plates, and I will not be back to my parents house for at least a month to check. I want to say it was a 3/8" hole coarse, and 3/16" hole fine, but that's by memory.

I've got a #12 chop rite grinder, and it came with a 3/16" plate, which is perfect for the fine grind. I tried it out on some sirloin, and it is the perfect consistency for what I want with mainly burger and sausage. I'm looking to buy a coarse plate, and I'm wondering which one I should get. I don't take my time trimming chunks of meat, and only trim the bulk of the fat off. I don't bother with the bulk of silver skin or any other connective tissue. Generally if I stuck the batch in the freezer for a while to get it nice and cold, it worked great. Once in a while I'd have to take the plate off to clean off the connective tissue that got wrapped around the blade and clogged the thing. It could also be that after a couple decades of use, the blade and plate are getting dull. For this reason I'm wondering if a 1/2" hole size might be a better choice for a first grind. Does a 1/2" grinder plate chop up wild game better than a 3/8"? I'm also curious if it might make kind of a mini-stew meat, not quite ground, but not cubed. Let me know what you think if you have tried 3/8" and 1/2" grinder plates both, or even larger ones.
 

thirdeye

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I like to step down in hole size rather than double grinding through the same plate too. The 3/8 to 3/16 sounds about right. I don't know if larger holes cut 'better' but it cuts meat easier.

Do a google search for sharpening grinder plates and knives. The method for the plates is called lapping and you need a really flat surface and some fine sandpaper. It takes a while, but works very well.

Depending on the style of knife, some can be sharpened by lapping and others need a fine file or flat stone (like you would use for fish hooks) to lightly touch up the edge.
 

smokerjim

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If your going to grind the second time through the 3/16 then I dont think it would make much difference.
 

browneyesvictim

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Depending on the size of the motor to the size of the grinder will make a big difference. For a #12 grinder with a 3/4 horse motor or larger can push just about any meat through a 3/16 plate without a course grind first. As pointed out, if the blade and plates are dull, that will rob a lot of horsepower. I rarely if ever use my 3/8ths plate any more. I cant imagine ever needing a 1/2" plate. But I could visualize that would be good for a kind of stew meat grind. Me personally I would rather make that kind of cut by hand.
 

Winterrider

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I don't ever double grind. I don't care for the mushy texture.
 

fnp16

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Mine is a hand crank #12, so 1 human power. This grinder, blade, and plate are brand new and should be super sharp. I've only used it once so far, and it cut fine, although store bought beef isn't exactly taxing on a grinder.

I'm leaning towards a 1/2". I guess ultimately my question should be, if you were to make stew meat, or maybe chili meat, or some other kind of grind where you would want a very course texture, would you choose a 1/2" or a 3/8"?
 

Winterrider

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Personally don't think the 1/8" would make any difference doing course.
 

thirdeye

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Mine is a hand crank #12, so 1 human power. This grinder, blade, and plate are brand new and should be super sharp. I've only used it once so far, and it cut fine, although store bought beef isn't exactly taxing on a grinder.

I'm leaning towards a 1/2". I guess ultimately my question should be, if you were to make stew meat, or maybe chili meat, or some other kind of grind where you would want a very course texture, would you choose a 1/2" or a 3/8"?
I use a coarse 'chili grind' size on beef and also on pork because I make green chili also. Likewise I use it for bulk chorizo which also goes into my red chili. Lasagna or spaghetti sauce is good with coarser burger and so are street tacos.

Here is a comparison for you to check out.
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fnp16

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Thanks a ton thirdeye. I'm guessing that is a 1/2" and 3/8" side by side? Is there any chance you've tried them with wild game? Do you feel like the 1/2" cuts up tendon/silverskin/ligament better than 3/8"?
 

thirdeye

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Yes, wild game, beef, pork, chicken, lamb. I'm very picky on trimming, especially on wild game and lamb so I get as much tendons and silver skin as I can. As long as the meat is cold, cold, cold, I can't tell much difference in how it cuts. I do polish my plates and knife every other season.

Here they are the sizes of my plates in order: 1/2", 5/16", Bottom Row: 1/4", 3/16", 5/32"
 
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fnp16

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Thanks a ton. I was leaning toward 1/2", but I think I'm going to go with 3/8". I think between that and the 3/16" I have should cover both courser and finer ground meat depending on what I want. If I want stew meat, I'll cut it with a knife.
 

thirdeye

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Thanks a ton. I was leaning toward 1/2", but I think I'm going to go with 3/8". I think between that and the 3/16" I have should cover both courser and finer ground meat depending on what I want. If I want stew meat, I'll cut it with a knife.
One other tip to remember, or to experiment with.... two different grinds in the same batch can help with binding. I do it more with sausage but having 15% or 20% coarser grind is good for free-form meatloaf or improve some sausage formulations, especially bulk sausage.
 

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