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Grinder Smear - How to Deal - 9 Pic Q-View -Good for Rookies

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by princess, Dec 7, 2010.

  1. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    You have a grinder. You're happily using it to grind meat for sausage, meatloaf or even meatballs. One day, you hear a noise (I'd describe it as a popping squicky sound) and maybe your grinder starts to labor a little bit.

    You've hit a chunk of fat or fatty gristle, and your grinder does not like it. Sausage enthusiasts call this "smear" and although it is a pain sometimes, I'd like you to see what it looks like so that you can deal with it if you encounter it.

    Good grind looks like this: Marbled, loose strands.


    Smear is fluffy, lighter in color and the strands are twisty. You can deal with this quickly and easily. You'll also save some possible damage to your grinder:


    Lets take a look at what is going on inside your grinder. I've popped off the nut. You can see the jammed up fat. This is what locks up the screw and puts excess wear and tear on your motor. Friction makes heat. I do not want heat around my raw meat :


    Remove the grinder assembly :


    If the mess is bad enough, you may have a struggle popping the die off the front. If it gets real stuck, try running it under hot water. This will help loosen the fat, maybe help the metal expand a bit.

    I prefer to work over my utility sink. This way, if I drop something, I can find it. In this example, the whole unit came loose from the case in one fatty sticky chunk. ::THUNK::


    Strings of fat and gristle will wind themselves anywhere they can. Be patient. An old toothbrush can be a great help here :


    Again, warm water is your friend.

    Before warm water (chunks of meat, tied up and chunky)




    Looking better already :


    Here is the MOST important thing I can say:

    If you have to break your machine down mid-grind, please then drop the pieces into cold water for a minute or two before you re-assemble the unit.  Warm grinder parts mean warm meat. Warm meat means unsafe temperatures.

    How do you avoid it? Two things:

    Trim your meat. The better the quality of what goes in the hopper, the better the quality of what comes out.

    Use sharp blades. I have not found a reliable grinder blade sharpener, so I buy extras. If I feel like I am getting excessive smear despite my best trim, I'll try swapping in a new blade.

    Good luck and happy grinding!

  2. realtorterry

    realtorterry Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Man Princess, Even your tutorial's make me hungry. I'm still new to the sauage making world but I love reading your post.

    Thank You
  3. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Another excellent post by The Princess of Indiana!

    Thanks Princess---Your tutorials are Great!

  4. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Keeping your meat as cold as possible will also help with "smear". I have noticed that once I cut up my meat, if I put it back into the refrigerator for a while ( until it is cold and firm), I will get a better grind and less clogging. SB
  5. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great info from the sweet Princess!! Thanks for that even though I haven't run into that problem yet it's good to know. I'm guessing it'll happen sooner or later since I've only been grinding for a little while!
  6. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Yes Mam that another fine tutorial you have give us here on sausage making. I love to make sausage too. Now that I'm back I can get into some more real soon.
  7. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Another hit, outta the park.[​IMG]
  8. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Great info Princess - I have had to do that several times
  9. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great tutorial, Princess!  One thing I'd like to add if I may would be to take a few extra moments to clean thoroughly the threads on your throat and nut where they screw together.  Proteins can build up in the threads and can be very hard to remove, even to the point having to take the tip of a boning knife and scraping out each thread.  The end result is that you can't tighten down the ring as much as you used to, so then the ring doesn't press the knife hard enough to the plate, causing it not to cut cleanly and wearing the knife down.  Eventually, the threads won't hold the ring tight enough and wear down the threads until you have to get a replacement throat/ring, almost as much as a new grinder.  You can eliminate this problem by soaking the parts in soap and disinfectant for 10 min., rinse thoroughly, slowly screwing the ring onto the throat without any plate or knife, slowly going forwards and backwards cleaning the threads, (but don't tighten the ring all the way on with force as you may not get it back off, I've seen them lock on tight to where you have to take it to a machine shop to get it loosened), using a nylon brush to make sure the threads are clean, then lubricate both with food grade spray while storing.
  10. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    You bet! If this were a full break down for final cleaning, I'd have DEFINITELY included my hints on how to get all the icky gunk out of the backside of the grinder nut. (I have a fun trick that I have not seen anyone talk about on here!!)  This was more the "mid-grind-uh-oh" post. Thank you for reading!


  11. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Nice tutorial as always. thanks princess
  12. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Yep, just like a tv show, gonna be a sequel.  [​IMG]     My favorite trick for cleaning those threads is a discarded tooth brush.
  13. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great information......SB
  14. ringodad

    ringodad Fire Starter

    Another good trick that works for me is to put the whole grinder head unit in the freezer between grinds. Especially when grinding bacon to use as fat for sausages. Really cold meat with frost crystals still in them and a grinder head straight from the freezer works well for me.
  15. Good info.
  16. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    G reat job!  You rock!  LOL
  17. meateater

    meateater Legendary Pitmaster SMF Premier Member

    Thanks Princess, I would not have thought of the cold water bath. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2010