Grinder vs bowl chopper

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Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
SMF Premier Member
Apr 2, 2021
I've got a bowl chopper, not a grinder, for making sausage. It's just what I had already before starting salamis and it works perfect for my BBQ processing days, cutting up veggies for 30 gallon chicken soup days. I can process bus pans of onions, carrots and celery in no time.. It also does perfect to fine-grind ground beef and sausage after browning for Bolognese and makes the sauce velvety in the end. So I like the bowl chopper a lot.

As far as processing pork for salamis, the chopper is great for a first pass and after everything is mixed in, it's good for a final pass as well before adding the cultures..

But..... I've never had a grinder. Is there anything I'm missing by going this route and not using a grinder like it appears most people use? Just curious if there is any wisdom out there on this subject.


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Their are pros and cons to a bowl chopper vs. a grinder.

The biggest con with a bowl chopper for making salami is heat generation from friction. This must be carefully monitored. Normally, when using a bowl chopper, the mince is cooled periodically with ice. This is fine for both fresh and smoke sasauges, but not so great for salami as the point of making salami is to dry the meat out, not add moisture to it. I highly recommend only one pass if using a bowl chopper for this reason. Also, the fat must be added towards the end of the chopping process to ensure fat integrity.
Another con is particle uniformity from batch to batch. Unless you are really dialed in to using one, this can be difficult to achieve.

For finely commuted products like Nduja, a bowl chopper will give you a better cut with less fat smearing....assuming that the fat is sufficiently cold enough at the start.

But-if done properly, a bowl chopper can be superior to a grinder.

A Grinder will give you a more uniform cut. You can also grind the fat and lean thru different size plates and play with the texture of the salami. When salami dries, the lean will shrink more than the fat because it contains more water than fat, so it will dry more and thus shrink more. If you want all the particles to be uniform in the finished salami, then the fat must be cut 30-40% smaller than the lean. This is easy with a grinder by grinding the fat thru say 6mm plate and the lean thru a 10mm plate.
also-knives on the bowl chopper MUST be maintained and be super sharp. 22-25* edge is required. If the knives are the least bit dull, you WILL get fat smear because of the speed the blades turn.
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I have no input to the actual topic of the thread but I appreciate the info in it! I would love to have a bowl chopper in my arsenal but I'm looking towards a new grinder so I can get my stuffer out of the pantry.. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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