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smoke 2 geaux

Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
Mar 18, 2010
Denham Springs La.
For years, I had the good fortune of having a butcher in my wife's family who would grind up my venison for me.  The butcher was great, but the wife wasn't... so I no longer have a butcher in the family.  That prompted me to purchase a meat grinder from Cabela's.   I was processing my first batch of venison yesterday, and I was really pleased with the results.  The question i have is this.  About every 5 lbs of meat, my grinder plate would become totally clogged, and I would have to take it out and clean it.  I was careful to trim my meat really well before hand.  My question is, did I do something wrong, or is this just all part of grinding your own meat?  My grinder is the smallest one, so maybe the bigger, beefier grinders don't have this problem.  I was using the medium sized grinder plate. I would love some input from you more experienced meat grinders out there.
Get it super cold before grinding. I put mine in the freezer and just before it freezes take it out and grind it. If I'm gonna do a second grind on it back into the freezer first
 I have a grinder from Cabela's too. It depends on what type of meat it is, Is it beef or pork? I was having problems at first with pork, but once I done it for a while I learned a few tricks. 1) keep your meat as cold as possible (I will put my cut up meat in the freezer for a while to get it really cold almost frosty). 2) I use a food grade spray silicone on all my parts before I grind and that seems to help a little too. 3) I don't do this, but there are many others on this site will put their grinder parts in the freezer for a few hours to get them really cold before they grind, they say it helps. One other thing I noticed on my grinder is that the nut that holds the grinding plate in needs to be fairly snug. If there is any play the fat (from pork) will tangle in-between the plate and the cutter, but since I have been keeping the meat cold I rarely have had that problem anymore. Hope this helps Shoneyboy
Yes partially frozen meat will grind much better. But if there is lots of silverskin and sinew in the meat it will just happen.
I just ground 30 lbs using the small plate on a borrowed grinder without any prep or problems.

This was my first attempt at grinding anything and I had no prior instructions.

I guess I just got lucky.
As others have said, cut the meat into chunks or strips (I prefer 1"x1" strips as long as possible) and put them in the freezer.  Let them go until the meat is partially frozen.  Frozen on the outside, but the inside is still pliable.  This will help the grinder cut through the meat instead of mashing it.  If I'm grinding a lot, I pull out a few pounds at a time and grind it while the rest stays cold in the freezer.
Thanks for the response guys.  I think you guys have nailed the problem.  The meat was cold, but nowhere near freezing.  I'll try the freezer trick next time.  I think I'm really going to enjoy that grinder.  It opens up all kinds of possibilites.  The next deer I shoot, I 'm going to try my hand at some smoked sausage.
Learning to make sausage is my new hobby. I have had much success and great fun so far.

Bought 3 books and can follow instructions!

I use an ancient kitchenaid for grinding. It gets clogged up once in a while.

I can take it apart clean it in less than one minute. No biggie.

Like the others I keep the meat and grinder parts cold.

 Have a great day!

I need a little more information about your grinder. What model is it? Is it the smallest ss commercial grade grinder or one off the smaller generic brands? The grinder should not bind up with 5lbs ran through it. The cutting blade is presses up against the plate which cuts the meat like a pair of sizzors. A sharp blade and a SMOOTH plate should grind meat without all that refrigeration of meat and the grinder. I have found that not securing the plate cap tightly with a wood mallet or a plastic mallet will allow meat to lodge in between the plate and the cutting blade and then its all down hill from there. Tightening the plate cap by hand in my opinion is not enough to put the correct ammount of pressure between the plate and the blade. (like cutting with a pair of sizzors with the center rivet loose) Inexpensive grinders with rough blades and plates are culprits too. If you have the stainless steel commercial grade grinder from cabelas it is definatley not the grinder. I have ground hundreds and hundreds of pounds of meat over the years and dont have any problems with backup or mash. Inspect your grinder for any dammage to the rear bushing in back of the housing where the back of the screw fits in. that could also cause a problem.......good luck

hope this helps
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The above is all good advice, I do however bet the problem is lack of a tight plate. I have the 1hp unit from cabelas and it will cut up the silverskin if the plate is tight. Regardless, Jumpback in and keep at it, this is all an art, Gotta keep doing it in order to get it right.
My grinder is a Cabela's brand, but it is the $99 one with the plastic gears.  I think the manual said just to hand tighten the ring, so i didn't crank on it.  I will definitely put some more pressure on it next time.  In spite of the plastic gears, I have to say that my little machine seems to be pretty well put together.  I was especially impressed with the knife.  I have seen some really bad knives on some of the other el-chepo grinders.
Like most of the guys have said, the key to a successful grind is very cold meat. I still use my KitchenAid and can get thru most grinds with no issues as long as the meat is nearly frozen - Doing 5# of pork this AM for fresh Italian Sausage
Yes some really good advice about keeping the plate tight to the knife. Mine had plastic gears also, but it came with a special wrench to really get that thing tight. 
My old decesed grinder would constantly clog up even with cold meat. I found that I could put a washer in it where it would make the blade to plate contact much tighter. This solved the problem. But then maybe that is why it met a timely death. Timely because it was the exact excuse I needed to buy a bigger better one.
My old decesed grinder would constantly clog up even with cold meat. I found that I could put a washer in it where it would make the blade to plate contact much tighter. This solved the problem. But then maybe that is why it met a timely death. Timely because it was the exact excuse I needed to buy a bigger better one.
most likley the problem was in the rear bushing, back where the screw fits into was the culprit. When they jam and the meat is forced into the grinder all the pressure is agains the back plastic bushing. I had to make a new bushing on my first hand grinder years ago because the bushing got mashed and caused the blade not to be tight.
Found this doing a search -

Can anyone recommend a source for a bushing for a #10 Porkert grinder? I'm not really finding anything on the good ol' World Wide Web.....

Thanks -

good news -

the bushing IS there; i was expecting to see it on the auger/worm but in actuality it is fitted into the main housing.

ready to grind!
I just bought a new cabella 1 3/4 hp meat grinder.  wild meat, weather its cool or ice cold goes threw fine how ever beef  if there is any fat in it clogs the rifled cylinder where the auger fits in after 5 minutes of use.. I have had grinders all my life and have ground thousands of lbs of meat cool and ice cold and have never had this problem. I think it is a design flaw in the grinder.
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