A meat grinder has only a few basic parts, whether it's a countertop manual model, mixer attachment or a freestanding electric grinder. The meat passes through the feed tube with the help of a pusher or tamper, and it's then pushed through the grinding plate and blade by the screw. These parts require a thorough cleaning after each use so they can continue to grind well and keep the meat safe from contamination.
Before disassembling the meat grinder, run one or two slices of bread through the feed tube and out of the grinder, just as if you were grinding meat. The bread collects the excess meat residue so the grinder is easier to wash. Remove the grinder from the counter or mixer, or unplug it from the wall, depending on the style. Remove the grinding screw, blade cover, blade and plate. Handle the blade carefully so you don't cut yourself or damage the blade.
Wash It Well
Meat grinders need to be washed by hand. A dishwasher can cause etching on some metal parts, and it will dull the grinding blade. Fill a sink with hot, soapy water and scrub the grinder inside and out with a mildly abrasive sponge. You can use a bottle brush to reach inside the hopper and feed tube to ensure it's scrubbed thoroughly. If you have an electric grinder, do not submerge the motor in water. Be careful when you wash your blade that you don't cut yourself. After washing the meat grinder's parts, dry them with a clean towel, inside and out, so they don't rust. Plastic parts can be left to air dry.
Storage and Use
Mineral oil keeps metal parts from rusting. Spray or wipe a thin layer of food-grade mineral oil onto the outside and inside of metal parts, including the screw and pusher. Store the meat grinder disassembled, placing small parts in a plastic storage bag with a small handful of rice. The rice absorbs moisture and further prevents rusting. Meat grinders are used cold so the meat doesn't heat up and separate as you grind, so you can also store the meat grinder in the freezer between uses so it's always ready to use. Disinfect the grinder by spraying it with a solution of 1 tablespoon bleach in 1 gallon of water before using it.
Grinder blades rarely require sharpening because the process of grinding meat and rubbing against the plate sharpens them as the grinder is in use. If your blade does become too dull to grind, have it professionally sharpened or replace it. Store the blade in a cloth or cardboard sleeve so it doesn't rub against the other parts and become dull or nicked during storage.