A meat grinder can help you to make any number of delicious meat-based meals, from burgers and meatloaf to mince beef and dumplings. As the name implies, a meat grinder is a device that grinds whole chunks of raw meat into thin strands of meat, or even into pastes.
Decades ago, meat grinders were operated manually by hand, and while there are still plenty of these types of grinders out there, most nowadays are electric and are powered by a motor. Obviously, you can grind meat in a meat grinder, but there are many people out there who wonder whether you can also grind grains in them. So, can a meat grinder grind grains? Well, let’s take a look.
Can a Meat Grinder Grind Grains?
While you can use a meat grinder to grind up some prime rib or beef chuck steaks to make delicious ground beef dishes, or burgers, for some people, the temptation, or need, is there to grind grains to make their own flour. Typically, if you wish to take whole grains and grind them into a flour, you need a grain mill designed specifically for this process. But what about if you need to grind whole grains immediately, and you only have a meat grinder? Can a meat grinder grind grains?
To answer to that question depends on what kind of grains you wish to grind, and what kind of meat grinder you have. You see, whole grains have a hard and tough outer shell, and subsequently they could damage some meat grinders and burn out the motor.
Generally, it is not advised that you use a meat grinder as a grain mill because that’s not what it is designed for. Its function is to grind up chunks of meat, not to make flour from various grains. Most meat grinders are not powerful enough to cope with whole grains, although if it is essential, there are some exceptions.
What to Consider When Grinding Grains With a Meat Grinder?
As mentioned, while it isn’t advisable that you use meat grinders to make flour, there are some exceptions.
Here are some things to consider when it comes to grinding grains with a meat grinder.
If you’ve ever used a grain mill before, you’ll know that they have a speed control function to help you achieve the right consistency of flour. Generally speaking, most meat grinders don’t have a speed control feature, although if you can find one that does, this will certainly help.
The main consideration when it comes to a meat grinder for grinding grains is motor power. Most household meat grinders are not powerful enough to cope with grains. If you wish to grind grains safely, you’ll either want an industrial grinder, or one with a 1 horsepower motor at the very least.
What are The Downsides of Grinding Grains in a Meat Grinder?
While you can grind grains in a meat grinder if there is no alternative and you absolutely have to make your own flour there and then, it is not advisable for numerous reasons, including the following:
You could damage your meat grinder
If you are confident that your meat grinder is powerful enough to cope with grinding grains, using it once or twice shouldn’t be much of a problem. If, however, you use it regularly, you could damage your grinder.
It takes a long time
Another downside to using a meat grinder to grind grains is the fact that it will take a long time to get an acceptable flour. You can’t just pass the grains through once, they’ll need grinding again and again, and probably again. This will take much longer than simply grinding up some chunks of beef.
The flour may be clumpy
Another downside to using a meat grinder for grinding grains is the fact that your flour could wind up clumpy and have a wet and sticky consistency, which is far from ideal.
If you use grains with a high moisture content, you’ll find that instead of a fine, dry flour, you instead wind up with a clumpy, sticky mound of powder that’s not fit for purpose, and certainly won’t last.
Finally, a meat grinder is not designed to efficiently grind whole grains so if you do pass them through the machine you will likely lose a considerable amount of volume, so you won’t get as much flour.