Why You Need an Old Fashioned Hand Crank Meat Grinder

It seems like almost everytime I go to a garage sale I see an old-fashioned meat grinder for sale.  You know one of those hand crank ones for making your own hamburger.  I have one stuffed away somewhere in our pile of odds and ends.  In the past, I have not really considered them of any great value.  I figured I could get by without any hamburger.

However, I have been studying different ways to preserve meats without refrigeration.   I am amazed at the wide variety of sausages that were used.  They made them out of almost any type of meat, beef, pork, chicken, lamb, venison and other wild game.  Everyone of these recipes called for you to either grind or finally cube your meat.  Now being the basically lazy person that I am, cutting finely cubed meat seems like a lot of work.  So I decided it is time to dig out that old grinder and make sure it works well and maybe even get a spare.

Here is a recipe for chicken sausage

  • 2 feet small hog or sheep casings
  • 2 pounds chicken meat
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground thyme
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoons ground savory
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix the ingredients as follows.

  1. Prepare your casings per instructions from the supplier. (in a future post we will cover how to prepare your own)
  2. Find grind the chicken
  3. Mix chicken with the remaining ingredients
  4. Run the whole mixture through the finest grinder disk you have and stuff into the casings.
  5. Twist off into 3-inch lengths
  6. Can be cooked or canned for storage.


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14 Responses to Why You Need an Old Fashioned Hand Crank Meat Grinder

  1. Hangtown Frank says:

    For me, canning meat is much simpler than making sausage. Shelf life is longer and storage environmental requirements aren’t as critical.
    I can diced chicken, pork and beef. I also can previously fried & defatted bacon, and previously fried & defatted hamburger in half pint jars. I can them in various types of broth and sometimes in apple juice. I can them without seasonings and then season them as desired when I use them.


  2. OwlOak says:

    This article brought back a flood of memories for me. I can remember back 60+ years ago when my gram had one of these (I currently have 3…gram’s, mom’s and 1 of my own) that she used for making a “ground soup”. It was delicious.

    Now, to be honest, to make it today would probably be costly. However, back then the local butcher would ‘throw in” beef bones (neck, tail and marrow bones) with your purchase of other cuts of meat. These bones were not stripped of “all’ their meat as they are today and were very suitable, on their own, for making a tasty and nourishing stock. Today, to accumulate the “fixin’s’ for this soup, and reproduce it as it was then, it would set you back at least $20, or more, depending on where you live. But, back then, with the exception of the bones, most of the ingredients came from the garden and pantry and it was very ‘cost effective’. I believe it was a ‘depression dish’ created out of the necessity to get the most out of the least.

    Anyway, here it is as I remember Gram Little (born 1898) making it.

    Ground Soup


    3-4 soup bones with meat on them
    12 cups water
    6-8 potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
    4-6 carrots, scrubbed but not peeled
    1 onion, peeled
    1 small rutabaga, peeled
    2 parsnips, scrubbed but not peeled
    1 small head of cabbage, cored
    1 pint jar of home canned crushed tomatoes


    Add water and soup bones to a medium stockpot & cook for 3-4 hours, until the meat began to fall off the bones.

    Remove bones and break up meat, being sure to remove any marrow left in the bones (it adds depth and flavor to the soup).

    Grind all vegetables, with coarse blade, and add to soup.

    Return the soup to a boil then turn down to a simmer until the vegetables are done, 5-10 minutes.

    Add tomatoes and continue to simmer until heated through.

    Add salt and pepper to taste.

    Serve with fresh homemade crusty bread and butter.

    Back then it was heaven on a shoestring. Not only was it delicious, but could cheaply be scaled up to feed an army of hungry folks. 🙂

  3. Prepardness Mom says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I have a beef bone I saved from a huge roast I cooked. I will use that and let you know how it is. All the vegetables used are my husbands favorite. Thanks again and appricate you reading our blog.

  4. JH says:

    You can also buy hand cranked items for dicing and cubing meat if you are choosing a grinder instead because doing so by hand seems like too much work.

  5. jennywren says:

    One point, not mentioned, is that this type of mincer pulls the meat fibres into a spiral. The meat when cooked is firmer and is more pleasant to eat, unlike meat in an electric chopper/mincer which becomes a soft toothpaste like consistancy.

  6. TyTX says:

    I’ve read original advertisement that these grinders came with a nut butter attachment. Has anyone tried this and do they produce a fair nut butter?

  7. Thanks for sharing the specification of such an old meat grinder.But, in modern world most of the people will not except this type of grinder.

  8. Anthony says:

    Your meat grinder looks awesome, it remind me of my papa meat grinder that he is still using it instead of power meat grinder.

  9. during the depression, my grandparents paid for the farm by butchering livestock which was sold to customers in town. pork was their primary meat. they would process 2-4 hogs a week. all of the meat was either ham, bacon or sausage because they ware the best sellers and the most profitable. the hand crank meat grinder was bolted onto a board and it was powered by a washing machine motor driven by an auto fan belt. a young person would feed the sliced pork into the grinder while the others sliced meat or rendered lard. granddad was in charge of the sausage making. he would mix the spices with the meat, cook, taste and adjust the spices. – – – – – we used the same grinder setup for canning applesauce. dad would core and quarter the un peeled apples, one of the children fed the grinder and mom would fill the jars, another person would wipe the jar tops, lid and ring the jars. the raw applesauce would be pressure cooked for a longer time than the cooked hot applesauce was processed. when the brown stuff hits the revolving blades, I will still make apple sauce with a hand grinder

  10. Ctace Palasin says:

    Great news. However, is it possible to grind spice . For example rock salt and peppercorns) in the above old hand crank meat grinder?

  11. Dave says:

    I once lived beside a butcher who sold dog bones. A smaller box of smaller bones for smaller dogs, “pfffft!”, .. And what I was interested in, the larger box of lager bones, for … you get the idea. About twenty pounds of bone with most of them cut in two. It’s all about the marrow!
    He ran a clean place and the bones went right from the band saw/knife into the clean box.
    I’d take these babies home and make my bone stock by boiling them with a little carrot, onion, garlic etc. and spices before giving the bones to the dog.
    Simmer this stock all day to reduce to a jell state , strain, and bottle. I keep mine in the fridge.
    Careful with the salt when cooking the bones because when the stock reduces, the salt remains and it can become real “salty”. And I, like a lot of people, are on the old “salt reduced diet”.

  12. Beverly J. Smith says:

    I live in Lynnwood, Washington, do you know where I can buy a meat grinder. Please someone besides Amazon. I want to buy it , not order it.

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