|Chop-rite Two Screw Down Meat Chopper|
THE CHOP RITE TWO #22 MEAT GRINDER
Why is he talking about a meat grinder?
The other day I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts and that day the topics were based on people calling in and asking questions. Well this day a nice (he seemed nice over the phone at least) guy called in and wanted to know about a good hand crank meat grinder for making/grinding his own (I believe) chicken sausage. I thought Jack did a good job answering the question and one of his recommendations was for a Chop Rite Two meat grinder. I though to myself "Hey, I have one of those!" and then did a search for a review of one on the internet... I didn't find any. Seriously? Somewhere on the world wide web there had to be a product review of a Chop Rite Two #22 Meat Grinder! Okay, so they talk about them on some forums and a few stores have reviews... but I have yet to find another blog that has done a full blown review... Until now!
|Still in the box|
My first deer was ground using a food grinder. What would cause me to do that? I'm glad you asked! The first hand crank meat grinder I purchased from from Cabela's. I figured that since it had their brand name on it, it was good stuff. I couldn't have been more disappointed! We were late going on vacation as we sat at the table while we wrapped up the grinding...
After that, I went to Lehman's website to see what the Amish use (a good sign of quality) and found the Choprite brand (now Choprite Two). They carry great products, but their prices are terrible... so I looked for somebody else who would sell me one. I found the list of distributors and called around and found one that sold me one for a much better price. I never did get the free jerky seasoning they advertise... but if you ever happen to order from them, let them know where you heard of them!
Since then I've wondered about companies like LEM Products, whether they make a better grinder for the price, and such. But as of yet, nobody has offered to send me one to compare other brands to this one, so I can't give you and information on that.
So while a picture of the box is nice, what you should really care about is what's inside!
|Almost everything I need to grind burger.|
At this point I'll spare you some reading and put up some in depth pictures of the different parts...
|Feed screw. The cutter sits over the square part of the feed screw.|
|The crank end of the feed screw (with the washer shown).|
|The crank (with custom made handle)|
These next few pictures show how the crank attaches to the feed screw, such that it cannot be pulled off unless you rotate the crank backwards...
|Lubricant... everything I seen recommends Silicone Spray. I've had problems with the grinder plate rusting when I tried other options.|
|Installing the feed screw into the body...|
|Cutting knife installed...|
|Grinder plate installed...|
In the picture above, observe the clocking pin at the top how it is aligned with a pin in the body. This prevents the grinder plate from spinning while you crank away... MAKE SURE THESE LINE UP!!!
|The ring is snugged down...|
|Ready to bolt down and grind!|
OPERATING A CHOPRITE TWO #22 MEAT GRINDER
Once you have the grinder bolted down to something solid... WAIT A MINUTE! IF you really want this baby to shine, there are a few things you need to think about before you get started.
TEMPERATURE: Any grinder will work better when the meat is on the verge of being frozen. I also will put the whole meat grinder in the freezer for an hour before I start grinding... I don't know if it makes too much of a difference, but it's not a lot of extra effort for a potential improvement in function.
SIZE: If you feed the entire backstrap into the grinder, it will work... but it would do it much more easily if you cubed the meat into 2" cubes first! (I would never grind a backstrap by the way)
CONTAINERS: You probably don't want your burger to come out of the grinder and fall on the floor or your kitchen table. It's much easier if you can put a bucket under the discharge side of the grinder to catch the ground meat. Cleanliness is godliness here... but don't worry, you like your burgers well done anyway, right?
NOW... where were we? Oh yes, bolted down. Once it's bolted down and the meat is cubed and cold, just start pushing meat into the hopper on top and start cranking the handle. I typically run my meat through the grinder once, then add in some small cubes of beef fat to my venison burger and run it through one more time. I like 20-25% beef fat in my burger.
I don't have much more to say... so without further ado...
Just to clear the water, let me tell you what I don't like about this product. First of all, it's expensive. I think I found mine for about $230. Second, it requires you to do all the work... it's hand crank operated, which is also a plus. Lastly, and most certainly my biggest gripe... the handle on this thing stinks! Seriously, those are my only complaints... but let me expand on that last one for a moment.
When you are bearing down on this thing (which you shouldn't have to do if the blade/cutting plate are sharp!), you need to have a nice handle to hold onto. You want a nice handle even if you're not bearing down, actually. I happen to wear a large, sometimes extra large, glove size. When I grasped onto the plastic handle that comes on this thing, I didn't have room to wrap all my fingers around the handle... very similar to holding a pocket pistol if you enjoy shooting pistols. It's just not comfortable to let my pinky finger hang out there in the wind. If I scrunched up on the other end of the handle, when the crank came around, it would pinch my hand... something had to change!
~Something had to change~
My father has a nice workshop and does wood working in it. He happens to have an old shopsmith that works as a lathe. He also had some scrap Osage Orange limbs in a bucket... perfect! I'll spare you the details and leave you with this... I made a new handle.
|A home made handle|
The old handle was held on by a pin that was pushed through the hole and then peened over. This new handle is held on by a bolt with a washer at the head and between the crank and the handle. Before I could install it, the hole was first tapped, using a tap and die set... I don't remember what size bolt. Once in place, I used some blue loctite to make sure the bolt stayed in place... not too loose, not too tight. Too loose and it will wallow out the hole... to tight and the handle won't spin on the bolt.
~Once I made this single change, I have been very pleased!~
I wanted a manual meat grinder because that's how I roll. I like to minimize what can go wrong, and if the power is out, I still want to be able to grind up my meat! This grinder has been used to butcher about 6 deer so far and multiple pork shoulders to make breakfast sausage. (Feel free to share recipes if you have one you like!) I got this thinking that my grand kids might someday use this to process their own meat and all indications say they will be able to do this. This grinder is made of cast iron, except for the knife and cutting plate... and my custom made handle that I'm very proud of, if you can't tell. It also has a FDA approved, food grade coating on it that makes cleanup a breeze (relatively speaking)... just don't chip it (I have yet to do that btw).
If you were looking for a life time investment in a meat grinder, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this one to you. I know for sure that this is a bomb proof meat grinder! With a little TLC and sharpening of the grinder plate/knife every now and then, you'll have a grinder that you will be passed on to the next generation for years to come!