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Mushy” Meat when grinding


The “mush” comes from the meat being pushed by the feedscrew through the plate holes but not being cut clean by the knife. This is caused if the knife and/or plate are dull or the tension between the plate and knife is not sufficient to allow the knife to clean cut the meat.


The tension between the plate and knife is set properly if the ring can tighten the plate tight against the knife. This can only occur if the plate protrudes out of the cylinder somewhat to allow the ring to contact the plate and tighten it against the knife.


Most feedscrews have a washer on the rear shaft that can wear out or get lost. When the washer is worn out or missing, the feedscrew can insert too far into the cylinder thus allowing the plate to recess inside the  cylinder instead of protruding out.


Also, meat ground too many times will become “mushy” or if the meat has warmed above 37 degrees F.



“Mushy” Meat  when stuffing  - off a grinder using a stuffing tube


The “mush” can come from the above listed reasons so start there. If everything looks ok with the plate and knife…..Then:


The "mush" is occurring because the meat is staying in the cylinder too long; allowing the feedscrew to pulverize the meat. The meat stays in the cylinder too long because the small opening of the stuffing horn, creates a bottleneck slowing down the meat delivery out of the cylinder. With the feedscrew turning but the meat movement slowing or stalling, slipping between the feedscrew edge and the cylinder wall occurs. This is called bypass


If you must stuff off a grinder using a stuffing tube, grind the meat first through a kidney plate (2 or 3 hole plate). This will provide larger chunks allowing the feedscrew a better chance to grab and move forward against the backpressure created by the stuffing tube and final grind plate. Then install the final grind plate, usually a 3/16” plate, add the stuffing tube and grind and stuff on this second grind.


Older feedscrews and cylinders that are worn have a wider clearance between them allowing even more meat to bypass


The best solution is to buy a stuffer. They were invented because of this problem of trying to stuff off a grinder. You will get an improved texture stuffing with a stuffer










  • Grind only very cold meat


  • Use sharp plates and knives that can be tightened against each other with the end ring


  • Never grind meat more than twice


  • Keep the meat and grinding cylinder lubricated with water


  • The first grind should be done through a very big hole plate such as a kidney (2 or 3 hole) plate, this provides bigger chunks helping the feed screw to pick up and move the meat chunks continuously forward against the backpressure (bottleneck) created by the plate and/or stuffing tube


  • Worn feedscrew and/or cylinder can allow bypass


  • The feedscrew should function as a conveyor and move the meat. The meat should be moving from the time it is dropped into the opening until it comes out the plate holes


  • Bypass (when meat that is not moving) increases time spent in the grinding chamber causing pulverized “musy” meat
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