WHICH MEAT GRINDER CAN GRIND BONE?
Healthy feeding is not only necessary for humans but also for pets. As a pet owner, you will often want to prepare a proper barf diet for your pets. A good barf diet has several constituents, but ground bones are essential ingredients that should not be neglected. Not every meat grinder can be used in grinding bones. It might be necessary for pet owners who want the best for their pets to invest in suitable grinders that can grind meats as well as bones. However, the question is: given various options, which meat grinder would you choose and what are the distinguishing features of the meat grinders? Following a detailed analysis on top meat grinders, here are options that will help you grind bones for your pet’s barf diets.
Low-Budget Meat and Bone Grinders
You mustn’t spend all your money to buy a meat grinder. The cost of low-budget meat grinders ranges from as low as $50 to $200. The cost is not proportional to efficiency, but it is necessary to carefully examine the features of the meat grinder before you push on to make a purchase. Meat grinders produced by STX International form the bulk of the low-budget grinders. These include:
- STX Megaforce 3000
- STX Turboforce 3000
- STX Magnum 1800
These grinders are all specially designed for grinding chicken bones; however, STX Magnum 1800 is preferred by many users. To grind meat with these grinders, make sure that the meat is partially frozen. One downside of these grinders is that they make a loud noise when in use. The grinder speed can be set to either high, low or reverse and its maximum power output can reach 3000 watts. The meat grinder comes with fine, medium and coarse tempered steel grinding plates as well as three stainless steel cutting blades, kubbe attachment, and sausage tubes. Users are given 100% fix or replace warranty for one year after purchase. The warranty condition does not state clearly whether the device is for meat-only grinding or can be used in grinding bones. However, this grinder is mostly used by several pet owners to grind bones. Both STX Megaforce 3000 and STX Magnum 1800 can be purchased at ~$190 whereas STX Turboforce 3000 is available at ~$170.
If you want a cheaper option, you can opt into Sunmile SM-G50, but this might require making a little compromise on quality. Besides, the customer service for Sunmile is not as superb and it has a fewer buyer-base than the former, but this grinder can equally be used for grinding chicken bones to make a great barf diet.
Costlier but exquisite bone crushers
If you can afford it, it might pay better to invest in heavy-duty and exquisite grinders. Unlike the low-cost grinders discussed above, heavy-duty grinders have a high wattage and are so powerful that they can convert bones into a butter-like fluid in a flicker of seconds. Of course, the higher the wattage of the grinder, the greater its power and ability to grind faster but this might mean more cost. You can invest into electric grinders that can grind rabbit, chicken, and bones of other animals but it may not be wise to use the grinders from grinding bones of larger animals such as beef.
When making a list of exquisite heavy-duty grinders, one of the names that come to mind is Weston Pro Series. You can also invest in Cabela meat grinders or LEM series, and there is a host of other heavy-duty grinders available.
Both Weston and LEM series come in either size 22 or 32. Weston Pro is a highly recommended meat grinder. It is totally up to you to choose the size that will suit your requirement. What makes Weston grinders to stand out is their powerful motor. Weston grinders can process up to 725 pounds in one hour, and they have up to one horsepower per 750-watt motor. The outer housing, auger, and assembly of Weston grinders are made with stainless steel but, of course, non-stainless steel options are available. Weston grinders can cost over $500. For instance, Weston New Pro Series No. 22 Stainless Steel Meat Grinder and Stuffer is sold at ~$575 whereas Weston 2Hp SS Steel Pro Series 32 Meat Grinder and Stuffer is sold at ~$750. If you want to save a little cost, you can go for the non-stainless steel options. Although the manufacturer explicitly states that the warranty might be voided if the grinder is used to grind bones; but Weston Pro Series is widely used in several households to grind soft bones.
LEM, on the other hand, offers very durable and powerful meat grinders with up to 1 horsepower to 1.5 horsepower motor capacity. It is a great alternative to Weston grinders, especially because the warranty condition accommodates using the size 12 and above LEM grinders to grind bones, unlike Weston.
Cabela’s Carnivore Commercial meat grinder is also specially made for grinding bones. It is a cheaper option than the grinders above since it cost about $400. The grinder has a grinding capability of 8 to 10 pounds in one minute. It comes with a sausage and snack stick funnels and stainless steel tray as well as different sizes of grinding plates to contain meats. A major upside of this grinder is that it grinds quietly especially when compared to noisy grinders like STX 3000 series.
Here are some best practices that I found very useful:
- The following bones are the easiest to grind: fish, poultry, rabbit & rodent bones are all okay, especially the chicken wing tips, the ribcage, necks, and backs.
- Do not attempt to grind up leg bones or anything larger or thicker than your thumb – these may prove to be too difficult for the grinder, and while perhaps gnawed on, the actual bone would not likely be consumed by a cat, anyway (too large & coarse).
- Run the bones through a meat grinder twice, using a finer plate the second time. If you need them like saw-dust, ask a local butcher for further recommendations.
- Marrow, blood, and other tissue will be present in some bone. This is all right and healthy for the animal to consume.
- Never feed cooked bones of any kind to an animal. Raw bones are completely fine to feed – even ground, smashed, and cut – but cooked bones are tough and hard and are prone to splinter and can cause serious injury.
- Only feed bones in a 5-10% ratio of the entire meal. Not a lot of bone is needed in an animal’s diet, but it is a critical part. Feeding too much bone can cause constipation, white & chalky stools, and impaction.
- If your pet refuses to eat ground bone, you can try feeding bone meal (bought from health food stores) as a substitute, or ground eggshells (1/2 teaspoon per pound of meat), or calcium supplement.
In conclusion, if you do not want to invest into electric grinders, manual models are also great options for grinding meat and soft bones. Manual grinders will grind slower than electric grinders and will require mechanical strength to use, but they are cheaper. The Chop-Rite series is a good example that will deliver the best benefits to you. These grinders can cost from as low as $80 to as much as over $300. Chop-Rite 5 Food Chopper & Meat Grinder is sold at ~$90, but it is equally capable of serving your purpose especially when you want to grind few soft bones. However, its efficiency is lower than electrical grinders. Investing in high wattage grinders can serve your purpose and help you to prepare a superb barf diets that will meet your pet’s needs.