It wasn’t easy, but you did it. You, the successful hunter, shot that deer or elk and now you’re considering buying a meat grinder for all of that delicious venison. But, first, you have a choice to make:
A: Bring your kill to the local processor, pay a hefty fee, and wait for the shop to process your meat.
B: Save some money, process your own game meat, and get a little creative by adding your own mix of bacon, spices, and/or fruits to your ground meat and sausage.
The choice is yours, but we recommend option B.
Our list of 2023’s best meat grinders for deer (venison) and elk exists to help hunters like you grind through that wild game, put food on the table faster, and save some cash in the long run.
But don’t just walk into Walmart or Cabela’s and buy the first meat grinder you see. Keep reading to find the best fit for you.
Weight: 13 pounds
Dimensions: 17″ x 8″ x 12″
We’re not sure of a better way to introduce you to grinding wild game than with the STX Turborforce II Platinum. This product sits right at the cross between affordability, performance, and included attachments.
At this price point, you’re getting a top-rated meat grinder with a respectable .75 horsepower. In practical terms, the STX Turborforce II Platinum can process three to four pounds of deer or elk meat per minute, depending on the cut.
Aside from horsepower, this is a very quiet and efficient meat grinder. Its included attachments are robust, as well, and make it an absolute steal.
In the box, you’ll receive a slew of coarseness blades, cutting blades, sausage stuffers, and even a footswitch. STX International really threw the kitchen sink in with this grinder.
In terms of drawbacks, some reviewers encountered challenges connecting the meat tray to the grinder, but most found workarounds.
Ultimately, this is one of the best meat grinders for deer and elk hunters out there at this price point.
Weight: 28.66 pounds
Dimensions: 18.5″ x 9.1″ x 15.6″
The LEM Products Big Bite #8 isn’t the most robust of the Big Bite series with its .5 horsepower motor, but that doesn’t make it a slouch.
It can still grind an impressive seven pounds of venison or elk meat per minute, which we think helps it strike the sweet spot between size, cost, and value.
If you’re wondering how it can grind so much meat, LEM designed the auger to handle larger chunks of elk or venison than some of its competitors; that’s why they call it a Big Bite.
Also, the auger, paired with a rifled grinder head, helps feed the meat into the cutting blade easier.
When looking for a downside to the Big Bite series, it mainly comes down to size. The machine measures 18.5″ x 9.1″ x 15″ inches and weighs in over 28 pounds, so having table space large enough for the Big Bite is critical.
If you have the room, though, you’re getting quality craftsmanship, attention to detail, a five-year warranty, and lifetime customer support.
If those characteristics are important to you, this could be the best meat grinder for deer (venison) and elk hunters like you.
Note: More robust versions of this grinder exist; if you need more grinding oomph, LEM offers Big Bites with motors up to 1.5 horsepower. No matter the capacity of your Big Bite grinder, it will share the same standard features.
Weight: 35.4 pounds
Dimensions: 14.25″ x 19.25″ x 14″
Weston’s powerful .75 horsepower grinder has just about everything you need to start grinding deer, elk, or wild game meat as soon as you get it home and out of the box. And, just as fast as you set it up, you’ll be cleaning it up and putting it away.
That’s because Weston pairs its powerful motor with an extra-wide offset throat so you can grind an impressive 4-6 pounds of meat per minute for a total of up to 360 pounds an hour. No matter your animal, whether it’s deer, elk, boar, or anything else, you’ll get through it in no time.
Reviewers who’ve processed their kills with the Pro Series #8 remark on how quiet this grinder is compared to their old units. So, if you’re looking for a powerful upgrade that is easy on the ears, this could be the ticket.
One drawback is that the machine is a bit heavy at 35+ pounds, but we think that’s a testament to its quality motor and steel gears. You do get a five-year warranty with this machine, though we expect it to last several more seasons than that.
Weight: 55 pounds
Dimensions: 15″ x 18.5″ x 18.5″
More potent than any other product on this list (and more affordable than the Big Bite #8), the Sportsman commercial meat grinder provides the brawn needed to get through long processing days.
This beast of a meat grinder pulverizes up to six pounds of deer (venison) or elk meat per minute with its one-horsepower motor.
That kind of power means the machine isn’t super quiet, but also means it’ll rarely bog down.
All that capacity comes with a tradeoff, though. The Sportsman is a monster. Weighing in at 55 pounds and standing 18.5 inches, it’s an unwieldy machine.
If you’re the type of hunter who helps their loved ones process meat, this could be the best meat grinder for well-connected carnivores like you out there.
Ultimately, if you have room for it, it won’t let you down.
Weight: 35 pounds
Dimensions: 19″ x 13″ x 13″
This stainless steel beauty has more than just good looks — it’s got brawn too. Rated at .5 horsepower, you can chew through 176 pounds of meat per hour with this machine. We certainly hope you’ve taken down a haul large enough to feed this beast because it can certainly handle it.
That’s because KWS designed it for hard work. It has 2 dissipation holes drilled in the sides of its casing, which is meant to extend the service life of this brute for years on end.
The handle atop this grinder makes for a sturdy and ergonomic grip which allows you to haul this bad boy around with ease. Got a friend who just took down a buck? Great. Now grab your SL-8 and go help them process it.
If you’re in the market for a tough meat commercial-grade grinder that shines bright with its stainless steel, be sure to check out the KWS SL-8.
Weight: 11 pounds
Dimensions: 8.5″ x 11″ x 14″
The Cabela’s Deluxe grinder packs a surprisingly powerful motor in a unit that weighs just over 11 pounds. Compared to some of the other options on this list, that’s downright small considering the power Cabela’s jammed into this grinder.
Coming in at 600W, or .8 horsepower, this product has the capability of powering through up to four pounds of deer, elk, or wild game per minute. That’s a lot of grunt for when you’ve got a whole lot of meat to process and want to get it done with time to spare.
This is a popular option among the Colorado elk hunters I run circles with, and for good reason. It’s reliable, consistent, and quite powerful for its size.
In all, this grinder packs all the tools you need to get grinding at a reasonable price.
Weight: 8.9 pounds
Dimensions: 7.1″ x 9.7″ x 8.5″
The Altra meat grinder may not cost as much as our previous examples, but it still has the might to get through tough jobs.
Rated at 350W, the Altra can grind two pounds of deer or elk per minute while looking good on top of your counter.
But, looks don’t mean much if the machine can’t perform.
Reviewers say they have no problem chewing through large batches of deer (venison) and elk with the Altra. Many also like that gives them the opportunity to experiment with different meat blends at a fair price.
But, while it may have the muscle to get through large jobs, it does tend to get hot — be sure to let the machine rest after five or 10 minutes of continuous use.
For the price, we think this grinder is welcome in any kitchen.
Weight: 2.5 pounds
Dimensions: 8.8″ x 5.5″ x 8.4″
Sometimes the best meat grinder for your deer and elk meat is the one you already have at home.
Let us explain: If you currently have a KitchenAid (or select Cuisinart) stand-up mixer, you already own the motor of a quality meat grinder. By adding this handy meat grinding attachment, that motor is now capable of processing your latest kill.
Depending on your mixer’s strength, you should have no problem processing large portions of elk or deer meat and other wild game, though you won’t be able to do so as quickly as some of the more powerful options on this list.
Even our choice for 2023’s best manual meat grinder can leave hunters exasperated as they process your deer and elk meat, so we recommend against using one.
But, if you insist on going old school, this LEM #10 fits the bill as an excellent manual meat grinder for big game.
Widely used by hunters and meat processors, the LEM Products #10 can grind all the meat you throw its way, so long as you put a little elbow grease into it.
Though we almost always recommend an electric meat grinder, the LEM Products #10 Hand Grinder is our best choice for grinding deer, venison, elk, and other wild game.
All grinders more or less come with the same basic set of equipment.
You can usually expect to receive:
- Cutting blades
- Coarseness plates (to go from coarse to fine grinds)
- Sausage stuffers
If you plan on making sausage, make sure to get a foot switch so you can turn the grinder on and off while keeping your hands free and the sausage flowing. Only one of the best meat grinders on this list comes with a foot switch, but most others don’t. We’ve found the LEM Products #724 Foot Switch to be very handy when stuffing sausage.
In a word: no. Using manual hand-crank meat grinders makes processing deer, elk, and other wild game a far more labor-intensive process. Our best advice is to use an electric meat grinder for large game and, if you must, use a manual powered grinder for smaller game or leftover portions of meat.
We didn’t forget about you, processing purists. That’s why we did include a manual grinder for those of you who still insist on hand-processing their meat.
If you’ve processed elk or deer meat in the past, you likely know some essential tips and equipment that go along with grinding wild game.
If that’s the case, feel free to skip this section.
For anybody who might be new to this, we have a few pointers for you.
Before you start putting that deer, elk, or other wild game into your meat grinder, first:
- Cut it into strips or chunks that you can easily feed into the grinder’s opening or “throat”
- Put the meat into your freezer until it reaches a semi-frozen state
- Stick the grinder components in the freezer for about 30 minutes before starting the grinding process
Cold meat, fed into a cold grinder, stays solid and is easy to grind. Cold meat fed into a warm grinder can turn the meat mushy and make it hard to retrieve. Room temperature meat fed into a warm grinder is a bad idea all around, and we strongly advise against it.
Ultimately, feeding semi-frozen meat into a cold grinder is how we recommend processing meat, and will make your life easier in the end.
We hope that we’ve given you fellow hunters a lot to chew on with our best meat grinders for deer (venison) and elk in 2023. Have we recommended a grinder that’ll work specifically for your needs and your budget?
If so, here’s our advice: Skip the pricy wild game processor and don’t walk blindly into Walmart or Cabela’s to buy the first meat grinder you see. Trust your research, get your hands on the right piece of equipment, and process your kill the right way.
Because understanding which meat grinder best suits this season’s harvest will go a long way in preparing you, the humble hunter, for the future bounty that awaits.
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Last Updated on January 19, 2024
Ryan Squires lives in Colorado, where elk roam free from the plains to the Rocky Mountains. When he’s not thinking about elk, he can usually be found with an ice-cold brew.