There are many types of meat processing equipment used when cutting and processing animals into food. From saws and knives to tenderizers and grinders, meat processing equipment makes the task of butchering much easier for most people who use the equipment. Commonly crafted from stainless steel to aid in cleaning and preventing bacteria from living on the machinery, this equipment is specifically manufactured for the purpose of cutting and processing meat and should not be used for other purposes. Many of the different types of equipment, such as grinders and mixers, are offered in both manual or hand-operated styles as well as electrical versions to speed up the process.
One of the most basic tools and pieces of meat processing equipment needed to process animals into table fare is a knife. Sharp knives not only make the job of cutting meat faster, but they can also prevent accidents from happening. Most butchers will agree that a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one. The reason for this is a dull knife will cause the butcher to force the tool harder and more violently through a piece of meat than a sharp knife. This often leads to cuts, accidental self-stabbings and injuries otherwise averted by using properly-sharpened equipment.
In addition to knives, the item of meat processing equipment most commonly purchased is a meat saw. The meat saw is a large-framed, stainless-steel saw with a fine-toothed blade suitable for cutting through meat, skin and bone. For basic butchering, these two tools are all that is needed to break an animal down into eatable pieces. If expanding to offer more professional butchering services, processing equipment in the form of tenderizers and grinders will allow the user to make cubed steaks and ground meat or burger. Coupled with a sausage-stuffing machine, the grinder can be used to create sausage and other cased-type meats, such as salami.
One of the most expensive types of meat processing equipment for most buyers is a smoker curing oven. This equipment allows the user to make smoked meats such as hams, bacon and jerky. It also allows fish to be smoked and cured along with a generous amount of other uses. Another piece of meat processing equipment essential in the storage of the product is a quality cooler or freezer. Many butchers actually prefer to chill or freeze the meat prior to processing, as the colder product cuts easily and better retains its shape or position for cutting.