I just bought a cast iron meat grinder; used it for the first time to grind a roast for hamburg. When finished there was some black residue around the handle and meant had some dark spots in it. Is this normal or should I throw away the meat?

  • Is there advice on cleaning before first use in the manual, and did you follow it? Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 17:00

2 Answers 2


If you did not clean and run an initial process through the grinder before using it for the first time, I recommend discarding the meat.

When the machine was packaged, oil was probably used to prevent sticking or corrosion during storage. Also, chemical residues from protectants and finishes may still be present in the machine. Before the first use, it is best to thoroughly clean the device and to put through a generous portion of raw meat fat to "sweep out" metal dust and filings and to clean up excess lubricant. Discard the raw meat fat where no animals will be able to scavenge it.

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    Cheap, plain dough could also viably get a lot of crud out on a budget (yes, meat grinders can handle dough. Some people own meat grinders JUST for pastry extrusion purposes and never grind meat.) Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 8:07

Sorry, but I can't imagine a food-processing piece of cast iron being coated with anything that is dangerous. I imagine the blackness you see is some remnant of cold seasoning. (Raw cast iron starts rusting immediately, within 30 seconds or less, if it does not have a protective coating of oil applied; in the case of kitchen equipment, it's food-safe oil. I suspect that not all the oil was cleaned off at the factory, given that the processes are automated now.) I don't think you should worry about it.

I refinish vintage and cast iron cookware as a hobby. I am well familiar with it.

  • If it comes with clear instruction to do X to get rid of unhealthy or unpalatable coating Y, I find that easy to imagine :) Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 8:04

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