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Dec 22, 2008 06:58 AM

Buying a Meatgrinder

My wife and I are thinking about purchasing a meat grinder, but neither of us has ever used one. We think that a meat grinder would be economical, in that we could purchase beef, pork and lamb cuts and grind them into burgers or whatever.

We'd be grateful for any and all advice, including recommendations on manual vs. electric grinders, brand, anything else that comes to mind.

Thanks in advance...

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  1. I use the grinding attachement to my KA mixer. Not sure what an electric grinder would cost but this could be similar in price and WAY more versatile. My mother used a manual one (I still have it) but I never have.

    1. I have the KitchenAid attachment as well, and at the restaurant I work for we use the KitchenAid as well to make our duck meatballs and it holds up very well.

      1. Depends on the quantity you want to grind. If you plan on alot, you might consider a larger size than the KA. We use our KA attachment a few times a year. I also have a manual model which attaches to the countertop. I like it because it is easy to clean. Get it at an old-time hardware store.

        I'm also in the market for a small version BBQ shredder. I am only able to find the large, professional versions, but I don't need anything that fancy.

        1. I have an attachment to my KA and used it for years before getting a Tasin TS 108 electric grinder. Similar to this one.

          The one at amazon is about the same price as the KA attachment.

          7 Replies
          1. re: scubadoo97

            That looks great! And if they don't already have a KA then it's a great deal $$$-wise.

            1. re: c oliver

              It will out perform the KA attachment by a mile. I would sometimes partial freeze meat before cutting and grinding. The KA really struggled to get through this task. The Tasin goes through it without much effort.

            2. re: scubadoo97

              Thanks much for the link. It was really helpful reading about the featured grinder and all the comments.

              I looked up the Tasin and it looked to my unschooled eye that it was about the same specs as the Northern, but the cost was a lot higher (119.00 for the Northern vs 185.00 for the Tasin).

              Also, we found out that a lot of people use meat grinders to create their own dog and cat food, something that didn't occur to us, but would definitely be worth considering.

              Thanks again...

              1. re: BrookBoy

                This is certainly off-topic but, if you're considering a raw diet for your dogs, please do plenty of research. Yes, there are positives but there are negatives also. And definitely consult your vet as to his/her advice.

                1. re: c oliver

                  Actually, we have a cat, but your point is well taken. We would never change our pet's diet so profoundly without knowing as much as possible.

                  Thanks for your concern.

                  1. re: BrookBoy

                    Hope I didn't sound bossy. End of off-topic :)

                2. re: BrookBoy

                  I think I paid about $100 for my Tasin TS 108.

              2. I tend to like my KA setup, as I can grind into the mixing bowl, then use the mixer/dough hook arrangement to mix up ingredients/seasonings when making meat loaf or sausage.

                13 Replies
                1. re: RShea78

                  Interesting iidea. But when I make sausage, it's six pounds of meat and that won't fit in the mixer bowl. Drat.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    You really need to do that in manageable/mixable batches anyway. The things that comes with meat grinding is to do things in a safe manor, or you can risk getting sick, or have lots of spoilage on your hands.

                    Home grinding is really serious stuff that requires plenty of planning and keeping things as cold as possible. I plan on cooking my batches right away, otherwise I am -better off/safer in- going to the butcher shop.

                    Freezing at home of raw ground meats isn't recommended due to the time it takes to freeze all the way too the centers. If you have to freeze, make packages as flat as possible.

                    1. re: RShea78

                      "Freezing at home of raw ground meats isn't recommended due to the time it takes to freeze all the way too the centers. If you have to freeze, make packages as flat as possible."

                      Now that's not necessarily true, don't be alarmist, don't scare people away from grinding their own meats just because you think bacteria can grow in the time it takes to freeze ground meat. Your warning may be true in the event you're grinding and freezing beef product for a steak tartare, or a nice medium rare hamburger, but who would do that anyway?! You don't use frozen ground beef for items like that.

                      What if someone makes sausage? I can assure you that any and all cooks will advise you to thoroughly cook sausage until it is done - there's no such thing as a med-rare Italian sausage.

                      1. re: HaagenDazs

                        Hey Haagen from one thread to another!

                        Anyway, ditto on the alarmist route. Like anything else, safety is a relative term. Generally if you learn a bit and follow basic food handling practices, you are not likely to have any problems.
                        Matter of fact, I'd trust my own grind more than the supermarket...

                        The med-rare sausage comparison might not be 100%. Cured - air dried sausage is not cooked at all. Some people's taste tend toward a more 'squishy' than 'hard' dry-cure. That might be compared to a med-rare edible sausage.
                        But I know, its mixing apples and oranges, cured vs non-cured and I'm chow-picking...

                        There was a similar thread on electric vs hand vs attachment awhile back (can't seem to find it).
                        But if its purely economical, perhaps forget about the grinder. However, getting a *superior* product at a better price is possible (lean vs fat, meat vs gristle, fresh vs previously frozen, etc). To me, knowing whats IN the grind makes it a better product right out of the gates.

                        Either you have a kitchen aid that will take a grinder attachment, or you dont.

                        If you don't, I'd suggest an inexpensive hand grinder for maybe $25. See if you like it and maybe if you need more, then you can go to an electric (starting around $80 topping out over thousands).
                        If you have the kitchen aid, maybe get the attachment (think its $75 or so) and go from there.

                        If you are planning on making sausages, I'd definitely recommend starting with the hand grinder; you have ultimate control on the speed of the casings getting stuffed. Later on, if grinding more than 10 or 15 lbs of meat at a time, an electric jobby will save alot of effort (I have an electric to grind, then the hand crank for stuffing).

                        1. re: porker

                          HaagenDazs and porker---

                          I carefully worded that as NOT to appear as an alarmist, then I get hammered by the anti-alarmist gang. Good grief...

                          1. re: RShea78

                            Well, I hear ya - I think part of the allure of grinding your own meats at home is two-fold. And I'll say that you are absolutely correct about being safe with what you produce but -

                            #1 You can grind meats that you wouldn't otherwise get at a regular grocery store. A nice medium rare hanger steak burger is something you can't find at Whole Foods, for instance. Medium rare burgers from store bought ground beef aren't the greatest idea. In that situation, you're absolutely right. You should take all food safety precautions. However...

                            #2 You can grind meats in bulk and make sausages in bulk for freezer storage and later use. I just want to make sure that people who haven't done it before know it's most certainly possible to do such a thing and it's not going to be dangerous to their health as long as common sense is involved and people don't try to eat medium rare pork burgers! ;-)

                            1. re: HaagenDazs

                              I make six pounds of sausage at a time. It doesn't take long so the meat stays cool, but that's mainly for ease of handling. I freeze it in 8 and 16 oz. patties. I wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then put in zipping bags. At first I used the Food Saver but don't find that necessary since I pre-wrap in plastic. Those six pounds take 3-4 months to eat depending how much we're home. And I know what's in it as I'm starting with a completely clean grinder, bowl, etc.

                              1. re: HaagenDazs

                                ""#2 You can grind meats in bulk and make sausages in bulk for freezer storage and later use.""

                                Some people however, do not understand which freezer is the best to do that in.

                                For example the cold wall or cold shelf deep freezer is the worse. Those can take days to completely freeze the centers.

                                If you have a frost free that has a good blast of -40 F below zero, you got a winner till the defrost cycle. Temps may drop enough for icecream to melt. Then, if you plan on keeping for a while then it should be rotated to the deep freezer to help reduce temperature cycling of which ends up as freezer burn.

                                1. re: RShea78

                                  My "patties are approx. 3/4" thick and I truly doubt it could take days to freeze in my regular freezer. And I've kept it in there for months with no freezer burn. Just had the last 8 oz this morning that was frozen in August. Guess I'm just lucky.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    Recall my previous statement?

                                    >->If you have to freeze, make packages as flat as possible.<-<?

                                    My concerns involve freezing "bulky" packages in 2+ pound category or piling up packages that will not get proper air circulation to freeze properly

                                    I know my local butcher will blast freeze my (family) custom processed meat as a single layer on freezing trays. I go through this extra expense as I know I cannot properly cut/grind/package/freeze a 200+ pound hog or a 900+ pound steer all by myself.

                                    Anyway people need to know and understand their limits (dos/don's) when doing their own home processing of meats or foodstuffs.

                                    1. re: RShea78

                                      Porker from the anti-alarmist gang here.
                                      Have to agree with you on the piling up of packages. I've layered freezer bags of sausages 3 deep. The center bag was not fully frozen a couple of days later...

                                      1. re: RShea78

                                        Yeah, I'm DEFINITELY not talking THOSE #s!!!!! I used to get lambs and they would come all nice cut and wrapped and frozen. Need to find another source. That was so good --- and cheap.

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          Fortunately our butcher is still family operated for the time being. So many family operated either went out of business or got hooked into partnering with larger firms for brand name goods to keep afloat. (Like Holten Beef, Bubba Burgers, IQF, etc...)