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Meat Grinder Recs?

Title pretty much says it all: looking to start making some of my own sausages, and am in the market for a meat grinder. Any feedback much appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. If you have a kitchenaid, buy the grinder attachment. About $50.00-comes w/ a coarse and a fine plate depending on your preference. Very happy w/ mine... adam
    p.s. You can buy the sausage stuffer kit along w/ the grinder on certain kitchenaid package deals.

    3 Replies
    1. re: adamshoe

      Do have one, but had heard some mixed reviews. Thanks for chiming in. If a preponderance of votes here go in favor of the KitchenAid I'll certainly revise my opinion. Thanks again.

      1. re: eight_inch_pestle

        I know this post was over a year ago, but I have to chime in. DO NOT buy the Kitchenaid attachment! I bought it yesterday to grind some chuck and sirloin for burgers. I followed all the instructions (cut meat into small pieces and chilled them, chilled the grinder, etc.). It ground nicely for about 10 seconds, and then got clogged with fat (and these weren't particularly fatty cuts). I cleaned the disk and blade out, started again, and within five seconds it was clogged again. I then noticed that there were specks of grey in the ground meat, which upon closer examination turned out to be little globs of grease from the drive mechanism of the grinder. Yuck.

        I'd seen poor reviews at Amazon (including many complaints about the same grease-in-the-meat issue), but took my chances anyway. After a total of about 30 seconds of grinding, I'm returning it and looking for something better. Boo on Kitchenaid.

        1. re: monopod

          Because this thread got a bump, I'm just seeing this post. MY pasta attachment must be five years old and is fantastic. I've never had a single problem with it and I do sometimes 10# at a time.

    2. http://ruhlman.theopenskyproject.com/...

      Here's the one recommended by Michael Rulman and he's pretty serious about the process of sausage making.

      2 Replies
      1. re: bookhound

        The grinder pictured on his site is a copy of the Tasin TS 108.

        The power of your KA grinder will be depend on the power and condition of your mixer. That's one reason why you hear mixed results on the KA grinder. One big problem with the KA grinder is the hopper tray is really small. I still use my KA for very small grinding duties but pull out my Tasin for larger grinding jobs. I recently made chicken sausage and grinding with the Tasin was a breeze but stuffing was a little challenging . It doesn't come with a stuffing plate. Something I will need to order. As a side note, does anyone have a good way to get all the meat out of the stuffing tube?

        If I was doing a lot of sausage I would invest in a piston type stuffer.

         
        1. re: scubadoo97

          That grinder comes under a variety of labels and you can find it on several web sites. The best price I found was at Northerntool.com. My experience with this particular cheap model has been better than Porker's. It's been used a couple of times a month for 3 years to make 5 lb batches of sausage with no problems.

          Northern Tool also sells a 5-lb capacity stuffer for about $100 if you're ready to make that leap.

          As for getting all the meat out of the grinder, put something bulky and inexpensive into the grinder after the meat is done. Old bread, leftover rice, raw potatoes, whatever.

      2. Have made many pates using the KitchenAid grinder, and have had no problems grinding stuff. The secret is to make sure that your meat is chilled, not frozen, when you grind it. The KitchenAid can handle that with ease. I have the sausage stuffer attachment with the KitchenAid (bought it as part of a package deal). It works fine.

        1. I don't have experience with KitchenAid, so can't comment on that.
          I was introduced to the world of sausage making by an old Italian friend who has since passed. We'd buy whole pork legs, skin them (saving the skin for cotichino), then debone the meat.
          We'd season the meat, prepare the casings then grind and stuff, all the while enjoying his wine made the previous year. He used an old hand-crank grinder that attached to the table (his father brought it from Italy in the 40s).
          I'd ask him about using an electric machine, but he just laughed and said no. Very old-fashioned (he also shook his head, thinking I was crazy when seasoning my meat different from his usual practice).
          I bought my first grinder, a hand-crank, with the sausage stuffing tube. Its almost indestructable.
          I then bought a $100 machine which broke the first time I used it (it didn't like the bits of gristle that got by me and ruined the plastic gears).
          About a year later, I was given a similar machine for Christmas. It was returned on boxing day as the locking ring over the plate broke off.

          For what its worth, I'd suggest starting off with a hand-crank model; cheap, sturdy, and a good start.
          If you start grinding alot, I'd suggest a more professional-type model, not your garden-variety $100 machine. My next machine will be a step up, steel gears, beefy parts, etc, maybe $500 or so.
          Just my 2c. {;-/)

          4 Replies
          1. re: porker

            I started with a hand crank grinder and I don't recommend it. First, it costs almost as much as an electric grinder, and second, depending on the model, you need to screw it down or clamp it down. Assuming you don't want to drill holes in that expensive counter top, that means clamping it, and with my counter tops that wasn't easy, and after clamping it tended to shift about too much. With an electric grinder, just put it anywhere on the counter top, plug it in, and grind.

            1. re: Zeldog

              I dunno,
              I bought my hand crank for less than $50 and I know it will outlast me (OK, I'm 45 and this might not mean so much, but I did get it about 10 years ago).
              You are right on the shifting-around bit.
              However, I made a meat-grinding dedicated table and I drilled the holes.

              I think it all depends on how much you're gonna be using it - frequency, lbs per session, etc etc.

              Like any new hobby, I'm just saying start small and see where you're going. Electric or hand crank doesn't really matter, whatever works for you at an entry-level, so-to-speak, then go from there.

            2. re: porker

              You did not mention what brands you bought for 100 dollars, Porker that did not work out. I have a KA but think I want to step up to a standalone meat grinder electric without a lot of expense. Need ideas.

            3. I used the KA attachment for years. Works fine, and stores easier. Good way to get started.

              I finally bought a standalone grinder (online from Northern Tool), and I wish I had one earlier. Much faster and more power than the KA. Looks like the one in the photo above. I'd recommend it if you're serious. Don't forget to use it for grinding hamburger meat too.

              1. Are you looking for an attachment or separate unit?

                no to the kitchen aid, unless you don't care that the housing is made of plastic and can crack. Mine did. So when I replaced my kitchen aid with the cuisinart stand mixer I bought their attachment. We use it on a regular basis and I love that it's all metal.

                2 Replies
                1. re: rasputina

                  Hate to break it to you, but metal can crack, too. Yes, the KA attachment is made of plastic, but that means it cleans up easily, doesn't rust, and can go in the dishwasher - all pluses in my book. I've ground many hundreds of pounds of meat in mind without any problems.

                  My main complaint is ergonomic. With my KA sitting on the counter, the top of the feed tube is close to five feet off the ground - very awkward if you're below-average height. And I balance the bowl that's receiving the ground meat on top of another large bowl to bring it up to grinder level.

                  The KA attachment has the advantage of being cheap, light, and compact. It's a decent option for occasional small (<10#) grinding jobs. For more frequent or heavier duty, though, you're better off with a dedicated unit.

                  1. re: alanbarnes

                    "And I balance the bowl that's receiving the ground meat on top of another large bowl to bring it up to grinder level."

                    I just put a large pasta bowl on the counter. I periodically rotate it as I grind so the meat is a consistent blend.

                2. I grind up to 10# of meat at a time with my KA and love it. There are threads shown below that talk about this issue. I would never consider anything else unless I were "going pro." And as someone said, it cleans great (everything comes completely apart) and stores tidily in the box it came in. best $50 I've ever spent.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: c oliver

                    I hear ya and the KA is a fine inexpensive grinder attachment. I did pay a fair amount more for my KA grinder but that was the average price at the time. My Tasin cost me just 40 dollars more than my KA attachment.

                    I just put 5 lbs of fresh horseradish root through my Tasin TS 108 meat grinder the other day and there is no way I could grind up even a small piece in my KA grinder. You don't need to be a pro to get a lot of use from a dedicated grinder.

                     
                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      Good point...and good picture. Now ya gotta tell me what you're doin' with all that horseradish :)

                      1. re: c oliver

                        For Passover Seders a few nights ago. Big crowd like 40-60 for each night. That root is tough and even this grinder started to feel a tad warm after doing close to 6 lbs which included a raw beet. Done under the vent hood and you rarely get a tear or gasp for air.

                      2. re: scubadoo97

                        I am in the market for an electric food grinder. I have the KA one, but I don't want to drag the whole machine out.. Is the Tasin good, and how much does it cost? I use my mom's old hand crank one which works okay, but I have to bolt it to my cutting board. I want something stand alone, that I can just put on the counter top and use, then put away.. I used to have an old rival, but it was apain to clean. How is the Tasin to clean? TIA

                        1. re: paprkutr

                          The Tasin TS 108 is good prosumer home machine. I bought mine off ebay for about $100 a few years ago. They are more now but the Northern Tools one http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tool... is identical in appearance and gets high review ratings. A lot of people buy these to make pet food at home because it can grind bones. I don't toss it in the dishwasher but it is pretty easy to clean. I have to dry my cutting plates well because they are carbon steel. I think the one sold by Northern says they are stainless steel. A lot of grinder for the money. It does take up a bit more room than the KA attachment but if you have the room and do a little more than the occasional amount of grinding it's a good investment.

                            1. re: scubadoo97

                              The blade and plates are carbon steel, not stainless, but the other parts that contact the meat are aluminum, so you can put them in the dishwasher (although a bit of pre-washing is a good idea if you have a cheap dishwasher like mine). The rest of the unit you can clean with a sponge and soapy water or your favorite spray cleaner. Nice machine for the non-professional. I'm quite happy with mine.

                      3. Weston has good meat grinders with sausage making attachments: http://www.westonsupply.com/Meat-Grin...

                        1. Just ground 1.5# each of 7-bone chuck and pork shoulder for Bolognese sauce. Took just a very few minutes. And took about as long to put the attachment on the mixer and to clean it afterwards.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: c oliver

                            c oliver if you want to give your attachment a workout, try beef tendon/beef shin -- grinding 5 lbs of that stuff is a good litumus test and great for longer cooked ground meat recipes. Personally I think a decent smaller (#10 or #8) standalone grinder is a good convenience if you are going to be grinding a lot of mixed meats, in particular it makes good sense for a hunter or someone that gets a lot of meat at once from a CSA. And attachments are probably preferable to some of the consumer grinders like a Waring so are a great starting place. In fact for someone just getting into sausage making, I would go with the attachment for a bit and then a vertical sausage stuffer if you start making a lot of sausage as it is a huge help. Eventually as needed get a strong grinder (#8) in as compact a form factor as possible (weston, sausagemaker, rulhman, northern tool) -- you can grind more and its a bit easier to work with on the counter. Waiting on this allows you to do some research, make sure you will use it, and maybe get a craigslist find. A good sized #12 grinder (biro, torrey, etc) is great but heavy to struggle with and the pelican chopper needs its own table in the basement far away from your kitchen counter -- if you have a grinder you don't necessarily need a bowl chopper, unless you want to make a lot of emulsified sausage. For small amounts of emulsified sausage a food processor and some care is perfectly fine. However, if anyone finds a Hobart A-120 for $295 buy it and call me, I have a #12 attachment and will grind meat for you. A N50 for short money and I would buy a #10 attachment. :-)

                          2. My folks used a hand crank which I have now. Over the past 2 years I have found, and purchased, a Hobart buffalo chopper, 12qt mixer, and a power drive. The Buffalo chopper, and the power drive came with 3 grinders between them. As for prices; Hobart A-120 mixer w/ beater, whip, and dough hook-$295, Hobart Buffalo chopper w/ meat grinder, and stainless steel rolling cart $100, Hobart power drive unit w/ 2 meat grinders. Pelican chopper, plates (no slicer), and an auxiliary overdrive $350. All of these can drive the grinders I have.

                            Check Craigslist, and local estate sales, etc for deals. The Buffalo chopper was a fluke. I went to an estate sale found on Craigslist to buy blacksmithing equipment, and as we rounded a corner I saw the BC laying in the dirt. I said "A Hobart." and he said, "Yea, my FIL was getting into sausage making. The grinder is in the ammo can over there, and I will toss in the cart. If you know anyone who is interested - $100." " SOLD! Let's get it loaded." All of the items I picked up except the Hobart auto meat slicer I got at a military auction are probably from the 50's-60's. I haven't contacted Hobart with the SN's yet, but judging from the looks of them I would say that vintage.

                            Lots of stuff being sold off now to pay mortages, bills, etc so you may find a screaming deal out there too.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                              My KA grinder attachment cost $50. In the last two days I've ground about 15+#s of meat (pork and beef). As I've said before, best $50 I've ever spent.

                              1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                A new Buffalo Chopper goes for $7.5k, has a shipping weight of nearly 200 pounds, and won't fit in a standard kitchen cabinet. A Hobart A-120 is a $6k mixer that's even larger and heavier. Each of them is fine piece of commercial equipment, but even if you can get them for free they're hardly practical for home use.

                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                  Holey moley! I now REALLY appreciate my $50 KA attachment.

                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                    The 14" Buffalo chopper isn't that big, as I could pick it up and place it on the stainless tables I just got. The A-120 mixer weighs about 127# - I have the counter top model, not the floor model. My mixer gets used quite a bit, and I have even loaned it to my neighbor for big baking jobs. I can do 8 pumpkin pies in one shot now, love it. The buffalo chopper just got used the other day to whip up about a gallon of salsa.

                                    I am a single guy, and I have a relatively large kitchen. The industrial stuff is on a couple of 5' long SS tables I found on Craigslist for $65 ea. When My neighbor found out she told me that she had sold two trailer loads of tables for $300 awhile back, and wished she knew I was looking for some. Eventually I want to gut the kitchen ,and install a triple sink, and more SS tables all around. I'll keep watching CL for deals.

                                    Being a machinist I like industrial type tools, so for me the Hobart stuff fits for my lifestyle.

                                    1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                      Eight pies and a gallon of salsa, IMO, is WAY,, way beyond the goal of the average home cook. Glad it works for you but it's nothing like I want

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        I am a single guy who likes to cook, and share with friends.

                                        My pumpkin pies are eagerly awaited for at the Meetup orphans dinners on Thanksgiving, and Christmas. About 50 of us "orphans" show up for these, and I drop a couple off for neighbors, and friends on my way to the dinners. They are relatively inexpensive, and pretty easy to make.

                                        The salsa is cheap to make, and I like to experiment with different styles. My coworkers dig them so far. I bring the salsa, they bring the chips. When I do my killer potato salad I will make upwards of 20#-13 qts. , again inexpensive , and welcomed by friends.

                                        My pies have won over 2 avowed non-pumpkin pie eaters, and my potato salad has yet to find a detractor. I have even been offered $ to make it, but I declined. I prefer to share. For me food is a way to make friends, and influence enemies =) Seriously though, I really enjoy cooking, and letting others enjoy one of my interests.

                                        I have 2 KA mixers, Mom's 1950 C-3 w/glass bowl, and a Avocado green one from the 70's? Found that one at a thrift store for $30 with SS bowl,splash guard,beater,whip, and hook. I use the green KA for myself, and the Hobarts for when I get in the mood to do some experimentin'.

                                        1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                          Send me one of each please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, punkin and potatoe.

                                          nd for what it's worth I use a 1/2 hp Black&Decker grinder I got at the outlet for 45$ it's holding up well after 2yrs

                                          1. re: Dave5440

                                            It's a meat grinder??? Very cool.

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              Yep meat grinder, has forward and reverse, all stainless body , aluminum grinding parts(cutting blade&plates rust so i'll assume it's not stainless)

                                2. just bought this LEM 5:

                                  Couldn't be happier.
                                  The hilarious part:
                                  I left the house to purchase a sausage making cookbook to replace a cookbook that I had given away, and to purchase a wok outdoor cooker, and to look at sausage stuffers. At the first stop, I, purchased a cookbook but not the one I wanted to replace - not in stock. I then ended up at Bass Pro and didn't like their wok cooker and having examined their vertical sausage stuffer and other equipment I decided to purchase this grinder instead - an impulse buy!!

                                   
                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: rosetown

                                    I have the bare bones LEM grinder and have zero complaints.

                                    And I bought mine at Cabela's...those outdoor stores can get ya!

                                    1. re: rosetown

                                      I agree, LEM is the way to go. Expensive, but you won't be sorry.

                                      http://bestmeatgrinderreviewsguide.co...

                                    2. Another option would be to have your butcher grind it for you when you buy the meat. May also check to see if a co-op or similar may exist. Where I live the local LDS Stake center has pomegranate juicers (lots of pom trees here), and equipment for canning (tin cans, not glass). They advertise in the local paper when they will be in operation, and everyone shows up. Who knows, you may have a local source for large capabilities till you find a home unit that you like.

                                      1. The Waring Pro meat grinder works for us. It's pretty heavy duty but not, in my opinion, commercial grade, which fits my demographic. The KA has a lot of fans but it seems geared toward casual users who won't overload/overheat the mechanism. The WP easily fits in my little pantry closet.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: steve h.

                                          I'm very happy with mine, too.

                                          1. re: mcf

                                            Hi mcf and steve h. Which Waring Pro grinder do you have? I saw that there's a Waring Pro and a Waring Professional?

                                            http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_nos...

                                            Now more than 2 years later, how's it holding up? Would you still recommend it? Thanks!

                                            1. re: seamunky

                                              I just saw this. I have the Waring Pro MG100, the cheapest one, I think. If I were grinding more often or higher quantities, I'd spring for the 450 watt model.

                                              All this time later, I still don't use it a great deal, but it gets the job done, no breakdowns. Really need to have ALL the silver skin off lamb leg when grinding, though. Totally bogs in there. Quite a job removing it throughout.

                                              Sorry for such a late reply!

                                        2. Hi. Does anyone know if these are the same models just packaged and sold under different labels?

                                          Kitchener #12 1/2HP
                                          http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tool...

                                          STX 3000 Turboforce 3-speed
                                          http://www.amazon.com/STX-INTERNATION...

                                          Does anyone have one? Thanks for your opinions.

                                          1. Just wanted to circle back around and report that I did indeed eventually go with the Tasin TS 108 (purchased from One Stop Jerky Shop). Only took me four years to pull the trigger!

                                            Have only done a few 5-pound batches of loose sausauge (chorizo, spicy Italian, and two batches of a spicy maple-sage breakfast sausage), but am very happy thus far.

                                            Will report back once I give it some heavier duty use, stuff some sausauges, and grind up bones for cat food.

                                            Thanks again for all the great feedback on this topic.

                                            -eip