kitchenaid mixer choice. Or Viking without grinder [Moved from Home Cooking Board]
I have a 5qt kitchenaid that the gears that turn the atachments are worn out. For $23 I ordered the parts and I will atept to fix it myself. If I fail (With my mecanical aptitude, or lack of, I figure I have a 60% chance of sucsess) I will be shpping for a new mixer. I am tempted by the Viking 5qt but it does not have a grinder . The kitchenaid pro 500 I'm thinking it might not be strong enough, but I would have a grinder. The 600 I think I can pick up for $350, but 6qt is annoying if I want to just whip 2 egg whites or a cup of cream.
For the record I use it:
2x a week for bread
2-3x a week for batters, potatoes etc...
once a month for sausage
any opinions would be helpful
I can't comment on the Viking, but I love my 6qt Kitchenaid. I do have a hand mixer as well for small jobs (cup of cream, etc.), but I would probably find even a 5qt machine too big for those things. I use the Kitchenaid for everything else, especially bread, meat grinding and pasta making. It would not be used nearly as much if I didn't have those attachments.
I always look at 3 things. Most common use, budget & storage. Looks like very heavy traditional mixer use and just occasional grinder use. Don't know the budget but if you have the room to conveniently store multiple pieces of equipment and can afford it I would recommend buying the best heavy duty mixer you can afford and buy a stand alone grinder. Equipment that multitasks is great for $ and storage but there are usually performance compromises.
The traditional Kitchen Aid mixer is one tough piece of equipment but as my sister in law proved regular heavy duty use can and will burn them out over time, she has gone through 2. Waring makes a commercial counter top mixer and I think kitchen Aid also makes a commercial model. The areas most vulnerable to wear are probably beefed up in the commercial units and the motor probably has more usable torch but I think they would be 6 qt or better.
The smaller LEM .25 or .35 grinders are great and I can run 10 lbs of chilled meat through it twice and the grinder head remains cold and the grind comes out perfect that how fast and efficient they are. In addition to the sausage, you likely will be doing your own ground beef & chicken because the machine makes it so easy and the end product is SO much better tasting than the supermarket chub meat & you can cook to a lower finished temp.
I have a Kitchenaid, but to save on wear I mix bread dough on the dough cycle of my breadmachine.
As long as your mixer is still working fine for bread dough, why simply buy a stand alone grinder? I have a Waring I am very happy with. It is far better than the kitchen aid attachment. No grey ooze. The grinder parts are all metal and so they stay cooler and can be precooled in the freezer. And it grinds way faster
My thinking was that if the attachment gears are shot the rest of the unit is probably not far behind given the work load outlined in the original post. (Heavy mixing / light attachment use) If budget and storage space are not an issue, I stand behind recommending a light commercial rated mixer & a good quality stand alone meat grinder. 2 nice evenings out pay for both and they should last a lifetime.
As far as meat grinders go I did a ton of research before buying the LEM .35 (Bearings vs bushings..... type of gears...... running HP vs peak HP.....LBS per hour & customer reviews. The Waring Pro 800 is a good grinder but for 1/3 more $$$ an LEM .35 is in a completely different league both in terms of performance and longevity.
Again it comes down to budget & convenient storage space.
If budget is a concern, try Craigslist. Kitchen Aid Mixers and Waring grinders are often gifted and often lightly used and can be had very reasonably.