Need Meat Grinder Recommendations

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HolyDiverScallop

Not too smart, but at least I’m ugly.
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Ok, my local grocery store has decided that they will no longer accommodate custom ground meat blends. So I need to find another source to obtain my favorite mix of meats for cheeseburgers. Sounds like an excuse to buy a meat grinder.

Ideally, I'd like something of high quality and low cost, but we know how that goes. I want to avoid going lunatic fringe and buying the 6HP Sweeney Todd Edition grinder.

Something that uses the PTO of my KitchenAid would probably be fine. Prefer metal over plastic, prefer stainless over zinc, prefer something that might arrive in the next couple days.
 
You’ll get stainless only at the ver high end. The housing and the auger are normally made of die cast metal. The Kitchenaid’s motor is a little too anaemic, IMO, so that attachment won’t give you much joy, I believe.

For great quality, look at LEM. Otherwise, pretty much any grinder in the $150-$200 range will do the trick.
 
You’ll get stainless only at the ver high end. The housing and the auger are normally made of die cast metal. The Kitchenaid’s motor is a little too anaemic, IMO, so that attachment won’t give you much joy, I believe.
Agreed. I've had success with the Kitchenaid grinder attachment when cooking at a friend's house, I think it's passable for basic utility and the occasional project. But if I were buying for myself (or looking to replace my local butcher), I'd definitely spring for something more robust.
 
I’m trying not to spend a ton, recognizing my own tendencies toward excess.

Something serviceable for grinding 3-4 pounds of meat 5-6 times a year is sort of my target. If I really get into it, I’m ok upgrading.
 
I burned out my KitchenAid trying to grind 12 lbs of beef, a thing I do several times a year.

My wife, bless her, got me a Cabela's grinder, a real grinder, much more heavy duty, and with stainless galore. It made my KitchenAid attachment look like a child's toy.

It was, at the time, the smallest one they offered. I think the bigger ones are for hunters grinding up a whole elk or something. Yesterday I used it to grind 8 lbs of pork, which took about 2 minutes, and with much larger chunks than I could ever cram into the KitchenAid attachment. It has a thing you freeze and put around the feed tube, to keep everything cold. If you're getting the idea that I love it, well, yes.

My opinion: get a real grinder and never look back.
 
Thanks. Between those two, which is your recommendation?

I'd probably go for the LEM myself. All the accessories that come with the STX are not that useful. Most likely, they will just clutter up your drawer. For example, the sausage stuffers are a waste because stuffing sausages with a meat grinder is not what you want to do. It is painfully slow and awkward, tends to introduce air into the casings, and destroys the sausage texture. Similarly, do you need meat claws or a hamburger press? The cost of those accessories wasn't spent on the grinder, and you can pick these up cheaply at any time later, if you really want them.

To me, the LEM is the more serious one of the two. You may want to add another grinding disk at some point, but that's probably about all you'll ever need to add. It will likely outlive you.
 
I'd probably go for the LEM myself. All the accessories that come with the STX are not that useful. Most likely, they will just clutter up your drawer. For example, the sausage stuffers are a waste because stuffing sausages with a meat grinder is not what you want to do. It is painfully slow and awkward, tends to introduce air into the casings, and destroys the sausage texture. Similarly, do you need meat claws or a hamburger press? The cost of those accessories wasn't spent on the grinder, and you can pick these up cheaply at any time later, if you really want them.

To me, the LEM is the more serious one of the two. You may want to add another grinding disk at some point, but that's probably about all you'll ever need to add. It will likely outlive you.
Beautiful. Thanks. Those are practical and real assessments, and just what I needed to hear.
 
Just you wait until I decide it's time to make sausage. I'll be coming for you.







For advice.
 
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I’m trying not to spend a ton, recognizing my own tendencies toward excess.

Something serviceable for grinding 3-4 pounds of meat 5-6 times a year is sort of my target. If I really get into it, I’m ok upgrading.
I have the Smokehouse Chef that attaches to a Kitchenaid bowl lift model. I don't recall exactly, but it has a bigger motor 400w? Anyways, the grinder is all SS and I have used it for years without any issues on the Kitchenaid. I grind 5 pounds several times per year. It is a bit slow, but it works, it was inexpensive and I have no regrets. However, I could never get the sausage stuffing feature to work well so that aspect is useless. Although, that could have been the operator and I haven’t made sausage in years.
 
However, I could never get the sausage stuffing feature to work well so that aspect is useless. Although, that could have been the operator and I haven’t made sausage in years.
It's not you. A meat grinder is uniquely unsuited to stuffing sausages.

The problem is the design of the auger: it's perfect for grinding meat, and exactly wrong for stuffing sausages. The auger works because of its tightening pitch. That creates pressure to force the meat against the grinding plate, so the knife gets a clean cut. This is not what you want for sausage farce because, as the farce gets squeezed in the auger, there is a lot of internal friction that causes the fat to smear, which changes the texture. In extreme cases, the pressure and heat that gets generated can cause the emulsion to break. (Guess how I know…)

A proper sausage stuffer does not have an auger. Instead, it is a simple cylinder and piston that pushes the farce into the stuffing tube, without creating a lot of friction.

Besides that problem, feeding farce into the throat of a grinder is a painfully slow and cumbersome process, and it is very easy to end up with air getting trapped, so you get sausages with cavities in them. Also, with a motor, you don't get any tactile feedback. Either the feed rate is painfully slow or, at higher speeds, you can get blow-outs in a split second because, by the time you feel that the pressure is getting too high with the hand that feeds the casing, it is too late to reach for the switch to turn down the grinder. A sausage stuffer with a hand crank is overall much faster, and you will have no issues with blowouts because you can feel what it is going on at both the crank and the stuffing tube.

If you want to stuff sausages, use a sausage stuffer. If you want to grind meat, use a grinder. You wouldn't want to use a sausage stuffer to grind meat, would you now, so why would you believe that it would work the other way around?
 
I use the plastic kitchenaid one all the time for grinding beef and pork. Never had any issues with it. Best results are when the meat is super cold, basically semi frozen. At $40, hard to beat IMO if you already have a kitchenaid. There’s the all metal one for $75, but not sure it would be worth the extra to me.
 
I use the plastic kitchenaid one all the time for grinding beef and pork. Never had any issues with it. Best results are when the meat is super cold, basically semi frozen. At $40, hard to beat IMO if you already have a kitchenaid. There’s the all metal one for $75, but not sure it would be worth the extra to me.
For very occasional use and small amounts, you can get away with the KA attachment. The grind consistency is not great though because the blade is not that sharp. (I believe the metal version works a little better.) For anything more than the occasional pound, I would step up to at least a simple domestic grinder, which will create a better grind and do it much faster.

Tip: You want to keep things very cold for grinding. Put the tray and grinder mechanism into the freezer for half an hour first, and partially freeze the meat before grinding. This gives the cleanest grind and least chance of smearing the fat.
 
I burnt out two Kitchenaids grinding deer. Bought an Italian grinder off Cabela's that works fine. Later ChefsChoice sent me theirs for evaluation. Its been grinding deer for several years now without problems.
 
I burnt out two Kitchenaids grinding deer. Bought an Italian grinder off Cabela's that works fine. Later ChefsChoice sent me theirs for evaluation. Its been grinding deer for several years now without problems.
Oh lord yeah, I can imagine anything gamey just ruining the KA lmaooo. Can actually hear the motor squealing and crying out in pain xD
 
Holy smokes, this LEM is a monster.

This is easily double the grinder I actually need. It’ll last me the rest of my life without any question.

I can already see there will be some small amount of waste/retained meat at the very end of the snout at the grinding disc.
 
Tip: You want to keep things very cold for grinding. Put the tray and grinder mechanism into the freezer for half an hour first, and partially freeze the meat before grinding. This gives the cleanest grind and least chance of smearing the fat.
Any reason not to just store the tube, plates, and blade in the freezer?
 
Any reason not to just store the tube, plates, and blade in the freezer?
I don't think so, other than those taking up space. Some grinding disks and blades are made of carbon steel though, so you could get some rust over time. If you really want to keep them in the freezer permanently, I'd probably seal them in an airtight container or bag.
 
Holy smokes, this LEM is a monster.

This is easily double the grinder I actually need. It’ll last me the rest of my life without any question.

I can already see there will be some small amount of waste/retained meat at the very end of the snout at the grinding disc.
When you have put all the meat through and no more mince comes out the front, take a handful of the ground meat, squeeze it into a sausage shape, and put that back into the throat of the grinder. That pushes through whatever unground meat is still in the auger. Then disassemble the grinding head and take the ground meat that's now in the auger and add it to the rest. Zero waste that way.
 
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Thanks, that's good advice.

I have seen enough videos of the Mighty Bite to know that the Big Bite was the right choice for me. Truly not even in the same class.
 
Well, as my inaugural grind, I double ground some chuck roast, 10mm first grind and 4.5mm second grind, and pattied up a burger, which I then grilled, with only some Lawrys seasoned salt.

Pretty pretty tasty. The burger itself was much looser in the body than other chuck burgers I have made from store ground meat, but it held together fine. I liked that looser texture.

Next is a blend of chuck, brisket, and short rib.
 
Well, as my inaugural grind, I double ground some chuck roast, 10mm first grind and 4.5mm second grind, and pattied up a burger, which I then grilled, with only some Lawrys seasoned salt.

Pretty pretty tasty. The burger itself was much looser in the body than other chuck burgers I have made from store ground meat, but it held together fine. I liked that looser texture.
If you want better adhesion, use a 3-mm disk. That's what supermarket mince is typically ground with. I generally don't bother going through a larger plate first. Directly from chunks to 4.5 or 3 mm works fine.
 
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