Grinder questions

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by tddeangelo, Aug 8, 2016.

  1. Hi everyone, 

    Been reading and not posting, mostly...but it's near to hunting season and I'm gonna need to start asking some questions. :)

    I've borrowed an ancient...and very good...grinder from a friend, but I can't keep it indefinitely. It's an old beast, probably 100lbs in weight, and just mows through boned venison when I'm grinding. I tend to bone/trim meat and then do as much in a session as I can. I think last fall/winter I did three sessions and ground somewhere around 90-100lbs of meat. That's a pretty "normal" year. 1st time I ground my own instead of paying for it to be ground, and my wife and I are much happier with the end results. 

    So I need to get my own grinder. I had gotten a lot of recommendations for the Harbor Freight grinder, and the price sure is attractive, but the more I read about it, the less enthused I'm getting. 

    I'd like to not spend hundredS on a grinder, but I don't want to waste money on something that's just going to frustrate me. 

    Any suggestions on a grinder that's a good balance of performance and cost? I will generally be doing amounts similar to what I listed above, give or take depending on how the hunting goes in a given year. 

    While I am getting the picture that it's best to get a separate sausage stuffer, budgets are budgets and I'll probably need to do some stuffing with the grinder for the time being. 

    I have a Cabela's very close by, but I'm not afraid of mail/internet ordering a good unit, too. 

    Thanks so much!
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This is what I have. We grind all of our own hamburger, venison, pork, chicken and meat for sausage. I have no complaints. Several hundred pounds a year.

    STX INTERNATIONAL STX-3000-MF Megaforce Patented Air Cooled Electric Meat Grinder with 3 Cutting Blades, 3 Grinding Plates, Kubbe and 3 Sausage Stuffing Tubes
  3. gomez93

    gomez93 Meat Mopper

    I have a Cabela's 1/2 horse #8 and am very happy with it. LEM is probably the highest rated grinder and Weston is also very good but all those probably start around $300 and go up.
    The Kitchener line gets pretty good reviews and Cabela's has lower priced models as well which what I was going to get but got the 1/2 horse model on sale. Look at the grind rates to help you decide, for example: The $120 Weston #8 grinds 2-3 pounds per minute but the $350 #8 Weston grinds 18 pounds per minute.
    Also, for future use the "professional grade" grinders will attach to a meat mixer.
    Whatever you choose, get a foot pedal. You'll love the ability to start and stop the grinder just by lifting your toe instead of turning it off.
  4. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I have the Kitchen #12 it grinds faster then I can feed it

  5. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  6. Thanks everyone!

    Do the Kitchener units accept a foot pedal? I do see the merit in having that after doing a bunch of work with a grinder last season. 

    And the Kitchener can attach to a mixer, I think?

    So much to learn..... :)
  7. gomez93

    gomez93 Meat Mopper

    The foot pedal works on anything electric, it plugs into the outlet and the appliance plugs into that.
    I'm not sure about the mixer
  8. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I have the Kitchener #12 based on DaveOmak and others recommendation. I also did a ton or research and found the Kitchener was the only grinder under $300 that had Metal Gears. The K#12 is a Chinese grinder but is made by one of the leading manufactures ( the name escapes me at this time) that rebrand the unit for various companies and has been in business a long time...JJ
  9. Has anyone had any experience with this unit?

    I found one that may be for sale locally for a much lower cost than new. I have room for such a unit.....I use my shed as a butcher shop, and it's big enough to keep such a grinder/saw housed there. 

    Any thoughts on that one?

    I don't usually use a band saw, but I could, and the price is on par with lower end table top grinders (if it's still available, I may be late to the party...). 
  10. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Mixed reviews but if you get one Cheap, Beats hand sawing all day then grinding...JJ
  11. Ok i owned one of these and can honestly say dont waste ur time or money,they are that price for a reason.Grinders on these units are a common failure and thats exactly what mine did.The saw itself works....but ive had nothing but troubles with it same as other folks ive talked with.U get what u pay for,if u grind any amount put a few $ into it.Cabelas have some nice grinders(good quality)that wont break the bank.Just one rednecks opinion hope it helps:)
  12. I have a Cabelas 1hp and it works great
  13. Posted some "want to buy" stuff on a local hunting forum, and someone contacted with an old Hobart #12 he is looking to sell. Looks like it's quite a few years old, but well kept. I'm gonna guess by the darkened color in the pics of the metal attachments that it's carbon steel and not stainless on that stuff. It's a green color on the motor, which I can't seem to find in any searches for Hobart stuff. 

    He doesn't want much money for it, but he's about 3+ hrs away from me. Not sure it's worth the drive....? Cabela's is 10 minutes away, but their decent grinders look to start around $300 or so. 
  14. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    How much meat you planning to grind ??   Where are you going to get parts for that old grinder ???   I'd steer clear of it...
  15. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have a old Hobart with a green motor.   Its a beast.    Grinds great but its huge and heavy.   Cant move it myself.
  16. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    There is not much to go bad on them old hobarts. They are very heavy and pretty much a unit you set up and leave alone, not always compatible with wives. However, if cheap enough <$200, are collectable and desired by many. You can easily make money if you find it's a PITA to have around and use...JJ
  17. I can get it for under $100, but it's a 3 hour drive one way to get it. 

    Starting to sound like it's worth it?

    Cabela's is 10 min away and has grinders at many price points. It seems the ones people really like start at around $350. 

    $250+ takes my truck a long way, lol. 

    Last year, I had to take the grinder in and out of my kitchen to do the grinding, and that was a major PITA (using a borrowed Toledo, which is a BEAST). I had moved in August and butcher shop setup wasn't a priority. This year things are a bit more in order and I'll be able to leave the motor set up once it's in place. 
  18. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I had a Cabelas #8 grinder for years, served me well with a few thousand pounds thru it. I have since scaled back with a LEM #5 Big bite. IMHO dont waster your $ on a stuffer with cheap plastic gears. Buy one with metal gears. My LEM 5lb has gave me 0 issues.

    I used to work at the Hamburg, PA Cabelas in the meat processing dept, cant tell you how many of their cheap plastic grinders they got back.

    Remember a grinder is a grinder, not a stuffer. And if you have a Kitchen Aid mixer, you cant beat it for meat mixing with the dough hook.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
  19. I need to get a stuffer, too, but the grinder is first. :)

    I did plan to use stuffing tools, but not for sausage. Was thinking the final grind could go through a sausage stuffer tube into a waiting FoodSaver back that's up on a scale. A foot pedal here will help, so that I can run it till I hit 1lb or whatever the wife wants per package, stop, seal, then restart with the next bag. Stuffing those bags from a bin of finished ground meat is a pain. 

    I haven't been looking at the lower end Cabela's grinders, for that reason (plastic gears). I'm sure if there's something prone to breakage, I'll break it. And it's the Hamburg PA Cabela's I live near. :)
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
  20. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    I bought an STX Mega Force grinder for 189.00.  But it looks a lot like the Kitchener one.  I think it has one more button for speed for high/low, but basically it looks like the Kirchner, except for the extra button.  I just went and looked at it.  Speed 1, speed 2, Reverse, and Off, buttons,

    I also bought a foot pedal switch, which I love.  Bought that from Harbor freight for around 20 bucks or less,  Don't remember.

    I don't bother having to cut meat in to small chunks, or freeze partially.  I cut meat into long strips that will fit into tube and just drop them in.  By the time I've grabbed another piece to add, the first one in, has already ran though the machine.

    The fast speed is great for the large grind.  But the lower speed will let you grind only once through a smaller plate, without having to grind large first, and re-grind again to smaller grind  Now if you are going for a very fine grind like for hot dogs, you will still have to re-grind..

    Either brand will do the job for light to moderately heavy usage (non-commercial).

    In fact, my wife told me that this machine was almost as big and fast as what her meat cutter used in her store, before she retired.

    She was impressed by the grinder.  Even though she just hates it, when I buy a new toy to take up space.  LOL

    I do like the extra speed button on the STX though, for reason mentioned.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016

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