Top positive review
191 people found this helpful
Excellent product that lives up to the promise.
on September 27, 2009
We were nervous about ordering this unit because it had no reviews when we did. But it had the best power rating; it was big enough to feel comfortable that it wouldn't burn up the first time you use it and a low enough power (800 watt versus 1350+ watts on the largest home units) that it wasn't going to blow breakers when you plug it in. It seemed like just the right size - and it was (is).
We bought this because we refuse to buy any store ground meat anymore; we haven't done so for a couple years - neither sausage nor hamburger. We grind our own. We do have to buy the meat to grind but we find it as fresh as we can and rinse off the outside well with cold water before beginning. (Update 6-11-10: Now we have learned that experts say don't rinse the meat. What's in your water might be worse than what's on the meat!) That's about as safe as you can get, I think.
We've been using a manual grinder which I don't mind so much but ours is a heavy duty one that mounts with 4 screws. We mount it to a big cutting board with stainless bolts and wing-nuts and then clamp the cutting board to the table. That puts a lot of wear on the table from the rotational forces of the grinder. We decided on the electric because the motor confines the rotational force into the unit - no wear on your table or counter. OK, and it is easier on the arms, too.
We ground 10 pounds of chuck into hamburger last night and 15 pounds of Boston [...]pork roast into sausage this morning. (edit: This is supposed to be Boston B?tt roast but censorship is out of control on the Internet and I guess the name of a pork roast offends Amazon - they changed b?tt with the "u" in it to [...]. Anyway -) The grinder did not miss a beat. We did stop about half way into the sausage and put the meat back into the freezer for a bit. Sausage meat should be very cold when you grind it or it gets mushy. That isn't a fault of the grinder; it's just the way it is.
Just to be safe while the meat chilled, we completely cleaned the machine. Cleaning only takes a few minutes with a good kitchen brush and a bottle brush. The meat screw has a rubber gasket to keep meat out of the mechanism but I don't think anything even got that far in. After 25 lbs of meat, the motor assembly was spotless except meat that hit the outside front under the grinder.
Follow the instructions and use the desired size disc first time around. On our manual grinder we would start with the largest disc and then use the final size disc. That was easier on us. We tried the same with a little of our meat using this unit and it made mush when it went through the second time. We cooked the mushier ground meat for tacos tonight and it worked great so even that wasn't so bad. When we used the smallest disc first, because that was the final size we wanted, the unit didn't hiccup at all. It handled it without any noticeable heat.
Same thing with having the meat very cold. It's in the instructions; just read and follow them. We ground the beef while it was still semi-frozen but thawed enough to cut easily with a knife. The sausage roast hadn't been frozen so it was completely thawed - which is why it had to go back into the freezer for a while. Again, follow the instructions. Dice the meat into cubes and put the cubes into the freezer for a bit to partially freeze. If you don't do that step, it still grinds just fine and tastes just fine. It is just mushy looking, more like store-sausage-stuffed-into-plastic-tubes kind of texture.
It comes with a plastic pusher for pushing the meat into the unit but the meat screw is well engineered. You almost don't need the pusher unless you feed it too fast. The only time I really had to use the pusher was to push the very last bit at the end of each batch. The unit pretty much pulls the meat through once it is started. Just let it do the work; don't force it. You'll get much better appearing results.
In summary, after grinding 25 pounds of meat, we're really pleased with the unit.
Here's an update for June 11, 2010. We've done probably 200 lbs of meat through ours and it still works as good as the day it first arrived. We did sausage with it once. The grinder did its job but it was our first attempt at sausage. :) We had a hard time doing our job with the casings and not sure we'll do it again. But we did find another great use for it this spring. When strawberries were in season we bought lots of them and made jam. After mashing a couple of batches of berries using the potato smasher, we finally figured out we had this motorized thingie in the pantry. I got it out and with the largest plate we ground the strawberries for the next 3 batches with no effort at all.
August 2012 update - We've had our grinder for 3 years now. We've used it about every month to do hamburger and sausage. At approximately 20 pounds per cycle, that's probably 600 to 700 lbs we've put through it. We even tried our hand at stuffing sausages with it once - the grinder did fine for that but we didn't. We definitely need more practice stuffing.
The only down side is that there is little to no support from Deni. We lost the o-ring washer that provides a seal between the grinder screw and the motor housing. This is a part that you take off each cleaning and put back on each use. We tried everything we could, even threatening to virtually kill their amazon sales by changing our most popular review on the product to a one-star review but we could not get a new o-ring washer from Deni. It's just a part of buying whole container-fulls of products from China. They aren't equipped to send a single small part. We found o-rings that are close in the plumbing supply but nothing that is exactly the same so we do get some small amount of fat or liquid pushing out the rear of the screw. It hasn't caused us any problems other than a little more cleanup work. If you buy this, take the o-ring washer to your plumbing supply so you have it as a reference and buy a bunch of spares. The washer will probably last years but since the spares are small and cost pennies, get a bunch.
Otherwise, we still like this unit and it's still working great for us 3 years later.