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Attention BARF Diet Patrons!
on September 1, 2013
Like many people who are switching their dogs and cats to a Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) diet, I was searching for a grinder that would work, without spending $500. After researching many different grinders, I decided to try the Weston 575W. I noted that the most popular grinder, the almost unavailable (except through Ebay) Tasin TS-108, is a #8 grinder with an actual wattage of 575w. Given these parameters, I decided on the Weston, due to the brand's reputation. I was not disappointed.
When I talk about the BARF diet, I'm talking about some serious grinding! I have to grind 150 pounds of chicken leg quarters per month, bone in. (For those who are unfamiliar, yes, you can give chicken bones to dogs and cats, if they are RAW, never EVER cooked). I have 12 cats and 2 German Shepherds, so I have A LOT of chicken to grind!
The grinder handled the leg quarters, including the thigh and leg bones, like they were made of butter. I initially ground 80 pounds of leg quarters (I bought all the store had and have to get another 70 pounds). The motor never sounded bogged down and it never got hot. I never had to use the reverse and I had no problem with the fat and/or skin getting caught. It handled the long bones of the thigh and leg with ease; we had to cut some meat off the sides to fit the large legs/thighs down the feed tube. Cutting the pieces took longer than the grinding! I rarely had to use the plunger. I just dropped the chicken into the feed tube and the grinder pulled it through. We cut the quarters into pieces ~ 1-1 1/2" wide, basically making strips of meat/bone. I fed the long bones into the grinder lengthwise. The chicken was refrigerated cold, but not partially frozen. I simply allowed the grinder to work at its own pace.
Please note, I used the COARSEST grinding disc first, then put it through again, using the medium disc. We initially went from the coarse to the fine disc, but I found that the medium grind is a good size for the cats. The grinder easily ground the coarse ground chicken/bones, through the fine disc very easily. I found that once you get the coarse ground meat going down the tube, the grinder will create a suction, which will continue to pull the coarse ground meat through the grinder (just make sure that you keep the feed tube covered with ground meat, so no air enters).
I decided that the coarse ground chicken was good for the dogs. I put 20 pounds of chicken through the grinder, then cleaned the auger before grinding more, just to make sure that it worked optimally. When I ground the chicken to medium/fine, I put 10 pounds through the grinder, then switched discs, so I rinsed the components at that point. The pieces of bone that didn't feed through, I discarded.
Just a note for the BARF diet folks, I put the B-50 complex vitamins in a mortar and pestle and quickly ground them, then put the powdered B-50, vitamin E capsules, Fish oil capsules, iodized lite salt, and taurine, directly through the grinder, then mixed the animal "meatloaf" by hand to evenly distribute the supplements. I weighed the daily amount needed, and put it into gallon freezer bags so I can take out fresh food from the freezer daily.
Clean up was easy; I simply washed everything in hot soapy water, dried, and sprayed with a light coating of Pam spray.
***Please note I will update this review as I continue to use the grinder. I'll be grinding an additional 70 pounds of leg quarters in the next couple of weeks. I've run out of room in my freezers, so I still need to buy a second small freezer to hold 150 pounds of meat.
UPDATE ON 10/5/2013:
As promised, I'm updating the review. I've ground more than 200 pounds of chicken leg quarters (with bone), since my initial review. Instead of using the coarse grinding disc first, to save time, I use the medium grind plate. I've still had no issues with the grinder; it handles the long bones really well with the medium plate in place. I still put the chicken through a second grinding, using the fine plate, which leaves the bone feeling like tiny grit. The grinder handles the bone, skin, and tendons really great. I can easily put 20 pounds of leg quarters through the grinder without cleaning, but I think that's the maximum I would put through it without taking the auger out and rinsing it of accumulated bone.
I'm sure I'm being overly cautious, but I have started putting the chicken leg quarters in the oven at 375F, just long enough to kill any bacteria. I put a thermometer just under the skin and cook them long enough for it to read 140-145 degrees. This leaves the quarters raw, but kills any salmonella and Ecoli, which could get ground into the meat. If any bacteria survive, freezing for 3 days will lyse them, leaving uncontaminated food. I'll update this review in a couple of months to let everyone know how the grinder is holding up.