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Meat grinder vs food processor for garde manger meats?

veti's picture

Greetings, first time poster. Is it worth to invest in a meat grinder for cold kitchen pâtés, mousses and terrines. The story so far goes as follows.

I recently got the CIA Garde Manger book to get into terrines, and meat mousses. Started out with a duck-pork terrine with dried cherries and pistacios, fairly straight forward and delicious. On the first attempt, I burned out a KitchenAid miniprep (smoke coming out of the housing) when I ground the meats. The second time I used the food processor attachment on a 1000W Cuisinart stand-mixer, which worked like a charm. The consistency of the second terrine is a bit too dense, possibly, because I blended the meat too long. So I would like to get more control over the fineness of the grind.

Two possibilities as far as I can see:

A) use the food processor at precisely defined quantities, speeds and durations, e.g. 1 lb, speed 8 for 24 seconds.

B) get a meat grinder attachment for the Cuisinart, and use specific plates to adjust fineness of grind.

C) Possibly mix and match both approaches to get the desired outcome. 

Pros of A) is, I already have it, whereas B) would add one more not regularly used gadget to the kitchen arsenal. So, is it worth it to have a meat grinder for the above application? [~$100 is easily in the budget] Does one suddenly discover additional uses for a meat grinder once it's available? Or should a more controlled use of the food processor just work fine? 

Has anyone gone down this road before? I'd welcome your comments. Thanks!

ICDOCEAN1's picture

Meat grinders (post #70506, reply #1 of 3)

I have the attachment for the KA mixer and I  like it for small batches of meat, but I bought a relatively inexpensive grinder, a Waring and it is great for large batches like when I make about 25-50 lbs of sausage.  It is priced at about $100, but I'm sure that if you look at several sites, you might find it for less. Be sure to get the 300 watt motor

 Here is just one link http://www.lowes.com/pd_203681-576-MG100_0__?productId=1058159&Ntt=meat+grinder&pl=1&currentURL=%2Fpl__0__s%3FNtt%3Dmeat%2Bgrinder

As with any grinder that I use, I might stop the process and check for any kind of buildup within the grinder works, clean it out and start again.  Most grinders come with just two or three plates, fine medium, and course.  So far I have only used the medium and coarse grind plate for sausage and fresh beef.

Another thought is to look around for a restaurant equipment sale if you get into this big time.

veti's picture

Thanks for the feedback. I (post #70506, reply #2 of 3)

Thanks for the feedback. I don't think I'll get into large batches, so the question is less about through-put, but about control of fineness of the grind. The terrines I made were a total of 2.5 lb of meat. I still have a healthy respect re bacterial growth. I think I have decent food handling technique, heck, have done DNA sequencing which is much more demanding on cleanliness. But tens of pounds of meat going bad, not a pretty sight. So I'm slowly moving in that direction, get experience, and then possibly more adventurous.

The Cuisinart meat grinder attachment apparently comes with three plates plus sausage nozzle, 

 http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-SM-MG-Large-Meat-Grinder-Attachment/dp/B000MTIJGG/ref=sr_1_1?s=gateway&ie=UTF8&qid=1285631083&sr=8-1  

 

and the main machine already has a 1000W motor. The price for the small one is the same as the attachment, but adds more bulk to my already packed cabinets. So unless there is a strong reason to get a dedicated grinder, I may rather go for the attachment.

ICDOCEAN1's picture

KA attachment (post #70506, reply #3 of 3)

Now that I have the grinder, I gave my daughter the KA attachment that gets little/no use unless I am the making sausage at her house.   I should tell you that I gave it to her because it would get little/or no use unless I was there using it and I will add that it had a crack in the plastic that I managed to deal with, but babied I the attachment for many years. 

I would do a little research on the plastic housing of any of the attachments.  My experience only, but worth a thought especially for the cost.