Unfortunately, our 20+ year old KitchenAid mixer was lost in the fire. Of course, it had to be replaced because such a mixer is a staple in any kitchen. After doing a ton of research, it was both confirmed that KitchenAid continues to be of excellent make and that one should really go with at least the 6 qt model as it has a significantly more powerful motor than the 5 qt motor.
Yes, we went with the Candy Apple Red model. It looks quite stunning on the black granite and against the blue tile backdrop of our remodeled kitchen.
Beyond mixing dough, the KA mixers can drive a whole series of attachments. Frankly, it works the same way as a John Deere tractor. There is a little port into which you plug various attachments and the high torque motor then drives said attachment. This includes everything from ice cream makers to grain mills to juicers to pasta makers to, yes, meat grinders.
Oddly, the KitchenAid meat grinder is largely made of plastic. It doesn’t have anywhere near the same build quality as the rest of the mixer.
Quite a bit of searching turned up Smokehouse Chef’s very well reviewed Stainless Steel, Dishwasher Safe, Meat Grinder / Sausage stuffer / Food Chopper. It is worth every penny of the price. It features a rock solid all metal build, a much much larger food hopper than the KA grinder and quite a few more cutting discs. I haven’t tried the sausage stuffer, but it seems quite high quality, too.
Quite a significant upgrade. It’ll work with all models of KA mixers, but they recommend — and my experience confirms — that it really works best with the higher wattage motors.
Note: Instead of a tilt head, this model has a lifter that lifts the bowl while the head is fixed. While the mixer is larger capacity, it requires less vertical space than the 5 qt model.
The first recipe I tested the grinder with?
The trick is to feed veggies through along with some relatively lean cut of beef (or venison — kangaroo works really well, too).
I usually stuff through a couple of sticks of celery, a carrot or two, some onion, garlic, an apple or pear, and whatever meat(s) I’m going to use. Mix well and toss in a hot, oil coated, cast iron pan. You can get away with upwards of 50% veggies by volume and your kids will still devour it!
Brown it in the pan, then mix in nearly a cup of ketchup, a touch of sriracha, chili powder, salt, pepper, and maple syrup and/or brown sugar. Lower the heat and let simmer for at least 40 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
If I’m feeling lazy, I’ll often use the grinder to chop up the trinity or mirepoix. Slap the largest cutting disc in and it does a wonderful job of producing the base for many recipes!