POS Meat Grinders

POS - P.O.S.adjective, slang

1. An acronym commonly interpreted as “piece of shit.” It can be used to describe something as worthless or invaluable.

You know those days where nothing goes your way? The average Joe’s bad day might consist of running out of coffee, getting a speeding ticket on the way to work, and violently puking on his boss after a bad a batch of tuna from the night before…I’ve never done that; I just have a random imagination. You know, one of those days you wish you could crawl back under the covers and hit the reset button? Let me tell you about one that involved neither speeding tickets nor bad batches of tuna:

Did you know the job market is tough for a butcher in Texas? I’ve been applying to shops with no success.

None. Hell, one even told me to apply, then told me they had no room after I applied. Frustrated by the lack of work – or maybe just plum stir crazy from being cooped up in the house - I decided I needed to release some frustration and do what any normal butcher would do on a Saturday night: make sausage.

Now given the right tools and excellent pork, this process can take very little time in an outfitted shop and can turn out some damn good sausage. This Saturday night “home” test run would give me a good idea if I could make the same end product without $100,000 worth of commercial sausage making machinery. Armed with two different meat grinders, two sausage stuffer attachments, a package of fresh hog casings, and my knives, I felt like there was no way I could fail.

The entire family was out of the house. I had the kitchen to myself. I dialed in my soft jazz playlist on Spotify, sharpened my boning knives, and began to de-bone the pork shoulders. At this time of uncertainty in my professional career, I really needed a moment like this. There, cutting away on some pork in my kitchen, jammin’ to some Miles Davis, I knew I had picked the right profession. This butcher thing is pretty awesome.

IMG_0505
IMG_0505

Well, that was the high point of my night. I wish the rest of the evening was equally appealing, but it went downhill from this point forward.

Tonight, I was giving the hand-cranked, Weston grinder a shot. You last saw this guy used when I made tamales. It made quick work of the slow cooked meat and I would definitely recommend it for that task, however I do not recommend it for raw pork cubes. I bolted it to a cutting board, then after a long brainstorming session, I bolted it to a folding chair to stabilize it.

Yeah, I'm not sure what I was thinking.

IMG_0510
IMG_0510

After running a pound of meat through it, I had to stop and clean the plate. The holes were so clogged with pork sinew that nothing could pass through. Again, I tried to grind pork cubes and once more it clogged and was inoperable.

Dang, I realized I had an POS grinder and only 1 pound of ground pork to show for my efforts.

Did I mention I had cubed 24 pounds of pork and it sat bagged and stacked consuming all the free space in the fridge?

Yeah, I needed to get this pork ground and cased before the family got home and… produced a chicken from their rear end, if you get my drift.

Next to Plan B: the Kitchen Aid Grinder/Stuffer Attachment.

Previously, I had ground a pound of beef for a meat loaf with this easy mixer attachment and I thought I could do the same with the pork cubes. This attachment was smaller and it would take more time to run 24 pounds of pork through, but I was relieving my frustration and the methodical repetition of feeding meat into the hatch would be soothing.

I cannot describe how slow and exasperating this process was. Back at Fleisher’s, the grinding and mixing was done in roughly five minutes and that was in 50 to 100 pound batches. After 3 hours, I had only managed to grind five pounds of pork and nearly burned up the motor on the Kitchen Aid mixer.

Just shoot me!

Usually, sausage meat is ground then seasoned before being ground a final time to ensure a thorough mix of seasonings. Was I going to run the five pounds of ground pork back through back the Kitchen Aid?

Hell no! And honestly, I don’t think the meat needed to be ground a second time. Those home grinders almost emulsified it.

I poured in my seasonings and massaged it into the ground meat with my hands. Back to the Kitchen Aid mixer I went, hoping the sausage stuffer would work better than the grinder….

IMG_0514
IMG_0514

Let me just save all you DIY sausage makers out there some time:

  1. Don’t use either of the grinders I’ve listed.
  2. Don't use either of the stuffers I've listed
  3. The Weston grinder might have worked, but I believe the blade was too dull.
  4. The Kitchen Aid grinder attachment… would be better off in the trash.

Yes, it’s possible to grind meat with both appliances. I know all you Paul Bunyan’s are griping and calling me a pansy, because you all can do it while pounding home-brewed moonshine.

Well, I can’t.

With over 4 hours into this project and not a single link of sausage to show for it, I made the remaining seasoned meat into patties for morning breakfast and ordered me a super grinder and sausage stuffer from Amazon.

 Sausage patties

Sausage patties

I let you know how they work.  Until then, If you have any questions, comments, or you know exactly what I did wrong and want to email me and call me an idiot, hit me up!