FINALLY! An All-Stainless Steel Meat Grinder Attachment for Kitchenaid! (Smokehouse Chef)

**This is an objective product review of a meat grinder I recently purchased.  I have no affiliation with either Kitchenaid or Smokehouse Chef, I do not receive any benefits or “kickbacks” from them, and the links in this ad are to the product pages on Amazon if you want to purchase them.  I do not benefit in any way from any of this, this review is simply for your information.

Smokehouse Chef’s all-stainless steel, dishwasher-safe meat grinder attachment for Kitchenaid mixers

I’ve gone through several meat grinders.  Not because I break them or burn them out…but because they’re just not dishwasher safe, even if the manufacturer claims they are.  And when you’re talking about grinding raw meat, sterility is absolutely paramount, so the idea that I can only wash the complicated parts of a meat grinder by hand using only mild soap, and NO rinses in a sterilizing solution like bleach or vinegar…none of that computes in my brain hole.  Why do manufacturers even produce meat grinders that aren’t 100% dishwasher safe?

The answer is “cost.”  Aluminum is cheap and light, easy to manufacture, and therefore, cheap for the consumer.  But it’s not dishwasher safe.  And it reacts with acids and bleach, and the potent enzymes in modern dishwashing detergents.  Meaning…it’s a TERRIBLE choice for a meat grinder.  But it’s still the metal of choice for 99% of consumer-model meat grinders available today.

Kitchenaid markets its own branded meat grinder attachment for around $50-$65, and states “most parts dishwasher safe,” and the manual for the attachment says to only handwash the blade and the grinding die in mild soapy water.  While these are the smallest parts, making them easy to hand wash (though not, perhaps, safe…washing small, slippery, sharp objects can be dangerous), these parts directly contact the meat and I’d feel far more comfortable if they could be sterilized.  The auger and grinder body are primarily made of plastic, and can be washed in the dishwasher.

To complicate matters…most serious home cooks find this attachment to be fairly worthless.  Of the 800+ reviews on Amazon, more than 100 of them are critical, 1-star reviews, referencing everything from metal shavings ending up in the meat (!!!), to a blade so dull it simply jams every few minutes and needs to be disassembled and cleared repeatedly during grinding, to the attachment straining the Kitchenaid mixer so much it blew out the motor.  Very few people who own this attachment find that it produces a quality grind…the meat ends up more mushy than meaty.  I made the mistake of ordering the attachment several years ago and returned it after the first use.  I email and tweet Kitchenaid on a regular basis, begging them for more quality in their attachments, which are largely very cheap and ineffective.  I’m HAPPY to pay a bit more for an all-stainless attachment that is of quality construction and is dishwasher safe, and I think many Kitchenaid owners are like-minded…but they just don’t make them.  (I will state that the Kitchenaid pasta roller and pasta extruder attachments are exceptionally useful, and I’m very happy with them…however, they cost almost as much as the stand mixer itself, and cannot be washed at all, only brushed off!)

Cabela’s all-stainless meat grinder…a $400 toy, but dishwasher safe.

And I’ve been looking for a quality stainless-steel meat grinder ever since.  I went through a few self-standing models that claimed to be dishwasher safe, or didn’t reference the dishwasher in their materials, but ended up NOT being dishwasher safe.  (When they came out of the dishwasher, they were coated in oxidized grey dust.)  And I was uneasy about the fact that I needed a massive, self-standing grinder taking up space in my garage, when an appropriate power source, the 1-horsepower motor on my pro-model Kitchenaid stand mixer, already takes up space on my counter.  To be fair, Cabela’s produces an all-stainless steel self-standing grinder that is very popular among the hunting community, but their cheapest 1/2 horsepower model is over $400, and their cheaper models are not all-stainless and aren’t dishwasher safe.  But I have twice that much horsepower in my Kitchenaid already…and I wanted an all-stainless steel meat grinder attachment for it…why is that an unreasonable request?

Enter Smokehouse Chef, a small, family-owned Texas company that has been producing all-stainless replacement parts for OTHER manufacturer’s meat grinders, including Cabela’s and Kitchenaid.  For years they’ve marketed an “all-metal” grinder attachment, but they must have heard my endless pleas to Kitchenaid, because they have just released a full stainless steel grinder attachment at the very reasonable price of $169 on their websiteThis is the only Kitchenaid meat grinder attachment currently on the market that is made entirely from stainless steel, and thus dishwasher safe.  It is also cheaper than the grinder attachment manufactured by Chef’s Choice, which has aluminum parts and costs $150-$200!

I was as excited as a kid on Christmas morning when it arrived on my doorstep, and within moments I had it opened, attached to my Kitchenaid, and I started making sausage with some venison I had in the freezer, and some pork fatback (the layer of pure fat from a pig’s back, normally used for making sausage).

The first thing I noticed is that the hopper (the tray that holds the un-ground meat) is massive…way bigger than the Kitchenaid attachment.  I had 4 pounds of meat and fat in there, and there was room for more.

The plastic tamper that allows you to push the meat down into the grind cylinder is solid and easy to use.  And the grinder performs flawlessly…the blade is sharp, and using the medium grind die (the grinder comes with 3 dies, fine, medium and coarse, as well as a stainless sausage stuffing sleeve) I got an absolutely gorgeous grind on the venison.  After grinding 4 pounds of meat/fat, and then casing the resulting sausage, there was still no discernible heat on the grinder.  Meat grinders build heat at the surface where the blade contacts the die, and heating meat into the danger-zone where pathogens can rapidly multiply (40F-140F) can become a serious problem.  On MasterChef, they had us combat this by adding ice to the meat as it was grinding, which seemed ludicrous to me…all that did was water down the meat.  The way *I* combat heat buildup is to put the cubed meat and fat into the freezer for an hour before grinding, which also gives you a much better final grind texture, as the meat cuts more easily when it’s a little frozen.

After about an hour of grinding and casing, I disassembled the grinder and tossed all the parts into the dishwasher, running it on the longest cycle with sterilization.  (This gave me time to cook and devour my sausages!!!)

Everything came out spotless, with the minor exception of the blade, which had a tiny bit of rust inside the stamped logo.  A bit of a disappointment, but understandable, as the stamping process creates heat and the friction between the stamp and the blade can create chemical reactions that change the properties of stainless steel.  I brushed it well and spritzed on a bit of oil.  If the rust continues to be a problem, I will update this blog as well as contact Smokehouse Chef.

My only real beef with this grinder right now is that it comes without a manual or instructions, so if you don’t already know your way around a meat grinder, you’ll need to do a bit of internet searching and YouTubing to figure out how to assemble and use it.  But that was no issue for me.  All in all, I’m incredibly pleased with this grinder and I see lots and lots and LOTS of sausage in my future (no jokes please)!

Most Kitchenaid attachments require too much power for the basic Artisan model

***IMPORTANT***  Due to the stress that this attachment can place on the underpowered motor in the Kitchenaid entry-model, tilt-head mixer (the Artisan), I DO NOT recommend you use this attachment on Artisan mixers.  For that matter, I don’t recommend this model to anyone for ANY reason.  There’s just not enough power to do anything but beat egg whites and bake cookies.  If you want to knead bread, or use the pasta or meat grinding attachments, you need a more powerful model.  I highly recommend the version Costco sells, a 1hp 6-quart model, which is often available throughout the year at under $300 on sale and after a manufacturer’s rebate.  This is the model we use at FRANK, where we often make pastas and knead breads for 18 people a night, 4 nights in a row.  It is strong, whisper-quiet, and a great value.

Feel free to comment below if you’ve had experience with any meat grinders that you can recommend or caution us against!

198 Responses to FINALLY! An All-Stainless Steel Meat Grinder Attachment for Kitchenaid! (Smokehouse Chef)

  1. OK Then, “***IMPORTANT*** Due to the stress that this attachment can place on the under powered motor in the Kitchen Aid entry-model, tilt-head mixer (the Artisan), I DO NOT recommend you use this attachment on Artisan mixers. For that matter, I don’t recommend this model to anyone for ANY reason. There’s just not enough power to do anything but beat egg whites and bake cookies. If you want to knead bread, or use the pasta or meat grinding attachments, you need a more powerful model. I highly recommend the version Costco sells, a 1hp 6-quart model, which is often available throughout the year at under $300 on sale and after a manufacturer’s rebate. This is the model we use at FRANK, where we often make pastas and knead breads for 18 people a night, 4 nights in a row. It is strong, whisper-quiet, and a great value.” (Commercial”

    WTF! Are you out of your mind? Give me a freaking break already. What you are telling everyone is that the “Artisan” mixer is a piece of shit that no one would want to buy? I’m sorry, but I really think that you need to re-asses your way of thinking. The Artisan mixer is such a good buy. I own one and what you say is totally ludicrous. You obviously are trying to sell the more expensive models. OH YEAH! I almost forgot that your are making sausages for 18 people. at a time Like in a restaurant. I am here to say that I make sausages all of the time here at home and the only problem I have ever had is the metal shavings that come from the metal parts of the food grinder that rub together, putting metal shavings into the ground meat!

    I am looking for a grinder that doesn’t do this. I also could not give a shit about “Dishwasher safe”. Dishwasher safe only means that the high temperature of the drying process causes problems with plastic and aluminum products.

    I never have believed in dishwashers because they don’t actually “Wash” the dishes. I just wish the manufacturers would name them appropriately to “Dish Sanitizers”. This is only because of the heating element that produces temperatures that will kill bacteria. Do they actually “Wash” the dishes? NO! Hence, the need to “Wash” the dishes prior to putting them in the so-called “Dishwasher”. DUH!

    Finally, if you “Chill” the grinder and meat first, you will get the best results. It is “Hard” food that works best in any meat grinder. Soft food gets stringy. Therefore, clogging the grinder.

    I most certainly wish to believe that this grinder would not create metal shavings. If it does, then why would I need to purchase it over any other grinder?

    • Paul, metal shavings are common upon FIRST use of ANY grinder. Consistent metal shavings is why I never purchased the Kitchenaid grinder in the first place, and went with Smokehouse chef, instead. I have had NO problems with metal shavings since the first use. (Some people put a handful of beans through a grinder upon first use to burnish off these first shavings.)

      Dishwasher safe is VERY important to me, because a grinder has many parts that are not possible to reach while hand-washing. The dishwasher cleans and sterilizes my grinder’s parts far more effectively than I can by hand.

      I have zero affiliations with KitchenAid and am not trying to sell any product for anyone. Having a number of friends who’ve had to had their Artisan models repaired after blowing out the engine, I can tell you that it’s QUITE easy to ruin an Artisan model from grinding, or even kneading bread dough. If you always have a light workload for your mixer, the Artisan is an excellent buy. But if you’re going to to extended heavy grinding (including bones), or will be working with large batches of low-hydration bread dough, buying the Artisan models is a poor choice.

  2. Hi
    Thank you for your review, have you tried the kitchenaid metal meat grinder yet?

  3. Hi Ben! I know you said artisan is a no go, but I don’t want to invest into a new kitchenaid just yet, but I DO want to make me some sausage using a quality attachment that will not oxidize ) would you say it’s worth a try? Its not commercial amounts obviously, just the occasional burger or sausage to be createdc do you think the artisan could take that kind of usage?

    • Yes, Ana, if you’re wanting to grind a pound of meat for burgers, the Artisan model will suffice! If you’re going to be grinding for several hours, or are including bones in your grind, you’ll burn out your motor pretty quickly.

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