When you hunt wild game, you have a lot of ground meat. It is a fact of life.
When you are trying to process an elk, a KitchenAid attachment grinder just won’t cut it. Believe me… I’ve tried.
I used to take my meat to a local butcher to have them grind it up for me because I did not have a decent grinder that could handle the job. After doing the math, I realized that at $1 per pound, I could break even at 150-180 pounds of ground meat. If I got a deer and an elk in the same season, that would pretty much cover it and a grinder would then start paying for itself. Couple that with other hunts and my wife also having a tag and that cost savings would really start to add up. It just made sense to stop paying a butcher and start grinding meat myself.
Weston has been known for making quality game processing products and the Realtree No. 8 Grinder and Sausage Stuffer is no exception. This is an upgrade to their popular No. 8 grinder with increased power (an extra 75 watts over the 575 watt model), new design (stainless steel), and additional accessories. It was field tested and approved by the North American Hunting Club, so it is proven to be tough enough to handle the demanding task of processing lots of wild game meat. I recently tested one out myself and wanted to give my thoughts on its features and performance.
By the Numbers
The No. 8 grinder hosts a 650 watt (7/8 horsepower) motor. That is a sizable step up from the typical .5 horsepower power plant found in many mainstream grinders.
The No. 8 comes with 3 grinding plates (fine, medium, and coarse), a beefy stainless steel grinding knife, and the usual stomper for pushing meat down into the grinder. On the sausage side of things, the grinder comes with a sausage stuffing spacer and funnel. For convenience, all of the accessories (grinding plates, spacer, etc.) fit inside of the stomper for easy storage when the grinder is not in use. The grinder also comes with a fabric cover that is patterned in Realtree to complete the outdoors theme.
The No. 8 grinder has quite a few nice features that make it desirable for anyone who needs to process decent amounts of wild game meat. For starters, the grinder has a forward and reverse functionality. It also has a convenient storage space for the power cord when not in use. These are pretty basic features, but convenient nonetheless.
Where the No. 8 really shines is the fact that it is a sausage stuffer in addition to being a beefy grinder. For many who process wild game meat, making sausage is a foregone conclusion. However, many of us do not have the money to buy a grinder and a high dollar sausage stuffer. The fact that this grinder comes with the necessary accessories to do basic stuffing is a huge plus because it gives you far more bang for your buck than other grinders out there.
The first thing I noticed when I hit the power button on the grinder was the powerful motor. It was clearly more powerful that your typical cheap grinder. The beefed up turbine inside turned with serious churning power. Placing large strips of meat into the grinder hardly changed the speed with which the motor turned; it made very short work of the meat I put through it. This is very encouraging because when you are grinding dozens of pounds of deer or elk meat in an evening, having a grinder that can work quickly is worth its weight in gold.
The sausage stuffing feature, while convenient, does not function the same as a dedicated sausage stuffer. A dedicated stuffer works on pressure; the more pressure applied, the faster the casing fills. The sausage stuffing feature on the No. 8 grinder, on the other hand, works based on the speed of the motor. It will come out slower, but at a consistent rate of speed. This might be a drawback for some, but for most (like me) this will not be a big deal.
In every aspect of performance as well as in construction, the No. 8 grinder truly shines. I am very pleased with this grinder’s ability to what it says it can do. It is built solidly, performs flawlessly, and looks good on top of your counter.
This grinder does what it is made to do: process game meat quickly, efficiently, and with little fuss. If you are in the market for a grinder, don’t go cheap and shoot yourself in the foot. Do it right the first time, get a quality grinder like the Weston Realtree No. 8 Grinder and go to work processing your game and making some sausage. With a grinder like this, I don’t mind finding out how the sausage is made; not one bit.
Disclaimer: I received this grinder in exchange for review. I was under zero obligation to give a favorable review. The thoughts in this review are strictly my own and are based solely on my experience with this product.