Buying a new pepper mill?

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by french fries, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. french fries

    french fries

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    I need to buy a new pepper mill. Most pepper mills I've had (unknown brands wood pepper mills) were unsatisfactory. My biggest beef is when I need, say, 2 Tbspn finely ground black pepper, I could sit there for an hour grinding pepper. 

    So at some point I spent something like $100 in an electric Peugeot (supposedly the best?) pepper mill. I thought electric would allow me to grind a lot of pepper without getting tired. But the mill was really slow and you had to push hard on that button, and keep it depressed, in order for the mill to grind. That meant I had finger cramps way before I had even a tsp of ground pepper. 

    I don't often need that much, but I simply would like something that does fine and not so fine and that has a decent output, meaning it doesn't take me for ever to grind pepper, say, all over both sides of a split chicken, or 8 nice steaks. 

    Any recommendations? Thanks!
     
  2. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    For me, I searched for years for a GOOD pepper mill and also had that dang electric mill, BAH!

    I don't want to get a cramp trying to produce a Tablespoon of freshly ground Pepper!

    My dear husband aka Santa Claus, got me the pepper mill that I had been eyeing for some time,

    recommended by America's Test Kitchen.

    [​IMG]

    this is the 9 inch Unicorn Magnum Pepper Mill

    [​IMG]

    I have this smaller one, 6 inch Unicorn Magnum Pepper Mill

    (and no, I am not employed by either ATC nor Unicorn)

    LOVE IT!!!

    I'm a "gotta touch, try it out" kinda gal, if you can find a local retailor that carries this brand,

    try it first before you shell out the dough, not cheap about $35 I think.
     
  3. butzy

    butzy

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    My aunt uses an old hand operated coffee grinder.It hangs on the wall, the reservoir is obviously filled with peppercorns and not with coffee. It works like a dream! Just a couple of seconds for enough freshly ground pepper for a couple of steaks
     
  4. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Atlas pepper mill for most cooking.  It works efficiently, is very adjustable, looks beautiful, and because it's metal -- so it doesn't get gooey and it's easy to clean, and is great for individual as well as typical dish size volumes.  I have two, one copper and one chrome.  Expensive though.

    For large quantities of whatever coarseness -- just use an electric coffee/spice grinder.  I have a dedicated, Cuisinart spice grinder which cost around $30 and works great but it's overkill.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2012
  5. french fries

    french fries

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    Great! Thanks for all the suggestions. I actually have an electric coffee grinder, which I never use for coffee: I use it for rice, or almonds, things like that. Never thought of using it for pepper! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif  That'll do just great for large quantities. 

    kaneohegirlinaz, that mill has been recommended many times but I've got this aversion to plastic, I'm afraid it'll break, or at least it won't last... maybe it's just in my head, but... well you know, some thoughts are hard to change. 

    I'll check out the Atlas mills right now. Thanks again BDL! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2012
  6. french fries

    french fries

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    Just ordered this one. Thanks BDL! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

    [​IMG]
     
  7. mikelm

    mikelm

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    After a multi-decade search for a decent pepper grinder - which involved several Peugeots, though thankfully not the electric one - I discovered the disposable grinders at Costco.  They are about $4..75 and perform better than any of the five or six I already have, effectively adjustable and fast.. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif   They are filled with Tellicherry pepper.

    Their matching (!) salt grinder is just as effective, and it's filled with sea salt - though not a pedigreed one.

    Not very stylish, but they do the job I've been looking for all these years.

    Mike  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/peace.gif
     
  8. mikelm

    mikelm

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    If I recall correctly, that Atlas grinder is the one used and recommended by the late, not-so-lamented Frugal Gourmet., whose very successful cooking shows vanished from PBS without so much as a puff of smoke  after he was outed as a homosexual in (about?) the late 1980's.

    He and Julia were the ones who got me interested in cooking after about 25 years of futile efforts by my wife. But, she had to buy me a Cuisinart of finally make the deal.

    Mike  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/tongue.gif
     
  9. scubadoo97

    scubadoo97

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    While the Unicorn Magnum is not much to look at, it's an excellent grinder. Lots of pepper with a minimum turn
     
  10. brook

    brook

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    To add to the praise for the Magnum pepper mill ... I've had one for close to 20 years without ever having a problem and despite using it constantly. It grinds pepper quickly and efficiently without causing my hand to cramp.  In fact, I like it so much, I have even given it as presents! 
     
  11. feldspar

    feldspar

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    Unicorn.
     
  12. duckfat

    duckfat

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    Add another vote for the Unicorn Magnum. If it didn't look like Darth Vader setting on the table it would be perfect.

    Dave
     
  13. steel thumb

    steel thumb

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    I like the Magnum and agree it grinds large quantities for a hand grinder, partially because it cannot be adjusted for a very fine grind.

    If you have one, you've probably noticed the grind becomes courser and is unadjustable until maintenance is performed.  The gap between the internal burr and the fixed, external ring burr is adjusted, like on many grinders, by a screw which pushes the internal grinding burr closer to the external ring for a finer grind.  However, the Magnum has a spring between the set screw and the adjustable burr, so peppercorns can wedge between the burrs and push the adjustable burr out for a courser grind, or allow the adjustable inner burr to get pushed to one side so that it is no longer concentric with the outer ring.  The non-concentric burrs produce a mix of fine and rough-ground pepper.  You can clean the mill by removing 2 phillips screws and removing peppercorns from between the burrs, or turning the mill upside-down and grinding a few times to remove peppercorns from between the burrs and allowing the burrs to re-mate concentrically.  The ultimate fix is to move the adjustment screw until the spring is fully depressed and the grind is as fine as possible, which is a medium pepper grind.
     
  14. dagger

    dagger

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    I had electric but the salt ate away the metal so bought a few ceramic ones from Ikea. Have 2 for white and mixed peppet corns and one for course sea salt. They are the ones you need to twist but you can set the grind with just a turn of the wheel. I have a Kitchen Aid coffee grinder bought just for spices, it has stainless steel cup with a spinning bar not the grinder wheels, bar type much easer to clean.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014