Pepper grinder ?

Lynn Dollar

TVWBB Wizard
A lot of rub recipes call for freshly ground pepper. What is a good grinder other than those made to set on the table ?
 

Joan

TVWBB All-Star
Lynn, here are a few things you can do.

'When you find yourself staring at exotic pink, green or black peppercorns blankly, realizing you don't have a means to create ground pepper, don't despair. Those hand-cranked or electric pepper grinders are useful, no doubt, but cooks have been getting along without them for centuries. Whether you use a little muscle, or harness electricity for the task, your kitchen is stocked with at least one tool capable of grinding peppercorns.'


Pounding the Pan
A heavy-bottomed saucepan or frying pan gives you plenty of crushing power as well as surface area for "grinding" many peppercorns at once. One method involves putting the peppercorns on a cutting board, covering them with a pan, and simply giving the spices a few hearty whacks with the pan. If keeping the round peppercorns from rolling away during the crushing process is a concern, set them in a pan that's larger than your crushing pan. Place the crushing pan over the peppercorns and bear your weight down, rocking the pan from side to side.

Whack-a-Whole
A basic meat-tenderizing mallet can turn whole spices, including peppercorns, into either a fine or coarse powder. After placing the amount of whole peppers you need into a heavy-duty plastic bag, seal it firmly and begin pounding the bag with your mallet. The more times you hit the spices, the finer the texture the powdered pepper will become. If your aim leaves something to be desired, maneuver a rolling pin back and forth over the bag until you've achieved the desired texture.

The Mortar, the Merrier
A mortar and pestle may seem out of place in the modern kitchen. For a small task like crushing handfuls of peppercorns, however, the tiny bowl and matching crushing tool make quick work of the task. A marble or granite mortar and pestle is especially useful for controlling the texture of the crushed pepper. Use only a few twisting, pounding motions for a rough texture. If you need an super-fine powder, you may find that your arms wear out more quickly with this method than with the rolling pin or mallet option.

Apply an Appliance
In a pinch, your small appliances can substitute for a peppercorn grinder. A blender or a coffee bean mill will serve to transform the whole spices into powder. The electric power they provide is especially helpful if you need to achieve a fine grind, or if you are crushing other spices at the same time, such as anise seeds or whole cloves. It's important to clean the blades of the blender or coffee mill as thoroughly as possible after using them to grind pepper. Otherwise, your coffee or strawberry smoothies may end up tasting of unwelcome spices.
 

Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB Hall of Fame
I have an old “Zassenhaus” that I got from Penney’s years ago, I felt it was kind of small so, I got a larger one from Chef’s catalog, it lasted 17 years but when it died, it was toast!
I’m back using the “Z” until I find another good (larger capacity) grinder. It’s a hard choice, I loved the Peugeot that was my brothers but, it stayed in Chicago after he passed to the “Bigger, nicer kitchen and able to discuss music with Mozart and Gilbert and Sullivan!
I will begin the search pretty soon, I hate needing to fill this one twice a week!
BTW, Alton Brown does the same drill hack.
Fresh IS far superior to coarse grind from pretty much anyone. The stuff from penzeys (coarse) isn’t bad but, fresh is better.
 

Lynn Dollar

TVWBB Wizard
Lynn, I've often thought about doing something LIKE THIS with my grinder to increase output (especially when you need a lot of pepper for a rub or something....) Tim Taylor would approve! :)

R

:D

Will have to see if my pepper mill will allow that. but it looks like a winner .
 

Lynn Dollar

TVWBB Wizard
Lynn, here are a few things you can do.
.

Apply an Appliance
In a pinch, your small appliances can substitute for a peppercorn grinder. A blender or a coffee bean mill will serve to transform the whole spices into powder. The electric power they provide is especially helpful if you need to achieve a fine grind, or if you are crushing other spices at the same time, such as anise seeds or whole cloves. It's important to clean the blades of the blender or coffee mill as thoroughly as possible after using them to grind pepper. Otherwise, your coffee or strawberry smoothies may end up tasting of unwelcome spices.

Joan, we have a coffee bean grinder, but I haven't thought about using it on pepper corns. Coffee beans are larger and I'm not sure the grind would be fine enough. But maybe I should sacrifice some pepper corns and find out .
 

Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB Hall of Fame
Joan, we have a coffee bean grinder, but I haven't thought about using it on pepper corns. Coffee beans are larger and I'm not sure the grind would be fine enough. But maybe I should sacrifice some pepper corns and find out .
If you try the coffee grinder, after you do the pepper and before you make the next batch of coffee grind a half cup of rice to pull the pepper oils off. Otherwise the coffee tastes...weird!
 

Lynn Dollar

TVWBB Wizard
If you try the coffee grinder, after you do the pepper and before you make the next batch of coffee grind a half cup of rice to pull the pepper oils off. Otherwise the coffee tastes...weird!

I'm sure it would. But we don't use the coffee grinder any more, we just buy ground. We get a good price on Dunkin Donuts ground coffee at Sams.
 

Rich G

TVWBB Gold Member
I suppose I could have chimed in with what I do have as a pepper grinder...... I use a 9" Chrome Atlas Pepper Mill. They seem to run $70, though I know I didn't pay that (15 years ago.) I'm certain it will outlast me (and I'm pretty sure attaching a drill to it would be easy.) :)

R
 

JKalchik

TVWBB All-Star
Joan, we have a coffee bean grinder, but I haven't thought about using it on pepper corns. Coffee beans are larger and I'm not sure the grind would be fine enough. But maybe I should sacrifice some pepper corns and find out .

Blade or burr grinder? Blade, you'll have a difficult time getting a consistent size. Burr, coffee bean grinders are the same general mechanism but much larger (peppercorns may fall through.) In either case, you're going to want to clean it VERY well after. I use dry rice in my blade grinder that's used for cayenne pepper primarily.
 

Todd NC

TVWBB Super Fan
A lot of rub recipes call for freshly ground pepper. What is a good grinder other than those made to set on the table ?

I use a blade-type coffee grinder like others have mentioned. Somehow we ended up with 2 so I don't worry about cleaning it, plus we don't grind coffee beans anymore. I grind a large batch of peppercorns, a small handful at a time, and store them in a small mason jar. Yes, after a while it's not truly freshly ground, but it still tastes tons better than store bought. You don't get a perfectly even grind, but I like that - especially when putting pepper on my eggs.
 

MikeCantell

TVWBB Super Fan
Went thru several hand grinders that didn't last long, bought a oxo 2 years or more now and has been great, the coffee grinder works well thanks for the rice tip
 

Brad Olson

TVWBB Gold Member
I have a small Braun 110V coffee grinder (the blade type) that I use for pepper when I need more than a tablespoon or so. Otherwise, I have a battery-powered (4 AA) model for smaller quantities and table use.
 

J Hasselberger

TVWBB Pro
Went thru several hand grinders that didn't last long, bought a oxo 2 years or more now and has been great, the coffee grinder works well thanks for the rice tip

The OXO is about the best hand-operated grinder I've used. You can select the grind size, it's comfortable in your hand, it turns easily and it has a good output-per-crank. You can do a tablespoon in couple of minutes and get a nice consistent grind. -- Jeff
 

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