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Old 03-20-2006, 07:17 PM   #1
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Unicorn Magnum Peppermill

Hey folks, got a question for ya...

So here's the story...all I used to use was pre-ground pepper, then decided I would pick up one of those McCormick disposable pepper grinders at the supermarket and it changed my life. Actually the freshly ground pepper changed my life. I realized then and there that I needed to buy a peppermill.

I looked at some at Bed, Bath & Beyond but I wasn't sure if I was ready to spend $30 on a peppermill. I finally decided that with a lifetime guarantee it's probably worth it, since there really isn't much you could do to a pepper grinder to void a guarantee, unless you tried to grind stones or something. I then did some online investigating to see if I could get my mill of choice online for cheaper. Well it turns out that the unicorn magnum peppermill is by far better. I really wanted a wood one, but if this one is that much better maybe I can sacrifice the wood and the extra 10 bucks (retails for 44-ish, amazon has it for 41-ish).

Does anyone have any experience with this? As a college student I don't want to buy a cheaper mill that will break down quick. IMO the better investment would be a more expensive mill that works great and will last me.

brad

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Old 03-20-2006, 07:38 PM   #2
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fresh ground pepper will definitely change your life.

did the same thing to me mate. make sure you get one where you can adjust how coarse the pepper comes out. those mccormick disposable pepper mills are crap b/c it grinds the pepper wayyyyyyy too fine. you need big chunks of cracked pepper for steaks and pasta dishes.
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Old 03-20-2006, 07:39 PM   #3
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I don't remember how much I paid for my mill, but I've had it for many, many years now. Thirty dollars is little to pay for a decent mill, with many running in the eighty dollar range.

I'm looking at upgrading mine to one that has various 'settings' to easily switch from a fine to a coarse grind.

That said, as you've experienced, any grinder is better than none.
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Old 03-20-2006, 09:07 PM   #4
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It makes sense to buy quality which will last and save money in the long run, unless you are supplying a rental property or a boat or picnic basket. (THen buy disposable )
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Old 03-20-2006, 09:23 PM   #5
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After you decide on a pepper mill, make sure you buy good quality peppercorns, like from Penzeys, and not ones from the supermarket.

Penzey's peppercorns are AMAZING. And not very expensive.
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Old 03-20-2006, 09:32 PM   #6
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Brad, the Unicorn Magnum Plus is on my wishlist. I'm sure you already know that Cook's Illustrated rated this peppermill as tops. Also, there was a discussion on a BBQ forum where I contribute, and those who owned it, love it. They recommend the "Plus" model.

Ebay has at least one new one for sale right now for $45.

Lee
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Old 03-21-2006, 02:10 AM   #7
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Thumbs up

I, also, bought the McCormick Peppercorn Grinder early last summer, but was quite disappointed when I learned that it's not refillable! Love the TV commercial where the little boy is speaking French!

Which also prompted me to get a pepper mill as well. I bought the Maxwell &
Williams 12" Pepper Mill from Chefs Catalog. It was a discontinued model, so I saved some money there.

And yes, there IS nothing like freshly ground pepper in your food, as I've also found out, even though I still keep both types on hand. It will NEVER spoil.


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Old 03-21-2006, 08:07 AM   #8
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I have never used a Magnum, but have heard only great things about them. I would bet they are well worth the money.

I second what Jenny said about buying quality peppercorns. That makes ALL the difference. Penzys is a great place to get them. My favorite kind is their BOLD peppercorns. They have a bit more bite which I really like.
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Old 03-21-2006, 09:56 AM   #9
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I bought my peppermill from Penzey's and still get all my peppercorns there. Tellicherry are my favorites.
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Old 03-22-2006, 12:47 AM   #10
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After reading your guys' suggestions, I was really surprised to see the different types of peppercorns. Would all types (e.g. tellicherry) be the same wherever you bought them? Or would different places have different quality of specific types?

What I'm wondering about the magnums, though, is if they are incredibly better than other top of the line mills, or if they're just better. I would way rather have a wood one, but all the reviews I've read, people talk about how they barely get a dusting with their other mills, but with this one, one turn will give you enough. I personally thought half the greatness of freshly ground pepper was actually grinding it, but at the same time I don't want to grind for 10 minutes to get a teaspoon of pepper. Ya know what I'm sayin?

It seems like one other great thing about the magnum is that you never have to worry about the consistency of the grind changing. Does the consistency change often with a typical mill?

I'm just thinking if it's not a mind-blowing difference I'll just get a wood one.

brad
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Old 03-22-2006, 07:48 AM   #11
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As for the peppercorns, yes there is a huge difference in quality to be found, just as with any spice. peppercorns contain oils that give it its flavor. The older the peppercorn, the less potent the oils are. Here is the Penzys page on peppercorns which will give you some info.

As for the grinder, there are quality grinders and cheaper grinders. For the most part, you get what you pay for with peppermills from my experience. I have never tried the Magnums, but have heard excellent things about them. There is another great name in pepper mills that makes wood ones, but the name escapes me right now.

A very popular, easy to find, and quality pepper mill maker is William Bound. Bound makes wooden ones as well as plastic and metal.

Yes consistancy can change with the lesser mills.
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Old 03-22-2006, 11:04 AM   #12
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BigDog I moved your Salt Grinder question to it's own thread so we can keep this thread about pepper mills.

You can find your post here.
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Old 03-22-2006, 11:13 AM   #13
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I too was hooked with a pepper grider after purchasing the McCormick one. I searched and searched for the perfect grinder for me. I wanted one that felt good in my hands and had different grind levels. The appearance was very important to me also. So needless to say after scouring too many stores to count (high end and lower end) I finally found one that fit me perfectly and I found it at Target. I think I paid between $12 and $14 dollors. I've had it now for over a year and my kids still laugh at me when they see me grinding my pepper as I was like a kid at Christmas for those first few weeks with it. Personally for something so important in my cooking.....like cooking utensils/pans...I want to be able to feel it in my hands and see if it feels comfortable before I'd buy it.
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Old 03-22-2006, 11:17 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB
There is another great name in pepper mills that makes wood ones, but the name escapes me right now.
OK I finally remembered the name. It is Peugeot.
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Old 03-22-2006, 11:25 AM   #15
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IMO, the peppercorns you use are eminently more important than what you grind them with.

I sometimes grind mine with a mortar and pestle.
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Old 03-22-2006, 11:27 AM   #16
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I'll def. be trying different peppercorns to see the difference and to choice what one works best for use.
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Old 03-22-2006, 11:30 AM   #17
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I agree with you to a point Jenny, but not completely. A bad pepper mill can be bad for many reasons. It can clog. It can grind too fine or too course without a good way to adjust it. It can be too small to hold enough corns so you are constantly filling it. it can be cheaply made so that the grinding mechanism breaks.

Good quality pepper mills will all preform well and you will not have any of the above problems so as long as you are using a quality mill then yes the pepper corns are way more important.
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Old 03-22-2006, 06:31 PM   #18
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I got my grinder from Ikea for probably $8.00 Cdn. It's wood , good size, and it has an adjustable grinder thingy ( you can chage the size of grind) fine to coarse actually you can adjust it from fully closed to almost letting full corns fall through, so there is a great range.
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Old 03-22-2006, 06:54 PM   #19
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Pepper Grinders

I have read all the replies on pepper grinders. No one mentioned the "Peppermate" by East Hampton Industries. I have had mine for over 5 years and have not had a problem with it and it still does a good job. You can adjust the grind on it and it also has a small collection bin on the bottom that can collect the ground pepper. Or you can grind the pepper and not use the small bin. I love this thing. It is dish washer safe. I went on Google and found a well of information on this product. As far as I am concerned it is a little pricy but well worth the initial investment. It sure does beat any other grinder I have tried, and believe me I think I have tried them all.
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Old 03-23-2006, 11:44 AM   #20
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That's the "Ina Garten Pepper Mill," no?

I like the collection idea, since some recipes requires a lot of pepper in measured quantities.
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