Pepper Drill

Although I suspect that a controlled sonic pulse system is the key to perfect pepper grinding, almost every pepper mill currently on the planet is based upon a design introduced in 1874 by Jean-Pierre and Jean-Fredrique Peugeot, who, at the time, were best known for manufacturing hand saws, of all things. Their design featured a wooden tube that fed the pepper into a rotary mill, composed of a grooved male head and a grooved female ring. Although steel has long been the norm, ceramic mechanisms, which are quieter, and, I think, more precise, are now coming onto the scene.

In another new development, some mills are replacing the classic drive shaft with a mill housing that allows the entire container to be turned.Regardless of the model, there are a few things to keep in mind when mill shopping. One, it has to be easy to load. If the refill slot isn’t much bigger than a peppercorn, it’s useless. You want a high capacity, because you don’t want to be refilling it every week. The grind has to be consistent. If, upon testing, you notice that there are big old chunkies mixed in with, you know, pepper powder, you need to keep looking.Another thing you might want to look for are indexed grind settings for everything from very, very fine to very, very coarse. Oh, and about one-handed electric mills: You know, this is a good concept, but I have never seen it executed properly. Of course, I’ve been working on a little something of my own . . .

For the Pepper Drill you will need:

Pepper grinder with a removable top
Whole peppercorns
35 mm film canister
Box cutter or utility knife
Multi-speed cordless drill


1. Remove the top from the grinder, fill with peppercorns. Measure the axel of the pepper grinder.

2. Remove the lid from the film canister — set aside. Use the utility knife to cut off the bottom third of the film canister.

3. Remove a small round from the top of the film canister and replace the lid on the canister. Place the film canister over the pepper mill axel. Insert the grind axel into the drill as you would a drill bit. Make sure the grinder is secure before turning the power to high and enjoy the power that is the Pepper Drill.


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