Sausage is a fantastic creation. It lets cooks and butchers use up the very last bits of meat and trimmings, and when well-seasoned, can be a delicious addition to any meal. Americans tend to be most familiar with pork sausage, but chicken, turkey, and venison sausages have all become more common. Sausages have something of a reputation of being unpleasant, most due to how they’re made. Many cooks have started making their own sausages, so that they can blend spices and meats as they choose.
Technically, you don’t need a sausage stuffer to make sausage at home; you can grind and season the meat as you choose, and then cook it in patties or add to pasta like you would with ground beef. But to make sausage links, you need to insert the meat into a casing, and that’s where a sausage stuffer comes in.
Before you choose a sausage stuffer
Here are some things to consider:
1. How Much Sausage Will You Make At A Time?
Sausage stuffers are rated by how many pounds of ground meat they can process at one time.
- If you’re just looking to process a few pounds and then make dinner, a small manual stuffer might be perfect.
- If you live on a farm and are processing tens of pounds at once, you will probably want a larger machine.
2. Automated or Manual?
There are automated sausage stuffers on the market, but they are primarily marketed to commercial operations, like farm-to-table businesses or restaurants, as well as bulk food producers. For the home market, most sausage stuffers are going to operate manually.
3. How Much Kitchenware Do You Already Own?
If you already own the most popular brand of stand mixer, Kitchenaid, there is a sausage stuffer attachment which isn’t perfect, but will probably get the job done for the casual sausage making cook.
Best Sausage Stuffers
This classic cast iron meat grinder and sausage stuffer is very similar to what I remember seeing in my grandma’s kitchen. I have to admit, I love the name. At different times, we would definitely be the only people on our block who, for example, had a food mill, and it would get passed around as everyone made apple sauce, and then eventually made its way home. So Fante’s Cousin Sandro’s Meat Grinder – $45.94 gets fantastic nostalgia points.
It works because it’s a classic. You can process as much meat as you need to, and there are three different sizes of sausage stuffer, again to give you options as to what casing and type you’re creating. All parts are hand wash. The downside of this classic is that you have to clamp it to your counter and turn the crank, and that can get tiring, fast.
Vivo offers both single and double gear options in their vertical sausage stuffer – $119.98. The cylinder tilts back, allowing you to easily load your sausage into the canister, and then raises upright for convenient stuffing. This model also comes with several different nozzle sizes, which helps to make different size sausages (such as breakfast links, pepperoni, and full size sausages).
Some great benefits to this stuffer: the gears are all metal (some inferior stuffers use plastic, which wears down quickly), and the crank works beautifully. My friends who make significant quantities of their own sausage love this unit.
If you already have a KitchenAid stand mixer (Check on Amazon) in your kitchen, you may already know that the little silver logo on the front of the mixer comes off, and different attachments can be used to make your mixer even more multipurpose. KitchenAid offers a fantastic meat grinder that has a small sausage stuffer attachment($57.08). The grinder also works on fruit, cheese, and vegetables.
You can only ground about a pound of meat at a time with the food tray that comes with the meat grinder, so this is best for processing small lots of sausage. The sausage stuffer kit (included in the link above) offers two different sizes of stuffing tubes.
One benefit of the KitchenAId unit is that it grinds your meat for you. Some sausage cooks do start with store-bought ground meat, but many sausage makers are those who are buying a whole cow or pig, or who have chicken to use up. If you need to turn meat into ground meat for sausage, and you’re going to want to do more than a pound a time, an electric meat grinder may be your best bet. This Gourmia model (Out of stock) is a fantastic alternative for anyone who needs to grind up a lot of meat, whether they’re storing it that way, or turning it into sausage.
Another benefit of this grinder/sausage stuffer combo over some other options is that there’s no need to hand crank or press levers. For those people with more limited mobility, or who have arthritis or other chronic pain issues in their hands and shoulders, this could be the difference between making sausage and not.
Friends have used this to process over a hundred pounds of meat over a few days, and made amazing venison sausages that I still remember to this day!
Which Sausage Stuffer Wins The Day?
If I’m just going to do a bit of sausage, I prefer just using the meat grinder and stuffer attachment for the KitchenAid. This keeps me from having yet another big, single purpose tool in my kitchen, which isn’t all that big.
If I had a bigger kitchen, or I had more meat to process, I’d skip the manual tools and go straight for the electric grinder and stuffer model. I’m all about efficiency, and the convenience of having it all work in one go is just huge to me.