When was the last time you’ve made your own sausage? I don’t know about you, but as far as sausages go, I wouldn’t trade homemade for anything else. I just love homemade sausage and the main reason for it is that I know what goes into it. The same can’t be said of commercial sausages. Do you know what’s in the sausage you’ve had for breakfast? Knowing what my sausage is made of is my main motivation for making it myself. I know the amount of calories it has, what spices are there, if the meat is fresh, and how it would taste like. If you did not make it yourself, there is no way that you’d know.
Now if you’re convinced that the best sausage is homemade before you start making your own, you have to have the best sausage stuffer. This machine will save you a lot of frustration because it helps you bag all that delicious mixture into a handy natural casing. Without a decent stuffer, making sausage is going to be like fighting against the Spartans.
How to Choose the Best Sausage Stuffer
The way the stuffer works is simple: you place the seasoned meat into a canister, where it is pushed into a smaller cylinder by a piston. The cylinder is where you place the natural casing which will house your sausage.
When choosing a sausage stuffer, you’d want to make sure that it has features that will make the business of stuffing smooth and enjoyable. This is the only way wherein sausage making can be enjoyable instead of a chore.
- Stainless steel is non-negotiable : Making sausages is a messy business. Before you know it, you’ll have meat and seasoning scattered all over the stuffer. Do you know what it will cause to appear? Rust. And that’s why you’d want to get a stainless stuffer because you don’t want to have rust getting into your food. Stainless is also less likely to stick and you can get it cleaned in record time.
- Two speeds will be convenient: If you are just starting out, it’s good to use with low speed when stuffing your casing. But as your skills increase, having a second speed will hasten the stuffing process.
- Air-release valve is also non-negotiable: The air-release valve will allow the air trapped in the sausage to escape through the top. Without this feature, you’ll be frustrated with casings breaking apart in the tube.
You can work with stuffers that don’t have this features and with some skills, it can be done. But believe me, the struggle is real. Once you’ve made the switch, you’d realize that you can actually spend most of your time making delicious sausages instead of fighting against the machine.
- Use cold meat: Spread the meat on a cookie sheet, cover it with plastic and let it stay in the freezer for a few hours. What you’re looking for is a meat that is a bit hard to touch without being frozen. Doing this will preserve the cellular structure of the meat, resulting in juicy and flavorful sausages. The grinder also works better when the meat is cold.
- Warm the meat when using the stuffer: Meat that is warmer than room temperature moves smoother down the tube. If your mixture is too thick, you can thin it out by adding a little bit of water. This will make stuffing down the casing smoother with little chances of blowing out.
- Don’t be stingy with the casing: The casing is what makes a sausage a sausage. Without the casing, all you’ve got is a mixture of ground meat and spices. This means that if you need to spend extra on high-quality and all-natural casing, do so. They are more durable compared to artificial ones and more flavorful too.
- Tilting canister is easy to refill: Avoid non-tilting canister stuffer designs. This will make reloading a pain and when you’re working with huge quantities, you’d want to remove all possibilities of pain.
Five Best Sausage Stuffer to Choose From
These top five sausage stuffers are selected based on my own experience and that of other reviewers that I trust. I have factored in features that are really useful and of course the price of each one.
If you’re looking for a user-friendly stuffer that would make filling the natural casing actually fun, the LEM Stainless Steel Vertical Sausage Stuffer is what you’re looking for. It’s so easy to use, you will run out of meat in record time. Cleaning this machine is also a breeze, its removable parts can actually be soaked and scrubbed without struggling with the little pieces of meat tucked in the piston.
It’s stuffing tube comes in a variety of sizes, you can actually design your sausages from tiny breakfast bites to bigger and lengthy Polish sausages.
- Equipped with an air-release valve for convenient filling.
- All moving gears are made of metal which will obviously last longer than plastic
- It has a variety of stuffing tubes making it easy to make designer sausages
- It runs decently fast and its operation is smooth and consistent
- Finding the right level is a bit difficult. A little trial and error with the tension is necessary
If I’m looking for a stuffer I can carry around and expect to be usable when I put it down, I would pick the New VIVO Sausage Stuffer Stainless Steel Meat Filler. This machine is so durable and portable, you can just clamp it down to your counter top and start filling casings. You can remove its cylinder for easy cleaning along with the metal gear that is made of stainless steel. While the piston is made of plastic, it comes with an air-release valve which makes stuffing fun to do.
Veteran sausage makers know that smoked garlic and cheese sausages generally make cleaning the stuffer difficult, but not so with this one. It’s steel components are easy to take apart and clean separately.
- You can use it both for small and large batches
- Filling is quick making you save time
- The piston is tightly fitted into the canister, you can’t find meat coming around it.
- Leaves a lot of meat in tube
- Reloading is a bit time consuming
If the plan is to make large batches of sausages, the Hakka Sausage Stuffer 2 Speed Stainless Steel Vertical Sausage Maker is the machine for the task. This traditional dual speed stuffer operates smoothly making stuffing a breeze. The components are made from SGS food standard metal and it’s easy to clean. The air-release valve discharges air at the top instead of the bottom of the casing ensuring that there is no excess air that enters your sausages.
The most amazing thing about this machine is that it feels so stable and sturdy, you don’t have to make any adjustment before using it.
- The stuffer is stable and sturdy with securely welded joints
- Air-release valve makes operation faster because it prevents blowouts
- Easily to load meat with the tilting tub
- It’s a bit generously greased from the company, you have to clean the machine oil before you can use it
If you're looking for another heavy duty stuffing machine that can stand large batches of meat, the Hakka Sausage Machine 2 Speed Stainless Steel Horizontal Sausage Stuffer is a contender.
Unique from all the reviewed machines, this has a horizontal configuration making it an eye catcher. It features two speeds making stuffing large amounts of meat a breeze. You have to be careful with the handle though since it doesn't have a reverse lock, it can spin backward if you let it go in the middle of stuffing.
- The dual speed gears allow for faster and versatile operation
- The metal gear the came with the machine is durable and sturdy
- Easy to clean with all the stainless steel component
- There is no reverse lock, the handle can spin backwards
- The cavity can store a bit of meat
If you’re working solo, the New MTN Gearsmith Commercial Grade Deluxe Carbon Steel Sausage Stuffer is the machine for you. This stuffer which is designed for commercial use is so easy to operate you will have no problem stuffing huge quantities of meat on your own.
It’s easy to fill and clean, and the pressure-release valve makes it impossible to blow up a casing, you don’t have to repeat yourself.
Since this is designed for commercial use, you can expect it to serve you well for the years to come. The only caveat to this stuffer is the price.
- The piston is made of food grade plastic and it’s too easy to clean
- The stainless canister is also easy to wipe clean
- The overall compact design takes up less space on the counter
- There is little meat left in the cavity
- Reassembly is bit difficult due to the pegs for the cylinder
Although all of the sausage stuffers performed as expected, the LEM Stainless Steel Vertical Sausage Stuffer really stood out for me. The simple design that made it easy to clean is a real killer to boot. The tilting canister makes refilling too easy even when working with huge quantities of meat. Although it’s a bit expensive compared to the New VIVO Sausage Stuffer Stainless Steel Meat Filler which is unbeatable price wise, I really don't mind paying the extra buck for a well-designed machine.
Do you have any of these sausage stuffers at home? Do you mind sharing your experience with any of these? Share your thoughts about this review by leaving a comment in the section below.