Homemade Sausage Stuffer

sausage and stuffer

Making sausage is easy and delicious.  Making it yourself comes with all the advantages of any homemade food.  You know what’s going in to it (what do you think goes into industrial sausage?) and you can adjust the flavors to your taste.  It’s also relatively inexpensive even with high quality ingredients.  All you need to make sausage is meat, fat, spices and a knife.  That’s all anyone needed for centuries.  Everything else makes it more convenient but isn’t necessary.

A meat grinder will definitely make your life easier.  I use an attachment that goes on the front of our Kitchenaid mixer.  You can also get an inexpensive hand cranked one that does the job just fine.

Don’t let stuffing the sausage intimidate you.  You don’t have to stuff sausage into a casing.  Make it into patties or fry it up loose.  I’ve been packing it into snack baggies and freezing them.  Stuffing the sausage can be as simple as hand stuffing a casing or try a using a funnel.  Totally doable for small batches.  It can get tedious though.  If you are making any quantities of sausage you will probably be thinking there has got to be a better way!

The Kitchenaid meat grinder attachment can also serve as a stuffer.  After using it a couple times I was still wishing for a better way.  Its placement up high off the end of the mixer is awkward and the feeder tube needs to be constantly filled while you are simultaneously trying to guide the sausage coming out the other end.  I decided to explore the alternatives.

Turns out sausage stuffers are pretty expensive gear.  A home sized one will set you back anywhere from $150 – $300.  Time to make my own.

I found a $10 stainless steel cylindrical utensil holder at Bed Bath and Beyond that was perfect for the body of the stuffer.  All I had to do was cut a hole in the bottom with a hole saw.  I made the plunger and bottom parts from white plastic cutting boards.  Some scrap wood and a few nuts and bolts rounded out the project.  You can see all the gory details at Instructibles.  The whole thing cost about $30.

Even if you don’t have all the gear (yet) you shouldn’t let that stop you from making a batch of sausage.  You’ll be amazed at how easy and delicious it is.

Hot Italian Sausage

from Charcuterie | Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn

4 1/2 pounds/2 kilograms boneless pork shoulder butt, diced 1″ cubes
8 ounces/225 grams pork back fat, diced ( if you can’t find pork fat don’t sweat it just pick out a fatty looking pork shoulder or butt)
1 1/2 ounces/40 grams kosher salt (3 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons/32 grams granulated sugar
2 tablespoons/16 grams fennel seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon/8 grams coriander seeds, toasted
3 tablespoons/24 grams Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon/1 gram cayenne pepper
4 tablespocns/ 24 grams fresh oregano leaves
4 tablespoons/24 grams fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons/12 grams hot red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons/6 grams coarsely ground black pepper
3/4 cup/185 milliliters ice water
1/4 cup/6o milliliters red wine vinegar, chilled

1. Combine all the ingredients except the water and vinegar and toss to distribute the seasonings. Chill until ready to grind.

2. Grind the mixture through the small die of a meat grinder into a bowl set in ice.

3. Add the water and vinegar to the meat mixture and mix briefly with the paddle attachment of a Kitchenaid until the liquids are incorporated and the mixture has just developed a uniform, sticky appearance, about 1 minute on medium speed.  You don’t want to over do it.

4. Saute a small portion of the sausage, taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

5. Stuff the sausage into the hog casings and twist into 6—inch/ 15—centimeter links.  Refrigerate or freeze until ready to cook.

6. Gently sauté or roast the sausage to an internal temperature of 150 degrees F./ 65 degrees C.

Yield: About 5 pounds/2.25 kilograms sausage;
about twenty 6-inch/15-centimeter links
200g in a snack bag is a good portion size.

Stuffing Sausage

You can use any stuffer you like from a funnel to a special homemade machine.  The process is all the same.  Here’s how I do it.

Sausage Casing

Rinse the casings thoroughly and let them soak in a bowl of water.

Fill sausage stuffer

Fill the stuffer

Homemade sausage stuffer

Close it up

Homemade sausage stuffer on counter

Secure it to the counter.

threading casing on stuffer

Thread the casing onto the stuffer.  A little grease or spray oil helps here.

Making homemade sausage

Making sausage at home

Slowly turn the crank with one hand and guide the sausage with the other.

Homemade sausage

Once the casing is full tie off the end.  Don’t pack it too tight.

Homemade sausage links

Twist into links.  Change twisting directions every other link.

Enjoy your sausage.  Every culture makes it so try all sorts of varieties!

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17 Comments

  1. Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    AWESOME! I was going to ask for one of these for my birthday (Seriously) and now I may not have to!

    • Posted March 21, 2012 at 4:35 am | Permalink

      Send us pics if you make one.  We want to see!

  2. Posted March 21, 2012 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    I’ve often wondered what all spices were that went into sausage.  Your recipe sounds delicious.  Great job on making your own device.

    • Posted March 27, 2012 at 6:31 am | Permalink

      Got to give credit to Michael Rhulman and Brian Polzyn.  Their book, Charcuterie, is a wealth of information.

  3. Tracey
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Not ready to try this one, but you make it look
    simple!

  4. Big_Onion
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    I’ve been making sausage for years, and a gripe I’ve had is that our stuffer (which is the grinder with an attachment) ends up turning the filling to paste — I’ll get one good link and then it’s all mush. Even if I freeze everything.  I’ve been saving up for a stainless steel one (sort of like you built) but this will definitely save me $100! Awesome!

    If you want more sausage recipes, check out Len Poli’s site (just google Len Poli sausage). TONS of recipes for fresh and cured sausage, if you’re into that sort of thing.

    • Posted March 27, 2012 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      Hey Big_Onion good to hear from you.
      Post pics when you get your stuffer built.  
      I’ll check out Len Poli’s site.  I’ve been wanting to make cured sausage but have only made one stab at it that produced moldy pepperoni.  Andouille sausage is next on my list.  Heard of it? :)

      • Big_Onion
        Posted March 27, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink

        Down here in Louisiana it’s pretty much the same as “rice”. Hah. I’ve never made any myself (never had a smoker) but it is one of my favorites. Hank Shaw recently posted a recipe for andouille, but I think some of the folks down here like to throw in some already cooked meats (diced smoke pork, maybe?) in there before stuffing.

        I’ve cured quite a bit of pork belly in my time, though. Pancetta is something I always keep in the fridge, and I was doing an in-house cured pancetta for a New Orleans restaurant for most of last year. (Nothing renders like Mangalitsa pork belly, for the record.)  Len’s got a bunch of great recipes for cured meats, but also look for Justin Molinari’s blog (curedmeats.blogspot.com, I believe).  Excellent, simple recipes.

        • Posted March 28, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

          Yum!!
          Thanks for all the resources.
          I have dreams of pancetta in my fridge.  Guess I’d better get off my butt and do it.

          • Big_Onion
            Posted March 28, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

            Just a note, some of the best pancetta I ever made was from cheap belly. I had found a small meat market and also an Asian market that both sold sort of generic commercial bred hog belly for $2.25/lb, whereas the Mangalitsa cost me around $5.50/lb (I think, maybe more). 
            Good luck! Post about it if you give it a go!

  5. Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Just fascinating! I’ve never contemplated making my own sausage, but maybe I’ll try the loose/patty type because it really does look good.

    • Posted March 27, 2012 at 6:22 am | Permalink

      You should try it.  Sausage is one of those things that gives you a lot of bang for your  buck even when you factor in your time.  Best of all it’s really easy.

  6. Posted March 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    This is an excellent tutorial, and what delicious sounding sausages! The spices sound fantastic. I love the frugal equipment you have used as well. 

    • Posted March 27, 2012 at 6:20 am | Permalink

      Thanks.  We love this sausage recipe.  It goes in our spaghetti sauce almost weekly!

  7. loulou
    Posted December 10, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    have you tried rice and meat stuffing? i was wondering if it breaks the grains?

    • Posted December 17, 2012 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      It shouldn’t break them any more than a conventional stuffer.

  8. Posted May 23, 2014 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    I think Mr. Ruhlman is taking it way too far with his hot Italian sausage recipe…more like a chef who can’t keep from over-complicating things than a sausage-maker. All that is really needed is salt, hot pepper and whatever you want to use to impart the “licorice” flavor to the sausage…fennel or (my preference) anise seed. I grind the anise seed rather than putting it in whole: Better flavor, better texture (no seeds to get stuck in your teeth.) I’m not saying this recipe won’t taste good…but, there are so many ingredients in his recipe that ALL you can taste are the spices. You could leave out the meat substitute wet newspaper and probably not taste the difference. Plus, adding so much paprika makes this mixed up combo of chorizo & Italian. Just FYI, I once asked the owner of a large sausage company in the NorthEast: “Please tell me, your sausage is so good! What’s the secret spice?” His answer was, “Salt”. Prodding him further, he went into this detail: “Good fresh meat, right proportion of lean to fat, right proportion salt & fennel…and hot pepper for hot sausage. ” Period.

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