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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