If you love making delicious sausages at home, you’ve likely wondered which kitchen appliance for sausage making you should own—a sausage stuffer or a meat grinder. The truth is, both devices are excellent additions to your kitchen, especially if you love making your own flavorful sausage. Sausage made at home is always better for you because you can include only the ingredients you like and nothing unhealthy.
If you’re wondering if you need a dedicated sausage stuffer to make your sausage, the answer is yes, you do. Remember that grinders will only grind the meat but won’t stuff sausage. You’ll need either a special sausage stuffer or a sausage stuffer attachment to make sausages properly.
What Is a Meat Grinder?
Meat grinders are designed to chop or mince raw meats and fish. Some of them also allow you to grind up grains and nuts. They were originally used only by butchers, but now there are grinders that are specifically made for home use. These grinders can be used to make meatballs, hamburgers, and even Bolognese.
A lot of sausage makers love meat grinders, but keep in mind that the device only grinds the meat and doesn’t stuff the sausage. For that, you’ll need a special attachment made just for stuffing sausage.
Meat grinders are great because you can make your meats using whatever ingredients you prefer, which means if you want to omit something that’s unhealthy and normally found in store-bought sausages, you can. Grinders usually provide you with sausage and meat that is healthier and super-fresh because you’re making it yourself.
What Is a Sausage Stuffer?
Sausage stuffers allow you to make homemade sausage anytime you like. There are several types of stuffers, but they all allow you to stuff the meats into casings to form the sausages. The main types of sausage stuffers are:
- The standalone type, which can be either horizontal or vertical
- A stuffer kit attachment that attaches to your meat grinder
Sausage stuffers hold the meats in place and improve the overall flavor of the sausages since all of the spices are mixed together in the case in the right proportions.
Can you make your sausage with a caulking gun instead of a regular stuffer made just for stuffing sausages? Yes, but it can be time-consuming and frustrating, especially for a newbie sausage maker. The right stuffer does the job quickly and with little effort on your part. They also cost a lot less than you might think.
Can You Use a Meat Grinder To Stuff Sausages?
Meat grinders only grind meat and nothing else. Unless you have the special sausage stuffing attachment, meat grinders do not make sausage. In other words, they complete one part of the job when you’re making sausage—grinding up the meat properly—but you can’t complete the process without either a dedicated sausage stuffer or a meat grinder with stuffer attachment. The standalone stuffers are a bit more efficient and faster than a grinder sausage stuffer attachment, but the attachment might be just what you need if you only intend to make sausages once a month or so.
On the other hand, if you make sausages regularly, the standalone stuffers are a much smarter purchase. They’re a little more expensive than the attachments, but they are worth every penny because stuffing your sausages is much faster and a whole lot easier.
Sausage Stuffer Versus Grinder: Things To Consider
If you have a meat grinder and want to make your own sausages, look at your grinder and see what, if any, attachments come with it. You might be surprised to learn that you already have an attachment that helps you stuff sausages. In this case, you won’t need another attachment because you can use the one that came with your grinder.
On the other hand, if you intend to make sausages regularly, you’ll be doing yourself a favor if you purchase an appliance that is specifically made to stuff sausages. The truth is, the devices that you add to regular meat grinders are slow and sometimes tedious, so unless you only occasionally make sausages, it’s best to go ahead and buy a traditional sausage stuffer because this is what these stuffers do, and they do it well.
Vertical Versus Horizontal Sausage Stuffers
As mentioned earlier, there are two types of sausage stuffers: vertical and horizontal.
- Vertical sausage stuffers. These are more popular than horizontal stuffers and usually take up less space in the kitchen. Some are freestanding, whereas others have to be clamped down to a kitchen counter or table. Vertical sausage stuffers can be electric or manual, and they can usually be operated by just one person.
- Horizontal sausage stuffers. Horizontal sausage stuffers look like long tubes and take up more space than vertical stuffers do. They are not freestanding but must be clamped down on the counter, and they usually require two people to operate them. These also come in both electric and manual options. They are made especially for large-scale commercial operations.
With a vertical stuffer, meat is placed at the top of the device in a container, then the casing has to be slid over the outlet pipe. When the handle is turned, the gears on the inside drive the meat down and out into the casing. Although they are the easiest type of stuffer for beginner sausage-makers, sausage enthusiasts and experts tend to like them as well.
Horizontal sausage stuffers require one person to operate the handle and another to collect the sausage meat as it comes out of the device. You fill the cylinder with sausage meat and the casing is at one end of the device. Even though it requires two people to operate a horizontal sausage stuffer, it is not a complicated process.
If you aren’t sure which type of stuffer to buy, just consider the pros and cons of each. Keep in mind that vertical stuffers are smaller, easy to operate, and can be operated by one person. Horizontal stuffers are larger and require two operators, and they produce more sausages at one time.
Make sure you know if you are supposed to remove sausage casing before cooking or eating your sausage.
We also have a guide for calculating how much sausage casing you need per pound of sausage mix.