Domestic Vs Commercial Stuffers
There are drastic differences between the two. Commercial models are large units with huge capacity; they also cost a lot of money. The domestic version is obviously designed for much smaller runs.
This review will focus on domestic models only.
How does a sausage stuffer work?
Okay, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. These appliances are really simple.
- Place ground meat into a holding canister.
- Turn the handle to force the meat out a small tube into sausage casings.
- Tie up the end of the sausage casing.
- Cook, smoke or cure the sausages.
All the sausage stuffers in this review use the same basic concept. Simple. But don’t be confused into thinking that makes choosing the right model simple. There is actually a bit more to it and we’ll look at all this now.
Features to Consider When Buying
1. Commercial Vs Domestic
As I mentioned above, this article looks at domestic machines only. If you have a large budget, plenty of space and you’re going to be making a lot of sausage, you may want to consider a commercial unit.
2. Build Quality
You want your stuffer to happily pump out the meat for many years to come. A solid stainless steel unit with metal gears is the preferred option. Put simply, they last longer.
It is tempting to save a few dollars and opt for a lesser model. You may save some dollars in the short term, but when you have to buy a new model a couple of years later because of breakage you’ll be kicking yourself.
Stainless steel is the preferred option when considering food safety as it is easier to clean and doesn’t harbor bacteria like other materials can do.
3. Tube size
They say size counts: in reality, some like big and some small. Thankfully, a quality sausage stuffer will offer the user a range of sizes. From small to extra large.
Common sizes are ½”, ¾” and 1”. These will allow you to make small breakfast sausages through to a chunky chorizo.
4. Vertical vs Horizontal
Should you choose a model that has a horizontal or vertical cylinder? It really comes down to personal preference but here are a few key points:
- Horizontal models sit nicely on the kitchen counter whereas the vertical option requires a clamp to secure the unit. The clamp will be included in the box when you receive your stuffer; however, it’s an extra step that you may want to avoid?
- Vertical stuffers tend to stay in place better when feeding in the meat. Some horizontal stuffers are a little awkward as they move around when you press the sausage into the machine.
There’s a lot to be said for the look of your unit. Whether it’s a bread maker, mixer or any other appliance. This feature won’t be the top of the list for everyone. For me, I love a nice stainless steel appliance that’s calling out to be used.
Cooking Bratwurst sausages.
6. Size of Cylinder
A bigger cylinder is all about convenience and speed. If you are processing bigger batches of meat, you won’t have to fill up the cylinder as often if it’s bigger.
If you’re only making small batches then a 5lb model should be fine. If you produce large amounts of sausage then choose something bigger. Some models can scale up to 30lb or more.
7. Release Valve
Some sausage stuffers have a handy feature: an air-release valve. You’ll find the meat will frequently contain small pockets of air which is something you want to avoid. A valve will allow the air to escape without causing the sausage casing to break.
8. Speed options
A slow and fast setting is worth its weight in gold. For beginners, a machine with only one speed may be too fast resulting in some messed up looking sausages. For those seasoned experts, it is nice to have a faster speed, especially when there’s large amounts of meat to process.
Peace of mind is a good thing and that’s what a warranty gives you. The well known brands will generally offer at least a 1 year warranty. If you have the option to extend this, I’d recommend doing it.
It can be tempting to choose a cheap model to save a few dollars. If you can get a good deal then that’s great! But remember that often the cheaper models will lead to headaches further down the track. Production capacity, build quality, speed options: they’re all features you may trade off by choosing the low-cost option.
When choosing a sausage stuffer, I strongly recommend spending a little more to get yourself a higher quality appliance that’s made to get the job done.