What do I need to get into Home Based Sausage Making?
You might have read my post on the “WHY to make your own Wurst” and tried my low cost easy recipe on ingeskitchen.com to start making your own lunch-meat and decided that you would like to get into it a little deeper.
I will introduce the machines and gadgets I started out with in a smaller way after I sold my store and the machines I use now.
The first item is a decent gram scale which I bought from Harbor Freight for weighing some ingredients and then to weigh up the meat, a halfway decent postal scale should do the trick to get you started.
As many of my recipes use ground pork as the main meat ingredient it is a fact that you can buy Boston Pork Shoulder Butts a lot cheaper than ground pork. So if you are serious about getting into grinding our own – buy a meat grinder.
I started with the ½ HP grinder picture below on the left, which I still own and use for smaller amounts of meat, as it is, from the size, pretty easy to clean in a kitchen sink.
This machine is powerful enough to grind a couple of Pork Butts. It comes with 3 cutting plates which is under normal circumstances all you need.
I like it when I have to grind meat only one time, as the plunger is not tight enough to run the meat a second time. Please note that this is my opinion as a retired butcher used to large and powerful machines.
I tried using the stuffing tubes with mixed results (takes way too long to get the job done!).
Make sure that your meat is cut small enough and not frozen. The holes on the coarse plate that comes with it are big enough to make a coarser Polish Kielbasa.
Now I use the grinder linked above on the right, which I bought from Butcher & Packer last year.
This is a nice powerful meat grinder which I use for the few fundraiser I do during the year, like at our church and the American Legion Post I belong to.
It will easily grind the 200 pounds we did at the last fundraiser.
The plunger is tight enough to push the meat in to grind it a second time to make it finer, like hamburger and when I make Steak Tartar or grinding meat fine to run it the second time with lean pieces of meat through the coarse plate for my Polish Kielbasa.
Stuffing sausage with it is a pain in the neck and I prefer a dedicated sausage stuffer which I cover next.
I started with the 5 pound LEM Sausage Stuffer which is linked on the left below. It is a nice little vertical stuffer which will do the job easily and, from the size, stuffing can be done by one person. I saw this stuffer with metal and plastic gears on top and made sure that the one I bought had metal gears.
I recommend this one to start out in your endeavor.
Before I go any further I have to talk about my experience and my preference.
If you look at the two stuffers pictured below you will see that one is vertical and the other one horizontal. Most stuffers sold are like the one on the left which is good when the stuffer is smaller. Now I need you to image yourself standing at a working height table (like a kitchen counter), which is the most comfortable height for your left hand to work the stuffing horn (anything lower will cause your back to ache after a while, especially in my retirement age). Now stand at a table and figure that the hand crank is centered about 12 inches higher and as it is about 8 inches long the total height of cranking at the small 5 pound stuffer is 20 inches and you have to crank it away from you while taking care of the stuffing with your left hand. Bottom-line is that can be done.
Now raise your hand up another 10 inches, that the center of the crank is 20 inches high and try the same again, this is what it would be like on a 15 pound vertical stuffer.
Now on the horizontal stuffer you are cranking at about table heights in a natural movement of the crank away from you in line with stuffing horn, which you take care of with your left hand.
So stuffing a couple hundred pounds, the result is that on the vertical stuffer it is convenient to have one person crank and one person stuff, which gives the stuffing guy no control of the pressure of the meat coming through the tube. On the horizontal stuffer one person does the whole job quite easily.
This is the reason I had a horizontal stuffer at the store stuffing, by myself, over a thousand pound of fresh sausage during the Christmas week without any problem.
Having two gears is a big help to get the job done!
I now use an Italian made TreSpade horizontal stuffer, like the one pictured in the middle below, only mine is the size of the one pictured on the right below (7 liter). The stuffer on the right is Chinese made and I do not know the quality of it!
Please note that a 7 liter stuffer holds about 13 pounds of meat at one time!
Another handy add on, when you are more into sausage making, is the manual crank mixer. Mixing multiple amounts of batches will make for very cold hands, especially if you mix sausage with ice added to keep the product cold. The answer is this mechanical sausage mixer.
This mixer will effectively hold 15 pounds of meat.
Put in the meat, dissolve seasoning in some ice water, pour over and start cranking. Scrape off sides a couple times and you will see how fast the sausage meat will mix and start to bind.
Clean up is easy: Remove the paddles, the machine will fit in a standard size laundry tub to wash.
Larger units are available which can be attached to your grinder motor.
Unless you use liquid smoke or smoke salt in your “wurst”, which could then be finished in a regular oven, you might consider a smokehouse. Those you can buy from many big box retailers. Now the one I finally decided on is from the webstaurantstore.com. It is insulated and all aluminum and we used it also to heat up 40 pounds of roasted turkey breasts for a Thanksgiving dinner.
As I like to cold smoke my meat and sausage I build an exterior smoke generator to use with this unit, which I will write about some other time.
Back to the scales mentioned above, after a few years of working with a postal scale I decided to invest in a “Legal for Trade” scale and purchased the unit here, which comes in handy at our fundraisers and even for everyday cooking and baking.
Now besides stainless steel bowls and a dough scraper the only other item I can think of is a sausage pricker (linked above) to get the air out of the casing which might get trapped there during stuffing.
We covered the initial equipment of a grinder and stuffer for around $250.00 and the Tim Allen version for all the equipment for under $1700.00. It is up to you to figure out if your amount of usage justifies the added cost, for me it did!
We endorse Butcher & Packer Supply in Michigan as an excellent source to get your supplies.
Much of the equipment featured here is the equipment we use.
If we link to Amazon.com and you buy through this link we receive a small commission.
There is at this time no commission coming to us from sales from any of the other businesses mentioned in our blogs.