Whether you’re a newbie sausage maker or a pro, you need the proper tools to do the job right. Unfortunately, that doesn’t often entail purchasing just one machine. To get the perfect texture and flavoring that’ll make your tastebuds explode, you might need to invest in separate appliances.
If you’ve got friends who are sausage enthusiasts, you’ve probably heard them talking about sausage stuffers and meat grinders. Although both appliances help you make delicious sausages, they’re intended for different things. But to make great tasting sausages, you don’t necessarily need both of them. Whether you’ll purchase a grinder and a stuffer or only one device depends on your needs.
If you’re wondering about the difference between a sausage stuffer vs grinder, you’re in the right place. In this article, you’ll find out precisely what each is and when to use them. I’ll also aim to end this grand debate in your head and tell you whether or need you need both products.
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What Is a Meat Grinder?
A meat grinder is a home utensil used for mincing or chopping cooked or raw meat and fish. Some also use it to grind nuts or grains. A meat grinder essentially replaces everything needed to finely chop or mince the meat or fish, such as knives. Although meat grinders were initially designed for butchers to make their job easier, these machines have become smaller and suitable for home use.
Avid meat lovers use meat grinders to mince meat on their own, as it ensures freshness. With the meat grinder, you know exactly what you’re grinding. There are no hidden ingredients that might make you regret purchasing the meat. Finally, meat ground at home is more flavorful than meat that’s been sitting on a shelf for some time.
Folks usually use meat grinders to grind meat for burgers, meatballs, or Bolognese. However, this appliance is growing increasingly popular among sausage lovers as it enables them to make sausages on their own.
With the right attachment, home sausage makers can both grind and stuff their own sausage with this single device (more on this later).
What Is a Sausage Stuffer?
A sausage stuffer is a small appliance used for stuffing sausages. There are two types of sausage stuffers: a standalone product (a vertical stuffer or horizontal stuffer) and a sausage stuffer kit attachment for the meat grinder. Both are meant to stuff different kinds of meat into casings to form sausages. Doing so with a caulking gun can be monotonous, time-consuming, and frustrating for many new sausage makers. Luckily, a sausage stuffer does the job for you in a few minutes.
This appliance holds meat in place and retains the nice sausage texture. The machine also improves the sausage flavor as all spices and meat types sit together in a case. While a sausage stuffer isn’t a vital appliance for sausage making, it does make life easier and helps you produce more flavorful sausages.
Can You Use a Meat Grinder to Stuff Sausages?
If you’ve got a meat grinder, you might have already thought of using it to stuff your sausages. After all, why would you purchase two separate appliances and spend more money when you could use them to produce more meat. And I don’t blame you. Luckily for you, it’s possible to use a meat grinder to stuff sausages.
But you would need a special attachment. Without it, the grinder can only grind the sausage meat but not stuff the sausages.
Setting Up Meat Grinder to Stuff Sausage
If you’ve already got a meat grinder and don’t want to invest in a stuffer, that’s OK. There’s no need to spend money on the stuffer, especially if you don’t plan to make sausages more than once a month or so. Before going to the store, check the grinder you have. Perhaps it already comes with the optional stuffer. If that’s the case, you’re in luck as you don’t need to get a separate stuffer attachment.
Generally speaking, these attachments work fine. They’re a bit slow compared to a standalone stuffer but will eventually do the job.
But if the grinder doesn’t have a stuffer, you’ll have to purchase the kit. This product usually comes with the grinder attachment tool, the stuffing tube, a plastic blade, two steel blades, and two plates for grinding. Attaching the stuffer to the grinder isn’t tricky, but you need to follow the steps below.
- The meat grinder most likely came with the grinding plates attached. Therefore, you’ll need to unscrew them to remove the coarse and the fine plate. Then, place the plates somewhere safe so that you can put them back on when you finish using the stuffer. Behind the plates, you’ll notice the steel blade required for meat grinding. However, you don’t need this part for stuffing. Instead, you’ll detach this blade and put on the plastic tube.
- Select the tube size you need and place it on the top of the device. Take the screw cap you’ve removed and secure it on top of it. Now it’s time to attach the tool to your grinder. Unscrew the small hole at the top of the grinder, place the stuffer there, and screw it back on.
- When getting the separate stuffer, it’s useful to purchase a few tubes as well. The variety of tubes will enable you to make different sausage types. For example, you’ll need thinner tubes for hot dogs, breakfast sausages, or snack sticks. Medium tubes are great when you want to make Polish sausages, while bigger ones produce summer sausages.
In Summary: Should You Get a Dedicated Sausage Stuffer?
I hope you now understand the differences surrounding the sausage stuffer vs grinder debate. With the stuffer, sausage lovers can stuff various types of meat into cases to mix flavors. A dedicated sausage stuffer is a fantastic addition to the kitchen if you plan on making sausages regularly and in bigger batches. Finances permitting, the stuffer is the best way to make homemade sausages.
But most beginners don’t want to invest a lot of money in something they aren’t sure they’ll even like. For them, the grinder and the stuffer attachment are the way to go. Although this kind of stuffer is a bit slow and won’t give the absolute best results, it will help you stuff sausages. On top of that, you aren’t spending money on two separate appliances.
Ultimately, it all depends on your needs and your wishes. If you’re serious about sausage stuffing, it’s worth trying the sausage stuffer. But if you’re on a tight budget, then you can use the grinder you already have and purchase only a stuffer attachment.
If you’re leaning towards getting a meat grinder with stuffer attachments, here are my favorites:
- ALTRA Electric Food Meat Grinder with attachments
- Sunmile SM-G73 Heavy Duty Electric Meat Grinder with attachments
- Aobosi Meat Grinder with attachments
If you think you might want to get your own sausage stuffer instead, click here for my article that will help you decide which type of stuffer you should get along with my personal product recommendations.