Sausage Stuffer Guide

Sausage Stuffers, also known as Sausage Fillers. The main piece of equipment needed in sausage making (outside of a meat grinder). Ever wonder how sausage was made? Check out our How to Make Sausage article. This article covers the different types of Sausage Stuffers and what they are used for.

You will be surprised how easy it is to stuff your seasoned ground meat into sausage casings with a sausage stuffer. You can use your meat grinder with stuffing tubes to stuff your sausages, but a sausage stuffer is easier to control, especially if you are doing large batches of sausage. Sometimes the feed rate cannot be changed on meat grinders used as a stuffer, which blows out casings when stuffing if stuffed too much.

There are three basic types of sausage stuffers:

Horn Stuffers

Horn StuffersThe economy horn stuffers are only available in manual models.

This type of sausage filler is usually made of cast iron plated with tin or chrome, however, there are now stainless steel models available.

Horn stuffers are generally for people just starting out making their own sausage or for those who will only be making smaller batches. Capacities generally are under 5 lbs of sausage. Horn stuffers are not commonly used in commercial or industrial applications.

Meat Processing Products carries a limited supply of Horn sausage stuffers as they are not as common as they used to be, many customers choose to go with a stainless cylinder vertical sausage stuffer.

Horizontal Stuffers

Horizontal Sausage StuffersHorizontal Sausage Stuffers are available in manual and electric motorized models.

Horizontal models have a large piston-like cylinder to hold the seasoned ground meat that is mounted horizontally. The stuffer extrudes the meat from the stuffing tube at the end of the cylinder when you turn the crank at the other end of the cylinder or turn on the electric motor.

One slight disadvantage of the manual version of this type of stuffer is that the unit must be put near the edge of a table or counter so that the hand crank hangs over the side to give it enough clearance to turn.

The sausage capacity of horizontal stuffers generally range from 5 to 25 pound capacities.

Vertical Stuffers

Vertical Sausage StuffersVertical Sausage Stuffers are the most popular and there are models for both beginners and professionals, for home or business.

You can find these vertical sausage filling machines in both manual and electric models. (Note: the electric vertical models are typically the larger capacity, commercial grade units).

Similar to the horizontal models, vertical sausage stuffers have a large piston-like cylinder to hold the seasoned ground meat, but the stuffing cylinder is mounted vertically. The stuffer extrudes the meat from the stuffing tube at the bottom of the cylinder when you turn the hand crank or turn on the electric motor.

The vertical models are generally made with capacities that range from 5 to 30 pound capacities.

Hydraulic Stuffers

Hydraulic Sausage StuffersVery similar in design to the vertical sausage stuffer, Hydraulic Sausage Stuffers are used in butcher shops, meat packing houses and many other sausage making applications.

Typical application that use a sausage stuffers are doing it for the bulk purpose. Over traditional stuffers above, these hydraulic stuffers use a piston to push the meat down the massive cylinder and out the tube.

Capacity ranges on hydraulic stuffers, generally higher than 40 pounds per load, rest assure a Hydraulic Stuffer will get the job done fast and effectively.

Regardless of which type of stuffer you use, the basic technique is the same. Before starting, wipe the stuffer tube with a paper towel soaked with a little vegetable oil. This makes taking the sausage casings on and off easier.

You'll need to tie or close off the end of the casing before you start stuffing, otherwise the sausage will just come out the end of the casing. You can close of the end with butcher twine, a hog ring, or you can just tie a knot in the casing itself, but this will waste a length of the casing. Using a sausage pricker, poke some air escape holes in the end of the casing so that any the air trapped inside can escape.

Stuffing is much easier when you have two people to do the job. One person controls the hand crank or electric switch on the sausage stuffer, which determines the flow and speed of the sausage passing through the machine. The second person manipulates the casing by moving the sausage along and watching out for air pockets that might form, pricking the casing with a pricker to release the air when necessary.

When using an electric sausage stuffer, it might be possible for one person to do the job if you have a foot switch to turn on and off the sausage stuffer. With a foot switch, the person doing the job can have both his or her hands free to manipulate the sausage casing as it fills up with ground meat.

As the meat comes out of the machine, the sausage starts getting longer. When it reaches a desired link length, simply pinch the casing at that opening and twirl the sausage a few times to make a link. Continue stuffing until another you reach the next link length and repeat the process. Except this time, turn this link in the opposite direction as the first time. If you alternate the direction of your turns, it will keep the links from unraveling. If you always twist in the same direction, you’ll just end up un-doing the first sausage link.

An alternative method is to stuff the whole casing and close it off at the ends to form a long coil. You can keep your sausage in this form, or you can form links in the could at this point. Just remember, you always need to twist the next link the opposite direction.

Now your sausage is ready for cooking, drying, or smoking, depending on which type of sausage and sausage recipe you are following.