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Sausage stuffers - what to look for?


ronnie_suburban
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I've mostly solved the problem with my plunger stuffer by stuffing some waxed paper between the meat and the plunger in such a way that the paper creates a tighter seal between the plunger and the tube (if that makes sense). Now it works quite well, especially for a 5lbs stuffer that was less than $30 delivered.

Still, the crank models are almost certainly better (although I wouldn't know from experience)

Eric

Fifi, DO NOT buy that. I have one, which i used before i got my crank one, it is terrible. The meat paste sqeezes past the plunger since there is no sealing ring..it is a huge pain to use, requireing almost all your body weight to plunge it.

I'll sell you mine if you really want, cheap. it is the stainless steel 5lb model.

jason

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A piston type is the best way to go, in my opinion. I have a Dick, which is very heavy and well made. I love it. It also has a pressure valve and an assortment of tube sizes. I like this type because there are fewer air pockets and it is easier to control the flow. Plus its just plain fun...

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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In case anyone is interested, I have a vertical stuffer that looks identical to the northern tools model, but is $20 cheaper, from Grizzly Tools:

http://www.grizzly.com/catalog/2006/main/74

lgrass -

Does this model have a pressure relief valve in the piston, and does the piston have an o-ring? I'm trying to find out how this made-in-China $60 version differs from the Sausage Maker's $185 made-in-US version. What's your opinion of the Grizzly stuffer?

Monterey Bay area

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ojisan, it has both a pressure relief valve and a silicone rubber o-ring.

Is there any reason to spring for the more expensive version? I assume there are differences, but maybe the they aren't worth the $... ?

thanks

Monterey Bay area

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I have the Northern Tool stuffer, which looks identical to the Grizzly and it's great. Stainless steel, 3 horns, pressure relief, gasket, and very smooth action. You will want to clamp it to your counter or cutting board.

The only thing extra that might be nice would be a gear disengager so when you're done stuffing you don't have to crank the handle to get the plunger back up. But that's not worth even $50 extra to me.

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ojisan, it has both a pressure relief valve and a silicone rubber o-ring.

Is there any reason to spring for the more expensive version? I assume there are differences, but maybe the they aren't worth the $... ?

thanks

The reason I chose the unit I did (more expensive version) is that it is made entirely of stainless steel. I'm counting on that making maintenance a bit easier and possibly extending the stuffer's lifetime. On the $60 unit linked above, only the cylinder and the base are made of stainless. The crankshaft and other mechanical parts are not. It may not end up making a difference and it may not be worth the additional cost, but that's why I went with the costlier model.

As for the dishwasher, I wouldn't hesitate to put mine in there but I'd definitely put it on the top shelf and remove the o-ring first.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I'll be very interested to see how the stuffers from Northern and Grizzly hold up. However, I'm holding off on acquiring any major new kitchen tools until after we finish our kitchen remodel.

Those of you who have had stuffers for a while now: how have they held up? How are they for ease of use and ease of storage? Are there any maintenance issues I'd need to be aware of?

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Thanks for all the input (I love this site). I've ordered the Grizzly version and will post a report on it later.

I'm wondering about the lube for the gears and threaded rod - since they don't really directly contact the meat, is there any good reason for not using something like Vaseline? Or maybe even better, pork fat? If I were using this thing on a daily or even weekly basis, I would feel justified in ordering the $10+shipping can of Lubriplate from TSM, but I'm probably only going to make 3-5 lb. of sausage every month or two (if I'm lucky and don't keel over from a heart attack). What do you think?

Monterey Bay area

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I wouldn't use pork fat as it could turn rancid since you don't clean the gears. Make sure you take the o ring off everytime you clean the plunger as goop gets in there. I also sanitize everything, including my grinder, everytime I clean up with a bleach solution. Old habit.

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Thanks for all the input (I love this site).  I've ordered the Grizzly version and will post a report on it later.

I'm wondering about the lube for the gears and threaded rod - since they don't really directly contact the meat, is there any good reason for not using something like Vaseline? Or maybe even better, pork fat? If I were using this thing on a daily or even weekly basis, I would feel justified in ordering the $10+shipping can of Lubriplate from TSM, but I'm probably only going to make 3-5 lb. of sausage every month or two (if I'm lucky and don't keel over from a heart attack). What do you think?

I agree that pork fat -- however brilliant an idea :wub: -- will eventually turn rancid. I purchased a small can of food-grade lube (not the spray can). As others have pointed out, it makes a huge difference in crankability of the stuffer. Using my fingertip, I just put a dab on the crankshaft and a light shmear around the outside of the plunger before each run and it works like a charm. And yes, do take the O-ring off for cleaning. It's some nasty business going on underneath it.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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i had the KA stuffer until my KA broke, then i got a DLX assistent -- works wonderfully especially on large batches... except sometimes it chokes on gristle and fat.

want a "free" sausage stuffer? take a 2-liter bottle of soda, cut out the lower 2/3 of the bottle, put your sausage casings -- like a sock -- onto the mouth of the bottle. put your sausage mix into the used-to-be-upper-third of the bottle. push down with knife or spoon or whatever works for you. crude, but works in a pinch, or when you don't want to spend $$$ on a stuffer, or when like me, you're too lazy to take out the parts of your machine and put them together. especially for small batches this is what i usually end up doing -- either this or make skinless sausages instead.:)

stefoodie.net - now a wheatless, eggless, dairyless food blog

noodlesandrice.com (with b5media)

bakingdelights.com (with b5media, and my 15-yo-dd)

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The Grizzly arrived, and for anyone thinking about getting one, I thought I'd post my first impressions even tho I haven't used it yet. First off, the build is, uh, funky - there's no confusion about this thing being made in Switzerland or Germany. On the other hand, it might do double duty as a jack if my Honda gets a flat (OK, not really).

I was _very_ impressed w/ Grizzly's customer service - they promptly answered my questions and are eagerly working on replacing one of the (funky nylon) stuffing tubes that arrived broken.

I am surprised that the threaded rod is not removable for cleaning, but I'll have to use it before posting whether that's a problem or not.

If I had to buy it all over again, I would recommend it if you want the biggest bang for the buck, and/or don't make sausage that often. If money were not an object, I think I'd go for the F. Dick version....

Monterey Bay area

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  • 1 month later...

I've only used the Grizzly once, and that was yesterday. My husband, who's picky about tools, thought it worked "way better than expected." We had no trouble with it at all, and it was pretty effortless to use. It cleaned up perfectly in the dishwasher, and I can't imagine that we'll ever have any problems with it, or even any way in which it's funky.

I should say that it's the only one I've ever used or really looked at, so there might be better ones out there, but I think for the casual or occasional sausage maker, it's an excellent tool.

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Well, it sounds about a gillion times better than the KA, of which I'm growing increasingly tired. Back in the olden days, it was fine to push the non-bound filling into the casings, and I wrote off any problems as inexperience. Now that I paddle my mixtures to get a bind and have gotten pretty adept at most stages of the process, I cannot for the life of me figure out a way to push the filling consistently and feel increasingly dissatisfied thinking it's a technique problem.

I think I may have found my father's day gift....

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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One piece of advice is to get a 10-pound unit instead of a smaller one. It won't cost much more, won't take up a whole lot more room but you'll be able to more easily handle over-sized batches and you can grow into it as well.

Sometimes, even with a 5# recipe, the 5# capacity stuffer isn't quite roomy enough. This is especially true with recipes that call for cheese, roasted peppers and other additional ingredients. In those cases, you have to backcrank and recrank the 5# unit (with the casings still on the horn) if you want to tube everything off. Otherwise, you'll often have a portion of bulk sausage available after you're done tubing it. In some cases (especially with fresh sausages) that's not really a problem but for cured or smoked sausages it can be somewhat annoying to end up with extra output.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Now that I've used the $60 Grizzly 5 lb. stuffer for 4 batches of sausage, I give it 5 stars for biggest bang for the buck. My personal opinion is that you might want something bigger/better if:

- you regularly make 20 lbs. or more at a time

- or you are a professional chef and can write off your equipment

- or you wear a Rolex

So far, the Grizzly has been a joy to use and I've had no problems. Their customer service has been xlnt - one of the nylon stuffing tubes had arrived broken, so they sent me a complete set of 3 tubes as a replacement. I'd buy from them again.

Monterey Bay area

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  • 2 weeks later...

My Grizzly 5 lb arrived Friday. I also was surprised at the build quality. I do not plan on doing sausage more than once a month, and maybe less, so this stuffer should be fine if treated well.

The directions indicate using a "sanitizer", so what are the rest of you using? Soap, water and Clorox or vinegar? Something else?

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So far we've only used the dishwasher as a "sanitizer" and we're using Haynes spray as a lubricant.

Has anyone who has the Grizzly or equivalent stuffed a large casing, like a beef middle? I can't figure out whether I could use the largest tube somehow, or whether I would just stuff something like mortadella with a spatula or spoon.

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Like Abra, I've been using my dishwasher as a sanitizer. Otherwise, I'd give it a standard soap and water wash (and dry) and then a wipe down with a safe solution of water and bleach (1 gallon water and 1 capfull of bleach, IIRC). Definitely remember to remove the 'O' ring on the stuffer and clean it separately.

I use the canned, food-grade lubricant. I use a clean finger or a swab to apply a light schmear around the plunger and a just a touch to the top of the crankshaft before each batch.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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