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Making sausage without a sausage stuffer?

  • k

I love sausages and want to try making them, but am not ready for the investment of a sausage stuffer.

Is this possible, or should I not even dream of it --- any thoughts???

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  1. I make my own version of chorizo and often wondered whether or not I should try to stuff it into a casing.... If I did this, I'd probably try using a pastry cone with a wide tip.

    1. Do you have a Kitchen Aid Mixer - with the meat grinder attachment, a sausage stuffer nozzle is only a few more bucks..

      1 Reply
      1. re: grant.cook

        unfortunately, i don't... just ordinary kitchen things. Pastry cone might work..

      2. Patties are the answer!

        1. Just make patties or if you want a sausage shape, roll into a log using saran wrap and chill. this should help it keeps its shape while you cook it.

          4 Replies
          1. re: ESNY

            Very good idea... heck, meatballs are just fancy spherical sausages, come to think of it.

            To the poster - you aren't trying to make CURED sausages, are you?

            1. re: grant.cook

              Wellllll, I was actually thinking about it - but perhaps that is too ambitious for a first project....

              1. re: kudru

                I would avoid dealing with curing, or at least curing of any length.. it is a big step, and there is a lot you can do that doesn't require hanging something in your basement for a month.

                Try to make fresh sausage, if you are dying to use casings, or do something that involves cooking, like a terrine.

                If I was to try to cure something, and I am not experienced in this, I might try something simple, like bacon or pancetta.

                1. re: grant.cook

                  Thank you for the advice! I will stay away from cured sausage until I get the basics. But after some searching and reading ( eg. http://www.bsbrewing.com/blog/?p=261 ) I'm all inspired to try home-cured bacon. Thanks for the suggestion - I had never considered it before!

          2. I make homemade sausage every fall. I use the grinder attachment to my stand mixer and then form little bricks of sausage in mini-loaf pans. Double wrap with plastic wrap and store in a ziploc bag in the freezer for future use. One brick is enough for DH and I to eat at one time.
            My daughter uses a hand grinder to make her sausage, then forms it the same way.

            1. My mom used old film cannisters (the smal round ones 35mm film used to come in) but you can use anything similarly sized. She cut one end off to make it a tube, pulled the sausage casing over one end (like you'd do with a water balloon on a hose), attach w/ rubber band and then stuff. I'm thinking a tomato paste sized can might work. You can also purchase stuffing horn but I like the reusing idea.

              3 Replies
                1. re: chowser

                  I'm sort of a McGyver wannabe... So I'd take a freezer ziploc bag, cut the corner and insert a film canister tube with the end cut off. I'll bet that might work!

                  1. re: scuzzo

                    ya mabye buts its not mcgyver like unless you use duct tape in there somewhere,perhaps to strengthen the tube bag connection.but then again i would not put sausage meat into a non sterilized appliance as once inside the casing with germs or other nasties bad things can happen.

                2. There's a Jacques Pepin recipe in his new cookbook for pork and pistachio sausage that is made by rolling the meat mixture in plastic wrap, then in foil, before cooking. It was very easy and quite delicious.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mnosyne

                    I've used a cookie gun with the die that looks like a witch's hat. You could only pull a limited amount of casing up, maybe two feet, but it worked! Jeff Smith rigged something up one time with a funnel, an oil funnel from the auto supply store I'm thinking because it had a slightly larger diameter hole than a kitchen funnel, but I can't remember how he pushed the sausage through, whether he just used his fingers or a wooden spoon handle. I don't remember it as being very efficient.

                    I'm thinking plastic wrap and foil sounds the way to go for links, especially if Jacques Pepin recommends it !

                  2. I used to think along these lines until I hooked up with an Italian old-timer (he has since passed). Maybe find a friend of a friend who makes 'em (unfortunately alot of people prefer to make sausage in autumn). Ask to sit in and help (a few beers or wine helps grease the skids) and you'll find how easy and delicious it is.
                    In the meantime, yep, patties
                    Maybe check out sausagemaker.com; you can get a hand grinder with various plates and stuffing tubes for $40.
                    Feel free to ask for my favorite sausage meat or bacon recipe.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: porker

                      Yeah, that's probably the best idea... also a good way to hear some old-timer stories! Thanks to everyone for their suggestions.......

                      porker, I would love your sausage recipe!

                      1. re: kudru

                        There’s maybe thousands of recipes for sausage and probably hundreds for Italian. My friend Carmine always stressed how important the salt is; too much and it’ll likely be too salty, not enough and the sausage won’t cure properly. He said 3 LEVEL TBL per 2kg of ground meat (which works out to 1 level TBL per 1.5lbs of meat). Many people will recommend kosher or non-iodized salt. We always used common table salt with no problems.
                        We also grind our own meat and can make it almost as lean as we want. Although a pure lean sausage can be quite dry when cooked, so we grind some fat into the meat as well.
                        Carmine had been making sausage for so long, he just measured the salt then eyeballed the rest. I tried my best to quantify the measurements that I like. Here it is;

                        For 5lbs of meat (if you don’t grind your own, you can simply pick up lean ground pork at the market)
                        3.5 level TBL salt
                        1 heaped TBL fennel seeds
                        .5 TBL black pepper
                        1 heaped TBL crushed chilli flakes
                        1 heaped TBL cayenne pepper (I like hot)

                        Spread the meat on a clean surface, sprinkle the salt and spices, mix thoroughly, and voila, your Italian sausage meat, ready for stuffing into casings, or simply form into patties. Very simple, eh?
                        I like to keep the sausages (or in your case, the meat) in the fridge overnight before freezing. The flavours will blend better.
                        I feel the salt and fennel are the most important ingredients and is what gives the sausage its “Italian” flavour. You can experiment with more or less of all seasonings as you go on (start with less hot stuff, fry up a little in a pan, taste, decide if you want more cayenne or pepper or chili).
                        Carmine would hang and air-dry all that he made. At first I was tentative, but started to air dry them myself (in colder months in my basement). I also started using instacure #1 (salt mixed with sodium nitrite) for my air dry cures. Some people say you NEED the stuff to air cure, some, like my friend, would only use salt.
                        I also used this recipe with ground chicken and turkey with good results (although you can’t air dry these).
                        I’ll suggest again, a hand grinder with a stuffer attachment. Making your own is quite satisfying and really tasty and you can experiment with various recipes (breakfast sausages are easy too)!
                        Ask for a smoker at Xmas and you'll be making your own bacon too! Please keep me informed on your results, Thanks!

                        1. re: porker

                          terrific information - thanks so much!

                    2. I make a Portuguese pork and rice sausage called morcela - it is about the thickness of an Italian sausage. We stuff the casing using a large funnel. It is a two person operation.

                      You bunch up the casing on the nozzle of the funnel and tie it off. Then you fill up the funnel with the mixture and poke it though with a wooden spoon. You pull the casing off the funnel nozzle as the casing fills up. You don't fill the casing too tightly as it will expand as cooked. It goes pretty quickly

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: NE_Elaine

                        That's how my Italian grandfather used to stuff his sausages, with the casings attached to a funnel. Actually, if you are just starting out, it's probably the better way to go, as you have more control vs machine fed. Sure it'll take a bit longer, but just have some wine on hand :)

                      2. Here is how a native sausage maker in the village of Santiago Atitlan, Guatamala does it.
                        He chops the pork into small dice. Mixes in the spices he likes. He likes spearmint.
                        adds water until he has a thin slurry. He uses a cow horn which has had the tip cut off
                        leaving about a one inch hole. He slips the casing onto the cow horn and knots the end.
                        He then pours the slurry through the cow horn into the casing He perforates the casing
                        a lot with a ice pick to allow the water to escape leaving the pork inside the casing.
                        I think a large funnel with about a one inch hole would work fine since cow horns are
                        a little hard to find in this country. You can get casing from Eldon's jerky supply in
                        Idaho. Good luck. If you need further info, drop me a line.

                        1. A few things to consider... You can find lots of cheap meat grinders at antique stores. You could also just find the attachment for a meat grinder and use that to stuff your sausages. Or the right size funnel would work. Or get a piece of PVC tubing the right diameter, plus the right size wood dowel to fit inside. Slow, but cheap. I'll bet 6 inches of PVC and an 8 inch dowel could work ok. Do you have a pastry bag? That might work too. Try grinding 2/3 turkey or chicken with 1/3 bacon. Mmmm.

                          1. update: I used a big plastic funnel and a wooden dowel (filled the funnel with meat and jammed it into the casing with the dowel), and it worked perfectly (if inelegantly).

                            Homemade sausage = tastiest thing ever. I think that while the mean would be just as delicious in patty form, there's something particularly satisfying about stuffing it into casings.

                            Thanks for all the ideas!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: kudru

                              Did you ever think about using a condom?

                            2. What you use as a tool to stuff your sausage will depend, to some degree, on the consistency of the finished produce. A very fine mixture might pass through a pastry bag with a large tip. I've seen marinating syringes modified (bottom end cut off to provide a bigger opening) to stuff sausage casings. That might be worth consideration.

                              1. I just use a pastry bag and tip. It works but takes a bit of time. It also depends on how fine your ground meat is. I advice wearing medical gloves when doing it this way.

                                1. Another way to stuff a sausage would be to simply use a funnel as in this video:


                                  1. What a bunch of great ideas. After reading about using the Kitchen Aid grinder blade, I checked the instruction booklet for my little West Bend 6491 Food Processor (bought at a yard sale dirt cheap, and have used and loved it for years). Sure enough, it says it will do meats, either raw or cooked, using the chopper blade.
                                    Okay, so much for econo grinding. Next for stuffing on the cheap. I covered most of the internet and stores in my county where I might find something. The best deal I found was an idea I was already working on, but somebody else has thought of it and brought it to market. Academy sports and outdoors stores has, in the barbecue equipment and accessories department, a jerky cannon with nozzles for flat jerky or round sausages or weiners. There are two, in t he $30 and $50 range. The device is actually nothing but a glorified calk gun. I was going to modify one myself, but it's hardly worth the trouble when you can buy the ready tool for thirty bucks.
                                    They also have higher capacity stuffers for over $100, and kits with all the seasonings for different kinds of wilkd or domestic meat sausages. Check 'em out.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Pirate Paul

                                      Interesting. I had the same idea about converting a caulk gun. Didn't know about jerky shooters, but I found a great price on a 5-lb capacity stuffer at Northern Tool:


                                      Northern Tool also sells a good stand alone electric grinder for about the same price as the Kitchenaid attachment (which looks rather puny to me). Together they are rather substantial investment, and they take up a lot of storage space, so I wouldn't recommend them for someone just starting out. But if you get serious and want to make more than a couple of pounds at a time a few times a year, they are worth it.

                                      Oh, and those cast iron stuffers that look like sawed off cow horns -- really messy, small capacity, and hard to avoid getting air pockets in your sausage.

                                    2. One thing I've done for seafood sausages was tie the filling tight with plastic wrap, like a tootsie roll with knots on both ends. You can poach these quickly, and you have a sausage without a casing. Then-to the frying pan with them! This of course takes more effort than just pattying it up, but I thought I'd throw it out there for all you link fans.

                                      11 Replies
                                      1. re: Crater137

                                        That;s how I do my Shrimp Boudin and Santa Fe Green Chili Chicken sausage - roll up in plastic wrap, twist into links, then poach a length (several links) in a skillet to cook to temperature. Then if I want, I unwrap and grill them...

                                        1. re: KiltedCook

                                          Both of those sound fantastic! Please consider posting them in recipes...

                                          1. re: meatn3

                                            Kilted Cook's Seafood Boudin
                                            For "shrimp" boudin; substitute more shrimp for the fish. I made this today with some Thresher Shark, and it was fabulous! Any firm white fish will do - catfish, basa/sutchi, mahi mahi, etc.

                                            1/2 lb White Rice, cooked cooled, preferably short or medium grain
                                            1/2 lb White Fish
                                            1/2 lb Shrimp, shelled
                                            1 Shallot, minced
                                            1 clove Garlic, minced
                                            1 Chipollini Onion, minced
                                            6” stick of Celery, minced
                                            3/4 teaspoon (to taste) Cajun/Creole Spice Blend, divided
                                            1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
                                            1/2 teaspoon Celery seed
                                            1/8 teaspoon Liquid Smoke

                                            Saute the fish with 1/8 tsp of cajun seasoning; when cooked, remove to a chilled steel mixing bowl. Cook the shrimp in the same skillet with another 1/8 tsp of seasoning. When done, remove to the mixing bowl. Cook the vegetables in the same skillet with a splash of oil. Mince the seafood with a chef’s knife or cleaver and return to the bowl. Add the rice, cooked vegetables and Liquid Smoke. Add the herbs and spice. Mix well to distribute the seasonings throughout.

                                            Lay out on the counter a 3 ft length of clear plastic wrap. Along one long edge, form a 1-1/2” diameter "snake". Tightly roll up the snake, leaving about 2" of empty plastic at the ends. Tie knots in the ends (or tie with butcher's twine. At 4"-6" intervals gently pinch the snake and twist into links. Tie each link with twine to hold them in place. Poach in boiling water in a skillet for 10 minutes before serving. Or remove from the casing and fry in a skillet. May be frozen before cooking, thawed and then poached or fried. Makes 1-1/2 lbs - about 6 links.

                                            1. re: KiltedCook

                                              Thank you! Can't wait to give it a try!

                                              1. re: meatn3

                                                For anyone interested, I did some research on the Kitchen Aid stuffing tubes attachment option (Model SSA). The tubes are 2" dia where they attach to the machine, and 5" L. One is 3/8" for breakfast sausage, the other 5/8" for regular hot links.
                                                I haven't tried them yet, but they appear to be the same dimensions that will fit a Hamilton Beach FGC grinder (optional attachment for Model 1MPU Food Unit). The HB unit is so old that I'm sure parts are no longer available.

                                                1. re: Pirate Paul

                                                  Follow-up: I found a cheap source for the Kitchen Aid SSA on-line, and got it. Sure enough, the stuffer tubes fit on the Hamilton Beach FGC quite well (the HB is so old it predates ZIP codes, and HB no longer has parts for it). Lots of other grinders can be found on-line too, like at eBay; some are rather affordable.
                                                  If you're not ready to make that plunge, check to see if your kitchen food processor will also grind meat. My West Bend 6491 says it will.
                                                  I also just finished and tested my smoke stack, which I built into a gutted upright home central heating unit housing. A salvaged barbecue pit is mounted almost at ground level, for the firebox, and smoke from it is fed into the smoker via 4-inch flex duct pipe. In less than 15 - 20 minutes after starting a good fire, temperature can rise from 70* to at least 180* in the very top of the smoker, with plenty of smoke billowing out all the cracks and holes around the top. Can't wait to put it to work.

                                                  1. re: Pirate Paul

                                                    I was surprised a couple of months ago at the number of sausage grinders and stuffers I saw on Craig's list just in my area.

                                                    1. re: Pirate Paul

                                                      Pirate Paul - I too have a WB 6491 but don't have the manual. I need some replacement parts. Would you be willing to share your manual, if you have it???? I can't find it online either.
                                                      Much appreciated

                                                    2. re: Pirate Paul

                                                      After recently using our durable FGC meat grinder for our vintage Hamilton Beach Model 1MPU Food Power Unit, seems the X shaped blade has disappeared. I fear it may have accidentally been disposed of. Today I've been searching for a replacement part. Hamilton Beach officials inform me they no longer carry such piece, and no ebay success thus far. Any referrals or suggestions of future possibilities would be greatly appreciated! Thank You-

                                                      1. re: Captian

                                                        If the grinder matches standard sizes, Sausage Maker has plates and blades.


                                                        1. re: Captian

                                                          HB probably used a standard plate size, since it would be much cheaper than having somebody make custom plates just for them. Here's a chart that might help. If they used a standard plate they probably used the corresponding cutter.


                                            2. I love making my own sausages, but to be honest, these days, I make almost as many "patties" as links. It's a heck of a lot easier. I actually went out and bought one of those hamburger patty makers and papers from the sausagemaker.com and it's BING BING BING and I'm done - although we are now talking about a sausage the size of a hamburg patty, but they cook up just fine. You can vary the thickness of the patty.

                                              I still use my #22 hand grinder, because I love the variety of blades, but may soon upgrade to electric since the arthritis keeps making it toughter

                                              1. I didn't go through all the posts so forgive me if this is redundant - I haven't tried it but thought of Cutting the bottom third off a 2-liter soda bottle. Slice down the side of the bottom, stopping where the taper begins. Overlap the cut sides a little so this piece can fit into the bottle as a pusher. Feed casing onto the top end (probably this won't accommodate enough for more than a few links at a time).

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                  I tried something similar with no success. The problem is ground meat is thick and viscous and you need a lot of pressure to push it through a small (about 1 sq inch) opening. And for each unit of pressure per square inch at the stuffing end, you need to apply 1 unit per square inch at the piston end, so if the mouth of a soda bottle has a diameter of about 1 inch, and the diameter of the bottle is 5 inches, you need 25 pounds of pressure at the piston end for each pound at the opening. More, actually, since ground pork is not an ideal fluid.

                                                  And they said I'd never use that stuff I learned in fluid dynamics.

                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                    Here's another option, if you use a grinder and not a food processor to grind the meat. After grinding pass the meat through a second time, but after replacing the grinding plate and blade with one of these:


                                                    I haven't tried it yet, but plan to.

                                                    1. re: Zeldog

                                                      They say "allowing the meat to flow more easily into the sausage casing". I use a hand grinder to grind the meat (once or a second grind with a finer plate, depending on application) then remove the plate and knife, pop on the stuffing tube and stuff away. To me, the meat flows quite easily without a plate...
                                                      But then again, I never tried it either...

                                                      1. re: porker

                                                        It may depend on your grinder. I tried that with mine and the meat smeared more than I would like. I think the space between the end of the screw and the stuffing tube made was not a good thing. Or maybe there was too much slack between the screw and housing. Anyway it was pretty clear that the grinder was making more turns to push out a volume of meat than it did with the plate and cutter installed.

                                                  2. You can make them as sausage patties. I like this for experimenting, because I can make a small amount at once, quickly.

                                                    1. I am a miser, and didn't want to spend the money on a machine. Plus, I had read some reviews which suggested that some of the cheap grinders/sausage stuffers had little bits of metal shavings in them. Furthermore, I don't have much storage room. So, I went out and bought a large, heavy-duty icing/pastry/decorating bag (Ateco Polyurethane Decorating Bag - 24"; product code 3324; www.atecousa.net), plus the Kitchenaid SSA (which is is just the plastic sausage stuffing tubes).

                                                      This is a long post - so to cut a long story short, it worked! It just required some time and muscle power.

                                                      The basic idea was to cut off "large" end of the plastic tubes, leaving a tube that had a small increase in diameter along its length. I could then insert the tube into the icing bag (just like an icing tip), but it would "stick out" a lot, leaving plenty of room to slide on the sausage casing.

                                                      Note: I was using collagen casings - the dry, concertina-type stuff. Before I did anything, I tried to slide the whole "slug" (I think that's what professional sausage-makers call it) onto the larger diameter tube, but it wouldn't fit. At the time, I didn't know that I could "un-concertina" it before using it (I will explain more further down).

                                                      Because of this, I figured I would need to use the smaller diameter tube. So, I cut the end off it, using the metal saw on my Leatherman Wave. I made sure to smooth off any jagged bits/sharp edges once I was done. I then had to cut the end of the icing bag, so that the tube would fit in. I only cut off a very very small amount of the icing bag each time (e.g., 1/16th of an inch), until I found the perfect fit. The fit needs to be tight.

                                                      I then sprayed a small amount of non-stick vegetable oil spray inside the bag, as I thought it would prevent the sausage mixture from sticking. I put in the sausage mixture. I found that it was just too hard to get any of the mixture to come out when I was trying to "pipe" all the meat at once. So, I squeezed a small amount down towards the tube - about as much as would fit in my hand. I then applied pressure to just that small amount. I managed to get some to come out, but the small diameter tube made it really, really hard. I was getting nowhere quickly, and decided to try another way.

                                                      Somehow, I figured that if I un-concertina-ed the collagen casing, I could fit it on the larger diameter plastic tube. So, I then took the larger diameter plastic tube and cut the end off it. I then cleaned out the icing bag, so that I could once again cut small pieces off the end until the larger tube fit inside tightly.

                                                      After un-concertina-ing the casing, I managed to recompress/reconcertina about 24 inches of casing onto the tube. (I think the collagen casing was 21 millimeters in diameter). I put the meat back in the bag and started to squeeze - same method as before - working with about a handful of sausage mixture at a time. It was hard, but worked. I squeezed some into the case, then had to go and squeeze the actual casing itself so that the sausage mixture was compact, and so that the sausage was "full".

                                                      I didn't time myself, but I made three lengths of about 24 inches. One I got going, it wasn't too bad.

                                                      Clean up was easy (and I don't have dishwasher). Remove the plastic tube, and wash it out - I did that with my fingers - no need to buy a special (i.e., test tube) brush. As for the bag, just turn it inside out, and wash with detergent. The bag will just about stand up by itself (like a pyramid cone) - so it is easy to let it air dry.

                                                      Very happy with the result. If you want to try this method, take note:

                                                      - use a very strong icing/pastry/decorating bag (the one I described above was ideal, and cost about $10)
                                                      - only cut off very very small amount of the tip of the bag when you are fitting the plastic tube in. The tube has to "pressure-fit" in the bag.
                                                      - try spraying the inside of the bag with vegetable oil to lubricate it
                                                      - try squeezing only a small amount of sausage mixture into the case at one time

                                                      Good luck!

                                                      1. I would definitely pick up a stuffer If you want your sausages in casings. you can get one for about $30.00. Maybe even find a deal on Craig's list. Even with a stuffer it can be a pretty laborious and challenging. eg. trying to keep the casing from bursting, getting the casing stuffed adequately, Probably the reason the German ruler Bismarck said 'law making is like sausage making, the end product is great but it's something you'd rather not be involved in.'(paraphrase) But it is worth it if you really love sausage. You can try recipes for sausages that are difficult to find in stores, ie Spanish Morcilla(a very challenging sausage to make) As far as curing that's tricky. Get educated about it. The word botulism is etymologically related to sausage (in latin I think). This website has tons of awesome recipes and information on the world of sausage making: http://home.pacbell.net/lpoli/index.htm.

                                                        1. Check out- No Reservations Anthony Bourdain- Prague episode.The butchers only use their hand to stuff the casings. Incredible.

                                                          1. For years I used a 10-00 hand operated grinder with a stuffing tube to make my sausage. They are relatively inexpensive, particularly, if you can find one at a yard sale or flea market. Using a stuffing plate in lieu of a grinding plate makes everything easier. it also helps if all your equipment and ingredients are ice cold. I would buy a couple of boneless pork butts and have the butcher grind it with a 3/8" plate since I prefer a slightly coarser sausage than most. Good Luck.

                                                            1. Go to the hardware store and buy a refillable caulking gun. Cut the plastic tube off about half way along. They are cheap $10, and work perfectly. I learned this from a chef.