A stuffer is a rather vital part of the sausage making process. A number of people may have a kitchen aid or grinder that has a sausage stuffer attachment but i’d advise against using these as they tend to macerate the mixture in the process of stuffing and you’ll end up with a texture that is far from ideal. A perfectly adequate stuffer is inexpensive and easily stored away!
The easiest way to decide what sort of stuffer you’ll need is to work out how often and how much sausage you’ll be making.
Assume that a single sausage will weigh in at around 60 - 70g.
Based on this, you can get an idea of what will work for you stuffer wise. I find it best to use a stuffer that will make the desired amount of sausage in one go, as its easy to introduce air pockets if you need to top up the stuffer with more sausage mix.
1 Kg stuffer
I find this perfect for dinner for two at home. I get just under a Kg in here, around 900g. I’ll normally produce around 12 sausages, perfect for 2 people for dinner and some cold for lunch the following day, or dinner for 3.
The smaller stuffer means less waste.
2.5 Kg stuffer
If you are feeding a number of people a 25 Kg stuffer is your best bet, as you can still make small batches with minimal waste but you can churn out 30 sausages in a single go should you need - enough to feed eight people, or make excess for freezing.
5 litre stuffer
If you are making a lot of sausage regularly, or looking to pump out a 5 meter boerewors, then you cant beat a larger, upright stuffer. Easy to clean and super easy to churn out a huge number of sausages. They weigh a bit and take up a fair amount of storage space however.
How to minimise waste
Once you have stuffed the casings, you’ll have a little mixture left in the nozzle. The amount will vary with the size of stuffer. For smaller stuffers, just dismantle the stuffer and push the mixture out with the handle of a wooden spoon. You can then fry it up with the rest of the sausage! For the larger upright stuffers, the nozzle is a lot longer and some mixture will remain in the main cylinder. The easiest way i have found to get this out is to slightly soak a few slices of bread in water, add this to the stuffer and keep stuffing until you see bread enter the sausage casings, this will ensure you get every last bit of mixture out.
Getting the air out
Too many air pockets will increase the chance of the sausage splitting - so pick a size of stuffer that will deliver the amount of sausages in one filling. If you need to refill with mixture its likely you will introduce air pockets.
All of the above stuffers are very easy to clean by hand, but be careful not to drop the piston-like aluminium stuffers, as even a small dent can mean the mechanism does not work or does not seal properly. I’ve had to buy a few replacements after dropping the stuffer on the kitchen floor!
Width of tubes
Pick a stuffer that comes with a number of different diameter nozzles. Having the correct sized nozzle for the casings will ensure that they fit and that a minimal amount of air pockets are generated. You’ll need a different sized nozzle to make merguez sausages in lamb casing than you will making pork and apple sausages in hog middles.
Single handed, double handed
With all of the above stuffers it’s possible, with a bit of practice and some suction, to make sausages single handed. If you really want to control the level of stuffing however and prevent over or under-filling, i would recommend doing the stuffing with a helper!