Opinions wanted on using a grinder as stuffer

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by jjmrascal, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. jjmrascal

    jjmrascal Smoke Blower

    I am looking to upgrade from my horn-style stuffer to a vertical unit but wanted some opinions on using an electric grinder w/ stuffing attachment.  I think I have outgrown the stuffer I have and it can be a pain in the neck sometimes. 

    I have an LEM 1/3 Hp grinder but have never used the stuffing attachment for two reasons:
    1. It would definitely require two people and I am usually flying solo when I do sausage.
    2. I think it would be difficult to feed the ground meat at such a constant rate (due to backpressure etc.) that it would keep air out of the casings.  It seems to me there would be a lot of stopping, popping bubbles, working the casing, and starting up again.
    #2 above is the main thing I have questions about.  I was going to try it this weekend b/c I have a buddy coming over Friday to do some deer sausage so I will find out at any rate, but does a "grinder as stuffer" configuration work well enough to forgo another dedicated stuffer?

  2. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I have used the horn style stuffer and you can throw them in the trash. Using a grinder as a stuffer is good but slow, slow, slow. depending how often and how much sausage tou make should determine if you should buy a vertical stuffer  A 5lb vertical stuffer is the way to go for around 100 bucks. you wont be dissapointed
  3. bmudd14474

    bmudd14474 Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have a cabela's commercial grinder that I have used to stuff and it works but now that I have a stuffer I wouldn't go back.
  4. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I'm with Brian on this one and I have a good grinder and I have stuffed with it but now that I have a vertical stuffer I will not go back. The stuffer is so easy and I can do it myself. The more I stuff with it the better I'm getting at it . So throw away your horn stuffer and go get a vertical stuffer.
  5. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yea I tried to use my grinder as a stuffer and it did not work well for me either. You can get a 5# stuffer from Northern for around $100 and it will make your life much easier
  6. jjmrascal

    jjmrascal Smoke Blower

    Sounds like I'm in the market for a good vertical stuffer.  I stuck with the horn for so long b/c I am a bit traditional and that is what my grandfather used.  He probably put a few thousand pounds of sausage through that thing over the years but, BOY!, do I have a respect for him on that!  I hear the vertical units from Northern Tool work pretty well.  I will probably check that out.

    Thanks again,
  7. Agreed on using an actual stuffer vs. a grinder.  A grinder is just convenient until you have the money to buy a stuffer.

    However, I have used and the company I work for also sells the 5# stuffers for $100 and just a word of caution... these have poly gears and you must be careful when stuffing to not go too fast or crank too hard otherwise you can easily strip the gears.  

    IMO you should consider a stuffer that has metal gears.  It will be much more likely to last through the years.  

    Click here to check out a couple options.  The first has the poly gears, but the next two on the page have a better gear system.
  8. old poi dog

    old poi dog Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    For me keeping the sausge temperature as low as I can when grinding, mixing, and stuffing is a major concern, so I decided to get a vertical stuffer since the consensus seemed to be that using the grinder to stuff casings is much slower than if you have a dedicated stuffer.....However...my experience wth sausage making has has been limited to only two sausages since I tried my hand at sausage making a few weeks ago.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2010
  9. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You might want to check this one out from Grizzly Tool... It is the same one Northern Sells and Cheaper...

  10. pandemonium

    pandemonium Master of the Pit

  11. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Personally I'd rather use a stuffer but we have a member who tried a stuffer and went back to using the grinder and he does a lot of sausage. I think its a matter of what you get used to and what works best for you.
  12. jjmrascal

    jjmrascal Smoke Blower

    I will definitely check these out.  Are parts readily available for them?
    Thanks for the suggestion.  Does this unit have the two gear system for quicker reloading?

    I am sure the grinder is not the best method since, as someone above pointed out, it does add heat to the meat and I also try to keep it all as cold as possible for the process.  I am just going to work a day of overtime and get in on an all metal geared vertical unit.  Thanks for the input.
  13. We stock parts for the cheaper model because they are more prone to needing replacements, and the other models we typically don't stock parts because we don't normally have any problems with them.  Parts are available though and we can get them if something were needed.  

    The stuffer from Grizzly is similar to our less expensive model and these stuffers just have a one speed gearing system.
  14. jjmrascal

    jjmrascal Smoke Blower

    Thanks much for the help.  I do believe you'll be hearing from me soon.

  15. I've always dreamed of a 30# vertical stuffer...  Just had too many other priorities!  I use a 1hp cabellas grinder with stuffing tubes and a footswitch and it's all I can do to keep up with it.  I couldn't imagine going any faster.  At sausage fest every year we do about 300lbs or pork sausage, both bulk and Italian linked.  One nice thing about the Cabellas are all the attachments...  The 50lb mixer just slips right in and gives us a real good mixed consistency of spices and chianti :)

    I'm sure it's a matter of what you get used to, I'm still dreaming of that 30# vertical stuffer, hey Santa are you listening?

  16. boykjo

    boykjo Sausage maker Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I have the 30 and it cuts the time down re packing. I also have the motor with foot control and it makes stuffing sausage a breeze without help. The only draw back to stuffing is you loose 4 lbs that is stagnant and wont empty in the stuffer when the plunger is bottomed out and during stuffing every time you stop you have to put the motor in reverse ant tap the foot pedal to relieve the pressure to stop the meat form oozing while your trying to tie or twist. I bought the 5lb stuffer to finish the 4lb that are left over. 3 extra rings of sausage............
  17. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I  think a lot depends on the type of sausage you are trying to make, and the amount that you are making.

    Yesterday, I tried to make some hot dogs, and in this case the grinder was defintitely not a good choice. It just kept bogging down. Meat texture was an issue. It was just too fine for the grinder to feed and stuff properly.
  18. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    MOre than 10lbs with a grind is a pain.  I have done both and even have a foot control for my grinder wich frees both hands and it is still a chore.  I have a 15lb vertical stuffer and I wont go back.  As mentioned earlier texture can be a problem using the grinder also.
  19. princess

    princess Smoking Fanatic

    I have a 5# stuffer (link can be seen in my sig line)

    I bought (errr... asked for Christmas?) a 5# stuffer for the following reasons:

    #1: I wanted to be able to stuff things that had large chunks of cheese/peppercorn/etc in them without the concerns of gagging up my grinder.

    #2: I wanted something I could keep ice cold, separate from the grinder.

    #3: I wanted something small enough to bolt it to the counter in my basement kitchen. Any bigger and I'd not have room. Any smaller is not worth the time or effort.

    #4: I wanted something I could work one-handed. Which I can. I could not stuff and tie off with the grinder, I can do it with the stuffer.

    The only mod I want to do to my Grizz is to turn the crank handle into a spin wheel. This is only because my arms are short. :)   I cannot sing the praises of my unit enough.


  20. tprice

    tprice Fire Starter

    I agree with that, just upgraded to the LEM vertical and MAN IT IS MUCH better and quicker.

    Looked at the electric ones but after using the vertical I would not consider it at all

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