Well, I got my new meat grinder and stuffer from Northern Tool today. I changed my plans and decided to get the Kitchener #12 Grinder and Kitchener 5# Stuffer instead of the Cabelas 1 hp grinder and Lem 5 lb Stuffer, to start out with. Here's what I've discovered after some research. There must be a common manufacturer for many of these different brands, especially with the entry level equipment.
The Kitchener #12 grinder is the same as the Northern Tool #12 grinder. Just a lttle less money. Also, the Kitchener 5lb stuffer is the same as the Northern Tool, LEM and Grizzley 5lb stuffers. Again, for a little less money. I'm guessing they're all made by Kitchener. Princess suggested that I consider a lesser powered grinder at this time, stating that I could always sell it on ebay or here, if I ever outgrew it and wanted a higher end one. Made very good sense to me. Thanks Princess. The 5 lb stuffer, I will probably always need anyway, for smaller batches. I know I can get by with hand mixing smaller amounts for the time being too, since that's what I'm going to start out with, having never even so much as stuffed a single link before. I think that I need to start with 5-25lb batches to learn the basic skills that I will need, such as grinding, mixing, stuffing etc.
I've gotten good advice from Nepas and others on casings to use for various types of sausages. I have pink salt and some of the basic ingredients for many sausages. But, I was thinking, "what about using some of the pre-packaged seasonings offered by many of the suppliers, while I'm in the learning process?" I don't even have a clue what I like and don't like, yet. They seem pretty reasonably priced and packaged to do 25lbs of whatever sausage unless otherwise stated. I'd need to add a binder and a fermenter to general supplies and maybe a few other items, but I'd do that any way.
What do you folks think? Are the pre-packaged seasonings all that bad? Are there any brands that others of you have tried that seemed to be pretty good?
Just fishing for ideas, rather than jumping into the deep end of the pool before I've even had my first swimming lesson.
I've read the entire Sausage forum and have enjoyed all the great advice, ideas, pictures, tutorials and videos you folks have provided. I'm truely impressed with all of the outstanding talent here on SMF and I know I couldn't be in a better place to get the help I need.
Thank You All,