Sausage Starter Kit?

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by mikeythai, May 13, 2010.

  1. mikeythai

    mikeythai Smoke Blower

    I'm still a real noob to hot smoking, but damn if I don't want to start smoking some sausage too. (insert joke here [​IMG])

    I'm planning on buying the 5 lb LEM sausage stuffer. Costs about $130 and has metal gears. The only downside I can see is the stuffing tubes are plastic.
    Does anyone have a LEM unit, and do you like it?

    Gonna get that book, too.

    I have a lot of Tenderquick at home, so I guess I'll need some casing too.

    Can someone suggest an 'easy' sausage to start with? And what kind of casing should I order (I'm thinking about snack sticks for my first run).
  2. pandemonium

    pandemonium Master of the Pit

    The grizzly is only 85$ with shipping thats savings will pay for half of a decent grinder, I dont know why everyone says the plastic gears are a problem? they must be morons because im telling you just dont break the gears by stuffing unless your a gorilla i guess, but the gears on the grizzly can be replaced with the metal ones from lem if ever needed from what ive read on here. and the plastic tubes are fine as well i think people just like to show off lol its thick plastic and i dont see them breaking anytime soon. just my 2 cents
  3. mikeythai

    mikeythai Smoke Blower

    Who makes the grizzly?
  4. pandemonium

    pandemonium Master of the Pit

  5. pandemonium

    pandemonium Master of the Pit

    hmm now they make a 15 lber too i didnt see that before but its a lot more $$
  6. pantherfan83

    pantherfan83 Smoking Fanatic

    I think the best price on a 15 lb stuffer is Northern Tool, or Gander Mountain depending upon if either is on-sale at the time. The 15 lb'ers are more expensive, but if I had to do it over again, I would spend the extra cash if I could still get it for $179 or less with the coupon like Gander Mnt. offered around the 1st of the year/christmas.

    I have the Grizzly and it's worked great for 3-4 years. No need to worry about stripping the gears unless you fail to stop cranking when the plunger gets to the bottom. If it's cranking so hard that it would strip out the gears, you are doing something wrong.
  7. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If I were you I would start out using your grinder to stuff the casings. That way you will find out if you want to make sausage or not. Then you can buy the stuffer. I would also start out with the kits too. I got a Gander mtn near me so it was really easy and they will give you plenty of casings that you can make many different kinds of sausage. The one hint I would relay to you is when you are using your grinder for stuffing make sure that you use the cutting blade with the stuffing plate. It's a real bi......h if you don't believe me.
  8. pandemonium

    pandemonium Master of the Pit

    Gander mountain do not sell stuffers anymore remember the crap they pulled on a few of us?
  9. mikeythai

    mikeythai Smoke Blower

    I don't have a grinder. I was planning on buying fresh ground picnics or other ground meats from the market.
  10. I've had excellent luck with the Hi-Mountain Jerky's sausage kits that you can get at Cabelas or other sporting good stores. Hi-Mountain Jerky is on-line at The kits include the proper casings and are good for a 30 lb batch but everyhing is pre-measured for two 15 lb batches. Recently did 15 lbs of jalapino/elk summer sausage, 15 lbs fresh sweet italian, 15 lbs elk polish and 15 lbs elk bratwurst from their kits. Smoked everyhing except the sweet italian on my Traeger. I need practice making uniform looking sausage links but the flavor was great. I've got a set-up (1/2 hp grinder and a sausage mixer) from from Cabelas and the plastic stuffers are not a problem. It's just a PITA to feed everything through the grinder for the 2nd grind and stuff. I bought a foot switch and that really helps. Hope you have as much fun as I am with the sausage making and the smoking.[​IMG]
  11. mikeythai

    mikeythai Smoke Blower

    It kinda seems like the better my planning is, the better time I have lol.

    I'm reading between the lines on your post there and it sounds like it's gonna be some work...I like the idea of the kits for the first few batches.

    I don't hunt so I'll avoid buying a grinder if storebought ground meat will work for the sausage..
  12. pandemonium

    pandemonium Master of the Pit

    are you gonna use it for snack sticks? or fresh sausages? i guess either way the stuffing is the easiest part if you have a dedicated stuffer imho its the meat cutting and chilling before grinding and seasoning that take most of the time.
  13. mikeythai

    mikeythai Smoke Blower

    I think eventually I'll do both.

    Apparently I still need to learn a few basic concepts before I start warming up the smoker.[​IMG] I thought you grind, mix in the cure, let it sit in the fridge 4 days (mixing every day) then season and stuff.
  14. solaryellow

    solaryellow Limited Mod Group Lead

    I usually grind, mix meat and spices, and then put back in the fridge overnight. I think it helps with the flavor. I stuff the following day.
  15. pandemonium

    pandemonium Master of the Pit

    i was referring to fresh sausage, i have never done the snack sticks so im not sure on that one.
  16. que-ball

    que-ball Smoking Fanatic

    Nothing wrong with the 5# Grizzly stuffer, especially when you're just starting out. Mine has stuffed alot of sausage for me in the 10 or so years I've had it. You'll want to experiment with different recipes in smaller amounts, so stopping to reload the stuffer is no big deal. The plastic tubes are fine too, as long as you wet them down to keep the casings from sticking to them.

    For fresh sausage starting with ground meat like you plan to do, the process is:
    mix seasonings in water (no cure)
    mix seasonings into meat
    stuff your casings
    twist casings into links

    Cure is used only with sausage that's going to be smoked, to prevent bacteria growth during the smoking process.
  17. shooterrick

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

    Just my 2 cents. 1st the Gander and Northern Tool stuffers are the same unit. I have the Gander 15 lb stuffer. I would suggest investing in a good grinder first. If ya are only going to do 5lbs at a time stuffing with a grinder is doable. More than that and it can get to be a pain. Secondly you should realize that what ever capacity any stuffer says it has it is the measurement of the tank not how much meat it will hold. All stuffers I have seen hold one pound less meat than advertized. This is to make room for the plunger. So a five Lb stuffer only holds 4lbs meat. You will load twice to stuff a full 5lbs.

    As for store bought ground meat: It may be ok if ya can buy a whole cut and have em grind it while ya wait. Otherwise it could be on the old side of the days grind which is not a good thing in my opinion.

    Lastly the first and easiest sausage to make are fresh not cured. Breakfast, Italian are all in this catagory. If ya are gonna smoke sausage it must be cured first for safety reasons. The slow cooler smoking temps used in sausage smoking are prime bacteria invironments. Curing is or should be considered a must for smoking sausage. You can make fresh breakfast sausage or italian sausage and not stuff it. Just keep it bulk ground and freeze what ya dont want to use in vac bags or such.

    Ok you got my opinion and we all have em so good luck!
  18. mikeythai

    mikeythai Smoke Blower

    Thanks for everyone who's weighed in.

    I'm researching all the stuff you guys are suggesting.

    The funny part is out in the country here in Thailand they just stuff natural casings by hand. The local sausage isn't very good, though. I once bit into one and found a full length hog hair. Thick, bristly eww.

    I'm definitely going to buy a stuffer... hopefully this week. I might be able to buy a grinder in Thailand.
  19. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    They have an outstanding customer service dept. that actually has trained reps. It's worked for me.

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