Ever since I got my first smoker a number of years ago, I have loved making sausages to smoke. Whether it is kielbasa, andouille or chorizo, making sausages at home has been an enjoyable endeavor and the taste is amazing! I have always used a sausage stuffer attachment that fits on a popular brand name mixer. With this attachment, I was able to get the job done, but it was a frustrating endeavor. The meat mixture flows slowly and gets clogged easily. I have often wondered how a dedicated manual stuffer works in comparison. Well, I have recently had the chance to use the Realtree Outfitters Sausage Stuffer by Weston. All I have to say is, wow! This product makes sausage stuffing a snap.
Having a quality sausage stuffer opens up the possibility of making anything from fresh brats or Italian sausage to even pepperoni and salami. This sausage stuffer from Weston holds 5 pounds of meat in the large steel canister which is more than enough, allowing you to make multiple links before needing to be refilled.
The machine is manual and requires no electricity to operate. All that is needed is some manual turning of the crank to push the meat through the funnel and into the casings. Built to last, the entire machine except the funnels, are made of solid steel.
The funnels are made of plastic, come in 4 different diameters, and are perfect for making various sized sausages, pepperoni, or salami.
Attaching the funnel is done by twisting the large ring nut on the canister. It is a good idea to add some food grade lubricant to the threads before the ring nut is screwed on. This allows it to go on smoothly.
The funnel is nice and long allowing you to prep a lot of casing on the funnel for a big stuffing session!
The base of the unit is both heavy and sturdy, meaning that it will not rock or move while you are cranking the handle. There are rubber stoppers on the bottom of the unit as well.
The handle can be removed, which is great for storing the machine. When not in use, I actually leave it in the box it came in. Turning the crank twists the plunger shaft which raises and lowers the plunger.
The plunger is inside the steel canister. As the crank is turned, the plunger lowers, pushing the meat mixture down in the canister, through the mouth, out the funnel and into the casing. There is a silicone seal around the plunger to ensure smooth movement within the canister.
To try this out, I decided to make some homemade smoked kielbasa. I prepped 15 pounds of pork with spices and cure #1 (aka Prague Powder #1) and let it cure in the fridge overnight. The next day I took some natural hog casing and slipped it onto the funnel. Since hog casings are very long, it is best to put almost all of the casing on the funnel. This allows a more complete stuffing and consistently sized sausage with no air pockets.
Adding meat to the canister is very easy. Turn the crank so that the plunger lifts out of the canister, which then tilts sideways, allowing easy access. It is advisable to add some food grade lubricant to the inside of the canister so that the meat moves through it easily.
I filled the canister close to the top with the meat mixture. Then I snapped the canister back into the upright position.
Turning the handle lowers the plunger back into the canister. I could feel some resistance once the plunger met up with the meat. Even though there was a bit of resistance, it was still very easy to turn the handle and push the meat down.
As I slowly turned the handle, I saw the meat start to move through the funnel. I like that the funnel is clear, allowing you to see the meat.
Stuffing the casing with the Realtree Outfitters Sausage Stuffer was so incredibly easy. There was little effort needed to turn the handle and the meat moved through the funnel smoothly and at a consistent pace. It never came close to clogging and I even have chunks of pork in the mixture. I was impressed that there were no air pockets at all in the kielbasa. As I was using this machine, I often reflected back on the stuffer attachment for my stand mixer that I had used for years. This machine is so much better to use and it is almost impossible to really compare. I could never go back.
Once the casing was mostly filled, I pulled off the remaining length from the funnel and tied it up. The funnel was ready for another hog casing to be slipped on and another kielbasa to be stuffed.
Once the 15 pounds of meat were stuffed, I got 12 links of kielbasa made. I left them hang to dry for an hour or so.
Then the kielbasa went into the smoker for a good smoke. The smoker was set at 170F and the kielbasa were pulled out once they reached an internal temperature of 155F. I threw them in an ice bath to stop them from cooking any further. Then they hung for another hour or so to bloom. The kielbasa was delicious!
Cleaning the stuffer is a snap. The canister and plunger can both be removed from the stand and washed in the sink with warm soapy water. Disassembly and reassembly is very simple to do. Everything about this sausage stuffer by Weston is incredible. It holds a lot of meat, stuffs casing smoothly, and cleans up easily. I also love that it is all made of steel and is manually operated, because it will last for years. There is not much at all in this machine that can break.
Reasonably priced, this sausage stuffer is the perfect choice for anyone wanting to start making their own sausages, pepperoni, salami, kielbasa and more.
You can purchase this or many other Weston products at their website: Realtree Outfitters Sausage Stuffer by Weston
Disclaimer: Weston provided me with this sausage stuffer. They did not pay me for this review and the views expressed above are my honest reactions after trying the Weston product.