In this age of modern supermarkets. It’s very easy to go to your local supermarket and buy sausages of all kinds. Even in the days of the old neighborhood or village butcher you could do this. And with the butcher you could actually talk to him and find out what went into the burgers. But that still didn’t give you a real choice. If you wanted to experiment, you were stuck - or should that be stuffed?
Anyway, even in the old days there were mincers. Those of us of a certain age remember mum with the hand-operated mincer grinding up the cheaper cuts of meat and adding fresh vegetables to the grinder. Then, when the meat was used up and sitting there in the bowl with the ground up onion and carrot, chopped herbs, spices and seasoning were added. Then it was made into meatballs.
In some cases, with a great deal of skill and hard work, it was made into sausages, by the most awkward of manual methods. But it was hard work and so it didn’t happen very often… maybe once a fortnight if you were lucky.
But now all that has changed! We have electric as well as manual mincers and grinders. And we also have sausage-making attachments that make the last phase just as easy as the rest.
So here we review the 7 best sausage makers on the market. These are essentially mincer/grinders with sausage-making attachments.
This is a compact (45 x 27 x 23.4 cm) but powerful electric meat grinder/mincer with an attachment for making sausages and kubbe. The latter, for the uninitiated, is a middle eastern delicacy consisting of spicy mincemeat surrounded by a hard (usually fried) buckwheat crust.
The 1200-watt (1.608) HP) rated motor churns out enough power to break down the toughest cuts, when combined with the sharp cutter and the three grinding plates. The grinding plates are made of 304 Grade Stainless Steel. Two of them are for burgers and the third for finely minced sausage meat. The chassis that houses the machine is also made of Stainless Steel. However, although this machine is tough and durable, the makers are at pains to emphasize that it is not suitable for commercial use.
When using the sausage-making attachment, the meat is extruded through the hollow plastic tube that confines it to a ¾ inch diameter. This as our one minor gripe: the fact that there is only one sausage thickness offered.) The kubbe attachment is designed to facilitate stuffed meat dishes by creating a tube-shaped output from the buckwheat or other pastry/dough mixture.
When meat gets stuck - and especially when the motor itself jams if there is too much fat on the meat - there is a reverse motor button that sends the blades in the opposite direction and the meat back up. This usually does the trick.
The rotating screw is detachable for easy and thorough cleaning. Indeed, the whole attachment section can be taken apart very easily. However, some parts are not suitable for a dishwasher. Because of the heavy-duty construction and the non-slip feet, the machine stays in place when in use.
All of this is backed up by a comprehensive instruction book and a thorough manufacturer’s warranty.
This is an excellent piece of kit for the kitchen even if you don’t have a barbecue grill. And if you do, it will give you all you need to make perfect burgers and sausages.
If you’ve already got your mincemeat and mixed it with whatever ingredients you want to add, then the next stage is forming it into sausages. This little table-top device is designed to do just that. First, you feed in the mince into the stuffer, which has a 1-kilogram capacity. Then close it and turn the crank handle. If you do it right, then out comes the meat at the other end into the casings, through the nozzle. (Please note: there is a choice of three nozzles of different sizes.)
The trouble is that although the tool is supposed to stick to the work surface via a suction cup, it doesn’t actually stay in place all that well and tends to move around. Also, the handle is a bit stiff.
Another problem is that feeding the skins with an electric motor device is normally a two-handed operation. But when you have no electric motor - as in this case - and have to turn a crank handle, using both hands to feed the skin is not an option. And this can make the whole process rather trickier. We’re not saying that a competent adult can’t master the skill. Most of us can drive cars after all. But there is a learning curve. (Somewhat less steep than learning to drive, fortunately.)
There are three nozzles of different sizes (15mm, 19mm and 22mm). You can use theese with skins of 21mm, 28mm and 32mm respectively. With the 15mm nozzle, you could even try smaller skins, but this is a bit trickier.
The device is not dishwasher safe and must be washed by hand.
On balance, we feel there is enough positive about this device that we can recommend it. But be aware that it does have its flaws.
For a machine in the £40 range, the Duronic MG1600 is quite an awesome product. First of all, the motor is rated at 1600 W. That in itself is pretty powerful for a machine of it’s size.
It comes with the standard three grinding discs: fine, medium and coarse, as well as attachments for making sausages and kubbe. It is operated by two buttons: one for normal on/off operations of the motor and the other to reverse the motor on those (inevitable) occasions when the mechanism gets jammed. After use, the attachments should be dismantled and cleaned by hand in warm, soapy water.
So, what can you do with it? Basically everything. You can mince meat, vegetables or even fish. Not bones, of course, but the flesh with no problems, as long as it is cut small enough. With the sausage maker, you can extrude the mince into sausage casings that fit on the outside of the nozzle. And with the kubbe maker, you can extrude the kubbe mix into a hollow tube into which you can place the mincemeat and then seal the cylinder at both ends, giving it that characteristic pointed-end barrel-like appearance.
It is worth cleaning the parts thoroughly before first use, just in case there is any residue. We would even go as far as to suggest grinding half an onion through it, just to make absolutely sure that all trapped residue from the manufacturing process is cleared. There may also be that slight “burning” smell that one gets from new electro-mechanical appliances.
The machine has a stainless-steel frame and the internal parts are aluminum, as is the food tray that sits on top. It carries a one-year limited warranty, but this applies only to home use. The machine is not suitable for commercial use.
The makers have chosen to market this as a “Mincer Stuffer”. The sales pitch tells you that if you buy burgers or sausages in shops, you don’t know what went into it. Mechanically recovered meat from carcasses, high-salt content, chemical preservatives, etc.
However, as a mincer, it is pretty flimsy and you would be better of buying meat already minced. Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to buy ready-minced beef from a supermarket. You could instead by meat from a butcher and have him grind it for you before your eyes. When you get the mince home, you can add any other ingredients that you want. Then you can use this all-in-one kit to transform your mince into sausages.
So, what’s in the kit apart from the Rigamonti Italian “Mincer Stuffer”?
The suppliers claim that the Cumberland and Herb seasoning is made to an “original Lake District recipe.” We can’t vouch for this. But we can say that results were very pleasing when we tried it. Equally pleasing were the results from the Olde English Herb seasoning, which combines both white and black pepper with six different herbs.
On the down side, the mincer is not much of a heavy-duty product and it relies on a suction cup to hold it in place - never the best solution. Furthermore, the seasonings, sausage skins and rusk are not exactly expensive ingredients. So, it is hard to justify the price.
Having said that, you do get it all together in one kit, along with directions to a video. If you are a beginner, that is a good way to start. It also has the ability to make pasta, which is an added bonus, albeit a small one.
So, in conclusion then, this is a good beginners kit. But considering the price, there is a case for going straight to the Duronic (above). It costs less than three pounds more, and even if you have to pay an extra £10 or £12 for the casings and seasoning, it would still be better value for money.
Now if you really take your mincing seriously, as well as your sausage making and kubbe making, you go up-market with a heavy-duty machine like this. With a maximum output at 1800 Watts (at stall) this is a powerful beast.
It comes with the standard three interchangeable grinding plates, plus three sausage-making adapter tubes and a kubbe adapter for extruding hollow, cylindrical casings for stuffed dishes. We used it to grind beef, onions and garlic with no trouble. Then we decided to get a bit bolder and try grinding a carrot instead of using the more traditional shredder. It worked, but with some difficulty and a couple of times we had to use the reverse button to extract the clogged-up material. We decided not to push our luck any further with a horseradish, but simply grated it instead.
The parts are easy to clean, but the metal grinding plates should not be washed in a dishwasher. Warm, soapy water in the sink is actually the best way to clean all of them, including the sausage-making attachments and push stick. If the holes in the grinders have bits of meat or other debris trapped in them, simply soak them in a shallow bowl of warm water for 10-20 minutes, then wash and rinse. A blast of water is usually a good way to dislodge any debris that still remains trapped after that.
The machine is operated by four buttons: Reverse, On, Half and Stop, Reset - all of which is pretty straightforward and self-explanatory. You can use half power for extruding the mince for the sausages or the buckwheat mix for kubbe. Use full power for grinding. The lead and plug can be stored in a convenient housing compartment at the back.
The machine is solid, robust and well-constructed - everything you would expect from family business Andrew James. We can highly recommend this piece of equipment.
Of course, not everyone likes to do things the modern way. Some of us prefer the old-fashioned way, whether because it reminds us of our happy childhood, or because we like the exercise. If that’s your bag, this traditional mincer/grinder from Kitchen Craft, with a sausage-making attachment is for you.
This is the kind of mincer you granny or “nan” might have used. Made of solid and robust cast-iron, it clamps to your table or worktop with a threaded screw-clamp. Unlike an electric mincer which merely “has” attachments and parts, this traditional mincer is made up of parts. Thus, it is not just the grinding plates, cutter and of course the “worm” that are parts, even the crank handle is a removable and washable part.
It operates like an electric mincer, apart from the need to turn the crank handle. You feed the meat, fish or vegetables in and the top and they come out minced (coarse, medium or fine) through the grinder. There is a single, plastic sausage-making attachment.
Unfortunately, this tool is not as sharp or effective as the ones granny used. (Or maybe granny just has a stronger right arm for turning the crank handle!) Anyway, it did a reasonable job on fish, an acceptable job on lean beef (after it had been chilled) but a less than satisfactory job on fatty beef and an appalling job on raw chicken. The problem is that fatty raw meat tends to get stuck and even back up. It is hard to push it down because the shape of the hopper does not allow a tight seal in the way that you get with a circular tube and a push-stick.
Another problem is that it has a lot of flaky residue when it first arrives, because it is made from cast iron with no surface treatment. This problem can be solved with thorough cleaning before first use and possibly “curing” by pushing through some cheap easily shredded “throwaway” vegetables.
As to the problem with mincing chicken and fatty meat, there is no solution really. Chilling the meat (or even semi-freezing it) helps, but doesn’t completely solve the problem.
Finally, while it is not very good for raw ingredients, it is excellent for grinding up cooked meat. So, if you want to make some sort of a meat pie out of the leftovers, this tool will work just fine. Also, if you use it for sausage-making with meat that is already minced, then there is no problem. In either case, you may have some unused meat at the end, but this is the same problem you would have with an electric. Also, you can push the last of the meat through with two quarter onions.
Okay so finally we come to the king of sausage making grinders. No, not the king, the emperor.
Made of die-cast aluminum, it features metal gears for robust use in action it has remarkably quiet motor for a machine of this power. Cooled by an air flow induction cooling system to prevent overheating, is has a large 7cm diameter grinder head which allows more meat to pass through in a short space of time.
The non-slip suction feet ensure that the machine stays in place when you use it and the 700-watt motor (1800-watt max locked) ensures that there is plenty of power for grinding up the toughest meat using the stainless steel cutting blade and any one of the four stainless steel grinding plates. (Please note: most of these machines only have three grinding plates.) There are also two speeds (for grinding and sausage-filling respectively) as well as a reverse mode in case the worm and plates get jammed with food.
Unlike some of these machines, where the sausage making nozzles are made of plastic, this one features three stainless steel nozzles. Their sizes are: 16mm for chipolatas, 22m for regular sausages and an extra-large 32mm for really thick sausages. There is also a specially designed “smooth-flow” sausage filling plate, for smoother, cleaner results. And needless to say there is also a kubbe-making attachment.
There is a 12-month warranty and if you need spare parts they are available from Luvele. There is even a demonstration video to show the machine in action.
The one minor downside is that the removable parts are not machine washable. They must be washed by hand, but to clean the sausage making tubes properly, you need a long, thin brush.