View Full Version : Grinder & Stuffer Recommendations?

04-30-2013, 09:12 AM
I'll bet Pappy's rule #2 was don't loan your tools!

So are there any recommendations for an electric sausage/meat grinder and stuffer from those who have already been down this path? I have only used the KA attachment and never the stuffing kit (and probably never will).


04-30-2013, 12:46 PM
Kitchener #12 Electric Meat Grinder — 1/2 HP | Electric Meat Grinders| Northern Tool + Equipment (http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200451267_200451267)

I have been pleased with this grinder. It isn't commercial quality but performs well at home. Northern also carries the stuffer too - search their site and you'll find it.

04-30-2013, 08:24 PM
I'll bet Pappy's rule #2 was don't loan your tools!



Take a look at Sausage Maker and LEM products. They're both made in USA. The LEM owners seem to really like the grinders and stuffers.
My Cabela's ones are made in China and if something breaks, repair could be a problem.

05-01-2013, 01:08 AM
I don't mean to seem contrary, but both LEM & TSM (Sausage Maker brand) are made in China (I researched both brands when I upgraded my grinder in August, 2011).

LEM Commercial Grinders: Even though they're made in China, SalmonSmoker is dead right about LEM owners liking them! The LEM commercial models (1/2 h.p. - 1 1/2 h.p.) consistently get great reviews and have a 2 year warranty!

Cabelas Commercial Grinders are also imported, but consistently get superb ratings and have a 5-year warranty. They're actually certified for commercial use. I upgraded to a Cabelas 1 h.p. grinder and love it. I don't anticipate ever having to replace it. Top notch customer service!

Weston commercial grinders get consistently great reviews (almost as good as Cabelas). They're also imported but are UL approved and NSF/ANSI approved, so they have gone through more rigorous testing. They have a 1 year warranty.

I have dealt with Weston customer service a couple of times (ordering replacement O-rings for my stuffer and an issue with my smaller slicer) and can vouch for their Top-notch customer service!

TSM grinders (Sausage Maker) are CE approved which is usually a dead giveaway they're NOT made in USA. They get good ratings, but not as good as the others. They have a 1 year warranty.

Other Notes:
- Be wary of the cheaper grinders; there are a lot of bad/so-so reviews out there.

- Pay attention to the throat size as well as the Horsepower rating. With a smaller #8 or #10 throat, you will need to cut the meat into smaller cubes to grind them.

- For modest sausage making a 1/4 to 1/3 h.p. commercial grinder will fit your needs and isn't too bad on the pocketbook.

But, I will tell you this. If you think you're going to be serious about making sausage, you will really appreciate the power and speed of a 1/2 h.p. or higher grinder. Not only does it grind at a higher rate, but with a larger #12 or #22 throat you won't have to waste time cubing the meat so small.


Sausage Stuffers

...If I had to start again the first tool would be the stuffer. If you're starting small, you can buy your meat pre-ground

That is some sound advice!

Be careful of the cheaper stuffers with plastic nylon gears. Stiff sausage mixes like summer sausage can be brutal on nylon gears.

LEM and Weston both make some nice stuffers with all metal gears.

Occasional sausage stuffing = 5 lb. stuffer.

Frequent larger batches = 10 lb. or more stuffer.

I have a 7 lb Weston stuffer and love it, just wish I'd gone bigger (planning to upgrade soon)!

05-01-2013, 07:17 AM
Great post Tent.
I stand corrected on the manufacture of the grinders. It's too bad especially with Sausage Maker having an American flag on their stuff.
I have the 1 HP Cabela's grinder with the #22 throat and it does make short work of the grinding. I have their 11#vertical stuffer also. LEM grinders have a re-designed auger that pulls the meat in with ease and you don't have to tamp it down to get the auger to bite. A minor problem with mine. Their auger won't fit my machine...I called and checked.

05-01-2013, 08:06 AM
So it sounds like the stuffers, the LEM may be preferred over the Cabelas that Salmonsmoker uses?
Maybe need to start saving for these. Wife snarled at me when the ups guy dropped off the big BPS package last night! Something about retirement savings and what not.

Good write up on the grinders there! Maybe I start with a stuffer and continue to use the KA (until I kill it and get a real mixer) while I'm learning the ropes.



05-01-2013, 09:13 AM
I have the LEM grinder and stuffer Both work well and a big upgrade from the KA attachment. That said you will still only use a few times a year, so take that into consideration.

05-01-2013, 11:45 AM
So it sounds like the stuffers, the LEM may be preferred over the Cabelas that Salmonsmoker uses?

No, I think LEM, Cabelas and Weston, all make good heavy duty stuffers.

I think the all metal gears and which gear design you go with will make more of a difference. There are two options, both with pro's & con's:

- Hand crank in back with angled gears: This type seems to be a little easier for a one-man job because of the gear ratio. But to bring the plunger back up to refill the cylinder, you have to crank, and crank it backwards!

- Hand Crank on the side with enclosed gear box: This type has Dual Speed gears; one set for stuffing and the other to quickly bring the plunger back up. These models are really tough and can stuff quicker, but harder for a single person to use. They work better with two people; one person cranking while the other controls the casings and sausage.

Cabelas offers a motor attachment for these types to make it easy for a single-man operation (but it's pricey).

A couple more notes: If your stuffer comes with plastic stuffing tubes, consider upgrading to the stainless steel tubes.

The plunger gasket (O-ring)!!! is a normal wear & tear item. ALWAYS order and keep a spare one - Don't ask me how I know! :rolleyes:

Hope this makes sense!


05-13-2013, 07:34 AM
I am getting ready to buy the Cabela's 1HP grinder and 11lb stuffer.

The grinder has forward and reverse and a larger throat plus rave reviews.
The 11 # stuffer can be fitted with the motor and has a larger tube 40mm vs the smaller stuffer from cabelas. Not sure how a one man operation vs two man operation is going to be. I guess I'll find out.
I think the stuffing tubes are plastic though. 10/20/30/40 mm sizes. Are these the largest diameter sausages we can make at home? No 3-4 inch diameter salami?

I am somewhat on the fence with the Cabala stuffer. Some mixed reviews, and hard to see which model the reviewer is discussing as there are recent product revisions. Three big complaints were: gear stripping-weak metal, difficulty with smallest diameter snack-sticks, and 1pound lost meat in base that was wasted and couldn't be stuffed into casings. I am thinking the LEM 10 pounder MIT be better? Diameter of tubes are similar and LEM has the stainless as opposed to plastic tubes. Main reason I was considering the cabelas was that I could add a motor. The 20# cabela stuffer is only slightly more. LEM somewhat more economical. Oddly the 15 pound LEM stuffer gets poor reviews though. Any forum members use the cabela stuffer?

Still reading Kutas, and stopped at the casing section. Was wondering when buying or searching for casings, how you pair the casing sizes to the stuffer tubing. For instance, if the natural casings are 29-32mm, can that stretch over the 30mm stuffer tube? Similarly, when stuffing a larger sausage, will the sausage expand to fill in a larger diameter casing than the stuffer tube diameter, and if so what is a reasonable margin that could be made with satisfactory results? Not sure this should be covered in a separate post.

What other basics will I need (spare O ring on list)?

For better or worse, I've already ordered the Cabela's grinder and stuffer. I was told they are made by Weston. Going to call them next to see about the O ring, and if they have different stuffing tubes available. Got some hog casings as well. Looks like I'm the new Johnny Verbeck.


05-13-2013, 12:55 PM
T.D. Here's my 2, and others will chime in as well.

I think your choice of the Cabelas grinder is fine. I don't think anyone makes a better one for home use (of course, I have the same model you're looking at and love it). The first time I used it I could not believe it took less than 5 minutes grind a 50+ lb case of pork shoulders (40+ lbs meat). It took longer to cut the meat off the bones.

Re - the Stuffer:
Larger sausages are no problem. You just use the largest tube to fill them. And, most people end up buying a smaller tube made for snack sticks.

As for the waste: The meat left in the tube can be pushed through and into the casing using a wooden dowel. For the meat left in the bottom & neck bend (where the stuffing tubes attach)...

I just make a patty and throw it on the smoker. There's certainly no need to waste it!

Three big complaints were: gear stripping-weak metal,...
Now that complaint would definitely bother me.

The funny thing is, I remember Nepas telling me a few years ago that Weston makes Cabelas stuffers, but the actual Weston brand is built better. The 7 lb Weston stuffer I have is built like a tank (and it came with Stainless steel stuffing tubes, not plastic). I just wish I'd gotten a bigger model.

I am seeing mixed reviews on most brand stuffers (including Weston), but having used mine and dealt with Weston customer service, I would not hesitate to buy another Weston.

05-13-2013, 01:06 PM

I called Weston and got the PN for the o ring. Called Cabela's back and added it to my order.
I ended up getting the 20 pound stuffer for just a bit more than the 11 pounder (what an odd size!)
Thanks for the helpful information. Especially glad to hear I can stuff wider sausages, like salami at some point.
I think I read somewhere that the cabela stuffer with the motor alleviated some of the issues with gears, and that they beefed up the gear due to complaints. The motor has a clutch which I think will disengage to prevent gear damage. This leads to the issue of will it actually stuff the dang sausages however. Time will tell, and I add my comments on that particular stuffer when I've used it a few times.
I'm going to probably try and build a dry cure cabinet later this year, once I've made a few fresh and hot smoked sausages with my new gear.


05-17-2013, 04:31 PM
Gear arrived today!

Unfortunately, it could have arrived in a more discrete fashion. I got "the look" from you know who, as it was piled up on the porch. The grinder I would say is not a highly portable model, unless you are a certain former governor of California. Anyway, its going to be a ton of fun, and I can't wait to dive in this weekend. Gonna do up some fresh sausages, and might even venture into cured and cold smoked territory.


05-18-2013, 06:36 AM
Atta boy TD! No better time to jump in than right now. When SWMBO tastes fresh homemade sausage the "look" will change to one of joy. Well..... here's hoping it will. They're not usually impressed by the same things we are. We like making sausage, they like pedicures with fancy toenail polish. :confused::(

05-18-2013, 09:01 AM
Gear arrived today!

The grinder I would say is not a highly portable model,

No it's not, BUT it's built like a flipping tank! You are gonna love it!

05-28-2013, 11:38 AM
Holy WOW, you ain't kiddin'!

The motor weighs a bunch. Probably 35 pounds I would estimate. About the size of a medium watermelon.

The grinder assembly weighs probably another 15 pounds, all stainless it seems, not counting the feeder tray. The mouth #22 size is roughly the diameter of a 12 oz aluminum beverage can, maybe slightly larger. You really don't need to do a lot of preparatory carving to get meat properly sized for this grinder.

I only got two grinder discs with mine. 4.5 & 7mm the description says. I think that equates to 3/16 and 1/4 inch roughly. Is there a 3/8 size available? I can't find.

I bought two packs of beef chuck, and one pack short ribs last night and did some home ground burgers. I deboned the ribs and both packs of the beef chuck roast (boneless). Took less than 5 minutes to prep the meat. Into the freezer along with the grind assembly while I prepped some seasonings to mix into the beef. The act of grinding would have been over in less than 3 minutes, but took about five minutes for about 7-8 pound of meat. Could've been faster if I was in a hurry. Working around the safety guard to keep your fingers and hands safe was the hardest part. I don't think I will consider removing the guard as ill bet it could rip your hand off if you got it caught. Cleanup was a breeze. Hardest part of the operation is lifting the motor, and handling the ice cold grinder assembly. No photos. Sorry.

My review of this grinder, the same as TentHunter has, A+. There appear to be a variety of attachments as well:mixer, patty maker, jerky maker, beef cube steak, etc. I wish there was a 3/8 grinder disc.

The cabelas motorized vertical stuffer worked like a charm! Easy to clean and setup. Motorized for one man operation made it easy to use. There is a speed dial on the motor, which operates the low speed gearshaft. I stuffd natural hog casings, and was able to regulate the speed easily with the foot switch to keep the sausages well filled without bursting or overfilling.

I've only used the stuffer once so far. Some online critics complained of gear failure, but the motor has a clutch to prevent damage, which is another plus.


05-28-2013, 10:20 PM
Glad you like it (I knew you would). ;)

Is there a 3/8 size available? I can't find.

They're readily available, just not from Cabelas. Go to ebay and type,"#22 3/8 grinding plate" all you'll get all kinds of hits. You can pick one up for under $24 including shipping.

06-01-2013, 09:58 AM
Been using grinder to stuff sausage but want to upgrade to commercial stuffer. ProProcessor seems to have good prices but can't find any reviews? Has anyone purchased?

Or what do you recommend- this is commercial use for deer processing shop. Would want it to be electric not manual and min. 30 lb. (also meat mixers...)


06-05-2013, 06:33 AM
I haven't used any commercial stuffers myself, so I am no help.

06-05-2013, 07:20 AM
I'm not much able to comment on the durability of the Cabela's motorized vertical stuffer as I've only used it once. The tubes are plastic and to my knowledge not available in steel. The rest of the stuffer seems very well constructed. motor sold separately. Supposedly the motor has a clutch which will disengage to prevent gear damage, and they say that you need to add water to the mixture and try again if that happens. probably a bigger issue with the smaller diameter sausages and casings. They make a 30# version. A mixer attachment can be had for their grinder motor. I believe that both are manufactured by Weston for Cabela. I've never used any commercial equipment, and heck, have only used my stuff once. Takes a while to eat 9 or so pounds of sausage!