Sausage and Curing Equipment and Supplies Updated

I originally posted about this subject in 2007, so perhaps it's time for an update.

A certain amount of equipment is needed to make sausage and to cure safely, I've listed a few suppliers here. Listing by me does not mean that I recommend any particular product, or business listed.

Sausage Making

Mincers
These can be either hand or electric mincers. Many people already own a mixer, with a mincing attachment such as the Kenwood Chef. These are fine for small scale sausage making.

Stand alone mixers are available from a number of suppliers. At the budget end of the market, this one from Northern Tool receives good reviews. Northern tool also stock larger machines and Weschenfender's sell a variety of sizes of quality machines.

Stuffers
You can stuff sausage skins (casings) by hand with a funnel, but I wouldn't fancy it myself! It's better to use either an adapter for your mincer or a special sausage stuffer.

Attachments for standard sized mincers are available from Sausagemaking.org and attachments are available for the Kenwood Chef, either from ebay, or a Kenwood spares supplier. They come complete with the mincer for newer models. Check with your Kenwood stockist as the tubes do not fit some older machines. Personally, I find it hard to use the sausage stuffers on mincers, on the other hand, I know people who use nothing else, so the choice is yours – this is certainly the cheaper option.

I use a dedicated sausage stuffer, these are available from the suppliers listed below and start at about £70. Northern Tool and Sausagemaking.org have excellent budget offerings with Sausagemaking.org also offering some excellent larger machines at reasonable prices. Weschenfender's carry a large range of quality machines. My own stuffer is from Biltongbox.com.

Scales
Accurate scales are useful for measuring small quantities of spices/herbs. I would recommend that you buy some as they allow you to repeat recipes easily. Scales, accurate to a tenth of a gram, or even one hundredth, are available quite cheaply online. There's usually some on ebay or a quick 'Google' for 'pocket digital scales', will show many other suppliers.

Sausage Skins (Casings)
These are usually sold by the hank (about 100 yards), or half-hank, and are preserved in salt. They can be bought 'pre-spooled' – that is to say they come on rods ready for soaking and threading onto your sausage stuffer rather than in a big bundle. Casings can be natural or artificial. Natural hogs' (pigs') and sheeps' casings are used for fresh sausages and need soaking in water before use. Ask the supplier for details of the preparation required for their casings. Artificial casings generally don't need soaking.

Weschenfelder's are specialists in the preparation of casings producing thousands of miles of casings each year. Other online suppliers include Sausagemaking.org and sausage-casings.co.uk. Larger quantities are available from Scobies and Weschenfelder's.

Sausage mixes, rusks and sundry items
A large range of ready made sausage mixes, rusk, emulsifiers and preservatives are available from Sausagemaking.org, Weschenfelder's, and for larger amounts, Scobies.

Specialist Ingredients in smaller quantities for the home sausage maker
It's hard to find some ingredients in the UK that are used in certain types of sausage, in quantities suitable for the home sausage maker. These include:

  • Supaphos - Phosphate cutter blend used to bind water. Small amounts can be bought from Sausagemaking.org
  • Supapres - Sodium metabisulphite used to increase shelf life of fresh sausage. Small amounts can be bought from Sausagemaking.org
  • Dried Blood - Used in Black Pudding. Weschenfelder's sell dried pigs' blood and also a black pudding making kit. Sausagemaking.org also have a black pudding kit.
  • Tapioca flour/starch - Used in Low Fat Sausage. Stocked by most Chinese supermarkets or online from Wing Yip and others.
  • Dextrose - Used to give good browning to a sausage skin. Dextrose is the food industry name for what is sold in many chemists shops as powdered glucose.
  • Large Natural Casings - Used for salami, luncheon meats, black pudding etc. See entry for sausage skins/casing above.
  • Large Artificial Casings - Used for salami and luncheon meats. Two sizes of fibrous casings are available individually from Sausagemaking.org. Scobies sell some of their range in 'smaller' size packages. However, these are still larger than the average home producer requires and don't include the larger casings for items such as Mortadella. For other sizes, for the time being, it's a case of looking to the US for supplies.
  • Artificial casings for black puddings - Sold online by ebay shop TruNet Packaging.
  • Soya Protien Isolate - Used to bind fat in cooked sausage and luncheon meat, or as an 'extender' in fresh sausage. Smaller amounts can be bought from Holland and Barrett. But make sure that you don't buy the chocolate or strawberry one! For larger quantities it's back to Scobies.

Cured Meat and Air Dried Sausage

Curing Salts

  • Cure #1, also known as Prague Powder - This cure contains Sodium Nitrite mixed with salt. It acts very quickly to protect the meat, unlike Saltpetre which has to convert from a Nitrate salt to a Nitrite, by reacting with bacteria in the meat, before it starts it's job. Sodium nitrite is often coloured pink so that it is not mistaken for anything else. The cure from Sausagemaking.org contains 5.88% nitrite and is not coloured. The British and EU rules on curing levels restrict the amounts of nitrites to 150 parts per million in most products. The USA rules include details of how the levels of nitrites can be calculated.
  • Cure #2, also known as Prague Powder II - This is a cure containing both Sodium Nitrite and Sodium Nitrate it is used in long term curing of air dried products.
  • Saltpetre - Saltpetre is Potassium Nitrate and is used in traditional curing. Modern curers still use it in products that are cured or matured for long periods.

All of these cures are available from Sausagemaking.org.

All in one cures

There's a large number of ready-made cures available for specific types of product and also for general curing. These are available from Weschenfelder's and Sausagemaking.org. Larger amount of these cures can be purchased from Scobies.

Sodium ascorbate
This is a vitamin C salt that is used in small quantities as a cure accelerator. It also adds to the safety of cured meats that will be fried at high temperatures. Sodium ascorbate is available from health supplement suppliers such as J G Supplements. It can also often be bought on ebay.

Lactic Bacteria Culture
This is used to make air dried sausage safe. Sausagemaking.org are now selling a range of Hansen's sausage cultures and Bessastart is available from Weschenfelder's. Both require storage in a freezer.

Mould Culture
Used to make promote the development of good moulds on salami. Penicillium Nalgiovense is now available to the home producer from Sausagemaking.org. A similar strain, Penicillium Candidum, can also be used and is available from Goat Nutrition Limited and Ascott. It requires storage in a freezer.

Curing and Smoking Equipment

Meat Injector
Specialist meat injectors are available from Weschenfender's. In view of the the cost of these, many home curers use a Marinade Injector instead, they can be bought from from Hot Smoked, For Food Smokers, MacsBBQ or Thebbq.co.uk, and many other sources.

Temperature Control
Digital Thermostats can be used to adapt a fridge into an air drying chamber. They are sold by Forttex. They are also available from a number of suppliers on ebay.

Humidity Control
Digital Hygrostats are also available from Forttex.

Smokers
There are a number of suppliers of smokers in the UK, two of the most popular are:

  • Bradley - One of the most popular small smokers, the Bradley is available from numerous UK suppliers including Sausagemaking.org and Weschenfelder's. The Bradley can be used to both hot and (with adaption) cold smoke. The only downside are the running costs which are high in comparison with some other systems.
  • ProQ CSG - An ingenious Cold Smoke Generator that takes all of the hassle out of cold smoking. One of my favourite pieces of equipment. To buy, or for details of the product, and stockists, see MacsBBQ website.

Smoking Woods - Buying bulk supplies of smoking woods can save a lot of money. Ashwood Smoking Chips in Kettering sell a good range. However, their wood dust may not be suitable for use in the ProQ CSG following a change in the specification made by their supplier.

Smoker Thermometer - Monitors both the smoker and meat temperature remotely. The Maverick ET-73 monitors both the oven temperature and the internal temperature of what you're smoking and sends the results by wireless to a separate receiver. It's now available in the UK from Smoking BBQ and MacsBBQ.

Further information and advice

There is no better place for further information on all aspects of curing and sausage making than the forums at sausagemaking.org.


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I'm somewhat incapacitated at present so replies may take some time. Please post urgent enquiries at the www.sausagemaking.org forum.

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