An assortment of fresh, rustic sausages on display.

Why Choose a Vertical or a Horizontal Sausage Stuffer?

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Writer / Enthusiast / Meat Curer / Forager / Harvester | About Tom

For decades, immersed in studying, working, learning, and teaching in the craft of meat curing, now sharing his passion with you through eat cured meat online resource.

Choosing a sausage stuffer can be a difficult decision- since they operate quite differently, I have found. Apart from shape, here is some helpful information about choosing what might suit you more.

Whether you are new to making sausages or are an experienced sausage stuffer, you likely recognize that using a device that was specifically designed for this purpose is a must for more significant amounts of sausage.

I’ve used both for sausages, salami, mincing, and grinding all types of meat over the years.

There are two main types of sausage stuffers, each with different advantages, so you might consider their pros and cons.

Why Choose a Vertical or Horizontal Sausage Stuffer? Vertical sausage stuffers are more compact, gravity-fed, and commonly used. Horizontal sausage stuffers are better for a two-person operation but must be on an edge or secured on a bench.

However, while both types of sausage stuffers will produce the results, it is ultimately up to you to decide which one you will be able to work better with once you get a bit of practice. 

It might take you a few tries to get the hang of using either type, but after a bit of work, it is not hard to reason that you will know when you have found the one that will work for you.

Sausage stuffer horizontal 1 large
The mystery of inside a sausage stuffer!

Let’s take a closer look at the advantages each type of sausage stuffer (vertical and horizontal) brings to the table.

I’ve left out automatic stuffers, because they produce too much heat, and trust me you don’t want to emulsify when you produce sausages or salami. Some electric automatic stuffers work on pressure sensitivity as well.

I have a preference for a manual stuffer.

Vertical or Horizontal Sausage Stuffer

Either option can work, and you won’t be hampered by choosing either. I just wanted to highlight some points about using them that might help you decide.

Vertical Sausage Stuffer

Choosing a manual vertical sausage stuffer can be a great option. It’s generally the way most guys go.

There are so many different models of sausage stuffers out there, so choosing the one that is right for you might seem a bit daunting. Fortunately, there are many pros that a manual vertical sausage stuffer can offer you.

  • compact storage
  • gravity-fed
  • 1 person operation easier
  • High Handle Position
Vertical stuffer

More Compact

The meat preparation device is more compact, which offers a few unique advantages as you prepare your delicious sausages or salami.

The compactness of the sausage stuffer has to do with its size.

The smaller versions of vertical stuffers are seen as they take up less counter space and stand tall instead. 

It might not seem like this would matter too terribly much when you consider that you would probably need a decent bit of counter space to work with, anyway. 

Every inch of counter space taken up by your sausage stuffer is space that cannot be used to place the stuffed sausage, kitchen tools, or utensils.

Pumping out the sausages into a large tray can help, but you need a decent amount of bench space.

In this case, a larger sausage stuffer on a small counter would mean that you would have to stop in the middle of the sausage stuffing process while you worked to move the sausage out of the way.

There would be less room for the meat to pile up neatly on the countertop

Along with this, being compact helps to be able to move the device more freely.

When you are in the middle of preparing your sausage, you will most likely not be moving the sausage stuffer around. 

Getting the device into position (along with all of the other tools that you will probably be using) needs to be swift so that you can move on and begin preparing your tasty sausage links.

A big tip is to make sure you check the grinder plates that come with a stuffer, 3 or 4 cutters are good options for most grinds. The holes and diameter of the holes need to fit your purposes.

2-4mm per hole is a generally accepted size, although you may want to grind coarser for showcase fat also.

Gravity-Fed

Working smarter instead of harder is a common saying that implies that it is best to find the most efficient method of work rather than the more cumbersome one. 

Using a vertical sausage stuffer is working smarter in terms of physical labor that will go into stuffing your sausage. 

As you work with the meat you are preparing, you will manually crank the machine (on either of the two sausage stuffers we refer to). 

Rather than having to crank as the meat slides into the device sideways, you can more easily hold the sausage stuffer in place while you crank.

Not only does this help to ensure that all of the sausage is easily falling down and your machine is not have to push it even farther, but it helps to be able to control your sausage stuffer’s positioning. 

Instead of bolting down or securing the sausage stuffer (which you can still do if it is vertical; it just is not as necessary), you can hold it in place with one hand while you crank with another.

Then, ideally, you will not have issues with your machine sliding about as you begin to use it- something that could make this process incredibly frustrating, messy, and difficult otherwise.

Large 6-10lb stuffers are heavy enough not to slide around.

1-Person Operation

Since the unit is lined up vertically, it can make one-person operation more straightforward, although I don’t have issues with one person operating the horizontal stuffer either.

It is often the tying, linking, or knotting during the process that can make 2-person sausage stuffing a lot more efficient.

High Handle Position

The position of the crank handle on many vertical stuffers is high, which can lead to to more strain if you are producing large batches of sausage.

You can see this in the above image.

Vertical Stuffers are More Common

Not everything that is more common means that it is the right choice, but in terms of using a vertical or horizontal sausage stuffer, you may find that the more common option (vertical) is commonly chosen for a reason. 

I’m always making sausage with a friend, so the horizontal is an advantage.

Horizontal Sausage Stuffer

  • Easy for Two-Person Operation
  • Needs to be on the Edge of a Bench or Secured
Salami stuffing large
How we Produce the Sausage with a Horizontal Stuffer

Now, while a manual vertical sausage stuffer has its advantages, the horizontal sausage stuffer is a useful option that comes with its own unique advantages.

With that said, there are two major benefits of using a manual horizontal sausage stuffer. These two benefits (among others) include that this option is better for a two-person operation and that it can operate well when placed on the edge of a bench or otherwise bolted and secured. 

Better for a Two-Person Operation

Now, while some people might not find this to be an advantage (as they prefer to operate solo in their sausage stuffing responsibilities), knowing that teamwork can come into play with a horizontal sausage stuffer makes the whole process more enjoyable.

Let’s say, for example, that you and a buddy have decided to bring back your heritage and begin the practice of making sausage with your traditional cultural or family recipe. 

You both get excited about the prospect and begin to labor away. With a horizontal sausage stuffer, you can have one person crank while the other person keeps the pressure on the casing, resulting in a nice tight fill.

This means that you can use the sausage stuffing process as a social time to celebrate the preparation of this year’s sausage fest whilst also getting a nice tight fill. 

Needs to be on the Edge of a Bench or Secured

Due to the horizontal design, the handle must be on the edge of a bench or table.

If you have the option to secure the horizontal sausage stuffer, it depends on the feet and how well it sticks to your bench space.

I find this height more ergonomic than a vertical sausage stuffer.

Should You Use a Manual Sausage Stuffer?

A few hundred years ago, you can see below, it was a very basic sausage stuffing device.

Old sausage cutter and stuffer large

While there are some commercial-grade sausage stuffers on the market, manual vertical and manual horizontal sausage stuffers are incredible options. 

I definitely find a manual stuffer more enjoyable. You should use a manual sausage stuffer if you want to experience full control over the operation of stuffing your sausages.

We have stuffed 80lbs of sausage over a weekend with a 15lb stuffer, no issues with the volume. Since the stuffing isn’t the major aspect of the workload for sausages or salami making.

Of course, if you plan to prepare the next line of commercially produced sausages, then maybe a manual option is not for you. Automation would be the best option.

But if this is not the case, then a manual sausage stuffer will surely bring delight to you and your tastebuds.

Remember the key: Keep the meat mixture super cold, nearly frozen, while you work with it. A manual stuffer will also not heat up the meat due to the friction.

Here is a page I wrote on suggested sausage stuffer.


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