The suppliers listed were selling these items at the date of writing. The items they stock may change over time, so it’s always worth checking to see if they’ve extended the range of goods offered.
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.
These can be either hand or electric mincers. Many people already own a food-mixer with a mincing attachment, such as a Kenwood Chef or Kitchen Aid, these are fine for small scale sausage making.
Stand-alone mincers/grinders are available from a number of suppliers. At the budget end of the market, there are many available from the major electrical goods suppliers and from online sources. For quality machines, Weschenfender’s sells a variety of sizes.
You can stuff sausage skins (casings) by hand with a funnel, but It’s hard work. It’s better to use either an adapter for your mincer or a special sausage stuffer.
Attachments for standard-sized mincers are available and are often included when buying. If not they are available, either from ebay, or from Kitchenaid and Kenwood for their machines. They come complete with the mincer for newer models. 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.
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 Butchers Sundries and sausage- casings.co.uk. Larger quantities are available from Scobies and Weschenfelder’s.
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:
- Dried Blood – Used in Black Pudding. Weschenfelder’s sell dried pigs’ blood and also black pudding making kits.
- 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. Weschenfelders stock a small range. Scobies sell some of their commercial range in ‘smaller’ size packages. However, these are still larger than the average home producer requires.
- Artificial casings for black puddings – Sold online by ebay shop TruNet Packaging as well as Weschenfelder and Scobies
- 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
- Cure #1, also known as Prague Powder – This cure contains Sodium Nitrite mixed with salt. Unlike Saltpetre which takes time to start working, Cure #1 acts very quickly to protect the meat. Sodium nitrite is often coloured pink so that it is not mistaken for anything else. This cure contains 6.25% nitrite. 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. Only minute amounts of it are used.
Cures #1 and #2 are sold by Weschenfelder.
All in one cures
There are a large number of ready-made cures available for specific types of products and also for general curing. These are available from Weschenfelder’s. Larger amounts of these cures can be purchased from Scobies.
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. It can also often be bought on ebay.
Used to make promote the development of good moulds on salami. The culture, Penicillium Nalgiovense, is only available in the UK in industrial quantities the same suppliers as Cultures. Many home curers in the UK cultivate their own from a commercial salami.
Curing and Smoking Equipment
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 ProQ. However, the best one I’ve used so far is the Masterclass Flavour Injector which is available from the Amazon Website.
Digital Thermostats can be used to adapt a fridge into an air drying chamber. They are available from a number of suppliers on ebay.
Digital Hygrostats are also available from a number of suppliers on ebay..
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 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 ProQ 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, check that the wood you buy is suitable for use in the ProQ CSG.