I'm making some kebabs, which involves taking a mixture of ground meat and spices, then rolling them into small cylinders. I usually hand roll, but I have to make them in large volume soon and would like them to look a little more like perfect cylinders.

I cannot figure out the name for a tool that might be a cheap, small hand tool that would form ground meat into small cylinders. I picture something that has a scissor handle and a cylinder end, like a meat baller but cylindrical instead of spherical. Does something like this exist and have a name?

  • 2
    I wonder if a sausage stuffer could work...
    – Catija
    Nov 14, 2016 at 14:41
  • It might, but googling for those, they look like much larger machines than what I need. Really looking for something that is small and hand held.
    – tarun713
    Nov 14, 2016 at 14:45
  • 4
    OMG, just found this, the "Ham Dogger".
    – Catija
    Nov 14, 2016 at 15:00
  • roll the meat in plastic wrap like you do when making seasoned/compound butter
    – Max
    Nov 14, 2016 at 18:28

7 Answers 7


This seems to be one of those gag gift products you find on the web that has attracted attention for its absurdity... reading through the questions and reviews, it's difficult to tell which are jokes and which are genuine... regardless, it seems that the "Ham Dogger", a device for making hot dog-shaped hamburger "patties", may do what you're looking for. And, at the low, low price of $7.99, can you afford not giving it a try? Probably!

Serious Eats has a walkthrough of how it works:

Ham Dogger Step by step

Unlike the other gadgets in this roundup, it doesn't even pretend to be practical. It's a plastic mold that shapes burger meat into a bun-sized log. Figure out how to work it right, and you can even stuff your hamdogs with a thin strip of whatever you'd like (I really can't imagine fitting anything but a little cheese into the narrow trough the mold creates).

  • Novelty: 7
  • Usefulness: 4
  • Construction quality/ease of use: 8
  • Overall assessment: It does exactly what they claim it will do, but leaves you wondering "why?"
  • 3
    @tarun713 If you try it, please tell us how much it saves per roll. I suspect it might be more fiddly than hand rolling.
    – rumtscho
    Nov 15, 2016 at 17:10

Seems like the bamboo mat used for making sushi rolls would be a good choice for this. Line it with heavy plastic wrap or parchment paper, of course.

  • 2
    not sure you even need the mat, the plastic wrap should be sufficient, like how ballontines are often made
    – jk.
    Nov 14, 2016 at 16:32
  • 3
    @jk. I think the mat would make it faster... it has structure that allows you to press and release more easily. The plastic wrap alone would be a pain to deal with because it'd be wet/damp and constantly sticking to itself.. but wrap the bamboo mat in plastic first and there's no loose plastic to adhere to itself.
    – Catija
    Nov 14, 2016 at 21:28
  • Or a flexible plastic cutting board, to allow for larger rolls. Nov 15, 2016 at 0:04
  • I think that a bamboo mat is not just faster, it also rolls in a more uniform shape. That is probably why it is used for making sushi rolls. Nov 15, 2016 at 0:54

I believe you can get PVC-like pipe that is regarded as food safe. See here for example. You could just purchase the diameter that makes sense...stuff it....push it out...cut the product to length.

  • My thought exactly.
    – JDługosz
    Nov 15, 2016 at 23:26
  • Do you have a suggestion for what to use to push it out? I imagine it might not slide very smoothly, so you'd want a plunger that fits reasonably well.
    – Cascabel
    Nov 16, 2016 at 17:02
  • One could use a slightly smaller diameter tube with the end covered in a couple of layers of plastic wrap. Alternately, a wooden dowel of a smaller diameter, perhaps wrapped in plastic, could also work. Fat from the meat, or the addition of a small amount of oil could also lubricate the works.
    – moscafj
    Nov 16, 2016 at 19:28

What it sounds like you are looking for is an Extrusion Device.

Something like these Jerky Guns. Where you can press out the meat mixture into long cylinders and then cut off at the lengths you desire.

Here is a youtube video using it to make typical jerky, but as you can see the tips are interchangeable and would allow you to make something akin to a "slim Jim" with a wider diameter.


You could always just roll the ground meat in some clear plastic food wrap and then twist the edges so it's like a giant tootsie roll. The tighter you twist the edges the rounder it gets. I think the sushi roll mat is ok, but it doesn't get the very edges as tight as using this method. Depending on the fat content of the meat in question, it can stick or pull the plastic wrap away from the mat.

I know I was making some yakitori and made the ground meat, i also just every so slightly par boiled the meat to make it more solid and easier to grill later. Also you can could cut them into coin shapes instead of keeping it in the hot dog or tube shape. But the mat also works, but like i said the edges are not as tight and tend to fall apart like regular sushi has the tendency to as well.


A pastry bag may do the job; create long cylinders on a table top and cut to size. That's what my mom did when I was a child for croquettes, which are somewhat softer, but I guess I'd worth a try.

Chances are you already have one at home, so no need to purchase anything.

  • A great idea, but unless you make pate a choux or do cake decorating, most people don't have them. What people are more likely to have is a common substitution -- a heavy duty zip-top bag, and cut one of the corners off. I'd go for gallon size, so you're not refilling as often, but make sure to hold the zipper closed while squeezing. And start with a small trim, and make it larger until you have the right size.
    – Joe
    Nov 16, 2016 at 15:03

People are suggesting extrusion devices, and indeed, here's video evidence of such a solution working perfectly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opTXaBZ1kPYA

If you really don't feel like using pipes to do the trick, maybe you could use one of those gnocci extrusion apparatuses:enter image description here

  • Wow. I did not expect that result in the video. (but I'd suggest that people wear a shirt when prepping food)
    – Joe
    Nov 16, 2016 at 15:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.