Hot Dog casing recommendations please.

  • Okay here is the latest batch of hot dogs Ive made. Not the most beautiful but they turned out very tasty. Im really getting into making my own dogs. Heres the deal…Ive been using sheep casings. I like the natural casing and the fact that the casings have a memory when twisted into links. What I don’t like is that they are so delicate that Im having trouble stuffing. I don’t want to stuff them to tight and have them pop when twisting. So I kinda understaffed them which leads to more odd sized dogs due to having to squeeze the meat down the casing to get the proper size then twisting. It leads to odd lengths and diameters at times. So I was wondering about other types of casings. I tried collagen casings once and don’t like the way the casings have no memory and untwist themselves. Ive seen the cellulose casings that you have to skin off after cooking and they don’t look that appealing either. Is there a smaller diameter hog casing that is closer to hot dog size that may be less delicate than sheep casings? Im open for as many suggestions as anyone would like to share and thanks.


  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    cayenneman What you have run into here is the perfect example of the different advantages and drawbacks of each kind of casing. Collagen is easy to use and stronger but they won’t twist well, natural twist but they blow out and give your finished product a lot of variation and a curve, Cellulose has the same advantages and drawbacks as collagen just even more exaggerated.

    For Hot Dogs I use 26mm Cellulose Casings, it is the perfect size and it gives the perfect finish once cooked and peeled. However, this does mean I tie each link off with butcher’s twine. It definitely takes longer than just twisting but if you pre-cut the twine to the lengths you will need it isn’t that bad. It will probably take you 10 minutes or so to tie them off so it’s not terrible and then you can pop them out of the casing easily after cooking.

    Parksider You make a ridiculous amount of hot dogs (Chili Dogs), you use the cellulose now right? He makes hundreds of pounds at a time I think so maybe hes got a quicker way to do it!

  • Team Blue PK100 Power User

    cayenneman - I don’t know what you’re talking about, those look good!
    Biggest batch of hot dogs was 200#! What a circus!!! I do use cellulose 26mm. I think there are a couple videos on my instagram black_run_bbq that you can check out of how i link them. I learned how to do it via youtube. Mine end up in a three link “globe” and this locks them together. This year I’m going to work harder at getting them more consistent length, I’m all over the board right now which makes it hard to pack. We smoke them for an hour then simmer to reach temp. I leave them in the globe the whole time. They have a slight curve to them but when we pack them in the chamber vacuum it’s not a issue. And yes we do have to peel them once they are done, so it’s one more step. I just found a couple pics… If they taste great that’s the important part, yours look homemade not like something coming out of a factory. 1_1533223678302_IMG-0695.JPG 0_1533223678300_IMG-0694.JPG 0_1533223729460_IMG-0685.JPG

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    Parksider Wait, so you use this method ( I cut right to the time in the video and you don’t have to tie them all off and they stay linked? This would be a huge benefit and if thats the case I am going to start using more cellulose!

  • Sounds like I have some experimenting to do. Thanks for all the good info guys!

  • Team Blue PK100 Power User

    Close… I don’t pull the strand through. Just pull the loop in and take the rest of the strand up the back side so it makes a cradle and locks them together. I’ll see if I can find the video.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    Parksider I found it on your instagram account (for anyone not following black_run_bbq on instagram you should do that right away) from March 9th. cayenneman Check out how he does this with the cellulose casings, it should work for you as well!

  • Team Blue PK100 Power User

    I picked this method of linking randomly on youtube, I really didn’t think any further ahead than I wanted to learn how to hand link. But it works very well because it locks them together, from smoking to boiling. Just a stroke of luck, not be design! Great finds are when you stumble into something looking for something else!

  • Regular Contributors

    I read through the thread about the various choices of hot dog casings and while you addressed the benefits and drawbacks of each type of casing, you seem to have taken the position that whatever casing you use, it should be removed from the hotdog before eating…

    I am looking for dogs with the casings on… I love a NY Sabrett hot dog that snaps when I bite into it…

    So, to get that good, crisp snap, BUT… I also don’t want to have to gnaw through a casing as tough as a pork belly pig skin, would you recommend sheep or collagen casing?

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    raider2119 Sorry, only the Cellulose needs to be peeled. Fresh Collagen and Natural Sheep can both be eaten.

    Snap is one of those things that are subjective and some people think collagen gives more of a snap and some people think natural casings are better. I think the way you cook it is going to play more of a factor than the material honestly. Make sure you step it up slowly and have enough moisture in your smokehouse and in your product.

    All things being equal though I prefer the SNAP of a natural casing for hot dogs.

  • Team Blue PK100 Power User

    raider2119 If you like that snap i’d go with natural casings. It has a better mouth feel than the collagen, in my opinion. At least for dog. I do like the skinless dogs so i prefer the cellulose.

  • Regular Contributors

    Jonathon Parksider : Sorry, I was not clear… Parksider mentioned he prefers his dogs skinless, and I had the impression you were also advocating for removing the skin, no matter which casing was used…

    This will be my first attempt at hot dogs and bologna… I tend to stock up on things when I find them on sale, and I was able to pick up a bunch of (true) 85/15 ground beef for $1.25 / lb… so all I have to allocate right now is about 6 lbs of beef, which I figure will yield about 8 lbs of hot dogs and 4 lbs. of Bologna…

    So, based on Jonathon 's answer above that “snap” is based on personal preference, I’m thinking I’ll just do 4 lbs. of each and just try them side by side…
    As far as moisture is concerned, I figured I’d use binder and add water to the product… I always use the water pan in the smoker… elevate the temp slowly up to 140, and if I happen to hit a stall, pull everything out of the smoker and finish cooking in the SV… finish with the ice bath…

    Oh, and as far as “linking” goes, I’m not that good at doing it manually… I end up with all different sizes, so I figured I’d use the same jig I had made to measure out snack sticks… I should be able to achieve perfect sizing… Also, to avoid having to play with string, I was thinking of just using ultra small zip ties… then just snip them off as I am vac packing…

  • Team Blue PK100 Power User

    raider2119 I use zip ties too. I’d recommend the larger ones, the small ones are just so small it’s hard to do with wet hands and harbor freight just about gives them away.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    Parksider ARGH zip ties! I JUST did cellulose casings and I even bought zip ties months ago when you first brought this up but I forgot to try them! That is absolutely going to be one of our “Meathack Monday” posts on social media when I eventually remember to try this! That would have saved me 20 minutes last week! If I ever remember to do it I will give you and your Instagram account (which makes me drool at least once a week) a shout out!

  • Team Orange Sous Vide Regular Contributors

    Jonathon i tried the tiny zip ties on my last batch of bambi dogs. Found they cut the cellulose cases so had to go back to string. Thinking real serious about the string manual linker. But dont tell Mrs. Bubba plz

  • Team Blue PK100 Power User

    smokinbubba Did you twist the links first? I twist, then zip tied. I’m into the linking them into globes now… just looks cool… an once of image is worth a pound of performance! Once you learn it goes quick.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    smokinbubba When are you thinking of making them? I am going to come in this weekend and make some modified Landjaeger if you want I can test the Walton’s linker on the cellulose and try to get some video? I know that’s one product we don’t have a lot of video of.

  • Regular Contributors

    Ok, so I never got around to making hotdogs… I ended up taking Jonathon’s suggestion of trying some of the bacon-burger seasoning and ended up making (50:50 pork/beef) bacon-burger sausages, but never mixed till protein extraction…

    I must say I was impressed with the flavor… I will be ordering more very soon… for burgers… but I dont think I would use it for hotdogs…

    Also, the website suggested 26mm casings for hotdogs… They are great for sausages, I used them for the burger/sausages and they were perfect… But, my preference is for Sabbrette size dogs, long and thin… guess I need to measure a Sabbrette to see what size casing to order…

  • Team Orange Sous Vide Regular Contributors

    Parksider i did twist then zip tie. Had more than a few blowouts at the joint.

  • Team Blue PK100 Power User

    smokinbubba Old casings or wrapped too tight? That’s not normal, shouldn’t be happening.

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