Cured Sausage 104 - Casings For Summer Sausage
Attend this entry-level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!
What Are Common Styles Of Casings?
There two styles of casings that are commonly used for making Summer Sausage, Fibrous Casings and certain types of Inedible Collagen Casings. Fibrous casings are made from a paper-like product that will be dry when you take them out of the package, closed on one end and can be clear, mahogany or have some pattern or picture printed on them. The collagen casings are a specific type of collagen that is inedible, they will be dry, tied on one end and clear when you get them.
What Does Pre-Stuck (PS) Mean?
Prestuck means that the casings have been manufactured with small holes in them. The purpose of these holes is to allow some pressure to bleed out of the casings during the smoking process but more so to help the casing conform to the meat after the cooking process has finished. If you purchase nonstuck casings you will need to purchase something like a Casing Perforator to create these holes.
What Are The Sizes Of These Casings?
Casing size varies in summer sausage maybe more than any other casing. You can get standard casings as small as 1.5" X 12" all the way up to 2.9" X 24". Because of this variation, these casings can hold anywhere from a 1/2 lb of meat up to 4 - 5 lb of meat.
How Are Casings Prepared For Use?
Fibrous Casings - These need to be soaked in warm water for 30 minutes before being used. This will make them pliable enough to be stuffed full. You should only soak how many casings you are going to need but if you soak too many casings you can let the unused ones dry back out and you can use them again in the future.
Inedible Collagen - The easiest way to remember how to prepare these casings is to remember the rule of 15s. They need to be soaked for 15 minutes, in a 15% salt solution that is 15°C (59°F). Doing this will rehydrate the casings and make them pliable enough to be able to be stuffed. Even though this is inedible it is still made from the same basic process as regular collagen so it is made from the hide of beef and or pork.
Advantages and Disadvantages To Fibrous and Collagen.
The main difference in these two casings is the preparation that is required for the inedible collagen casings. The rule of 15s is very simple to follow but with fibrous casings, you do not even need to do that. Because of that Fibrous Casings are the more common casing for summer sausage.
Both of these casings are very strong, blowouts should not be a concern when stuffing them. The tie that already comes on one end will have a loop in it so that you can slide this over a smoke stick and hang them in your smoker.
*Because you will be hanging these from the side that is already tied you need to secure the other end very well as all the weight from the meat will be pushing down against whatever you used to seal it. The best way for the home user to do this is with a Hog Rings and Auto Load Hog Ring Plier.