Preparing Your Casings - Sausage Casings 103
Preparing Your Casings
PREPARING SAUSAGE CASINGS
Sausage casings are all made from different materials, are best suited for different products, and have different preparation requirements.
EDIBLE COLLAGEN CASINGS
Most types of collagen are edible and require no preparation or cleaning before being ready for use. All you have to do is take them out of the package, put them on the stuffing tube, and stuff them; the moisture from the meat will rehydrate them during the cooking process, so they will not have that tough, dry texture that they do before being used.
INEDIBLE COLLAGEN CASINGS
For non-edible collagen, the rule of 15s comes into play. They must be soaked for 15 minutes in a 15% salt solution that is 15° C (59° F) before they can be used for stuffing. With any type of collagen, blowouts are of medium concern, you need to make sure you don’t overstuff your casings, or you will have blowouts either during stuffing or when linking.
Cellulose Casings are made from plant material and are ready for use right out of the package; just put them on the stuffing tube and begin stuffing. These casings are inedible and must be removed either before or after the cooking process. Luckily, they have a thick black stripe down them to allow you to easily determine if the casing has been removed or not. These casings are very strong, and blowouts are not a concern.
Fibrous Casings are dried, paper-like casings that need to be rehydrated before they are suitable for use. To do this, fill a bowl with 80-100° water and let them soak for 30-60 minutes. When they are ready for use, they should be pliable but not soggy. We recommend that you only soak as many casings as you will need, but if you do soak too many, you can simply allow extras to dry out and then use them again in the future. Fibrous Casings are very strong, and blowouts should not be a concern.
Natural Hog or Sheep Casings
100 Yard “Hank” - If you purchased the 100-yard hank of hog or sheep casings, you only need to rinse the outside and then soak the casings in hot water for an hour; there is no need to flush them. Natural casings are prone to blowouts if you overstuff them; blowouts can happen either when stuffing or when linking.
Home Pack - If you purchased home pack hog or sheep casings, they will be in a bag and packed with salt. You will need to flush these casings by allowing water to run all the way through them; then, you will need to rinse any salt off of the outside of the casing and soak them in hot water for 1 hour prior to stuffing.
Tubed Natural Casing - If you have the tubed sheep or hog casings, they only need to be soaked as well, as they have been flushed already. When loading these onto the stuffing tubes, you will place the plastic sleeve over the tube and then thread the rest of the casing on. Once your casing is fully loaded, you need to grab the plastic sleeve and pull it out from between the casing and the tube; it should all come out fairly easily.
Ediecrna I use them for majority of the sausage I make and all the snack sticks. Now, I will also use the Tubed Hog Casings for bratwurst or other fresh sausage but mostly I use collagen. Tubed casings take out the 2 biggest time sucks of processing natural casings, flushing the inside and untangling, you just have to soak them before use and they are good to go!
Has anyone been having issues with fibrous casings getting loose during the dry curing process? We’ve been having this occur the past several years now. We use 1 1/2 x 14" fibrous casings with holes for 50/50 venison / pork summer sausage. It is dry cured by hanging in an insulated smoke house where the temperature and humidity can be closely controlled. It is cold smoked then left to hang usually at least 6 weeks, give or take. We’ve been making our sausage this way for many years, and never had any major issues, but the past few years we have had the casings get loose and sometimes mold spots form between the casing and the meat which affects the curing process. We buy the casings at our local butchershop, and they have had some other similar complaints, their supplier told them something has changed in the components of these casings. They recommended soaking at least 1 hr in 100 degree water. Also we stuff our sausages as tight as possible using an air powered stuffer. This year we soaked the casings to their recommendations and at week 2, casings are already getting loose.
Any thoughts?? Thanks.
noting Have you always used fibrous casings for dry cured sausage? It’s not what I would recommend, but I’ve only made 4 batches of dry cured. I used non-edible collagen twice and beef middles twice but never fibrous, I dont think that it is designed for dry curing. @Dry-Cured-Sausage Anyone have a better take on this?
I have had great luck with fibrous casings for both whole muscle and ground dry cures. They don’t cling to the meat but I never had mold inside the casing
I wrap the casing twice with tight elastic netting and sometimes introduce white mold and sometimes leave bare
Yes, we’ve used these fibrous casings for many years with no issues, but like I said , something has changed in the composition of these casings. I talked with two friends who are having the same issues this year. Just have to keep my fingers crossed they will cure out OK, I will need to do something different next year, at least find a different manufacturer. Thanks for the reply!