Sausage Casings 101 - Sausage Casings Basics

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    Sausage Casing

    Sausage Casings 101 - Sausage Casings Basics

    Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!

    Sausage Casings

    Why Use A Sausage Casing?

    Any casing, whether it is a natural, collagen or fibrous is going to offer some uniformity to the diameter of your product. This is important because it will allow the product to cook evenly. If you had a product that was half-again as thick in some areas than others then the thinner parts would be overcooked before the thicker parts were safe to eat. In commercial processing, uniformity is even more important for appearance and to be able to consistently track the amount of sausage being produced.


    Casings also give sausage a certain look, it is generally easy to determine what casing was used to make a sausage vs when it has been extruded. Natural casings will often have a curve in them that can be anywhere from slight to fairly extreme while collagen casings will be more uniform and straight.

    Mouth Feel

    Mouth Feel is a term that refers to the sensations associated with eating certain types of foods. For casings, this will be determined by a few factors, some of which will depend on cook cycle but to keep things simple Collagen will have less of a snap than natural casings will. In surveys, it was found that the reduced snap of collagen was generally preferred to natural casings. Different types or variants of collagen casings will also have a different mouthfeel as they have different levels of toughness.

    Inedible Casings

    Some types of sausage casings, such as cellulose, are inedible and are made to be peeled off after thermal processing but before consumption. These cellulose casings have a stripe down the middle to let you easily identify if the casing has been peeled or not yet. However, these ring bologna casings are also an inedible collagen but that do not have any markings on them so you have to be careful when using these. Trying to consume inedible collagen isn’t going to be harmful but it will give you a very tough and chewy bite.

    Shop for Collagen Casings

    Shop for Fibrous Casings

    Shop for Natural Casings

  • How can you keep your collagen casings from splitting while on the grill? I made brats last week with collagen casings and they are practically exploding on the grill.

  • Team Blue

    RWalker24 Poke several holes and go low and slow!

  • Joe Hell I will try that. Thank you

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    RWalker24 Another thing that might be happening is overstuffing them? Joe Hell is correct though, poking a few holes to allow pressure to bleed out will absolutely help prevent the burst casings.

  • Team Blue

    One method I have been using lately, in addition to poking holes, is to fire up my smoker at 225 and cooking them (with or without smoke) until they hit an internal temp of around 150-155 (about an hour) and then finishing them on the grill to add some color until they reach 165.

  • How are brats that are stuff in collagen casings? I have never used anything but hog casings. Can you tell a big difference when you are eating them?

  • Team Blue Power User Traeger Primo Grills PK Grills Canning Sous Vide Community Moderator Kansas

    mrwoody there is a little bit of difference in the bite. Natural will have somewhat of a snap to them, where as collagen is more of a cleaner bite with less snap. Collagen casings also won’t hold a twist.

  • mrwoody thanks for the info

  • Referenced by  Tex_77 Tex_77 

  • I have used smoked collagen casings for my snack sticks. I don’t hang them, I lay them on the grates in my smoker. Which casing should I use to achieve an as little to no snap when biting into the finished product? I read the collagen casings are the least amount of snap but not all casings are the same that they vary in the degree of toughness. Does anyone have any first hand knowledge of any collagen casings that have no or almost no snap to them?

  • Military Veterans Sous Vide Canning Traeger Regular Contributors Power User Arizona

    Weekend Smoker I have mostly used the smoked collagen 19mm and 16mm casings for snack sticks. However, my last batch I ran out, and used 21mm FRESH collagen casings, these are clear and used for breakfast sausages. They turned out exactly as you request, little to no snap and almost a “pure meat stick”. I really liked them and will use again! The only issue is they are not strong enough hang, but as you lay horizontal anyways, should work perfect!

    P.s. I’ve used these fresh 21mm casings 3 times now for snack sticks, using willies spice mix, personal pepperoni mix, and a personal kabanosy mix, they are excellent.

  • Dave in AZ I was leaning that way but I needed someone to tell me I was right. Thank you sir.

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Meatgistics is brought to you by Walton's ( Meatgistics is a community site, knowledgebase, forum, blog, learning center, and a sharing site. You can find help and ask questions about anything related to meat processing, smoking and grilling meats, plus a whole lot more. Join Austin & Jon from Walton's and sign up for our Meatgistics community today. We have created Meagistics University, where we broke down meat processing into different categories and then broke it down into a class like structure. The introductory classes are 10s, the intermediate are 20s, and advanced are 30s.

About Walton's

Walton's Inc. sells meat processing equipment and supplies, including all of the Seasoning, Equipment, Supplies, Packaging, and Casings needed to make almost any type of sausage. Walton's sells to the commercial customer with a focus on the small to medium-sized processing plants or butcher shops, and directly to the hunter or processor who makes their own product at home. Whether you are a commercial or retail customer of Walton's you will be receiving the exact same seasoning and supplies, we do not have a different "line" for commercial and retail customers so that everyone can make the best sausage or jerky possible!

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