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  • Meat Hacks: How to Link Sausage

    Learn How to Link Sausage with Walton's and Meatgistics. Watch the video, read the guide, and then post your questions or comments below.

    Meat Hacks

    How to Link Sausage
    So, you’ve gone through all the process of making some fresh sausage, you’ve ground the meat, seasoned it and stuffed it and now you are getting ready to link it. Well if you’ve never done it before we are going to show you how to do it with a few different types of casings and show you three different techniques.

    I am going to go over the most basic way to link them first. Grab your rope by the very end and pinch it down where you want the casing to begin, then with your other hand grab the casing about 5 inches down from that. If you like a little shorter brats then keep it closer or for longer move it a little further down. Now pinch the casing down at that point and start rolling the casing towards yourself with your finger, how many time you will need to spin it depends on how tightly or loosely you stuffed your casings.

    If your casings are popping after just a twist or two then you have overstuffed them. Next, fold the now formed sausage down your rope and start a new pinch where the first one ended, this will help you keep some uniformity to your lengths. Now begin to twist it in the opposite direction as you did the first one. So if you started by twisting your first one towards you then twist the next one away from you. Continue this process until you have made it all the way down your rope. If you are using collagen I like to freeze them at this point before I cut them as this will help the collagen stay in place a little more and you need to freeze them before vac packing them anyway or they will get crushed. If you are using cellulose casings then you need to tie them closed.

    A slightly quicker way to do this is to skip a link. So start as you would above but when you go to move on to the second link, pinch it where the first link ended but then fold it again and pinch it where that link will end, all while still holding that first pinch you made. Now, you twist them in the opposite direction as the first and you will be making two links at the same time. Just continue this down the rope until you are done. This is the method I generally use.

    The third one is a bit advanced but it gives you nice uniform links and it looks pretty impressive. Just like the first two methods make your first link and then fold it over the rope so you second link is the same size. Then pinch this area down and wrap some of the casing at the end of the first link around where you have pinched. Then spin the two links that are now making an oval shape a few times. Next take the rope that is hanging down from the two brats and bring it up to the top of them where the twist is. Pinch this down and then fold it over and through the oval at the twist and then pull the rope through the oval. Now fold the rope down along the oval and pinch it, pull it up and at this point your oval should be hanging below the link you just pinched. Now let the rest of the rope hang down and pinch that where it meats your previous oval, now twist the new oval you have just created and pull the rope up to the top of that where you will pinch it and then fold the rope over and through the oval again, creating your second link. Continue this process until you have done the entire rope.

    So those are the three ways we hand link sausages here, each gives you uniformity which is important for appearance and packaging. Another nice thing about hand linking is if you have under stuffed some casings like I have here you can give it a few extra twists to tighten it up. Remember, an under-stuffed casing is preferable to an overstuffed casing as it is easier to give it a few extra twists than it is to deal with a blow out after your stuffing has been completed!

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  • P

    I’ve tried every kind and type of stuffer and ultimately I ended up with a hydraulic stuffer and it still has trouble with 17 mm casings. My recommendation would be to never go below 21 mm casings on any Stuffer it’s just too hard on equipment unless you have a high-end commercial stuffer. Even with a hydraulic stop for I still have to add water to get the consistency just a little bit for dinner so will fit through the tube better. It doesn’t seem to have an impact on the quality of the product be there after it smoked.
    It’s also easier to stuff fresh sausage like breakfast sausage for example the minute you add cure to a product it makes it stiffer so you’ll have to add more water without question.

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  • W

    @65valiantwin When I do small casing I use a smaller stuffer with a worm-gear instead of the direct type Waltons has. I have a large Waltons stuffer (26# i think) that works great for brats and larger sausages but is dangerous with the pressure required on snack sticks. Keep in mind that the larger the stuffer gets the larger the plunger gets and we are dealing with pound per square inch to move the meat, bigger plunger has more square inches so it gets hard to move meat with big plungers.

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  • 6

    @jonathon Thanks for the help! I’ll try this and let you know how it works out.

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  • @65valiantwin Using the smaller casing with a hand crank stuffer is always going to be difficult, I never do anything smaller than a 19mm (and honestly a 21mm most often) for this very reason. You can do a few things to help make it easier if you are wanting to stay with the smaller casings. First, use 2 quarts of water per 25 lb batch, this will make your mixture almost soupy but it will stuff a lot easier and the extra water will cook out during your cook cycle. The second thing you can do is make sure you are at at least 20% fat ratio as a leaner product is harder to stuff.

    Let us know if you need anything else!

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  • 6

    Hi guys, thanks for the great info. I have a question…I recently tried to stuff some 17mm Collagen casings with a 10mm tube. I have your 11lb stuffer and it was VERY hard to get the meat to come through the tube. So much so that I actually bent the tabs that hold the cannister a little bit. Is there another style of stuffer (ie. direct drive) that would be better suited for doing alot of snack sticks/small diameter items?

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