Casings got tough!

  • Does anyone have some insight as to why my country style and summer sausage casings got so tough. Especially my summer sausage… it’s like the casing is welded on. My heat never went over 180 and I increased it in stages! I’ve been smoking sausage for about 10 years and have never had this happen. This is the first time I have added a pan of water in my smoker tho…could this be the issue? Any insight would be appreciated! Thanks.

  • @kinger it seems your describing two different types of sausages? Country style is usually a breskfast sausage with natural or collagen casings and summer sausage is fibrous casings. Is that what your refering too? My rough guess off the bat on your summer sausage cojld be 1 that it wasnt mixed as well as it should have been so the meat didnt bind fully togeather. But i think the main reason is the internal temp of the sausage got too high. This could be because it wasnt fully cooled down after pulling it out of the smoker. Once you pull it out of the smoker the temperature rises very fast and can over cook your sausage and cause it to stick to the casing very badly. Did you monitor the temperature of the sausage after you pulled it? Also what was the internal temp when you pulled it? On the country style i would need more information on type of casing and how you cooked it.

  • Walton's Employee

    @Kinger A Couple of quick questions. How long did you soak the casings first and what temp was the water? Like @lamurscrappy said it is possible that they werent cooled quickly enough, did you ice bath them? Youve been doing it for years so I am assuming you did. Other than the water (i dont see that as a possible reason, but ive been wrong before!) did you do anything different? What meat block were you using? What is it exactly that you are meaning when you say country style summer sausage?

    Giving us the thermal processing information and the adding a pan was good info but let us know the answers to the above questions and we will see what we can figure out!

  • @lamurscrappy @Jonathon yep two different types of sausage but the summer sausage was the toughest. 12 pounds elk and 12 lbs pork butt using Walton’s jalapeño. I soaked the fibrous casings for 45 minutes in hot water. Mixed the meat in my Cabelas mixer run off my grinder for 8 minutes and then mixed an additional minute after I put cheese and fresh jalapeños in. Smoked at 125 for 1, 145 for 1, 155 for 1 hour and 45 minutes and finished off at 178 degrees. Pulled the meat at 158 internal temp. Pulled out logs immediately and ran cold well water over them for about 10 minutes and then hung in my 42 degree garage overnight! Even the cheese sticks to the damn casing?? Never seen anything like it.

  • @kinger two things. In my summer sausage making i rarely go over 170 to finish the sausages. I would personally max it at 170 to finish the sausages. Also all my sausages i pull at 152 degrees. But as i thought your sausages got too hot after pulling them which is your issue. Pulling them at 158 and only running water on them for 10 minutes wont cool them down fast enough and stop them from cooking. You need to get them down to 110 ish degrees as soon as possible and im positive that didnt happen which made them render more fat sticking them to your casing. Next time just so you can see stick a thermometer in your sausage when spraying them and see how long it takes to get to 110. Could be around 30 minutes

  • Walton's Employee

    @Kinger Thanks for the information. Your process, other than going to 178, is on in my mind. The only thing I do differently is an ice bath for 20 minutes. Showering for 10 minutes, if you are running a cycle and a fan in your smoker can work, but I still think an ice bath would bring it down faster and more. Last time I did thick summer sausage it was down to 110 in 20 minutes, I also tried showering it at 2 minutes on 2 minutes off for 20 minutes and it was only down to 136 (ish) but i did not have a fan running on them.

    One more thing you might want to try, if you are stalled towards the end you can finish them up by putting them in a vacuum bag (I have done then hot, right from the smoker, some condensation in the bag but it still gets a good vac) and get some water going at around 165, it should get up to temp in under an hour depending on the thickness.

  • @lamurscrappy

    Sounds reasonable. Thanks for your input. Pulling the meat at 152 will make a big difference I bet! Thanks again.

  • @jonathon

    Thanks Jonathon! One question tho! You eluded to 178 being high for a temp! Don’t you guys recommend setting the temp at 175 during the final stage to completion to internal temp? Three degrees shouldn’t make that much difference should it??

  • Walton's Employee

    @Kinger no, it shouldnt make a difference, I was responding to this first thing in the morning before running to a class that I am taking at Iowa state so I think I was thinking at the beginning of the response that you cooked to an internal of 178 and then I realized my mistake but never fixed the response! Sorry, once Im back in Wichita, on Friday things will hopefully go back to normal!

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  • @scottwaltner i personally think we found your problem. After the ice bath you need to hang them at room temp for at least an hour. That helps to bloom the product and help set the casing as well. I think thats your issue.

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  • E

    There is not much to the process. After I combine the meat and spices (I have been using about 2% salt with cure # 2 @ 1 teaspoon per 5lbs of meat) then stuff it into natural hog casings, I put it in the basement to hang for abut 6 weeks. The humidity is low, so it dries out about half it s weight by then, maybe a little bit less.
    Then we eat it. I have only had one hollow batch so far and i think that may be the stuffing issue or maybe the very low humidity combined with temps of around 42 degrees. The good batches came out when the humidity was a little higher and the temperature stayed around 58 degrees.

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  • @jonathon 😂 thanks man

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  • S

    @lamurscrappy I did not, I put it in the fridge as soon as I water bathed it. The casings were pre stuck

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  • T

    Thanks: I see for hams they call soaking for3-5 days brining and the bacon recipe calls it pickling. Both mean the same? Thanks for the help

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  • @scottwaltner Your meat block and smoking schedule sound fine so it doesn’t appear to be that. You say you water bathed them, was it ice water? Also what @RickHeb said is true, they need to sit out at room temp for an hour after the ice bath and then sit in the cooler overnight befire vacuum packing them.

    Last thing, were your fibrous casings pre-stuck? If they werent this very well could happen?

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